21 September 2004


1st period.

MB: Okay, if I said, "Julie is a jerkhead," would that be fact or opinion?
Class: FACT.
MB: Um. Okay. Let's back up. If I said, "Ms. Backes is a teacher," is that fact or opinion?
Class: FACT.
MB: Why?
Bill: Because you teach.
MB: Right. I do teach classes, and I get paid to teach, and I have a teaching license. That's three pieces of evidence we can point to. Whereas, if I said, "Julie is a jerkhead," can you point to a license she has saying so? Is she a card-carrying jerkhead? Did some federal judge decree her to be a jerkhead, officially?
Class: (thinking really hard) .....no......
MB: So if there's no evidence, how could it be a fact?
Ellen: I don't get it.
MB: Okay, think about it this way. Is it possible that someone else in the world thinks Julie is not a jerkhead?
Class: ....maybe....
MB: Can it be a fact if two different people have two different opinions about it?
Class: .... Oh! I get it!!
MB: Whew!

AND I used the story about the deaf people on Martha's Vineyard to talk about the social construction of, you know, EVERYTHING. I never thought I'd say this, but thanks, exceptional child!!

7th period.

Cody: Ms. Backes, can our conflict be that I'm a werewolf who can talk?
Me: .... So, what's the conflict?
Cody: And I eat people?
Me: So... the conflict is that it's hard to talk with your mouth full of people?
Cody: Um... nah.
Me: Okay... so maybe your conflict would be that the people don't want to be eaten.
Cody: Oh, yeah! Good one, Miss B!


1st period.

(I've been outside giving a makeup test, and come in halfway through THIS video....)

Video: [Xmas music playing, mom & daughter happily making cookies, little boy playing with game boy by xmas tree, dad on computer, happy dog and cat curled up by fire, sweet little birdie in cage in kitchen. Joy to the world, etc.]
Narrator on Video: Have you ever thought about how many things you have in your power grid? Computer, microwave, blender, clock radio. Imagine if all of these things gained a life of their own and decided they didn't like you.
Video: [Xmas music gets all screechy, man's computer starts flashing "THE END IS NEAR!!", little girl gets attacked by waffle iron, little boy gets attacked by christmas tree.]
My Team Teacher: I'm not putting up a christmas tree in 2012, that's for sure!
Me: [stunned and speechless in the back of the room]
Narrator on Video: Cats, dogs, pet parakeets, they'll all attack.
Video: [Shots of angry screechy cat and dog, parakeet basically explodes out through its cage.]
Narrator: Chickens, turkeys, horses, they'll all begin to talk and tell us of all our sins against them.
Student: We're all gonna die!
Narrator: This is what will happen on December 21, 2012.... ON THE DAY THE WORLD ENDS IN FLAMES.
Kids: Aaaaaaaahhhhhhhh!!!!!
Team Teacher: [strolling to VCR] Pretty scary, huh? Of course, that's just one theory about the end of the world, from the ancient Mayans.
Kids: Aaaaaaaaahhhhhhhh!!!!!! We're all gonna die!!


Me: Um, that video was pretty over-the-top, don't you think?
Team Teacher: Yeah, but I did a pretty good job of emphasizing that it was just a theory, didn't I?
Me: Um...... no. I'm pretty sure the kids got stuck on the "we're all going to die" part, and missed the "or so one theory goes" part.

Team Teacher: Did you know that we are 99.99% genetically identical to chimps?
Jared: My dad says I am! My dad says I'm closer!

TT: There is a consistency around the world of alien intervention.

TT: All schoolchildren in India are taught that white people come from Mars!
Kids: What? That's weird!
TT: It's true!
Me: Wait a minute. I don't know that that IS true. I have several friends from India, and none of them has ever accused me of being from Mars.
TT: Well, maybe not EVERYONE learns that.... but most.
Carly: [turns around and smiles at me, as if to say "don't worry Ms. Backes, we all know that Mr. K is completely demented"]
TT: Let me ask you this. The teachers in India teach this as fact, but what do you think would happen to a teacher here if they were teaching it?
Kids: They'd get fired!
TT: Right!
Me: [strangling myself] Arrrghh! The irony!

6th period.

Me: A conflict is when someone WANTS something, and something stands in their way. For example, if I wanted to put this pencil on that desk, that's not a conflict. But --
Joey: If there was a NINJA.....
Me: Um, right. If there was a ninja standing here, that would be a conflict, because something is standing between me and the desk.
Joey: A NINJA!
Kellie: Or if you had no legs!
Me: True. It would be a conflict if I wanted to get to that desk, but I didn't have legs to get there.
Dave: You're pretty tall. You could probably just lean over and set it there.
Me: Ah, but not if I didn't have legs! Then I'd be short!

7th period.

Me: You should have your blue sheet in front of you.
Class: chatter chatter mumble murmur chitter giggle mumble mumble
Me: Blue sheet. In front of you. Blue.
Class: talky chatter mumble mumble murmur giggle mumble chatter whisper
Kid: Ms Backes, what do we need?
Me: Your blue sheet. Out in front of you. Blue sheet.
Class: whisper mumble mumble chatter giggle! mumble chatter chitter talky talky
Me: You know what I feel like? When Dorothy's house crashes in Oz, and she steps out and all the munchkins are going [munchkin voice] "mutter mutter whisper whisper mumble chatter mumble giggle query chatter talky." And Dorothy stands there totally overwhelmed by the muttering munchkins. That's how I feel!!
Class: Are WE the munchkins?
Me: YOU are paying my therapy bills if you don't get out your blue sheets!
Class: Blue sheets? What blue sheets? What did she say? What do we need? I don't have a blue sheet!
Me: [running for the nearest padded room] Aaaaaaahhhhhh!!!!

I feel so mentally ill today.

The upside is that I made up a good way of remembering teaching 1st/2nd/3rd person POV on the spot today: They couldn't get the difference between the three, so I had two kids come up and stand in a line beside me. I said, "**I** am first. I am first in line." Turned to Ciera. "You are second. YOU are the second one in line." Pointed over her head to Amy. "SHE is third. SHE is third in line." Then I said, "Now when you're trying to remember, just think of me turning to Ciera and telling her YOU are second. And Amy back there, SHE is third. And of course, I am first, because I am always first."


5th period. (free reading)

Kid: Ms. Backes, someone farted!
Me: [rolling eyes]
Class: giggle giggle.
Class: giggle giggle!
Class: Giggle giggle GIGGLE GIGGLE!!!
Me: Guy, you're supposed to be SILENTLY reading. Please get control of yourselves!
Class: HA HA HA HA HA HA!!!

7th period.

Me: Okay, gang. Don't forget that Sunday is National Talk Like a Pirate Day!
Eddie: Do we get extra credit if we do?
Me: What?
Eddie: Do we get extra credit if we talk like a pirate?
Jimmy: Aarrrrr, me matey! Extra credit or walk the plank!

More great lines from 7th grade stories:

From The Year

“By the Jocks booth there was the Cheerleader stand. Maybe I could be a cheerleader. I started to walk up to the stand. When one of the girls stared at me straight in the eye. It was a cold dark stare, like she was saying this is not for you go away your blocking the sign. Suddenly I turned away. I realized why she stared at me like that. I was a short thin blond with glasses who still wore overalls to school. I was a full pledged nerd.”

From The first day of 7th grade

“We had to get our schedule. Then we had to meet all our teachers. Veronica! I saw her! She is the cutest girl out of the 7th and 8th grade. I like her but I don’t think she likes me.”

From 7th Grade Students Who Are Happy

"She hates history, but she likes him."
"She closed her locker and her best friend."

From 7th Grade Blues

"Being a mutant was not normal."

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