Saturday, January 14
I'll start updating daily, really.
Second day in that 5th grade class. Luckily that recycling video I got from my brother killed about a hour. After the video i asked the kids to think of things they could recycle, reuse, use less of, and compost. (The tables that thought of the most ideas got table points. Table points!)
Like I was stretching time, some kids were stretching their ideas pretty thin. One sweet lil' special angel had almost 20 ideas for composting. The list included:
and so on
Call me a curmudgeon, but I had to repeel a few of those answers.
Last day in that 5th grade class and thank God. I pretty much used up any authority I carried into the class on day 1. The lesson plan was watered down into a weak mix of her thrown-together suggestions and my half-baked ideas.
Players of the game today? Silent reading time and Minimum day.
Finished the week in a fifth grade class that I had subbed a few months ago. The class still loves their computers, although Nanosaur has taken a backseat to this bug game that rips off that one movie about bugs and the lives of bugs.
But, boy howdy, did they get a new toy.
After lunch I notice the class has a slightly higher energy level than usual. I'm always trying to offer insight into this job for the lay person, so I'll tell you how my finely tuned perception skills picked this up. One girl, her name escapes me, had this subtle gleam in her eye and a certain delicately pensive way of holding her shoulders as she sprinted circuits around the classroom while her classmates jumped in place and squealed.
I soon discovered the source of their excitement. Immediately after taking my place at the front of the classroom, the class loudly chanted:
DDR! DDR! DDR! DDR! DDR!
That's right, Dance Dance Revolution. They had it. I couldn't believe it. Somehow I held their attention long enough to get through a spelling test and science ditto. With about half an hour left in the day I had a choice, turn on the Playstation and let the DDR mats come rolling out or face certain trampling.
A two person video game? In class? What's next a pig head on a pole?
Get this, the kids shared those two DDR mats perfectly for thirty minutes. They never made fun of the less coordinated of the bunch. The wallflowers were even encouraged to join le revolution, even if it meant a good player waiting a little longer. Sure it's flashy, noisy, and enjoyed by the kids, but I think it may also be valuable.
Hear me out, hear me out-- these 5th graders are what, 10? They're getting old and it's time to get introduced to lovely algebra and chemistry, but they're still learning to play too, right? "Learning to play," I know that sounds soft, really soft. But if thirty kids are all waiting patiently and happily for one of two spots at a game that they all want badly to play and a (substitute) teacher never gets involved, something good has got to be developing. Something that, based on how some of us growed-ups act, may only have a chance to develop at a certain age.