Sunday, September 21, 2008

No gas

If you want to feel ten years old again, ride a bike. Its like flying! On the bike, you re-live that free feeling you had when school was out, the air was fresh, and all you had to do to escape was hop on the bike and take off.
That's what I've been doing every day. I ride a bike to school. It takes about two minutes, max. Really. I have to pedal up one hill and then glide down to the school. And since school is still under renovation, and somebody dragged away the bike racks, I take the bike inside the ground floor door, down the hall, up the elevator and park it in my room.
That's been an interesting experiment.
For three weeks the bike has sat in the room along one side. Most students have paid it little attention. Probably because they haven't noticed it. Here's how its gone:
Third block, after two weeks: "Hey! There's a bike in here! What's that bike for?"
Fourth block, week three: "That bike's in here every day. What's that for? Do you ride that bike?"
"Yes. I've been riding my bike to school."
Muttering to himself, "I could ride my bike to school."
I like the idea of modeling a healthy lifestyle and an alternative to the fuel crisis. Teaching doesn't have to end at paragraphing and punctuation.
It also reminds me that I used to teach my journalism students to be good observers of their environment. Especially if they wanted to be good reporters. To show them what they'd miss, I'd put box right in the entrance to the door. Students couldn't get into the room without stepping over it, around it, or moving it out of the way.
After the usual starting routine to class I would quiz them: "What kind of box was in the doorway?"
EVERY time I did the exercise, the response of the students was: "What box?"