Thursday, November 19, 2009

"That Guy Looks Like Ice Cube"

It was a busy and tiring day at the Morton School. My darlings were a little crazy this afternoon and probably not terribly encouraged by the results of the quiz I handed back to them, and they were cranky and mumbly for much of their double period. They were also annoyed with their guided reading group members, a number of whom had not done their reading last night and a few of whom were several days behind. In turn, I was also not perhaps in the most chipper of moods by the time last period rolled around.

When my truculent dears were finally settled into their works, I set to conferencing with my groups. One group had a boy I'll call Levar who was far ahead of his partner because his partner was way behind, so I decided to start him on a new, more challenging book. I went to the classroom library to get a book I'd borrowed from another teacher with him in mind.

"Here," I said, handing him Walking with the Wind: A Memoir of the Movement by John Lewis. "I thought you'd like this. It's about the civil rights movement and there are some really exciting parts about how Lewis confronted violence in the South while trying to fight for equal rights. And it will be a challenging read for you, too."

Levar took the book and held it at arm's length. "Yo," he said thoughtfully, looking at the portrait of a young, tense Lewis on the cover, "that guy looks like Ice Cube."

Well, I probably should have stopped him from comparing the august John Lewis to a gangsta rapper. But I didn't. Instead I laughed, and laughed, and my tension and frustration softened, at least for a while.

Thanks, Levar. I needed that.