It’s been an interesting week, and it’s only Tuesday.
In preparation for our District Writing Assessment next month, my students have been learning how to write argumentative essays. We are starting simple.
Step 1: We read an article.
Step 2: On a note card, the kids each list 3 facts, from the article, that support their claim on the issue.
Step 3: One the back of the note card, the kids each list 3 facts, from the article, that would support an opposing view point on the issue.
Step 4: The kids write a paragraph.
Sentence 1: Their claim
Sentences 2-3: Two separate pieces of evidence, from the story, that support their viewpoint.
Sentence 4: A counter-claim. (A sentence that states an opposing viewpoint- I have to rephrase it because they forget what “counterclaim” means)
Sentence 5: One piece of evidence, from the story, that supports their counter-claim.
Count them. Five sentences. Three of which they are copying from a notecard…which they copied from an article. Simple enough.
Prompt: Argue whether or not you think the amount of technology kids consume is a problem or just a part of life.
Paragraph: I think the amount of technology kids consume is out of control. According to the article, average teens spend 16 hours a day using some sort of technology. Teens also spend 95 minutes texting. Some people might disagree and think technology is just a part of life. They say it does help you keep in touch with your family and friends.
Not too shabby.
And then there’s this one. Same prompt.
Technology Makes People Fat?
In my opinion people are making a big deal about kids using to much technology. First off it’s not true, scientist can F off. They make it so why can’t we use it. I we play sports and go to school that leaves three – five hours in a day for technology. Not eight. Let people be obeese if they want, the population is too high anyways.
We will be discussing this paper at his parent teacher conference next week.
On a lighter note, I actually laughed out loud when this happened at the beginning of 2nd Block today.
I see a kid shuffling down the hall towards my room as the bell rings. I wait, holding the door for him because I can tell he’s feeling bad about being late.
Student: “I know. I know. I’m late. I’m sorry. I had to go get my binder from the science room. I left it in there when I was sent home yesterday.”
Me: “You were sent home yesterday? What happened?”
Me: Not even trying to stifle my laughter because, well, she does kind of look like Kevin Bacon. “You what? You said she looked like Kevin Bacon and she suspended you? What happened before that? Surely something else happened.”
Student: “No. Nothing happened. I just said to her, ‘Has anyone ever told you that you look like Kevin Bacon?’ and she sent me home.”
It turns out that things got pretty ugly in gym class yesterday with the sub. When the principal stepped in and told the boys they were going to lose their open gym time during lunch, the boys did not respond very well. Threats were made by students, as well as several smart remarks (If you want to call the Kevin Bacon comment a smart remark) which resulted in parents being called. In the end, several boys were sent home.
When this particular student’s mother showed up to get her son, all she had to say was, “Well, you do look like Kevin Bacon.”
Quote of the Day: While playing a game of Scattergories ( The topic: “type of fish,” the letter: “T.”) I’m walking around the room when I over hear…
Student: “Oh, oh, twat! Oh wait. I was thinking things that smell like fish.”
So…yesterday I took a sick day, a respite if you will. It was either that, or end up doing time for laying hands on children. As individuals, I love all my 8th graders this year. Working with them one-on-one they can be funny, have great stories, and are generally pleasant. As a group however? Look out. One of my coworkers once said it best, “Anyone can be great to work with one-on-one. Even a serial killer.”
After looking over the notes my substitute left, I drew up a nice long detention list on the board. I was more that content with the fact that several the kids on the list, decided to participate in the student organized “8th Grade Skip Today.”
These are the notes my sub left for me:
Block 1: Went well. They all finished their work packets and should have had plenty of time to do the blog entry.
Block 2: They were very disrespectful and rude. Particularly O, M, and C. I have never taught such mean, nasty girls. They should be seriously reprimanded. I ended up sending O and M to the office. (Students told me O flipped out after she “saw my sub wipe a booger on my desk. Hmmm… still not sure how I would have handled that.) N and G were particularly off task. (After some interrogation, my students turned on one another and informed me that the subject of my sub’s sexuality was the topic of student discussion/disrespectful behavior. I was pissed.)
Block 3: This class was very well-behaved and worked well for the most part. Everyone finished the worksheet and most did the blog as well.
Block 4: Lots of angry girls in this class huh? Many refused to read. I kicked D out for saying “f–k you” three times, loudly. (The sub had asked the student to read a paragraph out loud. He didn’t want to.) They all had plenty of time to work, so if they didn’t get done it is because they refused to work. K, T, and J were particularly unproductive and disrespectful. Though I’m sure that is nothing new. K and T both blatantly cheated after doing nothing the whole period.
>How do I describe a day like today? For some reason the phrase “shit storm” comes to mind.
Block 1: Ok. 1st Block wasn’t too bad. I did have to confiscate several sheets of blank address labels. A student had stolen from the Science room (the teacher was gone and had a substitute) and had passed them out to several other kids who were now wearing them as mustaches. At the time I was really annoyed, but if I had known how the rest of the day was going to turn out, I would have let the whole class make fake mustaches and probably fake eyebrows as well.
Block 2: Tired of hearing the kids continuously break out into discussions regarding the crazy girl fight last week, I had to lay down the law. I reminded them that in my classroom, we do not engage in fighting and we do not talk about fighting. I told them if I catch them talking about school fights, they would have to call home and serve a lunch detention. A student responded:
Student: “What’s the big deal? It’s like 10 years later, and people still talk about 9/11.”
Me: “Don’t you dare compare a middle school girl fight to 9/11.” I was too frustrated to say anything else so I made the kids take a test.
Block 3: Although I made it through the Block without incident, as soon as I dismissed the class, all hell broke loose. In less than 5 seconds of the dismissal bell, I found myself diving through a crowd of 100 8th graders. I made it to the center of the chaos to find two girls on the floor. The 1st one was on her back on top of a teacher who had her restrained so she could no longer hit him. The 2nd girl, who is being pulled away by two other teachers, has both hands tightly gripped into the 1st girl’s hair. As the teachers begin to make some headway in separating the two, the 1st girl grabs the 2nd girl’s leg. The two teachers are now dragging all three of them down the hall while I am trying to hold back crowd. That’s when I notice a boy is repeatedly kicking the girl who is restrained. With one hand, I continue to hold back the crowd, while I pin the boy against the lockers with the other. He continues to kick her until I am able to get my body in between them. By then administration has arrived and I am off to write my 1st office referral of the day.
>As I entered the school this morning and made my way through the cafeteria full of students, I heard one of my gems call out, “Miss Lewis!!! I’m so glad you’re back. That sub you left us with was evil.”
In my ten years of teaching, I think that I have taken 5 sick days. I can’t tell you how many days I’ve taught, even though I felt like death was knocking, but my feeling is: it’s just easier to suffer through it, than make plans for a substitute. After being sick all weekend, and practically collapsing at the end of the day on Monday, I had no choice. I called in sick yesterday.
Upon returning this morning, I found these notes from the sub, waiting for me on my desk:
“M—was very argumentative”
“O—was sent to the office, would not be quiet when asked repeatedly”
“D—left the room, went across the hall and into another classroom, punched a kid, and then came back. He then called two girls slang names, which they objected to, and then called me a bitch. I sent him to the office. When the administrator came in to ask me what names he had called the girls, I couldn’t remember. All I knew was, I was glad D—was gone. In fact, 3rd period was the best.”
“I actually had to tell this group to “shut up” during the 1st half of the period. After asking them to “be quiet please” a dozen times—I just lost it. They were unmanageable. An administrator had to sit in here for the last half of the period.”
“This group was awful. S—, C—, J—… the list attached is the group of students who were not rude, uncooperative, disrespectful, or loud during the 1st half of the class.”
*Attached was a sticky note with 8 names on it. I have 24 students in that class.
“I kept 4th period five minutes into lunch. C—never came back to class after lunch.”
“I’m sure the kids will be glad when you come back.”