Monday, January 26, 2009


A funny, sweet postscript to make for my earlier, bitter, rant-y post:

My friend T (mentioned briefly in this post) and I were having a chat today. T is a fun kid. Like I said, he has ADHD, but he's been diagnosed for a long time and manages it really well. He also has a great family. He's lucky. T and I were chatting about possible ideas for his ELA exit project (shh, don't tell my kids it's not a state requirement!*). I asked him what he was interested in.

"Snakes," he said instantly.

"Ooooookay," I said, "what about snakes? Can you elaborate?"

"I was watching this show the other day," explained T, "about, like, snakes and how they poison people. This guy would, like, try to chase poisonous snakes and he got bitten once and almost died. I want to learn more about snakes."

I really wanted to laugh, not in a mean way, but his interest in snakes really seemed so...genuine, I guess. Unvarnished. Unforced. I just loved it. Today was a rough day, what with me still having the plague and the quality review discussion and all, and this chat with T reminded me what is so great about teaching kids.

"You know," I said, "let's talk some more about how we could turn that into a research project, then. I bet you could learn lots more about snakes."

"Like how much snake poison it takes to kill someone?" T asked, with great eagerness."

"Um, yes," I said. "Sure."

*You're right, it's not a state requirement. But I really want to have something that keeps my wiggly eighth grades hooked into school until the last possible minute, and I figure a self-designed, self-chosen final project is the way to go. I'll probably post more about it in the near future, as my kids are starting them now.