Before we start: This is the third year of this blog. I’ve run out of ways to refer to the current group of students. This year’s bunch, the current crop, this year’s geniuses, the current crew, etc. I’m getting tired of coming up with new ones. I have to come up with a nickname, a shorthand way of referring to them. I’m leaning toward TCS: The Current Shmarties. (“Mmmmm. Smarties.”)

Ok. TCS are finally getting a bit entertaining. I had mentioned a while back that I was finding them a bit, shall we say, conventional. That’s starting to change. Maybe it’s the weather. Exactly a week ago, it was 107 degrees. Today it was 55 and  raining, and kids were warming their hands on the exhaust from my lcd projector.

We were back working on commas, renaming the rules on the pink sheet:

*Before the but
*Three in a row
*Double adjective
*Intro
*Interruption
*I’m talking to you
*Appositive

They were still having trouble with the appositives. I think it’s the name. If I didn’t know that they like to put an appositive question on the state test every year, I’d be renaming that one too: My new best friend.

“Erica” had a rocky start to the year. She came in lazy and spacey, and that isn’t a good way to be around here. Now she’s just spacey, but she’s been working hard on that one too. She’s back up to a C, and I’ve been really proud of her. But she still sometimes drives me batty, and some periods I see the back of her head as much as her face. She’s also the butt of some mild joking in that class about mental abilities and general out-to-lunchness. She sometimes even initiates it.

One of them asked about the difference between an appositive and an interruption or an I’m talking to you (nouns of direct address), so I wandered over to Erica’s desk, and slapped it, which made her head snap back around.

“It’s like this: ‘Some people, Erica, don’t pay attention when I speak.’ That one’s an interruption, or an I’m talking to you, because if I took the word ‘Erica’ out of the sentence, it still means the same thing. I’m just interrupting to tell you who I’m talking to, or to give an example. ‘Please, dear Erica, pay attention.'”

At this, Erica is frowning about my “accusation” that she doesn’t pay attention.

“I do too pay attention!”

“On the other hand, if I say this, ‘Erica, my new best friend, has been working really hard lately,’ that’s an appositive, because that phrase that comes right after Erica, ‘my new best friend’ tells us who Erica is. ‘Jimmy, the cheesemaker’ or ‘Erica, my new best friend.’ The appositive gets commas on both ends if it’s in the middle of the sentence.”

Now she’s beaming from ear to ear, and sitting up all straight, and sort of doing that swaying thing you do when you’re “all up in someone’s grill.”

Suddenly she waves her finger at the kid next to her, pumps her fist,  and practically shouts,

“Yesss! His new best friend. IN YOUR FACE!”