Further evidence that the best parts of education come outside the classroom: Marching with my kids and 2000 others to commemorate Cesar Chavez, all while chanting his slogans and receiving the applause (and honks) of the community, will be a highlight for all of us. El pueblo unido jamas sera vencido! The people united will never be divided!
What awes me about this conversation is the sophistication. First, just in concept…two 10 year olds, scheduling their date! Second, despite all the “u’s” and the misspellings, the interaction just seems so mature… At 10 years old, I still hadn't even talked to a girl on the phone!
To: R------- From: F-----
B---- [F----‘s good friend] kind of invited herself to the movies sorry but when this Friday or next Friday? Ok.
R---- : If B----- goes G----- [R----‘s best friend] goes. F---- : okay, no problem R---- : why not this friday at 2:00 F---- : at spring break R---- : so next friday F---- : I guess. R---- : we are in school at that time, how about 7:00? R---- : what movie F---- : I don’t know what movie do u what 2 see. R---- : The ring two that is if you whant F---- : Okay R---- : What time? F---- : I go with 2:00. R----: Where do you want meat F---- : I don’t know u decide!
I have been told, too late, that spring rouses a dormant, sleeping giant deep in the minds of 5th graders. Quiet all these years, the warm temperatures and windy days have brought him to life, ready to maraude through my lesson plans, site observations, and classroom community. The giant, of course, is the evil Hormones. (hor-mo-naise) Brother to Cyclops, Hormones has no eyes and three mouths, enabling him to remain wholly ignorant and insensitive, while gossiping incessantly.
My days have become a ceaseless thrill-ride of intercepting notes ("I'm braking up wit you." and "She has no taste in men!" being the favorites), quashing chit-chat, and desperately trying to offer an engaging education that can compete with "Who Likes Who?" Good, bloody, luck. Nuclear apocalypse would not distract my students from their urgent need to answer the question. How can I expect Longfellow's "Midnight Ride of Paul Revere" or a lesson on the grammatical difference between May and Can to do so? Don't deceive yourself for a moment with, "Gee, those topics aren't that bad." Compared to the world of "Like," even recess pales in comparison. Tetherballs and soccer games have gone the way of Puff, as my kids now spend their recess hours in circles, gossiping.
This misery culminated, today, in my most embarassing teaching moment to date. I take great pride in my Read Alouds. They are NOT in the scripted curriculum (Research has shown no link between reading engaging classics to kids and good reading scores. Or something like that.), but I have fought to keep the activity alive. In general, everyone gets into the stories, even the lowest readers, who can actually participate in the discussions. But not this time.
Today, with the stakes high, with my principal and an assistant superintendent in the classroom, the kids were just terrible. They could not focus. They could get quiet long enough to hear the passages, but when I stopped for discussion, the moment where I prove that my variation from the curriculum is worthy, it was chaos. Time and time again. I would read, stop, ask a question, and chaos would ensue. Not the sort of chaos that belies a tired teacher, the crescendo of noise that brews and brews until the weary maestro cuts it off, but the instantaneous chaos of a class that is teetering on the edge of lawlessness.
My principal was very reassuring and did not seem to hold this anomalous bit of inaptitude against me, but I was, and am, horrified beyond anger and frustration. My principal seems to think that part of the problem might be that we have stayed in these groups and used these routines for too long. So tomorrow, we go back to rows. I'll keep you updated.
The last month included a week of testing, a week of vacation, and a week of sickness, none of which lead to good blogging. Here's an amusing piece of research:
It's Mr. E-C's birthday! Vote for how old he is:
A. 19 B. 23 C. 28 D. 35
The winner was 35, with 16 votes. 28 received 14. 23, my real age, received 2. Must be the beard.
Here's a very inspiring example of solid 5th grade writing, through the lens of one of my lowest English speakers. I don't know where he came up with this, but I plan to read it to the class and praise him up and down on Monday.
Describe a holiday or tradition you'd like to pass down in your own family.
Christmas is the tradition that my family celebraits. We make different kinds of foods. They do tamales, atole, posole and berea. Those are all good food. We celebrait and we will keep celebrait because that is the day Jeasus. Some people make plays about how they think the story went about Jeasus. Chrismas is not about present it is about how people get together.
Some people call family. So they kood come to ther houes and celebrit with. They laugh, tell jokes, and rembre old time about them. I real like ot get together with my faily. I don't care abote present. I real what this tradition to past on and on.