Monday March 9, 1992

It's nice when days come out better than anticipated. Sometimes it is astonishing. Although today was not a great day, it was better than I expected. (In retrospect, many are.) No long dialogue before description. Onward.

Hours 1 and 2 were going to write again. Today's topic was baseball. We brainstormed for a few minutes on topics (such things as the game itself, statistics, the money players make, the trash involved, racism in baseball, history of the game....I exaggerate, it took 3 classes and a lot of leading questions to come to these topics) and then discussed some different aspects of the topics. They were obsessed with only marginally relevant questions (Is Michael Jordan a better spokesman than Danny Tartabull would be? Is Bo Jackson worth all the money Nike pays him?) but we got to some good points by steering through the maze of traps and struggling onward. We reviewed what makes a good paragraph (they may know it even if they refuse to answer me) and then wrote. They actually did it. In fact, several were good enough to be revised for future publication on our baseball wall. I don't know when we'll do that, but it is a good idea. So we wrote and read our paragraphs, and some of my loudmouths were able to accomplish several complete (or relatively complete) sentences.

Hour 2 was a fair replica of 1 today, nothing significantly different there (David is coming every day, an improvement (?!?!) and today he howled not a once). They wrote with about the same enthusiasm as Hour 1.

Hour 3 was a threesome today Tyrone was back after a week of suspension. I was pleased to see him. Maybe he can come around with sufficient encouragement. I give him plenty. I am always grateful and happy to see him. They talked more and wrote less than the previous classes, and there was nothing especially inspiring about their work. They are looking for the path of least resistance, and they are finding it. They want to pass. I want them to excel and we are at an impasse.

Hour 5 struggled through Chapter 4 of Animal Farm. Nigeria was gone soon. I asked her to remove her hood and she said she d rather go to the office than do it. I sent her and that was that. We also had a guest I've never seen before. He is actually enrolled in class, but he leaves at noon (hardly worth the effort). Anyway, their vocabulary skills are so poor that I wonder just how much of this they're getting. Tomorrow's worksheets will tell.

Hour 6 taught me another lesson. Flexibility. I have a problem I still haven't resolved and one I have, albeit reluctantly. The disk containing Antonio's work was lost. For someone else this would be no great catastrophe, but for this guy it was. He had written a significant chunk of both papers; how do I equitably resolve this? He didn't lose them, they were lost by another user. Well, tomorrow may offer a solution. And August is ready to weep over the paucity of typing skills he possesses. I have agreed to let him handwrite (if I were his teacher for the whole year, I don't think I would, but this is different). But several of my kids are doing nothing. Thank goodness we go back to the room tomorrow. Two days off will give them time to recover. But so many missing kids; these kids miss more school in a quarter than I did in 4 years of school. It is so hard to see a project through when they show up so irregularly. We are running out of time (do student teachers ever wish for a longer period of teaching so they can finish what they started?). Many of the others are struggling on attempting to get something on paper and make it long enough. I don't want them to pad 2 papers; one is enough and I may change my requirement.

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