“There’s already something on the back of mine.” (Also: Racial Harmony.)

Posted on May 21, 2009Filed Under Quiet Stick, Random Featured Post, Stories of Seventh Grade | 3 Comments

It was our first day back in the classroom after 8 days in the library. We were all glad to be back.

“Oh, my clicker…how I’ve missed you.”

One of them actually said that.

OMG. What a day. Full of action, and laugh after laugh.

First there was the video. YouTube is blocked in our district. Our head of IST keeps bleating about CIPA and how YouTube doesn’t filter, and…anyway, we can’t use YouTube. But finally, they created a workaround for us. We have to do things from home rather than from school, but it works OK. We find the YouTube video we want to use, and copy the URL. Then we go to the district’s “safe video portal” and paste it in. Then we can approve our own video, and use the safe portal to show it at school. It’s a bit clunky, but it works fine.

Yesterday I added a video. I hadn’t even showed it yet, when I got an e-mail from my principal. I have only added a couple of videos before, but both of them were of the nutty variety, rather than the “educational” sort.  One of them is near the top of the most viewed list. Neither of them elicited a response from administration.

This one did. (Fair Warning: You will be singing the jingle forever.)

“How are you using this?”

“Incentive and reward. Is it inappropriate in any way?”

I should’ve said, “To promote racial harmony.”

No response.

The kids loved it. In fact, in one class, the only African American kid in that class said on his way out:

“The black guy says that commercial’s OK.”

All day it was, “This pencil is perfect for a white person…or a black person…or a hixspanic person.”

It was a laugh riot.

But now we get to the real comedy.

I posted a few days ago about the value of student servants assistants. (I promised my girls I would stop calling them that. They’re a little sensitive sometimes.) Yesterday I sent J2 (they share a first initial, and I am forever calling for the wrong one) to the Riso machine to copy today’s handout. It was a half-pager, so I doubled up the original, and she used the paper cutter to chop them in half. She was gone a long time. J1, who usually does the copying, even commented on how long it was taking. When J2 finally returned, she said that the office copy servant was doing a big job for science, and that’s why she took so long.

“Renee was hogging the machine, and said it was super-important for science, and so I’m like, whatever, and then she totally left a mess and I had to… and then I forgot to change the color… and then…and I hope white’s ok…so ok…” J2 likes to talk.

White will be fine.

Today I passed out the handouts to first period. We went over the instructions. I told them to work in pairs or trios, and we would be correcting it in 10 minutes. I told them to do the first question on the back of the sheet. Then I headed for my desk to take roll and such.

One girl, “Annette,”  sort of follows me, sheepishly, holding her sheet out away from her like a dead fish.

“There’s already something on the back of mine.”


“Mine already has something on the back.”

“Let me see…maybe someone left something in the–”


The remnants of the copying job for science that Renee had left in the machine were for their “health and family living” unit. This is a euphemism for the unit where they have to get their parents to sign permission slips in order to even be in the class at the time. I didn’t have the girls scan the image that was on the back of her sheet (and, luckily, on only about 5 others), for obvious reasons. But I noticed that our science department was using materials from the Seattle, King County. So I checked, and sure enough, they are publishing on the web. They have updated their materials since the 1988 version that we seem to be using (really), but the link that follows is close enough to what was on the back of Annette’s sheet. When I showed J2 what happened, she blanched, then stammered,

“It it it it it it it was Renee. OMG. Let me see that. OMG. It it it it it it it it was Renee. I told her to…it it it it it it… I I I I I I I I I I …”

“It’s OK. I think it’s funny. And it was only 5 or 6 of the copies. And it didn’t happen during Xth period. I would’ve had to use the New Quiet Stick* on them.”

She giggled the rest of the period.

I giggled the rest of the day.

Here’s what Annette saw. (Fair Warning: Clinically accurate.)

*I just got a new Quiet Stick. It’s actually really old, and I’m going to devote a whole post to it soon.


3 Responses to ““There’s already something on the back of mine.” (Also: Racial Harmony.)”

  1. Robyn Clark on September 15th, 2013 3:47 pm

    Hi, We have often used your posted items for the Outsiders with our 8th graders. This is the first time I have seen your post. Very enlightening. About YouTube, our district also blocks it. We use Gaggle; which scans You tube and blocks the inappropriate for us and let’s in the educational and creative. I believe it is provided by Google for schools. Maybe you could check into it. Enjoy your year.

  2. mrC on September 16th, 2013 6:19 pm

    Hi Robyn, welcome to the blog. Since I posted that, IST has deigned to let us use SpewTube, but makes us log in every time we go there. A bit of a pain, but I’ll take it. Thanks for the kind words.

  3. Peter Pfister on September 25th, 2014 6:36 pm

    Writing you from Indonesia! From your blog I know you to be a classically awesome JH English teacher- the kind kids never forget. Thanks to a variety of problems with internet over the years, I always use YTD (YouTubeDownloader) which captures any file from youtube and allows me to show it from my computer and go back and forth/pause/etc. Don’t know if that would help. This post reminds me of what I DON’T miss about teaching in the USA.

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