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TEACHERS.NET GAZETTE
FEBRUARY 2001
Volume 2 Number 2

COVER STORY
Cheryl Ristow never thought her life would change so much with one click. This month's cover story tracks our own Aggie/CA from net newbie to published author!
COLUMNS
Effective Teaching by Harry & Rosemary Wong
Promoting Learning by Marv Marshall
Alfie Kohn Article
4 Blocks by Cheryl Sigmon
School Psychologist by Beth Bruno
Jan Fisher Column
BCL Classroom by Kim Tracy
ARTICLES
Read Across America
How to Excel as a Reading Specialist
Independent Learning
ADD and the Structured Environment
How Do I Manage a Class?
6 Traits of Writing
Indians for Mascots
Child Violence
The Unsinkable Sub
Visually Impaired and EC
Magic Slippers Poem
Becoming a Tech Savvy Administrator
The Killing of a Spirit
Bullying in Schools
Student Photo of Mars
REGULAR FEATURES
Web News & Events
Upcoming Ed Conferences
Poll: Weirdest Thing?
Letters to the Editor
New in the Lesson Bank
Humor from the Classroom
Help Wanted - Teaching Jobs
Gazette Back Issues
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Chatboard Poll: Weirdest Thing?
by Kathleen Carpenter (Contributing Editor)

Teachers.Net Educators Respond With Their Weirdest Classroom Experiences

You asked:

What's the weirdest thing you've ever observed in the classroom?

Educators responded:

Dee: After observing a student pick his nose and eat that I asked him to get a kleenex, then observed him Wipe his nose with a kleenex, then eat the kleenex.

Darlene: My first year of teaching high school I had a boy who was overweight. One day he said, "Look what I can do." He lifted his shirt exposing his bare chest, put a quarter at the top of his chest (just under his neck) and kept flipping the coin over and over until it reached his belt bucket by gyrating his fat.

Cheryl/VA: One of the weirdest things I ever observed was a kid I kept after school for detention. He showed me his trick with a thick chain. What he did was he sucked the chain up his nose and then he pulled it out of his throat. It was really cool.

Another kid used to turn his eye lids inside out. Then he would sit in class with bright red eye lids. That trick gave me the creeps what it was very dramatic!!

Lynn (Pogo/MS): A child wanted me to open the computer where he could see the little man inside that was speaking to him.

JAB: thumbsucking-one last year & one this year
sneezing after lunch & then vomiting....
losing a tooth during parent-teacher conferences
fainting (wild imagination) after viewing a dramatic scene

Sandy/PA/2: I'm only in my third year, so not much experience to draw from, but during my formal observation with the assistant principal, one of my second-graders took off both his shoes and socks!

MaryB: Once while teaching a music class, I saw a 3rd grade girl suck her thumb & wrap her forefinger over the top of her nose with one hand, and have another finger from the other hand stuck in her ear. All of that while singing! ~~Weird.~~

I now have one boy (4th gr) who also folds his eye lids back so his eyes are popping out....... {ick}.... and his fifth gr. cousin (who was removed from my room yesterday), who ripped a long edge off notebook paper, rolled it into a long twisted paper thing, and rubbed it on his cheek while I taught. Eleven years old and he rubbed paper on his face! He called it his "ba-ba" and laughed about it. He'd get upset when I'd take them away and throw them away. He spent his second day in his new teacher's room today and she stopped in after school to tell me that Tim made and rubbed a "ba-ba" on his cheek today. What a bunch of loonies!

Anonymous: A 4th grader... picking his nose with his tongue... He had a really long tongue!!

Froggie: This year in 5th grade, a student of mine put her "Push Up" ICE CREAM in her pocket to take home and eat *later* that night!

Granny Frickert: A first-grade boy, having just bragged about his new jeans for his 'show-and-tell', sat down and proceeded to cut small holes in them with his scissors, everywhere he could reach. I could not get him to stop--when I'd look away, he'd be at it again, with some other kid's scissors. I sent him to the office. Mom was called, she came over and her only comment was, and I quote: "Hmmmm. Well, I guess I'll have to get him some new jeans again. He's done this before." I nominate both of them for looney of the year.

A Kindergarten Teacher: Kindergarten: The world of its own!!

Taking his clothes off and do the "Full Monty" walking and swinging to an unheard beat -down the hallway!! Gets to your room and says, "Good Morning, Teacher!" And the only response that comes to your mind is, "Where are your clothes?"

Sticking the pencil up into his nose and the eraser breaks off and is stuck "way up" in the nose - requiring a trip to the doctor for removable.

Putting pea gravel rocks from the playground in the ears and nose.

Putting glue on an unfrosted cupcake and eating it. Eat crayons and the watermarker tips.

During the bathroom breaks, I hear screams . . . then I hear, "it's stuck. i can't get it loose." More screaming. Thinking it's a zipper accident, I get principal to help next door. The child has jammed himself (his body) in a position where his bare bottom is sticking outside the bathroom stall door between the floor and the bottom of the door, and he is in fetal position with his knees to his chest and pants around his ankels under the swinging door! The door is locked from inside. He is stuck. Principal has to push hard on his rear end to get him out. First aid to his back where the door pressed on it is required!

Sue: My observation may be more unfortunate than weird. A student brought in cookies for her birthday. One child dropped his on the floor where it sat for about an hour and a half before I finally asked him to pick it up. As we were walking to lunch, he saw another teacher in the hallway and lo and behold he pulled out that cookie and gave it to her!!! Let that be a lesson to all of us.

catfish: After telling "Missy" (9th grade, blonde) repeatedly to put her book away so we could start a quiz over elements and their symbols, I finally said "OK, number 1". Missy, who sat right in front of me, held up both hands, palms out, and said "No, wait!" Her left palm was covered with the answers to the quiz.

T: A third grader who eats her backpacks! I don't mean chewing on it, but actually eating it- biting off pieces of the plastic, chewing them, and swallowing them. It may as well be a peanut butter and jelly sandwich! This same child has also been known to eat pencils - wood, lead, eraser AND the metal piece that holds the eraser on!

(No lead poisoning or malnutrition- there is pleanty of real food at home and healthy lunches and snacks are provided.)

Some kids will eat anything!

Kim/K/SCal: Okay, I am student teaching and the master teacher asks me to walk back to the classroom to get his wallet so he can pay for pizza. I start off down the hallway and Julia asks to accompany me. Julia is definitely, uh..... shall we say...... "not the sharpest pencil in the box." She is fascinated by the teacher's key ring and jangles the keys all the way to the classroom. When we arrive she begs to be allowed to open the door. Julia puts the correct key (after prompting) into the door but can't get a good angle. The wind is blowing and it is FREEZING outside. An eternity passes while Julia attempts to unlock the door. Remember, I am a brand-new teacher and don't want to damage her self-esteem. So I wait and wait. And wait.

Finally, I suggest, "Julia, if you jiggle the key a little bit, it might work."

So.... Julia REMOVES THE KEY FROM THE LOCK. SHE JIGGLES THE ENTIRE WAD OF KEYS IN HER HAND. SHE THEN RE-INSERTS THE DOOR KEY.

Yup, you guess it: The door opened like a charm....

Annie/HS/VA: When I was student teaching, right in the middle of quiz, without warning, this ninth grade boy springs up from his seat, stands in the aisle and starts doing this crazy little dance and singing at the top of his lungs, "Mart-i-i-in! Mart-i-i-in!" from the TV show theme song. Then, without missing a beat, he sits back down and resumes his quiz in perfect silence.

Dana: A kindergartner "sniffing" a thin rubberband up into one nostril, and losing it up there! It never came out again!

A 1st grade boy attempting to urinate on another 1st gr boy out on the playground! It was like a weird game of tag, with both of them laughing about it!

Jen C./CA: How about a fourth grade ADHD boy who remained seated in his chair with a panic-stricken look on his face during a fire drill? Despite my urging him to hurry up and line up quickly with the rest of the class, all he could do was sit there desperately muttering, "But...but..but....."

I soon realized what he was tring to tell me.... he had tied himself to his chair in every conceivable way - with his sweatshirt, his shoelaces, everything!

hashbrown: I had a group of guitar students working outside one day - When I went to check on their progress, I found that they had stacked seven chairs in a pyramid and kid was crouched on a skateboard while his friends were bowling him into the chairs.

During a rehearsal with a small vocal ensemble, I saw through the reflection that one of the girls in the other choir was trying to distract the performers by flashing them. I kicked her outside, where she removed her top and pressed 'em against the window.

When our black choir dresses arrived and they were five sizes too big. The girls put them on, complained that they looked like witch dresses, got in a circle, joined hands and chanted "Make them shrink. Make them shrink......."

Then there was the male choir student who begged me to let him sing "Santa Baby" as a solo so he could have a dramatic way of "coming out" to his parents.

and I've only been teaching three years.....every day a new adventure!

shelly1/2/AR: Monday, two first graders were in the bathroom together. They are both major behavior problems. One grabbed a toilet brush, swished it a few times, then flung the water into the face of the other.

Now we don't know if this was after they had 'relieved' themselves or not. If any of you have read the private school board in the last few weeks, you'll remember that we have a problem with our cleaning staff. They don't clean. So this was very germy!!!!!!!!

principal teacher: Several of my experiences (as teacher and principal)...

I had a sophomore several years ago work hard to push an entire chain necklace up his nose. I prohibited it in my class and heard later in the day about him going to the hospital to have it removed.....

Students at the school I'm at now don't maliciously commit vandalism, they just disassemble everything, furniture, doors, athletic equipment.....The head custodian is constantly re-assembling.

And then there is the grossness of feces spread around washroom walls (high school girls), obviously someone is ill or extremely bored.

And don't even get me started on the self-mutilation, self-talking, and other wild stories of some of my spec. ed. kids.

Angela: A sixth grade girl climbed on top of a bank of lockers at our school. She proceeded to hunch over and hiss like a cat at other students and staff, she also clawed at people when they got too near her. Her parents had to come to get her down.

When I taught preschool, we were on a field trip and the students got a hotdog and a soda as a treat for lunch. One little boy looked longingly at the soda but refused to drink it because, "We only drink pop with pizza."

MH: At my High School:
1. Kids actually having sex under the stair well, on bathroom counters, on free-standing heaters...
2. A boy who masturbates when he gets nervous.

T2grade: Actually it was not me, but my teaching partner that got this letter. One of the students handed her a letter from his mother in the hall on his way into the classroom. She began reading it while we were chatting with her. All of a sudden she screamed, and dropped the letter. I picked it up, and the mother had written the boy's father a letter indicating what they should do together that night ( in a very sexual way, if you know what I mean. ) She called the 2nd grader back out,a nd asked him if he were sure that letter was for her. (He couldn't read.) He laughed, and said, "Oh wait, your letter is in this pocket. That one is for my Dad." OOOOOOOOOOO!

The Hoosier Schoolmaster: A bored fifth grade farm lad who rolled a ball dead flies with white school glue.

Cate: I am in my first year of teaching high school...every day is weird! But the weirdest would be the two guys who dared each other to eat live mealworms...BIG mealworms....kind of disrupted the class when one of them puked outside the door. He shuld have known not to chew them. The chemistry students who stuck gum wrappers into the electrical outlets and shorted out all the electricity on my side of the hall would get my second place vote.

ickypoo: Perhaps not weird, but funny.... the third grade student who was very proud of himself for remembering the title of one of the most important documents in our country- 'The Constipation'

the third grade student who was proud of coming up with a compound word with the word paper- 'pay-per-view'

the third grade student who complained about a classmate calling him the 'e' word - "He called me an e-diot"

But the wierdest things-some of the tests the state department of education have come up with to test students.

Anonymous: High school boys sucking on pacifiers all day, just about sums it up for me.

(To which Teecher responded):

That can be a strong indication of drug use. Ecstacy causes severe cotton mouth, so often kids will suck on pacifiers to keep their mouth wet. You might ask the drug and alcohol counselor.

Fifth Grade Guy: A fifth grade student of mine was trying to pronounce ANALYSIS and after a while came out with " Anal Alice."

can't say: how about the teacher who let out a silent "toot" and the students all looking around the room trying to figure out who did it. Then putting their shirts up over their noses and looking around the room pointing to each other. Finally, the teacher says, enough...... everyone has gas..... please just say excuse me.

I thought I would BUST UP !!

Teechur: One thing I find interesting is things that people put up with in class! I wouldn't allow a kid to suck on a pacifier during class...nor stick things into a light socket...nor do a number of other things. How do they have so much free time on their hands?

chris: I had a 6th grade girl drink all the ink out of her "gel" pen. It was hot pink. She then let it drip down her face. I also had a 7th grader who sucked his thumb.!!

 
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