This is a flashback to last spring. I had intended to post this right after it happened, but you know how things can get a little hectic in junior high in the spring. I was an astronaut for awhile there. But I remembered this one yesterday while I was telling the family the cereal killer story.

We were reading Maus. They were loving it per usual.

(Aside: My principal says he loves the book too and is now encouraging me to write up a unit so we can go legit and buy some PermaBound versions. I’ve been running on a bootlegged, photocopied (I almost said Xeroxed), tattered, class set my student assistants have been keeping up repairs on over the past few years. It will be nice not to have to keep saying shtuff like, “Who’s missing a page 37-38?” or “What? Half of you don’t have those four pages?” or “Whose page 17 is this?”)

We were at the end of Book One, where Vladek and Anja get juked by the smugglers and are sent to Auschwitz. The kids were responding to some prompt or other before we started Book Two.

(Aside: I have always thought it sort of funny that Maus II has the subtitle, “And Here My Troubles Began.” OMG! As if Vladek hadn’t already had enough troubles for a dozen people by then.)

I was cruising the room, contributing to my 5 miles or so per day I walk in the classroom, and checking out preliminary responses.

The prompt was one of those ones I like to do sometimes, where I will ask them to write one sentence about a particular thing we are discussing. The only requirement besides being on topic is that they have to begin with the word although. Or if. Or because. Or something like that. It encourages more sophisticated writing and thinking.

This was was an “although” sentence. The starter was, “Although Vladek…”

Most of them nailed it…

“Although Valdek (sic) trusted the smugglers, Anja did not.”

“Although Vladek was right about trying to hide Richieu, he was wrong about the smuglers (sic).”

And so forth. Nicely done all round so far.

Then I get to this one:

“Although Vladek and Anja were able to hide for a long time, they were finally sent to…”

I stopped and looked again. Yep. That was indeed the last word of the sentence. Seventh grade strikes again. Whenever you least expect it, expect it.

The kids wondered why I was having trouble breathing for a minute.