This cartooning for a living is hard work. I only have four (well really only three) panels done, and I’m already exhausted. Maybe it’s just Christmas. Anyway, here is Part One (minutes 1-6) of a typical day in Mr. Coward’s class, doodle stylie:

As the kids come in, they know to take out their notebooks and get ready for the
inevitable warm up.

Most days, the warm up is a CPS lesson with our vocabulary, spelling, or academic words.

There are usually 6 sentences they have to copy and fill in the  proper word for. I rerun these on Friday’s test. When we go over the warm up, I can write on it with my wireless slate (also good for writing instructions live).

While they are doing the warm up (we’ll go over it in six minutes: cue the Timer), I
circulate up and down the aisles (tripping over backpacks and gangly middle
schoolers “low-riding” in their seats) checking whatever homework is due. This is a check. We’ll actually go over it and correct it later in the period.
(U.M.O.P.P.C.A.S.S.= Unholy Mess of Papers, Pens, Cables, and Some Shtuff.)

(aside) The Popple. Notice the slot in his belly for collecting fines. I charge the  kids .25 for extra copies of any handouts I give them: “The first one’s free, and  you can go to the web site and print another one for free, but from me the second one is a quarter.” There’s also a .10 fee each time they drop their  clickers. When I first got the clickers, they got dropped sooo many times in the  first week, I instituted the 10 cent rule. The number of drops fell from 2-3 per  period to 2-3 per week. Now, the sound of a dropped clicker is always immediately followed by the sound of several voices saying, “ten cents.”  If they can’t pay, I give them a week, and then I “send the Popple Mafia to their door.”   Actually they have other choices: 1 day break detention, or 5 points off the next  test. They all opt to pay. I don’t check if they do. The Popple is the most durable and long-lived bank so far (8+ years in service, though he was “born” in the 80’s). His predecessors include: the lady in the tub who pulls the coin in with her foot, the gorilla who eats the banana as well as the money, the skeleton hand that emerges from the grave, the organ grinder and his monkey, and the pig with  the top hat. All were broken, usually by one of those giant backpacks that are bigger than they are, and that they swing around with abandon.  Other fees include .25 for a forgotten book when we’re reading a novel in class (it’s a rental Fee for the required materials), .25 for a pencil (I have a separate machine for that.)

The Popple money goes for the prize money for our yearly (last three days of school) Scrabble tourney. If I don’t get enough for the $30 I need, I fill in the rest. If we collect more than that, the prizes go up, or I donate the excess to the library.

Next Up: The Minutes 7-20.