Sunday, February 15, 2009

ECMOA for the Weeks of February 2-13th, 2009

Late starts can be a beautiful thing. Not having to go into work for two hours simply because the weather is bad is seriously one of the major perks to being a teacher. We had a late start on Tuesday, and 10th, and it was marvelous. The only that could have made this particular late start even better is that they didn’t announce it until I was already eating breakfast. On a perfect late start, I get to sleep in a bit. Ce la vie. I did get into school year well before the students showed up, and one of the things I did was bleach wipe all of the student desks. There is some nasty illness going around, and I don’t want to get sick.

Moment 1:
My sophomores just finished reading some Arthurian Legends, and in one of the class discussions, it was noted that Guinevere is basically the Yoko Ono of Camelot.

Moment 2:
Student: “You know how when cows eat other cows, they get mad cow’s disease?”
Havig: “Yeah?”
Student: “Does that happen when people eat people?”
Havig: “Well, Mad Cow is when they eat the brains, so it’s a little different. (Pause.) Are you interested in a little cannibalism?”
Student: “Um, no. My sister was talking about it.”
Havig: “Is she?”
Student (hesitantly): “I don’t think so.”

Moment 3:
My students tend to draw pictures or write random things on the back of their vocab quizzes. They are a pretty creative bunch overall, but there was one this week that led to a moment of awesomeness.

Next to a large smiley face: “My grandmother hated smiley faces because she thought it was a gang symbol for drugs.”

Havig: “That reminds me of my mom. I like to wear baseball hats on occasion. Now, I grew up in White Salmon which has about 2000 people, so of course we had a huge gang problem.”
Student (with a lot of seriousness): “Really?”
Long pause with several students snickering.
Havig to student: “That was sarcasm.”
Student: “Oh.”

Have a good Week!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

ECMOA for the Weeks of January 16th-30th, 2009

This entry finds us ending first semester and beginning a brand new semester. This also means that the school year is officially over half way through. Not that I’m counting.

Moment 1:

In the process of teaching detail sentences to my freshmen, I may have made the mistake of telling my 5th period class about my questionable wardrobe choices that I made in the fifth grade. The short of it is that I do not have any concept of “matching” my clothes. As a friend (hey Catherine!) pointed out on one of my Facebook pictures, my “shades of crimson do not match. Not just me and Erinn (the other person in the picture), but me and me.” The details of my 5th grade wardrobe shenanigans go something like this: Sweatpants in a variety of colors EVERY DAY along with this mostly royal blue flannel shirt which I wore nearly every day. Here is where the whole “matching” concept that is not in my brain really got me into trouble. The flannel shirt in all of its plaid glory had a mixture of colors. My “matching” logic: In the flannel shirt, there is a little stripe red, so I can wear red sweatpants. There is also a little stripe of teal in the flannel shirt, so I can wear a teal shirt along with the red sweats, and the flannel shirt ties it all together. I have pictures. No, I will not post them. My mother used to lament that people would think that I was an orphan who was unloved if she let me go to school like that. It still doesn’t “look wrong” to me, but enough people have made valiant attempts to correct my wrongs that I take their word for it.

In continuing to explain how the detail sentences of a paragraph should support the topic sentence, I said, “So if I was writing a paragraph about my horrendous wardrobe in the 5th grade, I wouldn’t mention what a snappy dresser I am now.”
Student: “Did you say, ‘snappy?’”
Havig: “Yes, I did.”

I told my students some of the rules, including one of my personal favorites, your belt should always match your shoes.

Moment 2:

Havig: “Are you meowing again?”
Student: “I don’t meow. Cats meow. (Her actual name) talks, but you may call me Violet.”
Early in the year, I kept calling her by the wrong name, so she tried to get me to call her Violet. Just for a fame of reference, this is the same student who used to bite her brother and his friends in the car.

Moment 3:

Back to my 5th period class.
Student 1 and Student 2 have the same name, although they each spell it differently.

Student 1: “That’s cliché.”
Student 2: “What’s that mean?”
Student 1: “I don’t even know. (to Havig) What’s cliché mean?”
Havig: “When something is said so often, it’s not original anymore, so it’s considered cliché. Maybe you two shouldn’t sit next to each other.”
Student 3: “So, if someone copies your clothes, that’s cliché?”
Havig: “Ah, not really like that.”
Student 4: “Like with clothes not matching, like clashe, cliché?”
Havig: “That’s clashing. Clashing and cliché have nothing to do with each other. I’m trying to figure out a way to explain it. Okay, using the phrase “el oh el” in your texts is cliché because you’re not really laughing out loud, and everyone uses it, so it’s not original anymore.”
Student 5: “Ha, el, oh, el.”
Student 2: “Can we get back to English now?”
Student 6: “Let’s not.”
Student 3: “But (Student 1 & 2’s name) wants to learn.”
Student 1 pointing to Student 2: “Not me, that one!”

Moment 4:

My students are in the middle of a social justice unit, and one of the first stories we read was an excerpt from the biography of Susan B. Anthony. I had them define justice the best they could, and then we talked about the different kinds of justice.

Havig: “Have you ever heard the expression ‘eye for an eye?’”
Student: “Yeah, eye for an eye, pinch for a pinch, cookie for a cookie.”
Havig: “What on earth are you talking about?”

Later in the period as we were starting Susan B. Anthony’s biography…

Student 1: “She’s scary looking!”
Havig: “Yeah, she’s a bit frightening.”
Student 2: “What’s wrong with her eyes?”
Student 3: “How come she’s frowning?”
Student 4: “She looks scary.”
Havig: “Well, we’re not admiring her for her aesthetic appeal.”
Student 1: “Yeah, she did a lot of good things (cracking herself up) you have to look on the positive side.”

The pictures of good ol’ Susan B. are not flattering.

Moment 5:
(Two days after Moment 1.)

Student: “Hey! Your belt does match your shoes.”

I do follow the rules people!

Moment 6:

“How can you say that without puking a little bit in your mouth?”
Student in response to another student’s story about some killer who carried around the eyeballs of his victims in his coat pocket.

Moment 7:

“That’s awkward. It’s not incest, but it’s awkward.”
Student on the idea of a guy’s divorced mom hooking up with the dad of his wife. (So if John and Mary were married, and John’s mom later married Mary’s dad. Creepy.)

Moment 8:

“What about the love of food?”
Student in response to one of the Rules of Love (we’re talkin’ King Arthur, courtly love and chivalry) which implies that love impacts people in love not being able to eat or sleep.

Moment 9:

“Ms. Havig, you’re making me a failure at life.”
Student’s comment after I wouldn’t let her leave class early to go get her history textbook for her next class.

“Wow, that’s harsh. It’s not crying like you want, but that’s still pretty good.”
Other student commenting on the statement above. I may have told them about my teaching goal of having a student cry from feeling overwhelmed by the amount of work they get in my class. It has yet to happen.

I have the feeling that my reformed 5th period English I class is going to provide a lot of moments this semester because they have been cracking me up all week.