Posted on June 14, 2010Filed Under 8th grade, Steve Martin | 4 Comments

It’s never good news when your principal, as you’re rolling for home, says,

“Can I get 5 minutes with you tomorrow morning…(wait a beat and a half)… about a scheduling issue?”

(silently) What do you need me for? Scheduling is part of  the counselors’ job…hmmmm.

(aloud) “No worries. See you tomorrow.”

One of my favorite lines from my favorite movie, The Jerk, is when the repo guys are taking away all the furniture and such after Navin Johnson (Steve Martin) goes broke again. His wife, played by Bernadette Peters, is crying, and Navin tries to comfort her by telling her it’s just money, and they’re still in love, and etc. She says, crying,

“It’s not losing all the money…It’s losing all the STUFF!”

Well, my line at the meeting with my principal the next morning was,

“It’s not teaching the eighth grade…It’s teaching the EIGHTH GRADERS!”

Yes, after a 6 year reprieve, I will be having at least one period of eighth grade in the fall. Our incoming enrollment is down, so we have a lot more 8th graders than 7th graders next year.


It might actually be kind of fun; new novels to get into:

Nothing But the Truth by Avi. I lobbied to get this one in when we bought books in 2004. Right after, I went back to full-time 7th grade, so I never got a chance to bust a move on this. I can’t wait to get my hands on this one; so many possibilities.

Maus by Art Speigelman. I simply cannot make them read Anne Frank. I won’t read it again, and I have always said that I won’t teach any book I don’t like. I did this one year, and I wish I hadn’t had the student teacher take over part way through. I can’t wait to get my hands on this one again.

Call of the Wild, Jack London. I might actually try out the webquest I wrote for an online professional development  (salary scale) class a few years ago . Go Buck!

The Pigman by Paul Zindel. A little dated, but mighty groovy as I recall. I’ll have to peruse my own archives.

Plus, there are a lot more groovy short stories in the eighth grade anthology. I might actually use it. Well, a little anyway.

However…There is still the issue of having to face some of the same geniuses I am so glad to be soon rid of…

More on this soon…
Tomorrow: Message to 6th Grade.


4 Responses to “OH NOOOOOO! (Part I)”

  1. Mrs. M~ on June 15th, 2010 8:26 am

    If you do not like reading the full diary, you could try the play version of Anne Frank. I do it every year, and it is one of my students’ favorite units. The Prentice Hall textbook has a fantastic audio performance of the play, so we listen as we read along for the whole thing. When I first started teaching, I had the students read the play aloud, which was torture. Listening to it is much better. Even if you don’t have the PH anthology, the play is the same no matter where it is published, so you could order the PH audio and use it with whatever version you have. I highly recommend it. Maus is awesome too, of course–they would work together nicely.

  2. Sara on June 15th, 2010 9:28 pm

    While I understand why students should read Anne Frank, I have problems with it being done in 8th grade. Every year someone wants to compare the Confederates to the Nazis or ask when the Nazis entered the Civil War. It’s just my pet peeve, though. I know that covering Anne Frank makes 10th grade World History easier for the kids.

  3. mrC on June 15th, 2010 10:05 pm

    @ Mrs. M- My very first year here, I had three periods of eighth grade, and I pretty much stuck to the anthology, which had the play in it. I didn’t have time to read the diary, so I went with the notes in the TE. 😉 I think we also watched some of the old movie version.
    @ Sara- That’s why Maus is so good. Somehow, those little pictures really help them “get it.” Luckily, I still have my class set from 6 years back, made by my student servant, standing in front of the copy machine for a week.

  4. linda on July 19th, 2010 9:01 am

    love this dialog… I am currently an elem school librarian but formerly an 8th grade English teacher…I taught the PIGMAN to my 8th graders ,20 years ago and they loved it (my dept head had serious reservations about it because of the bathroom “bomb” in the first chapter)
    cam’t go wrong with anything by AVi. the best first sentence in just about any kids book is the one in TRUE CONFESSIONS of CHARLOTTE DOYLE

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