I like responding to comments over here. It gives me a little more room to “spread myself” as Mark Twain would say.
That reminds me. We’re almost finished with Tom Sawyer, and I think more kids than usual are actually enjoying it. I had one kid come up to me at the Open House for my boy’s school (this kid’s alma mater last year), clutching his copy of TS. He wanted to laugh and talk about the Tom taking Becky’s punishment scene. There were several things that were unusual about that exchange:
1. This boy is batting .480 in my class. (That’s 48% to you non-baseball people.)
2. He was three chapters ahead of the class.
3. He was getting most of MT’s irony, and about 80% of the language.
4. He said, and I quote because it will forever be seared into my brain, “I’m liking this book so much that I think I might buy it when we’re done reading it in class.”
I said he could keep that copy of the book when we’re done. Our department has 350+ copies in various states lying around. I think we can spare one. Especially since our sister school, the other junior high in the district has already eliminated TS, and I guess the state framework doesn’t include TS, and our head of instruction wants to phase it out. Hrrrm.
@ Louise: That’s a beauty story, but your kids must have better personal hygiene than the average 7/8th grader. If I had six in a class with shoes off…whoa Nellie! I’d need a whole lot more windows. One of our eighth grade science teachers even includes a personal hygiene portion in her Back-to-School Night shtick. “Back to school essentials also include deodorant and mouthwash.” One of the teachers I student taught under (@ high school) would take almost anything as collateral; shoes, hats, jackets, books from other classes. I done clean forgot about that until now.
@Heather: I really like the feather idea. Our attendance secretary is always nagging us to sign our absence reports in a timely fashion (w/yours truly as the worst offender), so every year she gives us each a blue pen with a cheesy plastic rose taped to it with that green tape. By the end of the first quarter, only about four people still have one in their boxes, and everybody else steals from them to sign their sheets. Hmmm. What should I have my slaves tape to the pens?
@Meg: The Weepuls are part of the promotions for our annual magazine drive. Each turn-in day, they get a Weepul if they have at least one order. Then they are supposed to wear it all day, and if one of the magazine reps (or our poor VP, who has to handle this whole thing) spots a kid sporting a Weepul, they can reward that kid with some candy or whatever. They change up the Weepuls every year. One year we had a Bill Gates nerd Weepul, and a giant Webby Weepul was a special prize back when the Interwebs were brand new. They used to give out a bunch to teachers to sort of promote the whole magazine drive thing. Now I have go into the VP’s office to “liberate” a few every year. One of these days, I’ll round up a bunch from the various corners and drawers of my classroom, and have one of the servants do a photo shoot.
Day One of state STAR testing tomorrow. Fun. Actually, it’s usually one of the easiest times of the year for everyone. Admin encourages us to give less homework. (What? So the kids can study?) We have less class time, and huge chunks of time to get something done while the kids work for once in their miserable lives.
I like this time of year. Except for the research project looming on the horizon.