Wednesday, June 27, 2007


Wade is this really cool kid who I may never see again. I have known him and his two brothers and sister for two years now. His real dad is in prison and he lives with his mom and step dad. His step dad got arrested and now his mom can't afford to pay the rent. She works at Wal-Mart and they just don't pay enough to cover a three bedroom apartment.

Wade wants to drive trucks when he grows up and he even has this card collection of truckers and their rigs (like baseball cards). He keeps the cards in a binder and always has them with him. He says that he is going to be a good father some day because he has learned from all the mistakes of his two previous fathers. Most of all, he says that he is never gonna drink beer.

Lines of Symmetry

I did a cool lesson on symmetry in summer school last week. I put a long tape line in the middle of the room and divided the kids up into two groups. One group would make a disign with their bodies on one side of the taped line and then the other group would have to create the same design on their side of the line. I would then take a picture of the kids using a digital camera and show it to them so they could see if the pictrure that they created had symmetry. It was a big hit with the kids and I think they actually learned what symmetry was.

Friday, June 08, 2007


Today is my first day of summer school. This new kid walks up with his mom and she is telling me at the door what a bad kid he is. I quickly get him as far away from his mom as possible.

The funny thing is, the kid is not so bad. He does good work. He makes a few jokes. He seems intelligent. Then lunchtime rolls around. He has somehow pinpointed the group of kids who ARE the "bad" ones in the class and is sitting with them! I couldn't believe it! He is like a magnet!

I told his mom after school--and the kid--that he's not as bad as she thinks he is. The problem is that he’s just not a good friend picker.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Summer School Blues

I'm only subbing in summer school this year. I kinda messed up during the application process for teaching summer school and ended up just getting a substitute position. I guess that's gonna be ok, because I will enjoy the days off.

I am a real chicken because I only signed up to sub at my own school which will be so much easier because I already know all of the kids. More importantly, the kids know me and they know that I don't play around when it comes to horsing around in class--at least THEY are not allowed to horse around! Hey, it's summer school!

Actually, I really do buckle down in summer school. I almost work more on self control with the kids than anything else. If the kids who are in danger of repeating are the same ones who are getting in trouble for not listening, then the problem is not always with their skills--just their control. My first day is this Friday. 2nd grade--my specialty!

Summer school is like an all-star game for the class clowns. You can have five class clowns all in the same room! I have to really go back to basics with some of them:

A couple of summers ago, I taught this one kid to actually raise his hand in class--a skill he didn't pick up in kinder or first grade.
I once taught a class of 2nd graders to walk in a straight line! I took 30 minutes, but we got it!
I will teach some of them to say the words, "Please don't do that, it bothers me."
The other kids will work on saying, "OK, I'm sorry."
Instead of hitting back, we will practice saying, "Hey! Why you hittin' me, huh?"

Friday, June 01, 2007

The Bad With the Good

Right after a good week of kids coming to the school with good news about how they are succeeding, the last visitor was kind of a downer.

Two fifth grade boys came by and delayed me from getting to my car on the last day of school, telling me some of the newest corniest things they had done in the past year at their new school. Luckily they delayed me just long enough for Desiree to come strolling up.

She is fresh off of failing the 7th grade. She looked pretty bad. Her eyebrows were all painted on and her hair was dyed and faded. She was happy so see me, but she seemed a little ashamed when she told me the news. I talked to her and her friend Kailyn (another former student still on the right path) for about 15 minutes and then took them to see their 4th grade teacher and get some encouragement from her.

From evertyhing she told me it has been a rough year and she says she is very regretful. I hope she means it. Her Dad's path and mine cross occasionally and he told me she was having a tough time, but I thought that meant that she was getting B's or something, she was a great student in elementary. Next time a parent tells me something like that, I will take them more seriously.