Showing posts with label Adolescent Absurdity. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Adolescent Absurdity. Show all posts

Friday, February 5, 2016

A List: Things I Am Grateful For

Taking a pause in the marathon talk for this week's list and a classroom management illustration!

  • a wonderful marriage
  • a safe, comfortable home
  • good health
  • great friends
  • happy pets
  • a job I like
  • the electric kettle in my office
  • memories like the one below
As we all know, towards the end of the school year there are "one or two" students who like to start trying to play it fast and loose with the rules. This door in the back of my classroom opened up onto a fire escape. Students were not allowed to be on the fire escape, so they were not allowed to even open the door. A few decided that rule wasn't applicable in warmer weather. So, I posted this sign:

Suddenly it was no longer a problem. How about that?

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Ah, Young Love

Here's a discussion I overheard in the hallways of our local community college. To set the scene: Boy is trying to hit on girl who clearly isn't interested. Girl begins to lose patience.

Girl: How old are you?
Boy: Twenty. How old is you?
Girl (with attitude): Twenty four.
Boy: What dat mean?
Girl: A lot. Goodbye.

Poor guy was crushed, but I had to cheer for her to be smart enough to walk away.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Dumb Choices When Teaching Sex Ed

Well, since I brought up the topic of sex ed yesterday and discussed one of my recipes for success, today I'll share one of my biggest fails. I'll start by saying as many times as I've been through these units, I've actually never had any trouble with immaturity, inappropriateness, etc - I think this is primarily because kids don't want other kids to think that they are immature. As such, these particular class sessions tend to be more civilized and mature than most.

I've always had the policy that you can ask me anything - after all, if they don't ask me, they're probably going to ask their friends who actually know even less than they do. You open yourself up to all sorts of crazy things, but I'm not the type to become flustered by anything they have to say or ask.

There are, however, times when on the inside I'm thinking "please oh please oh please don't let anyone have overheard that" and "why oh why oh why did I open this can of worms." This used to be complicated by the fact that for three of my years teaching I had constant adult traffic coming in and out of my room, because kid you not the office to the Business Manager, Director of Building and Grounds, and Director of Transportation was accessible only by walking through my classroom. Which meant a constant parade of administrators, bus drivers, accountants, school board members, parents, etc were strolling through the room at any time.

So here's my story. We are beginning to learn about conception (for a great ice breaker, see yesterday's post), so we begin by going over the basics of anatomy, both male and female. We get to the point where we learn that women are born with all of the eggs that they are ever going to have, but men are constantly producing sperm. No matter how I set this up, without fail a conversation ensues on what happens when that sperm begins to build up. It is unavoidable.

And this particular year, for no real reason that I can think of now, I decided on the fly to try to avoid the m-word, and simply stated "Sexual activity does not have to involve another person."

The SECOND that phrase was out of my mouth I knew EXACTLY what was going to happen.

Immediately after I said that, a boy asked "So what, like a pig or something?" And chaos erupted.

"EWWWW!" "Who would do that?!" "Whaaaaaat???!!!" and then the inevitable "Mrs. C, do people really do that?"

Great. This is exactly what I wanted to discuss today. So I come back with yes, there are some people, it's called such and such, and by the way it's illegal.

"Why is it illegal? You own the pig!" And then a kid who I swear has never in his life written a paragraph that made any sense came back with the admittedly clever turn of phrase "Yeah, how come you can make your pig into pork but you can't pork your pig?"

Inside my head: make it stop, make it stop, make it stop... And then a girl chimes in "Wait, can you get the pig pregnant?"

And now I'm thinking REALLY? And I make a statement about DNA compatibility, etc, and how no, humans cannot get pigs pregnant.

And then comes my next mistake, which is one of automaticity: any time you say something to the effect of "no, you can't get pregnant from..." "you have a lower risk of pregnancy when..." etc, you automatically follow it up with something to the effect of "but that does not protect you from diseases." It's a good practice to always remind them that pregnancy is not the only risk associated with sexual activity. And so I made that statement.


At that precise moment a school board member was about three steps inside the room. He stopped dead in his tracks, raised his hands, and with a horrified look on his face pulled a 180 and made his escape. He did not come back. Ever.

And I was left to answer the question about pig herpes. Which went something like this:

"I don't really know enough about pigs to know if they actually carry the herpes virus, but obviously the risk of some kind of infection increases with this kind of activity. Leave the pigs - and all other animals - alone. If the pressure is getting to you, find a private space, lock the door, and fly solo."

To which they all nodded their heads in agreement that yes, that did seem like the more logical way to go about things.

And a girl said to me "I bet you wish you had just said that to begin with."

Amen, sister.

Friday, August 15, 2014

A Sex (Education) Trick

Risque title today, eh? So one of the joys of being a FACS teacher is the sex ed component that accompanies so many of your units, particularly in Child Development when you really can't skip over that whole "How are babies made" question.

One of the challenging things about handling this subject matter is that you've got kids all the way across the comfort spectrum: some will have no problem publicly asking the most graphic questions, some wish only to curl up under their desks and die. Most are somewhere in between.

Because of this, it's really crucial to work to establish an environment in which nobody is spending a full 52 minutes desperately pleading with God for a bear to walk into the classroom and eat them so that they can escape this discussion. So naturally you're not going to jump straight into "When a mommy and a daddy love each other very much...", but instead you're going to take some time to create that more comfortable climate first. Even with that, you're going to need some boosters here and there to keep things light and break the tension when necessary.

Here's one of my favorites.

For background, I use guided (sometimes called "skeleton") notes for my classes - they're already formatted and have most of what they need, but they have to follow along and fill in the blanks as we go. It's enough to keep them paying attention and on task, but not so much that they're focusing only on copying to the exclusion of listening (or that their hands cramp up and they begin crying carpal tunnel).

When we begin our discussion of conception, I make no assumptions. We start with the basics - the essentials of female and male reproductive anatomy. As such, it's obviously necessary to work with some diagrams (NOT pictures, diagrams). When I have the female anatomy on the board - and their note sheets - and we go over the different structures, I've never had any issues at all, they take it stride, almost ho hum. As soon as we flip to the male anatomy, that changes - you just can't project a penis onto the board (again, a diagram people!) without the room immediately becoming charged (and you can really see it in the less comfortable kids' faces - "ohmygodtheresapenisupthereitsapenisicantdothis WHERE IS THAT BEAR, GOD????"). Additionally, you have your less mature kids who are desperately, desperately trying not to giggle because they don't want anyone else to think they are immature. And of course everyone else is aware that things suddenly got weird and now everyone's a bit on edge.

So here's my built-in way to diffuse this inevitable event. For about seven or eight blanks in a row, they have to write in the same word over and over: sperm. By about the third of fourth one they begin to catch on, and by the sixth time they're writing "sperm" everyone is laughing out loud, the tension has disappeared, and "sperm" is now a meaningless word because they've looked at it so much and we can now move on.

Seriously, works like a charm, every time.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Story Time, Part 3

My next story time idea was very specific, but had absolutely HILARIOUS results!

We read this book:

Synopsis - a brother and sister lament that no matter what story they share, their grandfather always remarks "Could Be Worse!" Grandpa, having overheard them, then tells them a fantastic tale of adventure and danger... to which they respond... well, I'm sure you can guess!

After reading this, I gave them a template with two large rectangles, then asked them to create their own "Could Be Worse!" scenario. The results were hilarious (and revealed some truly demented minds!). I again scanned them to use for story time the next day; I divided their stories onto different slides, so that the class could guess what would happen next before seeing it (modeling prediction as a reading strategy, anyone?). Here they are:

Boy did the kids love this one! In fact, by request I showed their "Could Be Worse" stories again at the end of the school year a few months later.

While super fun and entertaining, there were of course many real lessons learned:
  • discussion of the moral of the story
  • using prediction as a reading strategy
  • making text-to-text, text-to-self, and text-to-world connections
  • discussions of how to utilize all of these when reading to little ones!
And of course, more memories made!

Friday, April 11, 2014

"Smoke" & Mirrors

I love Snoopy; if you've spent some time here, you already know that.

I hate mirrors in my classroom. Hate hate hate. High schoolers are waaaaay too preoccupied with their appearance for mirrors to be anything other than an opportunity for frequent disruption.

So when I moved back into my current classroom, there was a mirror on the wall toward the front of the class. Unacceptable. So, I covered it with a poster - a SNOOPY poster, nonetheless!

How great is that?

I hung the poster about a month ago (previously the A/V cart was blocking it), and have been enjoying it immensely. Especially the fact that it eliminated the mirror.

And then yesterday a group of students told me that there had been rumors circulating that I'm a regular pot smoker - because of the poster.

Seriously! Oh, kids...

Saturday, December 7, 2013

They Can Use Tools!

A couple of days ago my classroom was really hot. I mean, REALLY hot. And I'm not complaining, because I've been in freezing cold classrooms and I waaaaaaay prefer the heaters that work too well over those that don't work at all. During my last class of the day, a student asked if he could open one of the windows and sit by it while working on his cross-stitch project. Since it was legitimately uber-hot, I didn't have a problem with this idea; however, that window is nearly impossible to close. So I told him he could as long as he PROMISED he would not leave until it was closed, and warned him it was difficult to do so. He swore he'd take care of it, so I allowed it. Then during clean-up time he of course couldn't get it closed, and I reminded him of our deal. Here's how he came through:

He told me it was "hillbilly-rigged" - his words. True that. But I'll give him credit, he did figure out a way to get it closed.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Allow Me to Clarify

Kid in class was asked to stop doing something ridiculous, but he hesitated to follow my instructions.

Me: Unless you'd like to spend some extra time with me.

Kid: Like a date?

Me: Like detention.

Kid: Oh. That doesn't sound like fun.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

You Know It's True

I have sliding glass doors that connect my sewing room to the main room; the glass is tinted, so you can't really see what's on the other side unless there's a light on in the other room or you're really focusing. You can, however, see your own reflection.

A kid noticed his reflection in the doors yesterday. He began barking at himself.

And you know it's true, because you just can't make this stuff up.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Oh Kids

Boy: What if Mr. Principal was a rapper? I'd buy all his albums.

Other Boy: Me too.

Note: Mr. Principal is a white guy in his mid-thirties with a southern Illinois drawl.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Ah, Adolescent Absurdity

Consider this a post in honor of a blogger I much admire and have mentioned before, M from Teenagers Are Ridiculous.

Boy: If we bring in music can we listen to it during work time?

Me: Um, I dunno. I'd have to hear it first.

Boy: And could we sing along with it? No singing isn't one of the class rules.

Me: No, but keeping me happy is one, and that might not make me happy.

Other Boy: What if our singing is so beautiful it's a mixture of Fergie and Jesus?