My students write at the start of each class. It usually helps to focus the class and it helps them put their thoughts on paper.
Of course, many of my students don't need help articulating their thoughts in other ways.
Jerky John always has a smart-ass comment or seven, every day. Today began like this:
"One of these days, we'll make you write. You don't write. Why should we write. All this writin' we're doin'. I'm tired o' you makin' us write."
"Jerky John," I said, "Put your thoughts on paper. And I am writing now, doing exactly what you're supposed to be doing." (I was. I often model this behavior for them.)
"Yeah, but you don't write like we do. We do all the writin'."
"Please, Jerky John, it's time to write, not to speak."
Heavy sigh from Jerky John. Then, before the free-write was over, "I got a question," said Jerky John.
I ignored him. It was time to write. He knew it was time to write. Other students were writing.
"I said, 'I got a question!'" This time louder.
I fixed him with my best teacher-deathray look. He shook his head and sighed loudly.
After I collected the writing, I encouraged students to discuss their writing. They did. Jerky John sat there and glowered at me. Finally, I said, "Any questions?"
"Yeah," said Jerky John. "What's due today? And how many more journals do we have to have? What are we doing in class today? And when is this semester over?"
There were some giggles from other students, some rolling of eyes, but otherwise silence.
"Six weeks," I said.
"Six weeks," I repeated.
"You didn't answer my other questions," he said, fairly belligerently.
"Oh," I said. "I'm sorry. Were there other questions?"
The class laughed out loud at that one.
It doesn't occur to the snowflakes that we, too, are counting the days, does it?