I incorporated the words of Tracy Jordan into my classroom. This was a lifelong goal that I didn’t even know I had.
I watch 30 Rock. I have since my junior year of college. I am very loyal. So loyal that I can’t remember the last time that I enjoyed an episode of The Office, but I will watch it until it dies (please soon).
My tv rarely helps me in my teaching career. Truthfully, tv wastes a lot of my time. But I love me some “crap telly” (quoting bbc Sherlock here).
Last week, though, tv-watching-me and teacher-me were happily one. In the episode “The Ballad of Kenneth Parcell,” Tracy Jordan suffers through the agony of poor punctuation. He told his entourage to put the words “give to charity please no presents” on his birthday party invites. The invitations then read: “Give to charity, please. No presents.” However, they should have read: “Give to charity? Please no! PRESENTS!!!” Once again punctuation makes all the difference.
This is how it ties into the classroom. Morning work. Every morning I have to come up with some fascinating question/prompt that will pique the interest of 22 students. This must happen before they enter the room at 7:50 a.m. Usually I find myself scrambling and writing things like “Write a haiku about the tree outside.” Thanks to 30 Rock, I had the perfect morning work. I wrote the two sentences on the board, and let my students figure out how the punctuation changed the meaning. They thought about it for 10 minutes in silence (oh, blessed silence!) before they finally got it. I had a peaceful morning, and they learned a little something about the importance of punctuation.