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Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Least Favored School…


I got a late call, half day assignment for 6th grade this afternoon. I wasn’t too sure I wanted to take it because it was for one of my least favorite schools. I’m not sure what it is about this school but I haven’t had much luck with classroom control here. But Monday was a holiday and I hadn’t had any luck in picking up a class yesterday so I took a chance today to see if my bias was still valid.

The principal was running the class when I arrived. Twenty girls and ten boys. I was to be with them for only about two total classroom hours today.

Right from the start, one boy, S---- was in my face, bouncing off the walls, interrupting and interacting with other kids in class.

He was literally absorbing, extruding, evacuating and sucking all my attention and patience to just try and keep him from disrupting the whole class.

Early on I learned not to let students leave their seat to ask me questions. Unless they are seated and raise their hand first, I don’t acknowledge them. If they approach, I cut them off with: “Is this the proper way to ask me any questions? Back to your seat, raise hand and I’ll come to you when I can.”

It sometimes takes two or three repetitions to get everyone onboard but it’s necessary. If I don’t, I discover myself surrounded by kids firing endless questions while the rest of the class is walking around the classroom all day.

S---- literally could not perform this simple instruction.

Whenever he would shout out some inane, off topic question he was always walking half way to the front of the room. Each time I would make him walk back to his seat and only address his question when his hand was raised.

An hour later I was happy to escape to the teachers lounge while they went to lunch.

One of the other teachers asked how my day was going. I told her it might be a lot better if I could just get rid of one kid. She knew right away who I was referring to.

She clued me into this kid’s problems. He has ADHD and Asperger’s syndrome. He has a one-on-one aide to be with him in class. He has a whole slew of stuff he’s allowed to do in class that the other kids aren’t. He’s allowed to chew gum to help him concentrate and use a special mechanical pencil so he doesn’t eat the wooden ones. It seems that S---- has a long five year history with school staff and everyone except unsuspecting substitute teachers know about his condition.

When I commented that I hadn’t seen the aide in class today, she told me he’s only with the aide for two hours…in the morning.

None of this information was in the special instructions on the sub assignment line or in the lesson plan. Coming in, I’m thinking this kid just has a mongo case of WAS.

After lunch, I tried a bribe. I had a recent issue of Car and Driver magazine in my backpack and offered it to S---- to keep if he could sit quietly for just five minutes so I could go over the instructions for the science test. He indicated that he could, but within two minutes he’s literally banging his head on the table and barking like a dog. I called the office for someone to get him before he hurt himself.

He resisted leaving but finally left while loudly protesting to the office staff lady that it was everyone else in class that got him into trouble. “It wasn’t my fault!!”

Twenty minutes into the science test, the principal calls to ask for two of the boys to come to the office relating to the S---- situation. It seems that S---- is making claims that these two were responsible for getting him into trouble.

When I asked if they could come down after the test, he said “No, they need to come down now.”

No questions for me about how this kid was acting in class? This school will remain on my “least favored” list for another year.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Not Everything We Learn In School …

Claudette and I were visiting our grandkids, Paige and Nathan, this weekend. At 2 ½, our first granddaughter, Paige, is well into the cute mastery of baby speech and inventive communication that Grammie and I adore.

We hung around long enough to be invited to stay for pizza from their favorite pie house. When the pizza arrived, everyone seated and everyone served, Paige spotted the two packets of mild hot sauce that came with the pizza.

“Paigie have dippin’ sauce too?”

Momma tried explaining, without much success, that the “sauce” wasn’t the same as the stuff from the local McD’s, and it wasn’t good for little girls.

“It’s too hot and tastes icky!” Momma said while making a sour face.

But Paige was not to be dissuaded. After several pouty demands for “sauce”, Momma finally relented.

Daddy squeezed a thimble size blob of “sauce” on the plate while Paige, happily, bounced up and down in her chair.

The rest of the adults at the table, baby brother could care less, stopped eating while we watched our precious little girl pick up a bite size piece of veggie pizza and carefully dip and take the first bite.

“Ummm”… followed by a surprised look… followed by a wide eyed look… as she put the rest of pizza piece back on the plate and reached with both hands toward Momma whose hands were full with baby brother.

As momma instructed “Drink some milk, sweetie” Paige quickly obeyed.

“That works!” and before Daddy could stop her, she picked up another piece of pizza, dipped it in the sauce and popped it once more in her mouth.

“HOT again!” while she grabbed up the pink plastic milk cup again.

About to repeat the process a third time, Daddy intervened and removed her plate in exchange for a clean one without “hot sauce”.

“Wipe your face, sweetie” instructed Momma and she spotted a couple bits of cheese and avocado on Paige’s chin.

Obediently, Paige used a big napkin and dutifully wiped. She paused and then stuck out her little pink tongue began wiping it repeatedly with the napkin as the “heat” was still plainly evident.

"That's my daughter!" Daddy, who has an affinity for Hananero stuffed olives, proudly announced.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Need a Good Laugh?

They say laughter is contagious. Let’s try it times four…

Well? Is it?

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

NHL and Global Warming...

Interesting documentary dealing with the Global Warming Hockey Stick graph. Good news! The Stanley Cup playoffs won't be melted out!

(Go Ducks!)

Run time: 44 minutes

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Julie Delayed Again...

Sentencing for Julie Amero, the former substitute teacher convicted of exposing seventh-grade students at Kelly Middle School in Norwich to pornographic images was postponed again (#4 ??) until June 6th.

I wonder if this sets some kind of record for sentencing postponements?

That school is SO screwed...

Friday, May 18, 2007

I Don't Get It...

I think I had this guy in one of the 6th grade classes I subbed this year...

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

I Don’t Now...

Exactly one month till summer break. STAR testing is complete the kids aren’t really into class work anymore this year.

The only activity of substance for this 6th grade class today was a history test on China. The lesson allowed 15 minutes for the students have a personal or table group review of the section and then 45 minutes to take and complete the two page test.

Unlike the multiple choice answer selections for the majority of the test, the last two questions require a written answer to the question. Something about why emperor “so-and-so” (I forgot the name) implemented a civil service test for people applying for positions in the government.

“I don’t get it!”

This is from one boy in the back, so I circle around to ask just what he “doesn’t get”.

Me: What is it that you “don’t get”?
Kid: The whole thing, pointing to the last two essay questions.

Me: Did you read about “Emperor so-and-so”?
Kid: Yea.

Me: Did you read anything about a “civil service” test?
Kid: Yea, I think so.

Me: So why did he want the people to take a civil service test?
Kid: I don’t know…

Me: Do you know what a civil service test is?
Kid: No.

Me: Then write that.
Kid: Write what?

Me: Write “I don’t know”
Kid: Ok…
(Kid writes “I don’t now”) for both the remaining two questions.

Me: (sigh) When will you?
Kid: Will what?
Me: You wrote “I don’t now”. Does that mean you will know “later”?
Kid: Ohhhh….

(Kid erases “now”, and prints “no”)

Tuned out, checked out, and just plain “out”…

Monday, May 14, 2007

For Math Geeks...

Took the day off, so for the other fellow math geeks out there we have...

(For those who want to sing along, here are the lyrics)

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Teacher's prank goes too far...

From the story:

MURFREESBORO — Parents of students at a Scales Elementary school in Murfreesboro Tennessee are outraged that teachers and an assistant principal staged a phony gun attack on their children, telling them repeatedly it was not a drill, while the children cried and took shelter under tables.

Click the link above for the whole story but this school should be awarded an honorable mention Group Darwin Award of Education.

Stop Signal Seminar (SSS) …

Five weeks left in this school year and all the kids already seemed to have checked out.

Friday was the completion of a two day stint in the “stacked deck” 6th grade. This teacher must have pissed someone off because 25% of this class was stacked with KWA’s ( Kids With Attitude) …and not the good kind!

A teacher at break time inquired: “how’s it goin”? I mentioned that some of them were trying real hard to see how far to push. The teacher rattled off a list of names guessing which ones were the pushers.

She got six of them right.

By 11:00am, I had enough of the “fist pounding”, “rolly-eye-gasps” and “ahh-MAN’s” I could stand from one of the ring leaders. I booted him to the principle’s office with a phone call for “disrespectful attitude in class”.

At this point I decided to give a little seminar. I explained that since not many, in particular “rolly-eyes”, seem to be able to read my mood today, I should make it very clear when you are about to cross a line.

“If I say ‘STOP’ and you continue whatever it is that you are doing, then you are out the door to follow ‘rolly-eyes’. Does everyone UNDERSTAND that?”

Lots of quiet and head nodding verified that I seemed to have communicated my message of the day.

Later at lunch, I thanked the principle for his help in handling “rolly-eyes”. He told me it wasn’t a problem and he totally understood that sometimes you have to make a sacrificial example of one kid to show you mean business.

I’m glad that this district seems to have school administrators that help rather than hinder classroom management.

Rolly-eyes rejoined us after lunch and I had to repeat my “SSS” so he couldn’t claim ignorance.

It wasn’t long after when he started to act up and I looked him dead in the eye and quietly said “Stop”.

It almost appeared that he was going to ignore me when his posse, who seemed to be faster on the uptake, intervened and said: “Dude! He said “Stop”! He’s not playin!”

There was a momentary pause but rolly-eyes backed down with a final hostile stare. We now had us an understanding for the rest of the day.

I believe that I’ll be adding my “Stop Signal Seminar” to the regular repertoire, when needed, in future assignments.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Troubles solved at the 118th Carnival of Education...

Well the wife is off on a 16 day tour to Nice/Provence/Paris tonight so my problem for the next two weeks is...

"Do I learn how to operate the washing machine or just go buy extra underwear?"

Maybe I can discover an answer to my dilemma over at the troubled NYC Educator as this week's host of the Carnival of Education issue 118.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

This Week’s Fine Whines…

Do we gotta?
What are we doing now?
What are we gonna do next?
We already did that!
The teacher doesn’t do it that way!

Can I go to the bathroom?
Can I get a drink?

I don’t get it!
I STILL don’t get it!
What page are we on?

It’s almost time for recess!
Can we have extra recess time?
It’s almost time for lunch!
You know we go to lunch early, right?

Do we hafta ___?
Why do we hafta ___?

He hit me!
She won’t stop bothering me!
He said a bad word!
What homework were we s’posta do?

I don’t have anything to read!
I don’t wanna read!
It’s too hard!
This book is boring!

I don’t have a pencil!
I don’t have a piece of paper!
How many sentences does the paragraph have to be?
Can we work in groups? (Followed by…) Why not??
Is this going to count?

Did you just write my name down?