Just a little circle-time sharing…

One of my classes just loves to share. I keep telling them I don’t care, but…they keep sharing anyway… I’ve had to institute the “WTP?” rule. What’s the point?

“Last night, I ate Chinese food.”

“Thanks for sharing. And the point is…?”

“Ummm. I thought the Kung Pao chicken was tasty. But it was realllly hot.”

“Still waiting…”

“Ummm. The point is…if you eat Chinese food, you should probably order Kung Pao chicken, but make sure it’s not too hot.”


But every now and then, they share too much, even for them.  One period a day has an extra 10 minutes for school bidness and handing out paperwork and etc. Any extra time, they want to spend sharing. A while back, during “circle time,” we were talking about nicknames.

“I have a nickname for pretty much every one of you.”

“What’s mine?”

“You don’t want to know.”

“I hate nicknames. In elementary school they called me Pi_ er Diaper.”

(I swear, I still can’t even type it without cracking up. That just rolls off the tongue.)

After everyone in the room had expired from laughing continuously for five minutes, I managed to say,

“You understand what you’ve just done?’


“Why would you tell us that? You have to realize how difficult it would be NOT to say it now and then? Now that YOU’VE told us about it?”

It’s probably on someone’s Facebook page by now.

I instantly forbade ANYONE from uttering the sacred phrase, under penalty of a week’s LUNCH detention.

“Only I get to do that.”

Actually, when she gets a bit too jabbery now, all I have to say is,

“Don’t make me bust out the nickname.”

I’m plowing through essays the other day, and I come across another spell-check disaster. It’s a how-to essay about baking chocolate chip cookies. I always tell them to open essays like that with the finished product. Show us what we’ll be learning how to do, and why we should want to do it. Show how fun or exciting or tasty our lives would be if we followed your instructions. So she was trying to show us how tasty and tempting these brownies would be if we made them. Best “fixed” line:

“…you know when when you catch the lustrous  aroma of brownies permuting  Grandma’s hose…”

At least it wasn’t Grampa’s hose…

I think she meant luscious. And permeate was a vocab word recently, so I think she was trying that on for size, but instead got permuting out of the spell-check bot.

Grandma’s Hose. Sounds like a band name.

The comments section had a question (thanks Meg) about dealing with grade grubbers and parents who enable grade grubbers.  I have a few ways of dealing.

One: I cap any extra credit at 10% of the total possible for that assignment. I tell them from the git go that I don’t want extra credit skewing the grades, and that I will change the policy to avoid that. I don’t give diligence A’s. Diligence B’s maybe, but not A’s.

Two: Most gradebook software will let you assign weights to various categories of grades. Just make extra credit a separate category, and weight it at .5 instead of 1. That way, each point is only really worth 1/2 in the total grade. (And nobody will notice.)

Three: Make sure you get it back somewhere else. Hard tests, lots of quizzes, surprise notebook audits, etc. This is my favorite. This way only the truly diligent and/or smart will get that 100%+.

Four: Regarding parents. The first time I had a problem with a parent looking for a higher grade was almost 17 years ago, my first year at this school. I had already come home from the LAST DAY OF SCHOOL, when I got a phone call…AT HOME AFTER THE LAST DAY OF SCHOOL, asking why “Sid” was getting a C- (which I thought was a gift).

“He feels really bad about it. What can he make up? Could he do extra credit?”

I was young and dumb. But not that dumb. Plus I was already home after THE LAST DAY OF SCHOOL!

“It’s just too late.”

I hung up on the cursing.

Luckily (or I like to think because my system has evolved to keep pace), I have  had only one similar incident since. This one was a parent demanding a grade change on an essay. After an extended “meeting” (read: browbeating), I finally said,

“What grade would you like it to be?”

“Well, an A of course.”

“You got it. All A’s from here on. One fewer paper for me to read each time. ”

“But, but…”

“No, no. it’s ok. I don’t mind.”

I think you guys know how this one ends…

Finally it came out that the parent had largely written the paper, and was mad that I gave her a B. So instead the kid gets an F for cheating.