Posts In Category Anecdotes
“Ms. G., you notice how the missing students are all girls and all on the basketball team?”
I looked around the classroom. This was normally my fullest class but it was missing about a quarter of the students.
“Huh,” I mused aloud. “Well, Daniel and Michaela both have the flu which leaves Erin, Deb, and Desiree still missing. Are they all on the basketball team?”
“Yeah, but only Desiree is any good. The rest are second string.”
“Well, maybe something’s going on with the coaches and they’re keeping the team late.”
I continued with the lesson, getting the class started on their projects.
As the class worked on their One-Pager projects, I returned to my desk to take attendance. Pulling up my computer, I saw that I had e-mail with Erin, Deb, and Desiree as subject headers. All three had been suspended.
During lunch, I headed up to the front office to find out what had happened to my girls. I had received two more e-mail regarding suspended girls.
“What’s going on with all my girls?” I asked the clerk.
“Did you hear about yesterday’s fight?” she responded.
“Well, some girls decided to fight in the girls’ locker room. Desiree, rather than telling the coaches, decided to record the fight on her iPhone. The rest of them uploaded the video to Youtube and sent the video to their friends. They didn’t check the background and some of the girls in the background weren’t all the way dressed. The administrators are trying to get all the video destroyed before it goes any further.”
“When did this happen?”
I wonder how far the video has spread in 24 hours. I wonder if we’re going to be a news story anytime soon.
William has a head cold. He is oozing snot. His eyes are bloodshot and puffy. Other students back away from him with his sneezing which he can’t quite catch with his hands, sleeves, or kleenex. He snuffles several times a minute. The nurse has just sent him back to class with a note saying “it’s just allergies.”
We’re reading “Hard Times,” part of the Read180 program. Today’s selection deals with a child who was abandoned but learns how to overcome the challenges of life.
William raises his hand, snuffling noisily. He is so proud when he has something to contribute to discussion. He waves even more strongly, making “oh! oh!” noises. Students duck the snot flinging off the ends of his fingers as he tries to catch my attention.
“I’m abandoned! I’m abandoned! My mother abandoned me when I was just a kid!”
Sadly, enough, he’s right. Several years ago, William and his sister, Daisy, after suffering years of neglect, were abandoned by their mother. Court papers say they were found after living on their own in an empty apartment for several days. They live in a foster home with several other foster kids now.
After class, William lingers in the doorway, still snuffling despite the dozens of kleenex stuffed into his pockets.
William has news to share.
“Do you remember Chris?”
“Chris Palmer. He says, ‘hi.’”
“How do you know Chris? He should be almost finished with high school now.”
“He’s a sophomore. He got adopted this weekend. He lived with me at the foster home.”
“Really? How about that. And he got adoped?”
“Yes, ma’am.” William pauses. “I’m for sale, too. Maybe you’ll want to buy me so I can have a real family like Chris.”
My heart breaks for William and Daisy. These poor kids.
The Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth turns 40 years old this year. In honor of that event, the Kimbell curators are bringing out some of their long-hidden, rarely-displayed works of art. To honor the 40 years of patronage, the Kimbell is offering free admission from October 7th – December 30th.
Join your colleagues in viewing these treasures and learn how to find images on Discovery Education and use these images in your classroom.
Date: November 20th (Yes, that’s a Tuesday!)
Time: 1-3PM (You can arrive earlier and leave later if you’d like.)
It was the end of a very long day when I heard my name being called. My feet hurt but I heard my name called. I turned around and searched the hall. Who had called me?
A group of students broke apart and the earnest face of Jim (he was Jimmy last year in 6th grade) peered out from between shoulders.
“Ms. G!” he called again.
I waited as he made his way to me, waving a paper in the air.
I expected the paper to be a science test. He’s been struggling in science but attended tutorials this morning to bring up his science grade. I began to form words of praise in my head.
“Ms. G! She chose my article! My article is in the paper!”
Last year, Jimmy was a member of my 6th grade Reading Improvement class. I remember asking him about his 5th grade experience as a reader.
“I didn’t read much,” he’d said. “I was a bad kid and ended up in AEP (Alternative Education Placement). Now I want to be a good kid and learn how to read good.” As it turned out, he’d been part of a notorious ring of 5th graders who were nearly arrested for upskirting.
He worked hard last year to be a “good kid.” We’d talk occasionally about his struggles in making wise choices. On his bad days he’d come in the classroom and just lay his head down. He wasn’t receiving much support at home; his parents were too busy divorcing to pay attention.
I don’t know when he took an interest in writing. I know when he took an interest in reading; he’d shared his favorite authors with me. But writing?
And now here he is, one year later, a published author in the school paper.
I’m glowing with pride.
Way to go, Jimmy!
What did I get myself into? I wondered as I drove to the Dallas Arboretum.
You see, I teach journaling and blogging. I’m always looking for inspiration I can carry down to the tween and teen level.
I’d actually paid for this particular training myself and I had been looking forward to it as soon as my payment cleared. Now I was having second thoughts. I’m not the artistic type. I don’t consider myself particularly creative. Markers and crayons were about my limit. Now here I was, on my way to an art journaling class which would put all my artistic lack-of-talent on display. What had I gotten myself into?
What is art journaling? Would I be expected to draw? Would I spend more time writing? Dear Lord, please don’t let it be a poetry class!
I arrived at the class juggling my training bag (the bag which holds the supplies necessary for conferences, trainings, and workshops), my breakfast (#1 from the McDonald’s down the block), and my purse. A roomful of female faces greeted me.
Why aren’t men interested in journaling? It’s been one of those questions which has bugged me for a couple of years.
I found a seat near the front and prepared to be immersed.
Three hours later, I realized I was having fun! It’s been years since I’ve had this much fun – possibly not since 5th grade. Now that I think about it, when I was in elementary school, I used to win all sorts of awards for drawing and such. Where had that enthusiasm for making art gone? When had I decided I wasn’t artistic or creative?
The instructor had brought out all her best toys: papers of all colors and thicknesses, watercolor pencils and crayons, chalks, markers galore, beads, stamps and stamp pads, colored pencils, and more supplies than I could explore in just four hours. She encouraged us to look at Chihuly’s art to inspire writing and art.
I’d created a page inspired by the conversations of passersby. I’d created another page using mixed media to recreate a scene from the gardens. I was splattered with paints and chalks; it would take a two days to get all the paint out from under my nails. Glitter littered my t-shirt. And I was having fun!
Now…how do I reignite the fun in my students?