Sunday, February 7, 2010

challenges, 2010

A whole new classroom full of mainstream students. The energy level is increased by a billion (now that we're filled to capacity 21 kids--don't scoff, that's way out of proportion for Read 180), and I'm finding myself exasperated after each day. The constant reminders, taking time out to talk to people outside the door. The management is crazy. It beats me up, surprisingly. It's also 4th period, so things do get a little nuts then.

One student, D., is having a tough time keeping track of things he's reading. I'm really trying to sit down with him and get him to read, but something's blocking him terribly. He's reading Walter Dean Myers's "The Greatest," which is a biography of Muhammed Ali. He read part of the introduction, and after some pages, he wrote in his reading log "Today I read that Ali and Clay fought." I took a look at it, and sat down next to him and said, you know that they were the same person? He said, "WHAT?" and reread some pages, and gave up (the bell was about to ring). This disconcerts me, and I'm wondering what can I put into place for him so that he can be accountable both for reading (he's been very ridiculous about never reading or writing in his reading log), and also his comprehension of the text. It's just above his reading level, but he's interested in it, so I'd rather he read something he's into than nothing at all.

Does anyone have some tips? He's a 9th grader, stubborn, and loves to wander. He's an attention-seeker, farts in class, and, I think, at his core, wants reassurance that he's doing ok.

school lunch

You know what grinds my gears (to coin a phrase)? School lunch. Kids are starving when they get back, because they think that everything the school offers is disgusting. Which, could very well be true--but the question is, can the kids stomach the pain (as it were) and eat anyway? It'll keep their energy up, and keep them going. Nope. They barely eat breakfast, even--coffee, said one student of mine. That's it.

Well, let's take a look at school lunch menu this month at high schools.

I mean, it doesn't look so bad, does it? Personally, I could never eat that stuff, so I just had the usual of pizza on Thursdays, and salad bar galore (at least, that's what senior year was all about). But, I wonder if the kids aren't eating because they don't know that there are more options than just pizza and burgers? That there are two lines, and (although I don't know), that those lines most likely have different options. In fact, there are salad options daily (with hearty ranch dressing, gross!), plus deli sandwiches, plus the main meals. It seems to me like there are plenty of options. So what happens? Is it ignorance, or that they follow their guts and it leads them to pizza? It'd be interesting to do an advisory lesson on school lunches, what's healthy, and what's