I don't think there's anything better than knowing students "get it."
We are reading The Importance of Being Earnest, by Oscar Wilde. We have been reading in class, taking turns playing characters, but the students must also must read sections at night on their own.
Today, we had reached the point when Cecily shares with Algernon that she has been engaged to him for three months (all in her head), even though they have never met.
I wondered if they would understand what was happening…because it all hinged on their having done the reading last night—carefully.
Suddenly, a giggle. Then a snicker. Then the whole class burst into laughter.
I could hardly keep from laughing myself, enjoying the moment when my students could fully understand the contradictory events, Wilde's cynicism, and the Victorian era's layers of rules and rule-breakers.
As they filed out, a boy…. A BOY…came up to me and said, "I didn't think this would be very good, but it's really funny!"
Oh, and in addition to reading, the students are annotating their work by finding references to history, jokes, and class discussions. They use the tools in Word to create comments and then hyperlinks within the document. They've also used Inspiration and other graphic organizers to create plot maps, plus they are writing their own scripts in pairs on wikis and Google Docs. The supplementary tech tools have certainly helped them with their understanding of drama, the Victorian period, and this play.
But today it was the laughter that made my day.