December can be a cold, dark time of year and, as much as I love Christmas, the lead up to the holiday and winter break is often more than a little crazy. With all of this, sometimes we need a little something to make us laugh, so today I share with you three stories from my own classroom to bring a little light-heartedness to your day.
#1: Intelligence Doesn’t Always Equal Common Sense
Early in my career I taught ninth grade Ancient History. In addition to several regular-level sections, I taught two honors-level sections of the class. As a general rule, these were good kids who worked hard and were a joy to teach. One day, I had my honors students in small groups working on some review activity for an upcoming test. I was walking around the room, checking progress and answering questions, when I noticed one group acting in a peculiar manner. There were three students in this group. Two were laughing so hard that they were almost falling out of their desks while a third held his face and moaned. I asked them what on Earth had happened as Ancient History, outside of the occasional paper cut, is not usually a dangerous sport. One of the laughers pulled it together enough to tell me that they had talked the moaner into snorting a Pixie Stix. (For those of you who are unfamiliar with this particular candy, it is a paper tube filled with about a tablespoon or so of colored, flavored sugar. The recommended method of consumption is to tear off one end and dump the contents into your mouth.) The student who had snorted the candy moaned, “It burns…!” I stood there for a moment with what must have been a look that said, “That was really dumb; I can’t believe you did that,” shook my head, and walked away. Really, what else was there to do.
#2: Spell Check Can Be a Dangerous Tool
Every year for many years my eighth grade class has read “The Ransom of Red Chief” by O. Henry. If you are unfamiliar with this tale, two outlaws from the Old West kidnap a boy with the intent of getting the boy’s wealthy father to pay for his safe return. Over the course of a rather humorous story, the boy is such a handful that the outlaws, instead of collecting a large ransom, end up paying the boy’s father to take the boy back. As a culminating activity I ask my students to each write a short persuasive essay about whether the two outlaws ought to be prosecuted for kidnapping. One year I got an extremely well-written essay from one of my students. She was a sweet, polite, and innocent young lady who generally turned in really great work. When I handed the essays back though, I had to pull her aside to talk to her about her paper. I explained that while her paper was excellent and she had made a very convincing argument as to why the two outlaws ought to be prosecuted for their crime, the word she had chosen from the spell check options every single time was not prosecuted, but prostituted. Oops!
#3: Honesty in Politics
A couple of years ago a student (quite quirky and with a great sense of humor) created this poster while campaigning for student council vice president:
To this day, this is my favorite campaign poster ever!
This Week’s Featured Product
In this project students create paper chains of compliments for their classmates as a way to spread holiday cheer to everyone. These growing chains can be hung around your room to add a touch of the holidays and remind every child just how special they are! Great for any subject area and a wide variety of ages! For more details or to purchase this product, click here!
This Week’s Journal Questions
For the teacher: What is your favorite teaching story? Tell it. Why is it your favorite?
For the student: What is a favorite memory from school? Why is this so memorable? What makes it a great story?
A Recipe from My Kitchen:
- 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 2/3 cup molasses
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup maple syrup or honey (or a combination of the two)
- 1 cup plain yogurt
- 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup milk
- 5 cups whole wheat pastry flour
- 1 tablespoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- turbinado sugar for sprinkling
- Preheat your oven to 375º. Line 24 muffin cups with liners and grease them with cooking spray.
- In a medium bowl, combine applesauce, oil, molasses, eggs, maple syrup, yogurt, vanilla, and milk.
- In a separate bowl, mix flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and ginger.
- Pour the liquid mixture into the dry mixture and stir until just combined.
- Fill your muffin cups. Sprinkle the tops with the turbinado sugar.
- Bake for 18-22 minutes or until toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.
- Cool for 5 minutes in pans.
- Remove muffins from the pans and continue cooling on wire racks.