Scenes from recitation this week:
1) When my students were working in small groups, I overheard one group cracking jokes about the Normans in Sicily. I take it as a really positive indicator of their comfort with the material that they were finding humor in it.
2) Two of my students thanked me for not telling them in advance that they would be doing a peer critique of their first essays and would then have the option of taking the weekend to rewrite on the basis of that critique. Both of them said that they wouldn't have produced a polished draft if they knew they weren't going to be required to turn it in, but that they knew they got better feedback for their peers having read something they considered to be turn-in-worthy. This is, of course, precisely why I did it. (And thank you, John S. Knight Institute for Writing in the Disciplines and Writing 700 (now Writing 7100, but nevermind) for that particular tool in my pedagogical arsenal.)