Historical Events, Wieners & Chuck Norris

I have made it through the first full week of 2012!  My kids were in pretty good spirits, including the four new students I acquired.  One of my newbies looks just like YouTube sensation Greyson Chance, so now I get the added bonus of having Lady Gaga’s “Paparazzi” stuck in my head every day by the end of 1st Block. This is not the first time I’ve had a celebrity look-a-like in my classroom. One year I had a student who looked, and acted, just like Peter Griffin from The Family Guy. A year later, I had a student who looked like the Abominable Snow Man from Rudolph. And now, in my 1st Block, I have a little Joey Tribbiani and Greyson Chance in the same class.


Aside from the new faces, everything else is pretty much the same. My little gems had their shining and not-so-shining moments this week.

This week we started our Holocaust unit. One student seemed really interested in the topic right from the start. Every time I paused to take a breath, he tried to interrupt to share a fact he knew that he swore was relevant. Finally, towards the end of the class, against my better judgement, I asked him about this interesting “fact”.

Student: “Chuck Norris was born March 5, 1945. WWII ended March 4, 1945. Coincidence? I think not.”

Towards the end of the week we started reading the play, The Diary of Anne Frank. To set up the play, I asked my students to write down everything they know about Anne Frank on one Post-it note, and any questions they had on a second Post-it. I collected them all and made a master list for each class. For the most part my kids knew very little about Anne. They assumed she had to do with the Holocaust, a few kids knew she hid during the war, and a few others knew she had written a book.

As always, I had a handful of kids in each class who wrote, “She was deaf and blind” on their Post-it, confusing her with Hellen Keller. One student wrote, “All I know is Anne Frank flew that plane and got lost in the Bermuda Triangle.”

*Note to self: Make sure 4th Block reads an article on Amelia Earhart to clear up misconceptions about her bio.

The other reading teacher did a similar activity with her students asking them to write down everything they know about the Holocaust. She received this Post-it from one of her students.

What do you know about the Holocaust?

Ummm…. that would be Hollister…

After we read a short bio on Anne, the students did a summarizing activity then wrote down three things they learned to add to our class chart. Most of the kids wanted to write more than three things because they had learned so much. Here are a few “facts” that did not make our class master list:

1. She cannot fly like me. (This student thought he was being funny, so I kept him during lunch. We used that time to review “facts” and I wouldn’t let him leave until he had written down 6 facts he had learned.)

2. Anne Frank liked to play Hide & Seek.

3. Anne Frank likes Jews because she is a Jew.

One Post-it contained the eloquent sentence: “She’s a Jew her last name is Frankfurt she was born in 1929 she old.” Hmmm…

In another class, I had the kids working in groups. They read an article and worked on summarizing. When their time was almost up, I made my away around to check their progress. I approached one student and asked:

Me: “Where is your index card with your summary? You had one a few minutes ago.”

Student: “I threw it away.”

Me: “Why would you throw it away? Your card was full. Why would you do all that work only to throw it away?”

Student: “I had to throw it away because somebody drew a picture on it.”

Me: (Making my way to the recycle bin to do a little dumpster diving) “Well, let’s see this picture.”

Student: “I ripped it up.”

Me: “That’s okay. I like puzzles.”

I pull the torn pieces of index cards from the bin and this is the first piece I see:

Yep. It’s a wiener.

Happy New Year!


>I thought you looked familiar

I have a student who is… well… annoying. Now I know that’s not a very nice thing to say but I feel the need to tell it like it is. (I actually have several students who drive me insane on a regular basis, but tonight, one particular gem comes to mind.)

This particular student has a flair for the dramatics. Everything he says is a production, and usually doesn’t make a lick of sense. When other students call him on it, and tell him, “That doesn’t make any sense. Why would you say something like that?” he feels the need to expand on his nonsensical ideas. Lately, before I call on him, I have to say to him, “Think about your answer. Is it relevant? Is your answer based in reality? Or are you going to need a few minutes to convince us that your answer could, under a very set of completely improbable conditions, perhaps not be too far beyond the realm of possibilities?”

All randomness aside, the other thing that vexes (one of our vocabulary words) me about him, is his looks. Yes. I said it. When I met this child two years ago, as a sixth grader, there was something very familiar about him. His looks, his build, his mannerisms… At first I thought maybe Sloth, from The Goonies. But, that wasn’t quite right.

Tonight, while I was watching an old holiday favorite, it hit me. He’s totally the Abominable Snow Man from Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer!

And just when I thought I had enough problems taking him seriously.

Here’s to making it through this holiday season.