Monday, October 26, 2009

With, without. and who'll deny, its what the fighting's all about?

I went to the Howe school of Excellence on Chicago's West side.

It was intense.

We started Junior Great books as well as starfish corps today.
Junior Great Books is a program we do that involves pulling kids out of class to read and discuss literature. I did this immediately after our morning greeting of the kids.
We only had five kids, we are supposed to have fifteen. This made things awkward, as when we were introducing ourselves it didn't take very long and we had a lot of time. So we read "the house on mango street", a story we were supposed to start in our next session with these students. It is about a dissatisfied home owner who used to live in apartments with their family, and now has a real shoddy house.

After JGB, I went into my sixth grade classroom for in class support. I worked with a table of four girls, one of whom was working quietly and well, so I helped the other three. They were easily distracted, especially by my wavy blond hair, so keeping the focused was a challenge. This is not to say I was a distraction, when I got there they were doing nothing, I got them to finish one side of the worksheet before the teacher moved them on. But while the teacher was talking, I couldn't get them to stay focused, so they had to split up the group into rows where the whole class was in groups of four or five. One girl blamed this on me, and I felt bad.

I went from classroom help to finishing some things for starfish for 20 minutes and then back to the classroom to talk with my teacher during prep period. We worked some things out, and she gave me some weight to throw around, including detentions with her consent in certain cases. I can finally do more than tell kids "please don't do that. you are creating a negative learning environment for all those around you. It breaks our hearts." ( I don't actually say that)


Back to in class help, much better results.


The starfish are 3-5th graders after school. We first brought a snack, and the kids were a little rowdy, but not too bad. After that, we helped them with homework. I helped the adorable and well-behaved third graders. They were estimating how much Ulysses spent on a t shirt and baseball cap. the answer was $67.00, when you add 19.99 to 46.99. because its an estimate. Watching them come to that conclusion is always grand. They're amazing.

We split into our animal groups, I lead the octopi with Kiki. We had one kid who wanted to fight someone, and his ex girlfriend. These kids are in fifth grade. Why does he have an ex girlfriend?
Anyway, they're getting split up tomorrow. Also there was a kid who really wanted to be a Tiger, but he was assigned to Octopi. He was angry about this at first and wouldn't move or sit down or speak. But after he realized how awesome we are, he joined us. It was an exhausting two hours, and I'm going to have it monday-thursday every week. But we'll pull through. My team couldn't be better.

I left my house at 6:55. I got home at 7:15.
It's going to be a long year, but I'm optimistic about it being rewarding.

Now I'm listening to Pink Floyd. What could be better? It is what the fighting's all about. Darnell had the red crayon. Antonio wanted it.

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