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Friday, January 09, 2009

Freeze Faker…

I subbed a 4th grade class last Wednesday. Mostly good kids with the usual few “characters” in the mix. Nothing out of the ordinary except for…“Freeze Faker”.

The lesson was pretty straight forward, single page worksheet:

"...Read the story and highlight the title in green, highlight explanations in yellow and highlight facts in pink. You can work in table groups"

FF: Do I have to work with my table group?
Me: If you want to work by yourself, go for it!

After a little while, one of the narcs at his table quietly notifies me that FF was doing it all wrong and was now bothering them to copy their work. So I wander over to see what the situation was. I take a peek over FF's shoulder to see that everything, title, explanations and facts on his work sheet are hi-lited in green, where his table mates are making use of all three colors on theirs.

Me: Ok, FF, what's the problem here?
FF: They won't let me copy their papers!

Me: (thinking: WTF??) You said you wanted to do it alone. Why do you want to copy theirs?
FF: Well, I don't know what to do.

Me: I see that you marked everything on your paper in green. Is that what the instructions say?
FF: I don't know.

Me: Were you listening when we read the instructions together?
FF: (no answer)

Me: Well, let's read the instructions again, shall we?

No answer, no movement to pick up the worksheet, he's staring straight ahead across the table and not looking at me.

Me: FF, let's read the instructions together so you know what to do.

No reaction. In fact, he's not moving. No squirming, no fidgeting, no movement at all!

Me: Come on FF, let's go. Pick up the worksheet and let's read together ok?


Other Kid: He's frozen. He does that sometimes. The teacher has to make a loud sound to unfreeze him.

I make a few more unsuccessful attempts to communicate but nothing works. One of the other kids claps his hands and FF looks startled and starts looking around.

Oh, brother! I got kid with one of those weird three-letter acronym-istic, conditions that no one told me about.

Now that he's listening again, I start over in attempting to get him back on track with the lesson at hand. He freezes up on me again. He's holding his hands still as stone, in front of him, just a couple of inches off the table.

I walk around to the other side of the table so we're face to face and I notice something odd. I move a little left and then back a little right, then left again.

Me: You know, FF, it's amazing. Everything is frozen. No reaction whatever.
FF: (no answer)

Me: Nothing moving...except your EYES!! They're following me!
FF: (Slight twitch at the corner of the mouth)

I lean slowly across the table getting nearer and nearer, watching his eyes start to cross as I'm almost nose to nose with FF.

Me: (whispering) You're FAKING, aren't you!
FF: (Busts out laughing)


Cassie said...

Kids are so bizarre! How do they come up with the idea to freeze themselves? I've had kids refuse to answer me when I take roll or stay seated when asked to get up, but never a full on "freeze." Good for you for breaking it up with humor!

.bethany. said...

You handled that beautifully...this is precisely why I could never sub in elementary school. Middle and high schoolers are a different brand of weird. :)

HappyChyck said...

Geez! Kids are so weird! You did handle this very well. I might have had to use my death ray gun to thaw him, and that's just...overkill.

Chebrutta said...

That is, without a doubt, the BEST classroom story I've ever heard! I'm so glad I stumbled on you!

The MAN Fan Club said...

I don't miss subbing.