Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Pearls for Girls

So a local college had a young man's initiative day today.
Our young men went.
That left us with the girls.

We needed a plan.  The principal thought  we should string necklaces of pearls.   Because our girls are our precious gems.  My first thought- Pearls aren't gems.  My second thought- (with thanks to my mother for telegraphing it from above)- "you don't always have to be such a know it all,  keep your mouth shut - Teacherfish,"
.And remarkably I did.

At 9 am we assembled in the cafeteria, (which is as large and as cavernous as you think it would be) and waited around for instructions to make pearl necklaces.  First came the bag with a string of pearls.  (Okay - stringing pearls necklaces now morphs into attaching clasps to strings of pearls or glass pseudo pearls)  Then came the instruction sheet and after a really long wait, while the clasps were being located somewhere in the building- little sandwich bags with the clasps  and these two infinitesimally small beads that should be used to secure the clasps.I spent a lot of time looking for people's little tiny clasp securing beads, since they disappeared as quickly as you would think something that small would.

Kaitlin zoned it all out.  She had her SAT prep book and calculator out on the lunch table and was  working the  questions. " I got to get my score up -if I want to go to a good college," she told me.  So I  gathered her necklace equipment to the side and offered to help if she wanted it,  While we waited for further instructions various folks got up and gave inspirational talks as someone searched wildly for the missing clasps.  The principal came by and shut Kaitlin's book.  It was time for her to pay attention to the speakers.

An hour later most necklaces complete - we went into to the gym for more motivational speeches and dance performance.and a group picture of  our pearled population.

I don't know how the young men's initiative went, They didn't come back with jewelry.

A Different kind of  Pearl story.
Pearl is an eighth grader with a variety of learning disabilities that lands her in the somewhat chaotic eighth grade inclusion class.  I only co-teach in that class a few times a week. Yesterday we were listening to a rather confusing video on geometric transformations and I was having a problem figuring out how to do the worksheet that went with it.  The noise was deafening, there were two other teachers in there so I offered Pearl and few others the opportunity to retreat to the resource room and quiet.  There, on an old fashioned chalkboard I drew a grid- and Pearl and I were able to get all the transformations exactly where we needed them.  No confusing video- no smudged-grid worksheet.  Just a nice large grid to manipulate shapes and fire neurons that just wouldn't fired up  on small paper in a noisy classroom.

As I walked Pearl back to class, I confessed that I was having problems figuring out what to do from listening to the video.
"Don't feel too bad, Ms. Teacherfish,"  Pearl comforted me, "I didn't get it either."

Sometimes life gives you pseudo pearls.
Sometimes real ones.

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