Sunday, March 04, 2007

Saturdays, Jer-ry! Jer-ry!, and Somebody's Tío

Strong Saturday Academy yesterday. Strong. The newly minted High Point Cs come in, enrolled in one of two, 150 minute sessions. We walk through Response to Literature because the STAR Writing Exam is Tuesday, practice doing that verb-direct object analysis on the directions, and get to work melding summary and interpretation like champs. The kids work hard, especially in the second session, and good work is done. Miles Davis proves a strong responding, connecting, and analyzing lubricant.

The warm fuzzies came not just because of the 95% attendance rate, but because they were really putting the academic vocabulary to use.

"Do I need to make another connection in my second analysis paragraph?"
"Is this good interpretation?"
"Can I connect the theme to The Giving Tree?"

It's like you gotta wipe the tears away before you can answer any of the questions.


The final High Point A selection is a folk tale called Owl, in which the titular character pursues a young lass while avoiding showing his face for fear she'll find him ugly. The girl's mother invites him to a party so she can see him, and aided by his cousin Rooster, Owl attempts to attend without revealing any of the facial features he finds so grotesque. Things go well until sunrise, when the girl's mother pulls off Owl's hat, revealing his face, and Owl runs away, never to be seen again. Not even when Rooster marries his former bride-to-be.

Hot stuff.

I recruit four quick thinkers to assume the role of each main character, set em up on high stools, find a toy microphone, and we roll out a Jerry Springer style talk show. Each kid tells his or her character's story and I pause to let the audience ask questions. I bring each additional character out in turn, retelling the plot and adding their own spice. A. does a great job as the mother, acting seriously indignant over F.'s (Owl) nerve to try to marry her daughter without her consent.

Things are going well, but I have no idea how to end this and wrap it into something academically meaningful, when J. (Rooster) comes up big, starting a fight with K. (the girl) and announcing that he wants a divorce. I immediately break for commercials, duly reward the brave four, and then we break into partners to write the next chapter in the story, the one that happens after Rooster divorces the girl.

It's just ridiculous the way NCLB restrains my ability to implement creative literacy activities.


It's bad enough that certain kids are renaming themselves after my catchphrases, but now there's two kids who have decided that rather than the standard Mr. [TMAO], I should henceforth be known as Tío [TMAO]. As in, "Tío [TMAO], is this a good burrito topic sentence?"

Which procedes for a few days, until another one of my guys decides to raise the bar by declaring, repeatedly, that I am actually his dad. As in, "Papa, pa, can I do the next one? Please, pa."

Which prompts yet another witty young man to make the connection between this recent trend on the one hand, and my advanced age on the other, and start dropping some abuelitos. As in, "Look, Abeulito [TMAO] I have 48 percent of my A.R. goal."

Quelch or encourage?
Reject or embrace?

Either way, 13-year-old Latino immigrants nominally adopting you is another one of those things you never would have believed back in May 2002, no matter how many ghosts of graduation future appeared before you.


Anonymous Jeri said...

I really like the last few posts where we're inside your classroom. Thanks!

8:47 PM  
Anonymous Dan Meyer said...

Hey hey, whoa, five of my kids just took to calling me "Uncle Dan" outta nowhere. What is that? What is that?!

11:52 PM  

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