I read and the students listened. They were not held accountable for the books we read, and they didn’t know quite what to make of that. (What? No tests. No papers. Why listen?) I believe, without exception, the entire class was quickly attending to the story at hand. At the end of each book we had a brief discussion. By December, when we had read several books, we all looked forward to the last segment of our math class with relish.
The reading of Ishmael went quite well overall, though it was hard to keep the continuity of its arguments clear in 17-minute snatches. I found myself explaining and re-explaining the argument at hand. I tried to engage the listeners at times by taking Ishmael’s questions and posing them to the class. I also brought articles from the newspaper to help show examples of Mother Culture buzzing away. (e.g. statistics on world population, articles on bio-engineering and endangered species.) Things got a bit “hot” in the section of the book with references to the biblical creation story. One mother came in very concerned that I had chosen this book to read. But when I offered to loan her a copy to read herself, she wasn’t interested.