Dr. Victoria Tusken has been an educator for 25 years, starting her career in early childhood, but spending most of her time in middle school education. She is currently the Secondary Curriculum Coordinator for the DeKalb Community Unit School District in DeKalb, Illinois. She is also an adjunct professor at Northern Illinois University, where she teaches courses in middle school curriculum, methodology, and adolescent development. She has presented popular webinars on middle school classroom management, writing, common core, and data-driven instruction for KDP. She serves on the KDP International Executive Council.
A number of years ago, around April Fool’s Day, I designed a web quest of sorts to use with my 7th grade language arts students. The purpose was to acquaint them with the Chihuahua Desert, because the main character in the novel we were about to begin, gets lost in that desert. One of the web sites gave detailed lists of items one must pack if one wishes to survive long periods of time in the desert. Each student conducted the research on his/her own and then in small groups pulled their information together.
On the day the students worked in small groups, I had a group of boys off in the corner of the team center, laughing and having a grand time, but not putting very much time into their work. I walked over to them and asked, “Hey boys, what is going on?”
One of the boys looked up at me grinning and said, “Mrs. Tusken, who knew you needed condoms to survive in the desert?”
Mortified, I ran to a computer and pulled up the web site. Although linked page contained no mention of condoms, at the bottom there was a link that said, “Click here for more information.” When I clicked on that link, lo and behold, there it was, “condoms.” Used to store matches.
The boys went on to present their “survival list” to the class, amid the giggles of their classmates. Shortly before the bell rang, a student raised her hand and asked, “Mrs. Tusken, I don’t get it….why couldn’t you just store the matches in a baggie?”
Without thinking, I responded, “Why Katie, everyone knows a condom is far more durable that a baggie.” The class erupted into laughter, and the bell mercifully rang, bringing a very interesting class to an end.