Peter’s mom came to pick him up early today (at noon). He has had a lot of days where he leaves early, or simply doesn’t make it to school.
So I quickly make some homework for him. Before he loads up to go, he asks if the Book Fair is open. He remembers that our class is scheduled to go at 2:00 this afternoon. “Sorry, Peter, it’s open, but not for our class.”
He looks a little sad. I should have reminded him he can go tomorrow at lunch if he brings money, or after school tomorrow if he doesn’t have any money.
Out the door he goes. A few minutes later I get a call from a friend of mine whose class is in the book fair. “Is Peter aloud to get a book now, or is he going home?” She knows Peter. She’s heard my stories. Good call, Mrs. R. I tell her to send him back to my class right away.
Peter, what are you thinking?
I’ve had students who are super ADHD. Trust me, I have. (Remember Johnny from two years ago???) But even that kid new right from wrong, and even though he could not keep still or pay attention, he still new better than to do the wrong thing. He had SOME self control. I can’t blame all of Peter’s actions on his ADHD and other issues. He just wants to do what he wants.
He better learn.
I’ve put Peter on different paper. He can’t use regular college ruled paper. He’s way too messy. So I put him on 2nd or 3rd grade paper. Wider lines to write in, and a dotted line in the middle to help with lower case. But I’m trying to stress with him to place appropriate space between each word, so that whomever reads his work can actually read it.
Here’s the deal. Johnny’s not doing wonderfully great in our class. He has trouble interacting with a group. So at recess he is alone a lot. But he does have friends, and when he sits at his desk, he does talk from time to time with his neighbors.
Mom’s worried that he is depressed. I know he misses his dad a lot. So mom wanted to bring cupcakes to class to help him celebrate his birthday, and make is special. But the principal says no. So to keep mom happy, the principal agrees to go to our room and sing happy birthday with the class. That is absurd! No one else gets a visit from the principal. I talk her out of it, and assure her that we will sing to him as a class – although we have never done that for other students. (I even make him stand on his chair – he liked it.)
Why, oh why, couldn’t mom just bring the cupcakes? Tell her to bring them for the last 15 minutes of class. It would have been fun, and he would have gotten a lot of, “Thanks, Johnny!”‘s. It is so lame that a parent can’t do that for their kid on their birthday. And if you don’t want cupcakes, how about cookies, or twinkies, or whatever?
It’s a left over from our last principal. She was a bit obsessed with not getting the carpets dirty. Please!
I think I’m going to tell my parents next year at Back to School Night that they can bring cupcakes on their child’s birthday, as long as they talk with ME before hand and let me know.
That’s right. Fight the system!
There’s a 5th Grade Fitness test next year, so I need my class to be a little fit. So I make them run some laps for PE.
So out we go, and I notice Johnny is obviously covering his ear. I think, “Uh oh, what’s up.”
He tells me something bit him on the ear. I look at it, and it looks like it is really sticking out significantly. It’s also red, and looks swollen. But a soar ear is no reason not to run, right? So off I send him. Well, as he comes around for his last lap, he’s still covering his ear, and for some reason holding his other hand up to his chest. (That cannot be a good running position!)
He just looks goofy. Another teacher joked that he was making call on his cell phone.
In the classroom, he keeps his hood on. I make him take it off, but he really doesn’t want to! He does, but then he covers it with his hand. He can’t go all day covering his ear with hand, so I make him put it down. Again, he really doesn’t want to. But I make him. He tries to raise his hood up over his ear. I assure him that if he does that, or tries in other ways to cover it, he will just look goofy, and others will think something weird is going on. So, hesitantly, he just leaves it alone, and no one notices. No one says a thing. But it does look big, read, and a bit goofy!
Oh yea, he also left his glasses at home.
I started with 29 students (anything under 30 is considered low). I lost 2 girls (both with the same name) around the third of the way through the school year, and a boy (let’s just say I wasn’t sorry he left). Then I got a boy (Johnny) on picture day. Then I few weeks later I got a gir (Daisy- she is super nice and friendly with everyone, a great person to put new people by). Then I got another girl (friendly as well). Then I got another boy (he had to move schools because his brother had to be moved, so the principal thought there might be trouble – there hasn’t been). Then a few weeks ago I got my 30th student, another girl. She’s friendly, but seems a little out of it.
I’m just happy that all my new students speak English. It is so discouraging to get a new student that speaks only Spanish.
It’s the last day of testing. Day 2 of the Math test. We’re a good 20 minutes into the test when I look over at Johnny. He’s got a big ol’ river of snot running out of his nose and onto his upper lip. Hmmmm. Did he ever think, “Maybe I should raise my hand and ask for a tissue?” Apparently not. So I quickly grab a couple of tissues and hustle over there and hand him one. He takes it. Now I would have used the first one to wipe away the river of snot running out of my nose. He kind of does that, then opens it back up to blow his nose.
I’m about to puke. I tell run over and get a trash can and a few more tissues. I ask him to throw away the tissues, then I provide him with a quick lesson on how to use a tissue to blow your nose.
That was gross.
* * * * *
As I am walking around the room, I make sure I check Johnny to make sure his nose is river-free. I find that I can’t make eye contact with him. If I do, he won’t look away. He’ll keep looking at me, smile, give me a thumbs up sign, or something like that. But he won’t go back to taking the test until I look away. It’s like a deer caught in the headlights. He just can’t… look…a…way.
* * * * *
After about an hour of test taking, almost everyone is finished. When I checked the first couple of finishers, I noticed they did NO work on their scratch paper or on their test booklet. None. Even I would have had to write some things down to figure out the answer. But they wrote none. I told them to go back and show their work, and reminded them that they can’t find many of the answers without writing down the problems to work the problems.
There are about 3 students who were still working while the rest were finished. That’s fine. Just keep working, and be careful.
Then it was just Johnny. Everyone else was finished, and Johnny had 23 more problems to do (I checked).
It took Johnny a long time to do his L.A. test today. There were two passages followed by 6 questions. Then another page long passage and 6 more questions. Everyone else was finished, and he was on number 4. It’s going to take him forever to finish the real thing. And he’s going to have to miss recess to finish. That won’t be good. I hope he doesn’t get to squirmy.
I’m still keeping my eye on Johnny. He seems to spook easily, and I think the class has figured that out. I think.
I’ve seen a couple boys walk up towards him and say something in a rough, loud voice, while looking at him. And twice I’ve seen him flinch, as if he thought they were going to do something to him. I’m not sure if they were trying to do it intentionally, but that’s what I saw. My theory is that they think it’s funny to see him jump, to scare him.
I’ve talked with him a couple of times, and will continue to do so. I want to make sure students aren’t bugging or scaring him.
I’m keeping an eye on Johnny, and a journal as well. Just keeping track of his problems, successes, and oddities. Got a note from his mom today. She said a boy, Adam, was threatening to beat him up. Him and his “army.” I talked to Adam about it. He says that sometime they play army together, and at the end of recess they ask how many people their armies killed. Hmmmm.
Talked to Johnny about that. I asked him if anyone was bothering him. Right away he said, “Oh, is this because my mom gave you that note?”
He says they never play together, let alone play “army.” I asked him if Adam bothers him. He said, “Last Friday, not to day, but a week ago, on Friday, [he used hand signals to help show me], “Adam had said we were bff’s, then he said were weren’t bffs. Then he kept saying bff, bff, bff, bff. I told him to stop, we’re not bff’s. Then Adam said then I’m going to beat you up. I said you and what army. He said me and my army.”
I asked Johnny if he was scared of Adam. He said he wasn’t. I asked if he likes sitting next to Adam (yes, they sit next to each other). He said he did. I asked Johnny if I should move Adam. He said no.
An update on “Johnny” and “Daisy.”
Johnny is still a bit odd, and I think he has some ADD going on, and some language processing issues. Both of those are really teaming up on him to be last to start and finish things. He doesn’t have a lot of friends, but he is making progress, and I do see him smiling at school and having fun at times.
Daisy is still getting along with everyone, and has lots of friends.
Had an I.E.P. for Johnny today, first thing in the morning. In my experience, in an IEP, teachers usually sit and nod and say, “uh huh” from time to time. At that was true in this case.
We know Johnny’s mom was a bit high mintanance, so I think everything took a bit longser. And since I had a planning day in the morning, I didn’t have an excuse to leave early. It took about an hour, with a lot of explainations of tests.
Turns out the tests showed that Johnny has a lot of needs. He is pretty smart, but his language processing skills are very lacking. The poor kid. He’ll be getting about 2 hours a week of small group help with our Speech and Language teacher. He needs it, and it should really help.