Due to the fact that I live and teach in the Twilight Zone, some of you may know that, at my school, June is no excuse for engaging in wacky hijinx! And by hijinx, I refer to crazy, over-the-top behavior such as –*gasp!*– taking. children. OUTSIDE. TO PLAAAAAYYYYY!!!!
Here’s the way it works: in high poverty, high refugee student populations, we often see somewhat different, you know, test scores, than we see in, oh, affluent suburban student populations. I take full responsibility for this disparity, as I am reminded regularly that I should.
Something that I have noticed in our student demographic (aside from the fact that they are major consumers of Hot Fries as a breakfast food), is that many of them are pretty angry most of the time. Additionally, they tend to spill this anger all over their peers when provoked by such outrageous behavior as brushing past each other in the hall, or being nearby when they put their pencil under their textbook and immediately shout, “Someone stole my pencil!” Since they do not take to all holding on to a length of rope when we travel from place to place, these tiny altercations often erupt into discussions of several generations of fat family members and acts of libel regarding where one’s shoes were purchased. At least once or twice weekly, fisticuffs ensue.
Since these kids have not achieved academically, it has been deemed inappropriate to waste any time doing activities such as outside play, field trips, etc. Therefore, they have not learned the stuff that kids learn when they have to do recess all the time: getting along with humans, with the occasional or frequent coaching provided by the adults in charge.
With 8 full days of school remaining, my lesson plans should probably include an introduction to the Calculus. Please don’t blow me in when I tell you that they include the following:
>Independent Center: Make a poster collage showing everything that you have learned this year.
>Walking Field Trip around the school grounds: Competitive Slug Collecting–I will pay 2 cents for every slug collected in your decorated-at-morning-work-time Slug Bag O’ Salt (this is really just a reworking of a real activity pursued at my house this weekend–damn you, slugs!).
>Letter to President Obama telling him everything that you have learned this year.
Oh, there’s more. Not really.