I finally just started going over the grid puzzles in class each week. I intend to slow them down some in these as I'm just not seeing complete understanding of how to work these types of puzzles. I had envisioned working on problem areas in class with them each week, but since everyone has been coming to class with the puzzles completely worked already week after week, that just hasn't been feasible. Apparently, at least some parents were helping with the puzzles too often and the kids were just not picking up on how to do them on their own.... It's not the correctly worked puzzles that I care about at all; it's the reasoning that's going on in getting to that point....
I sent them home with several puzzles this week. I asked that they try to work the puzzles completely on their own and bring them to class only partially completed if they get stuck. It is in looking back through the process together that we can help each other think about how to reach the conclusions to the puzzles.
We talked a little about Father Brown and I think everyone agrees that they prefer Sherlock Holmes (me, too). I have asked them to read the next Sherlock Holmes story for next week: "The Beryl Coronet." Of course, the first thing they need to do is figure out what a "beryl coronet" is!
Words to know:
remunerative, pg. 104
unimpeachable, pg. 105
plate, pg. 105 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plate - which is it, do you think?)
parley, pg. 105
imprudence, pg. 107
Stop at page 112 - do you see a potential red herring here? What about a definite suspect?
tenable, pg. 115
diadem, pg. 119
will-o'-the-wisp, pg. 120
Were you surprised by this one? or had you guessed before the end?
We reviewed "appeal to the people" today with some examples and talked about its opposite: snob appeal (which was the fallacy alluded to in the Father Brown story). We also talked about its cousin: "bandwagon." We will look at some more specific examples of those two fallacies next week.
Please look for one example of "snob appeal" this week (print, TV, billboards, something in a conversation - doesn't matter where you find it), and one example of "bandwagon" (or appeal to the people; they are synonymous.)
Here's a bit more info on the effect that "bandwagon" can have on people psychologically:
They got to play through a complete round of "Clue" today. I wanted a chance to observe how they use their checklists to cross suspects off their lists as they play. I'm seeing a little of the same thing that I see happening with the grid puzzles. Folks get a little too "x-happy" and cross off too many things, too quickly. I think that slowing down and double checking to make sure that only those boxes for which we have found an answer are crossed out will go a long way toward helping with the grid puzzles (as well as in Clue). Also, there is some failure to cross off things when a clue has been found that eliminates them. While that is to be expected in the excitement of the chatter that accompanies a group event, I'm hopeful that they will slow down and remember to cross things off for each clue (or at least be able to make a helpful note for each clue) as they read through a puzzle. The puzzles are not timed. They don't need to feel that they have to rush through them or even that they have to finish them if they are stuck. Thinking takes time!