Thursday, February 21, 2008


Day 101, Wednesday, February 20

I noticed that Serena took her classroom job very seriously today. She is the "positive note giver" for the week, so her job is to walk around the circle during our literary discussion, examining the kids' reading journal entries from the previous night and writing positive comments for each on a sticky note. Serena got right into the work, walking along with her official 'PNG' clipboard and quietly looking through the journals as the class discussed the chapter. At one point, I asked her if she was impressed with the journals, and she quickly nodded. "Oh, yes!" she said with enthusiasm. "There are some very good ones!"

The good thing about that job is that it gives kids the chance to see the good (and not so good) work of their classmates, and it also provides an opportunity for each student to feel a special sense of importance, almost like an assistant to the teacher.


In one of the 9th grade classes, there were a lot of sick-looking students in my room -- sniffling, sneezing, coughing, trying their best to hold their heads up. At one point, Jackson, who looked very pale, asked to leave the room to get a drink of water. On his way out, he asked Matt, who seemed on the verge of passing out, if he would like a drink also. Matt nodded just before sneezing, and Jackson returned shortly with a cup of water for himself and one for Matt. It was a generous gesture, one of the many (often unnoticed) kindnesses that happen each day in my classes.


I noticed that Salina looked fairly bored during class today. She's a fine student, and I'm sure she would have been embarrassed if she realized how uninterested she looked. She just seemed spaced-out, distracted, and preoccupied during most of the class. Later, as I thought about it, I wondered if she was just plain tired. I wondered if most of the looks of boredom we see on kids' faces are actually the result of tiredness more than ennui. Salina had come to my class after three consecutive 48-minute classes -- sitting in hard chairs for 140 minutes trying her best to be alert. It's no wonder, I guess, that she seemed weary and impassive during my class. How would I look if I was sitting through my fourth successive faculty meeting??

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