I struggled with “7.0” in that heading.
I wanted to use Roman numerals, in my heart of hearts. But instead, it is my sad duty to report to you that your hard-won literacy in the Roman numeral is obsolete and undervalued in today’s world.
For a long time, students could learn the workings of the Roman Numeral system, and use it for one thing for the rest of their lives: to figure out the year that a movie was made , because that is how they showed it in the credits. Ones with extra high aspirations might even figure out that quaint convention of numbering a particularly unreadable portion of some text, using, of all things, lower case Roman numerals.
My point here is that there was something to be said for teaching kids stuff that they could actually do. You could take a Roman numerals quiz and pass it and feel a little bit capable and smart. Kids felt like freaking geniuses when they got that lower case mumbo jumbo.
Sadly, our new and improved loyalty to the idea that the only worthwhile learning involves super-rigorous, problem-solving, multi-step tasks has left many of my students feeling like they are stupid and unsuccessful. And their inability to perform on densely worded assessments keeps pounding that nail even further into them.
Come grading time, we teachers write grades and comments that essentially say things like, “Your kid can do this and this and this! And that will never be enough to pass! Please read with them for twenty minutes every night!”
But enough of my silly rhetoric. You’re here for the down-and-dirty of the report card world, the comments that I would write, if I could write anonymous comments. So here is this quarter’s offering:
Lisette is an active girl with a love of art. She struggles with decoding words, and should be reading her sight word list at home.
Lisette startles me one thousand times a day when she appears two inches to my left, stating that she has a sore throat. You may want to have her throat removed. If she gargles any more salt water, the nurse is concerned that she may contract scurvy. Oddly, her throat never hurts at snack time, or at lunchtime. Please keep her crayon-filled pencil box at home, as I have run out of room to plaster her rainbow heart pictures, completed in detail while I am attempting to help her to practice the concept that 10 rainbow hearts are more than 8 fluffy kitties.
Butch can add single digits within 10, and loves art. He does, however, require frequent reminders about using self-control in all settings. He will be bringing home handwriting practice so that he will be better able to show his knowledge in writing.
Butch knows that if there are six pencils in the classroom pencil jar, and he takes three of them, he will have a total of 72 pencils in the deepest recesses of his desk. If he removes the eraser end of 21 of these, he will double the number of pencil points that he needs to break each and every day. He dwells in a place we call La-La-Land, draws designs on his arms using dry erase markers that are worth their weight in gold, and repeatedly claims that “It’s a tattoo.” If I had a dollar for every time he falls out of his chair, I would be on a cruise around the world. He alternates walking like a Nazi soldier and a Cirque de Soleil star on Red Bull.
Sammy Davis III is a bright boy who gets along well with peers and adults. I am confident that he will become an academic leader, as he develops self-control with his tendency to talk during class.
Sammy’s cuteness is outdone only by his ability to annoy with incessant talking. However, his propensity for paying teachers compliments on wardrobe, jewelry, and choice of homework will serve him in good stead, in school and beyond. I expect Sammy to run for public office, probably before his sixteenth birthday. Just call him the Candyman.