Wednesday, April 28, 2004


My Specialized High Schools Exam Prep class is a lot of fun. It's full of bright, funny kids who learn really quickly. I can kid around with them. At the same time, it's scary what they don't know, sometimes:

Ms. Frizzle: (during a brainstorming session to find ways to simplify an algebraic expression) That's not even remotely close!

Boy 1: What does "remote" mean?

Ms. F: Far away, not close to here. We traveled to a remote village on our safari. Your answer wasn't even close!

Boy 2: Oh, I thought you meant like TV remote!

Students: (in low voices) Yeah, yeah.

Ms. F: (makes funny face) Um, riiiiight. No, seriously, where do you think the remote control gets its name?

Blank stares from 2/3 of students. A few - future English majors - start to get that "catching-on" look....

Ms. F: You can use a remote control to turn the TV on and off... remotely. Without getting up off the couch!

Students: Oooooohhhhhhhhhhhhh! Oh, yeah!

Ms. F: Wait... that was news to all of you?

Students: (laughing) Yeah.

Ms. F: (Turns dramatically, places hands on chalkboard, knocks forehead against chalkboard, laughs).

As I later realized and pointed out, I barely remember a time before the remote, so I guess my students - born more than ten years later - wouldn't have thought about these things.


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