First of all, if you got the metaphor in "Don't Bring your Pencils Home" by Tom Johnson, congratulations. Well done. Enjoy your gift. I will enjoy mine.
Here are some reasons,I think, students swung and missed on this one.
1) Students were in the on-deck circle, all alone: Most students probably read this post in isolation. That is, they read it alone somewhere without anyone to talk to about it. They did not engage in conversation about what they had read. Their thinking was narrowed because of this.
2) Students were expecting a fastball and got as curve ball on the outside corner: After many weeks of watching videos and reading articles that called for literal translation, they were expecting it to be like that again. Many (6) weeks have passed since the Scott McLeod article. I think this was a big factor. It was all about the expectations for some.
3) Students went to the game and it started to rain after the first inning: The metaphor just wasn't very good. I think the author is an excellent writer. I love his word choice and his smoothness. He is very talented.I could read his stuff all day long! But the metaphor is weak, in my opinion. Usually a metaphor provides a grand image and it's easy to recognize. A weak metaphor that runs that long is sometimes hard to distinguish. There is no larger image in this post, only a story that creates an interesting scene and wonderful characters.
So, if you take the word pencils out of this post and replace it with paperclips, will the story still work? Will the metaphor work? What if we put in the word puppy? Most metaphors are much stronger than this one.
If a student missed the metaphor in the assignment, read it again, and still didn't understand, it is a weak metaphor.
4) Students thought they saw a triple play: Many students probably considered the story ridiculous and rare for real life ,but not completely out of the realm of possibilities. That is, as wrong as the story was, they thought it could actually happen. Students based their thinking on experience. Many of these students were in high school just a few years ago, taking standardized tests.How many of them could tell you a rule that they considered absolutely ridiculous? Probably all of them. Let's face it. The educational system is often portrayed negatively and many have had negative experiences with rules. Has anyone watched John Stossel "Stupid in America?" I have.
5) Students got a Coke at the concession but always thought it was a Pepsi: The writer himself describes his post as a satirical story. There are other elements of literature in this story . Maybe a student saw hyperbole? figurative language? symbolism? Just not the metaphor.
A good manager will always stand up for her players.
I hope I got a good hit for the team in EDM 310. Game Over.