Whew, it's been an adventurous week in the classroom! (And by that, I mean disastrous!) Due to my PREVIOUSLY excellently-behaved classroom, their horrible behavior this week was a shocker! I don't know if it's due to my sudden influx of new students or the holidays, but needless to say, it requires a bunch more work on my part.
Either way, (luckily) they still do not cease to be entertaining. As of late, we've been discussing the Civil War in History. Wars in history are completely unknown to these kids. As far as they knew, the Civil War involved someone handing out guns on both sides and people running around shooting anything that moved for four years straight, non-stop. So, we had to put that notion to bed. Needless to say, the fact that armies would line up, and then start running at each other with guns was a completely foreign concept (and quite distressing, as well!) After a discussion of the surprising violent Battle of Bull Run, one particularly innocent student looks up at me and says, "Mrs. Shetler, how come they didn't just use pillows instead of guns? It would have been so much safer!" Bless his heart...
Then, the next day as we were continuing this discussion about Civil War battles, a student asks me, "Mrs. Shetler, who were we?" As in, which side were we on? Another kid pipes up, "Yeah, did we win?" I was literally speechless. How does one answer this? Technically, Arizona wasn't a state (and wouldn't be for another 50 years) so the residents had no "side." I couldn't tell him that "we" (as in the US) won, because I'm sure that's not how Civil War history is taught in South. They're so used to it being "us against them" in all other wars in history, as well as in every video game they play. I ended up telling them some adaptation of what I described above, but this was just very difficult for them to understand :-) If nothing else, I just had to laugh at how much this question stumped me!
On an unrelated note, my students randomly get excited about using new words (even down to making up words just for the sake of using new words). A while ago, we were reading a poem that used the word "shall" and I mentioned in passing that it was a more formal, fancy way of saying "will." Next thing I knew, I had a girl who was telling me, "I shall try inverse operations, but I'm not sure about it..." Then this week, I had another student randomly start using the word Thus. So now, I had 13 year olds running around saying, "I lost my voice, and thus I shouldn't talk today." "...and thus, Arturo rode his bike over my foot." "Thus the water moves the sediment down the river," etc. It's hilarious :-) I tell them to keep using those words, because it'll guarantee them a great score on their state writing tests, because it is so unexpected!
The following video is basically unrelated, but a great excuse to combine Jack Black and school :-)