Last Friday’s doodle theme was pranks. We don’t hit chapter nine in Tom Sawyer (the murder in the graveyard – where the plot finally begins) until tomorrow, so the book has mostly been the Pranks of Tom Sawyer. On Thursday we had talked about the part where Tom, after pelting Sid with dirt clods, chooses to elude Aunt Polly by climbing the fence instead of using the gate. They always take Mark Twain literally when he says that Tom was usually “too pressed for time” to use the gate.

“How many of you have ever had to run from a prank? Not that I want to hear any details. But most of you will agree that the escape is part of the fun; juking around hedges, and crawling under fences, that’s half the fun.”

Now they get it. Anyway, the doodle theme was pranks. At the end of the period, in my friendly class, I hear some giggling and nudge-nudge-ing. Then Kara (who’s dad was actual rock star) raises her hand, and asks,

“Do you look at these doodles?”

“Duh. My student assistants check them first, and we pick the ones that deserve extra credit.”

“Uh oh.”

“What? What did you think?”

“Well…You SAID the theme was pranks…”

Doodle Theme: Pranks
Doodle Theme: Pranks (Click to enlarge.)

Spot on, I would say.

We are now in the middle of our 120 Seconds (oral reading) presentations. We’re starting pretty strong; I should have a couple of example videos soon. The judges have been pretty fair and diligent, and most people have been prepared so far. Most. The policy is if you are not ready at your scheduled time, you take a 5 point hit (out of 40), and have to present the next day. If you still “decline” you get a zero, and we move on.

Yesterday, “Annie” said she forgot her book, and agreed to go today. Today she tried to decline again, and take the zero. This isn’t the friendly class, but it’s still pretty supportive for seventh grade, and several kids were encouraging her,

“C’mon you can do it. You’ll be fine. Even “Joey” did it!”

“Thanks “Micah,” but I think there are better ways of encouraging Annie.  Annie, we went a little long on the vocabulary today, and I was going to have to postpone one of you until tomorrow anyway. I’ll just make that you. You can go home and practice a little, and come back tomorrow. You’ll do fine.”

I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a look of shock and puzzlement on a student’s face. She just stared at me.

“No really Annie, it’s OK, you can go tomorrow. We were going to run out of time anyway, and “Steve’s” ready to go. He wants to get it over with.”

A gulp and a nod from Steve.

More shock and puzzlement. “Why are you doing this?”

“I don’t want to have to give you a zero.  I think you’ll be fine tomorrow.”

More staring.   “Teachers aren’t supposed to do this.”

“Actually we are. We just get crabby and frustrated sometimes.”

We’ll see what happens tomorrow.