This week has been rough. I'm teaching my least favorite unit at school, and it's almost killed me. There's only so many times I can explain what a citation is, or how to access articles online, or how to find something in an encyclopedia. I don't mind research IF I'm the one doing it. Teaching research, however, has got to be the 10th circle of Hell. In fact, one of my students asked me this afternoon if the day had been rough. I smiled and asked why. He said that it looked like I had been pulling out my hair. I asked if it really looked that bad. He nodded. I have to admit that there were points today when I felt like some type of sedative was being pumped through the air vents and I was slowly losing consciousness and my sanity. And it seems I wasn't the only one affected. During the (L O N G) three days we've spent in the library, I watched my 7th graders become more and more distracted, bored, and down-right goofy. Here are just 2 examples (the names have been changed to protect the not-so-innocent).
#1 Great White Attack!!!
Caleb walks up to me while in the library and informs me that he is researching Great White Sharks. I try to mirror his enthusiasm, but I can't get a word in edgewise. He holds up 3 books and tells me he already knew all the info that was in those 3 books because he goes diving with his Dad. Caleb adds the random fact that sharks are 55 million years older than dinosaurs. He hesitates for a minute before confiding in me with a whisper, "and you know what? I was bitten by a Great White when I was little. Almost took my leg off."
Wow. We've been in this library *WAY* too long!
Me: Daniel, remind me what you're researching.
Me: Oh, ok. Have you found much info?
Daniel: Nope. Will you help me?
Me: Sure. Let's grab one of the laptops and look up squirrels online.
Daniel: Ok. I can do that. (Picks up a laptop, turns it on, googles squirrels, chooses a website, and starts reading)
Me: Awesome. That looks like a good website. I'm going to help Johnny and then I'll be back to check on you. (Gradually edging away)
Daniel: No! Wait! I have something to tell you! (waving his arms wildly as if trying to stop traffic)
Daniel: Well, Mrs. Burns, have you ever had a pet squirrel?
Me: No. I haven't. Have you? (Falling into his trap...)
Daniel: Yeah! I have!! (getting more and more excited, now moving his feet into the seat of his chair and crouching precariously as if preparing to spring) One day my dad was going to cut down a tree cause he's a tree cutter-downer and he seen that a squirrel nest was in the top so he climbed up and looked and there was 2 baby squirrels in the nest (he continues on without breathing...) and he took it down cause the momma had already done gone. And he brought the babies home to us. I was pumped. And one of the babies died during the night, but the other one lived and you know what we called him?
Me: No, but I have a feeling you're going to tell me.
Daniel: PopTart. Yep. We named him PopTart cause that's what he liked to eat. And I guess PopTart was a good name for him as any cause that's how he died.
Daniel: PopTart died eating PopTarts - and the wrappers and box. We found him belly up in the sink. (drops his eyes to look at his hands folded in his lap.)
Me: (eyes wide, trying to sound sympathetic while imagine a dead squirrel in someone's sink) Wow! I'm so sorry!
Daniel: It's ok but he sure was a good one. In fact, he were the best squirrel I ever had!
Me: How many squirrels have you had?
Daniel: uhhh... one. (facial expression serious as a heart attack).