We’re close to the end of The Midwife’s Apprentice, and question six on yesterday’s warm up was,

Read the dedication opposite the Table of Contents. Explain what it means.

For the record, the dedication reads,

For Philip and Dinah, Alyce’s midwives.

One of the classic archetypes in the middle school pantheon of characters, is the kid who…

  1. asks the question you just finished answering,
  2. asks the question you never thought anyone would need to ask,
  3. asks why everyone is laughing,
  4. says “ooohhh, I get it” five minutes later,
  5. interrupts to ask about his grade (or his remaining detention) five minutes after that,
  6. and never once raises his hand.

I have several example specimens this year who exhibit one or more of the above symptoms at any given time. Most middle schoolers do. That is to be expected. But I have one this time who shows all six all the time. And it is really wearing me out. Yesterday was a perfect example.

They’re working their way through the questions and Jhonny Ooohhh–who has already been the second person in 15 seconds to ask if they have to copy the question (Behavior #1)– blurts (#6),

“What does it mean, opposite the Table of Contents? Like upside down?” (#2) He’s actually holding his book out away from himself.

Wait for it… #3.

A friendly neighbor girl points helpfully. Behavior #4.

I remind everyone to make sure to put the date on the warm up.

“I have make-up KBARR. And, I’m really hungry, can I not have detention today? I need a cookie.” (Double shot of #5 with a #6 backer.)

Wait for it again… #3.

We finally get him to where he says he’s done, and he claims that now that he has discovered the dedication, he can answer the question about it.

Naturally, I am a bit dubious.

“OK, read the dedication to us, and then we’ll hear what you have to say about it.”

Here’s what we got:

“The Midwife’s Apprentice
Text copyright 1995 by Karen Cushman
All rights reserved. No part of this book…”

It took awhile before we could hear his #3.