Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Day 362- Disco Tuesday

Since my kids started to check out about two weeks ago, I have been trying all kinds of things to keep them involved and engaged in what we're doing in class.  I put together a few fun assignments/projects/pieces for them to work on this week, and they will be doing a lot of working independently, reflecting, and writing.  My babysitting and management skills have already come in handy this week, and I can only imagine what Monday and Tuesday are going to be like next week!  Only five more days until break...

Five more days!  Five more days! 

I find myself chanting things like this under my breath occasionally.  I love my job, and I enjoy the kids, but I will certainly never turn down a chance for a break.  I'll also never turn down and opportunity to see our family and friends, to relax, or to spend my evenings doing something other than grading papers.  I digress.

Anyway... I grabbed one of my big cd holder cases out of my car on my way into the building this morning.  I like to play music while the kids are working, and I often work with some sort of theme (for example, when the kids were all complaining yesterday about how school should have been cancelled because there was a
-15 windchill factor, I made a tropical playlist to thaw everyone out).  Other times, I try to tie the music in with whatever we're working on.  When we were studying theme in literature, we listened to popular theme songs.  When we were reading persuasive texts written by Bono for Time Kids, we listened to U2.  You get the picture.

Today, however, I had begun to flip the switch into survival mode.  I figured I'd find something in my pack of cds that would be acceptable easy listening while students were writing.  Once I got into my room and settled in for the day, I realized that I had grabbed the wrong pack of cds.  Oops.  Instead of a vast array of wonderful choices, I had a random assortment of cds that I had burned over the years but neglected to label.  It was like an entire bag of the Dum Dum suckers with the question marks on them.  Who really wants to take that chance?  There were only a few discs that had some sort of label indicating what they actually were, and I had to make a decision... and fast.  Big Willie Style, Selena, or Disco Jams?  I could just picture all of the students groaning and whining the way they tend to do on occasion no matter what the choice is.  After an eeny meeny miny mo/scientific/coin  flipping kind of decision process, I dropped the disco cd into the player and figured that it would at least get a laugh.

Thus, Disco Tuesday was born.

I was shocked and pleased that class after class not only tolerated the disco cd-- they LOVED it!  They were tapping their feet and bopping their heads and singing along to songs that I never even imagined they had heard before.  They delighted in "Funky Town" as being "that song from Shrek," and I didn't have the heart to tell them anything different.  They were on their feet for "YMCA," many of them with backwards "C"s, of course.  Again, who am I to rain on their parade?  Speaking of rain, they sure did enjoy "It's Raining Men" too.  I was delighted with the number of little eighth grade boys (and girls) who were confident enough to dance and sing along to that one with reckless abandon.  I was also thrilled with the smiles and the joy.  These kids are not easy nuts to crack this close to break!

Although it sounds as if there was not a whole lot of learning going on, that's actually not true at all.  Disco Tuesday accomplished something very important for me.  It helped me to make sure that students were present in my room.  Keeping students in the room in that sense is often a huge part of winning the battle.  Disco Tuesday kept them engaged enough to tackle the writing assignments that I was throwing at them and to buy into whatever else was happening in my room today.  I think I may just "accidentally" pull that cd out again for another Disco Tuesday or ten. 

Now how am I going to top this on Wednesday...? 

Thank you, Disco Tuesday, you made my day.          

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