Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Comics By Stretch

As I mentioned, I'm heading out to score the ELA exam for a few days, and I'm starting to lose my mind over what's going to happen while I'm gone. A conversation I had with one of my dear little friends, Stretch, today reaffirmed my fears.

Stretch is a terrific child. He's not terribly interested in school except for art class. He spends most of his time drawing. Differentiating for this child is pretty easy because you just have to think of something that will let him draw or design, and he's happy. He looks a little scary--being six feet tall in the eighth grade will do that for you--but he's a sweet boy with a beautiful smile and a fun personality. I am constantly, however, chiding him as gently as I can for not working harder (when it doesn't involve drawing).

So Stretch was working on his exit project, which is a memoir/graphic novel in the tradition of Persepolis (a book my kids loved). He paused to ask me what literature circle group he was going to be a part of for our new unit, and I told him. He seemed satisfied.

"Now, Stretch," I told him, "while I'm gone, you have to read the book."

"I know," he said.

"You got to pick the book," I continued. "So I expect you to read it."

"I know," he said.

"I don't want to hear that you spent the time working on your exit project," I said, trying to sound stern.

He nodded seriously.

"I'm going to leave a note for the substitute saying that you're not supposed to be working on it, that you're supposed to be reading, and if you tell him that you're drawing it for a school project, you're lying."

"Do it," he said, grinning.

I sighed. "At least read first, before you draw, okay?"

He smiled. "Now, that's more like it," he said.

I like Stretch. I probably should be harder on him. But he makes me smile.