Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Guess You Had To Be There

This morning one of my colleagues asked me if I could cover the last 15 minutes of his last period class. He's been taking flight lessons and the recent stormy weather has postponed his air time. He had a chance to get some time in today but would need to leave early. I gladly agreed to cover for him because he so often cheerfully takes lunch break duty, even when he doesn't have to.

When the time came, he gave me half a chocolate bar and said, "You'll need to fortify yourself for these guys!" Then he hurried off. I collected the test's the freshmen had just taken and slipped into the quiet room. Freshmen Bible. They were all sitting at their desks with books open before them, reading. Quite impressive for last period Wednesday, a week and a half before finals.

I sat at the teacher's desk correcting, they sat at their student desks reading. Pedro asked to use the bathroom and left quietly. All was well. By this time you might begin to wonder what was up. Freshmen working so diligently on a sunny May afternoon? But hey, they're wonderful kids and we have trained them well (right).

Pedro returned from the bathroom and sat down. Suddenly I heard giggling. I looked up to see that Isabel had slid almost completely out of her desk. Apparently Pedro wasn't too keen on Isabel putting her feet on the bookrack under his chair and scootched his desk forward. Isabel was determined to have a foot rest and scootched her desk after him. It didn't take long for them to make it all the way to the front of the classroom (before you're overly impressed, keep in mind this is a small room). Pedro was quickly running out of room. At a classmate's urging, he turned left. Wasn't much help. He now found himself with a cabinet to his right, a wall in front of him, and Rain (& her desk) to his left. And of course Isabel still behind him. He was trapped. Alejandro got in on the action, scooting up behind Isabel so that he could put his feet on her bookrack. This kids do like their foot rests!

Being the firm, no-nonsense teacher that I am, I immediately put a stop to this silliness and set the wayward desk scooters straight.

Actually, I pulled out my iPhone and recorded a video of the whole thing. In my defense, it was the end of the last period on a Wednesday afternoon in May.

My favorite quote of the day came from Rain, as Pedro, Isabel, and Alejandro were moving their desks around the room. "Guys, she's going to blog about us!"

So here you go Rain. I blogged about you!

*Oh and incase you think I am teaching a class full of Hippies and Hispanics, names have been changed to protect the not so innocent. They all have Spanish names (you remember that from high school Spanish, don't you) and they let me use them for this story.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Slice of Life

I am trying to do more writing and to use mentor texts and models with my students. Today I showed the freshmen some of my first draft writing. They were pretty funny when I asked them to identity things that made it first draft. They were rather critical. "There were cross outs and punctuation missing." "It was hard to follow." "It was hard to read because it was in cursive." "It was really long." "There were a lot of thoughts in it and the thesis wasn't really clear."

They acted like it should have been perfect because I wrote it, even though I told them it was first draft writing and explained some of my writing process. I hope that at least a few of them got the idea of first draft writing. The idea of multiple drafts and revision is so foreign to them. They want to write it once and be done with it.

On the positive side of things, today the freshmen turned in their short original historical fiction pieces. Some pretty amazing pieces came in! Three of them were willing to read their writing to the class. Two really great short stories and one poem with rhyming that worked! I'm looking forward to reading the rest of them.