Sort of. That counts reruns. I know it’s been awhile, but I have some fresh material, I promise.

We are hard upon spring break. Way too early this year for me, but as always, we’ll take ’em where we get ’em.

Currently reading the Ray Bradbury story “The Earth Men” from The Martian Chronicles. Love blowing minds with this one, what with telepathy and insanity and not being able to make yourself believed or taken seriously no matter how hard you try. Perfect for insecure 7th graders. They love it when Mr. Xxx, after inspecting the rocket, says, “You are a psychotic genius.”

Personally I relate most to the captain when he is dealing with Mrs. Ttt. She keeps forgetting what he thinks is so important.

“What did you say your business was?”

“…whatever it is you what to know…”

“What hasn’t (been done before)?”

When Captain Williams curses  like she “hit his hand with a hammer,”  I always stop and say,

“This is how feel in here sometimes.”

Only a few get it.

On every Friday test I have a 3-5 (out of 40) question section called “Husker Du?”  I named it after an ’80s punk band whose name means “Do You Remember?” in Norwegian. That is also the name of an old board game that is  a lot like Concentration.  In that section I rerun questions from the previous week’s test. It’s one of the ways I try to keep them from the old memorize-for-the-test-and-forget-afterward strategy so popular these days. Sometimes I dredge up questions from further back. They can’t cope. The old “It’s not fair!” argument is deployed. I say,

“Everything is fair game from day one.”


“I believe I said, ‘Everything is fair game from day one.'”


“If I wanted you to forget it, we wouldn’t have talked about it in the first place. This is shtuff I want you to know, not just get right on a test.”


They hate review (I call them rerun) questions. Even as they say, “We had that one,” they get them wrong again.

So imagine my surprise at the positive reaction when I unveiled my new review idea for this week’s warm ups:


The Wheel of Tests Review!

(About the sign: You know how 7th graders like to touch and grab everything. “Can I see that?” means “Can I fondle that?” I get soooo tired of saying, “If it’s not yours don’t touch it,” and “Keep your hands to yourself.”

Of course they all go up and poke fingers in the air at it within a sixteenth of an inch saying, “I’m not touching it.” And then a “friend” pushes them into it. sigh.)

It’s all tattered because: one, I found it on the street during my skate, and two, I haven’t yet had a chance to assign the task of “prettification” to my sla– student assistant.

But of course that doesn’t matter to them. It’s a distraction, a toy, something that nobody else does. It’s tactile.

So of course, even as they bomb the review warm ups, they ask,

“Can we do this every day?”

I number most all of my Friday tests. Last Friday’s was Test #24. The wheel has 24 spaces. Sooooo…

“Emma, would you kindly spin the wheel?”

(everyone else: “Why does SHE get to do it? That’s not fair.” So predictable. sigh.)

“Extra credit if you do a good Vanna White imitation.”


Good answer. But of course immediately there are about 15 wannabe Vannas voguing for all they’re worth.

She spins and I say,

“Whatever number it lands on, I will click on that test number and pick six questions for the warm up.”

“Whoa… cool!”

For some reason, they just love it. Even the ones that get one or two out of six want this to be a regular feature. I think they just want to try to get a chance at spinning the wheel.

I love it because I get to loop back around and review things I think are important. I cherry-pick the ones I know they all got wrong they first time around, and take the opportunity to go over the shtuff again.

It’s also funny how they root for early tests because they think the questions will be easier.

“You guys and your goldfish memories… you should be rooting for last week’s.”

A kid in one period this week hit Test #1. They all went “Yay!”

The average score was 3/6.

“Can we do this every day?”