Friday, June 15, 2018

Things Students Say Year 3

Well that's it: the end of year one of official teaching. I can say I've survived a year in the classroom.

*Self high five*

You hear very different things from the Middle School than senior school, and I wasn't always as good at recording them down. But here are some of my highlights:


August 18 (Eavesdropping on Grade 6 students on the way to the library)
Student A - Now that we're in middle school we can read the older books!
Student B - I know! I used to sneak them when Ms. A wasn't looking last year.

Sept 4 (Grade 6 student about the Secret Garden)
"Yay! I am reading an old Englished old book!"

Sept 13 (Gr 6. While working on a formative cartoon on mythology on their own...)
Student A: "Student B says frog legs taste like chicken."
Student B: "This is true! Frog back legs."
(Me: why is this related to the task?).

Sept 13 (Gr 6. Chairs and desks move above our class).
Students: "Earthquake!"
And: "North Korea's attacking!"
One student: "If there was a war you'd already be dead."
How we seem to jump to conclusions...

Sept 14 (Gr 6)
Student: "Do you have a boyfriend?"
Me: "Secret. If I did what kind of boyfriend would I have?"
Student: "A handsome one."
Me: "Oh Ye--"
Student: "Like Justin Bieber."
*face palm*

Nov 20 (Gr 6, Written)
"Bandits usually look like... Big muscular body, grumpy faces, and a huge bag like Santa Claus's, to put things inside that they steal."

Feb 20th (Gr 6)
Student: "I don't like you very much when we have assessments."
Me: "Glad to know your affection is so deep."

Mar 12th (G6)
Student: "Ms. B, who else is coming on the trip next month?"
Me: "Humans."
Student: "No really? I thought we invited cows."

March 13th (G7)
Student looks at me intensely then: "I've seen your top before! At... Christmas."
Me: "Yep, I did wear this at Christmas. Great memory."

Mar (G6)
Student: "You have a good face Ms. B. It's like a stone."

All the time:
Multiple Students: "Ms........ B...riard."
Me: "I've taught you for how long and you still can't remember my name?"

Mar 14th (G7s)
Giant group of grade 7s comes into my classroom at the end of the day and pile up on the rug and bean bags in my room (10-15. I teach 2-3 and 3-4 are in my homeroom and the rest I don't teach at all).
Me: "What are you all doing in here?"
Students are silent for a beat.
Student A: "Uhhh... Ms. B we love you."
Student B: "You're so pretty."
More chorus responses.
Self-esteem boost check?

April 4th (G6)
Student: "Your neck looks like a giraffe."
Me: "Thanks...?"

April 6th (G6)
"Happy Birthday--you look tired."
Compliments at their finest.

April 25th (G6)
"We say that you're salty, but really you're sharp."
"Even if I think the grade is salty, when I read through the comments I think you're exactly right."

May 14th (G6)
"The other grade sixes think you're scary or pretty."
"One or the other? Not together?"

(same student as above, a little later in the conversation)
"No one can read your emotions."

May 22nd (G6)
Student A: "Ms. B, what does the K in your name stand for?"
Me: "Secret."
Student A: "No seriously."
Student B: "Is it Kelly?"
Me: "Do I look like a Kelly?"
Student A: "No. Is it Kendall? or Kay? Like just the letter?"
Me: "Do I look like a Kendall? or Kay? I could dig it."
Students: "Nooooo."

May 28th (G6 news article)
As a teacher, you have to build up your reputation somehow...
"Ms. Briard is the saltiest teacher."

Thursday, June 07, 2018

Kid Normal: Super without Super Powers?

If I’m being honest, when I first picked up the novel Kid Normal by Greg James and Chris Smith, I put it back. While you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, I was definitely guilty. I mean, the edges of the pages are yellow, and not in what I’d consider an attractive way.
Cover of the book. Image courtesy

At the time of purchase, I was at my school's book fair and I wanted to get a variety of books from all sorts of genres and styles for my classroom.

As I arrived at the check out, Kid Normal had migrated back into my basket. Thus, my fate was sealed.

No regrets.

The novel is about Murph Cooper. Desperate to find him a new school after a recent move, Murph ends up in “The School.” Unbeknownst to Murph and his family, the School is for children with special powers called “capabilities” or “capes” for short. Children enroll to learn how to control powers like super strength or speed so that they can either enter the world as future heroes, or merely gain control of less desirable capabilities (transforming your head into a giant fog horn or summoning two tiny horses) and return quietly to the normal world. Murph, being a normal kid, doesn’t quite fit in. But with an evil wasp-man on the loose, he just might have to step up!

The novel is a blend of images, text, and font choices that come together to add a depth to the story, especially when it comes to sounds. The authors work full time as radio DJs and they bring in extra noise with radio-like elements that make the story really leap off the page. Full of jokes, pop culture references and the occasional aside to the audience, I can almost imagine them reading parts of the story aloud! A truly enjoyable ride.

While I fell in love with the overall story and quirky cast of characters (again, summoning miniature horses?), my favourite part of the book is how James and Smith use descriptive language--something I never thought I’d say. The descriptions, however, are hilarious. Half of the time they don’t make sense, or they are over exaggerated. At times, they compare characters, settings and objects using similes and metaphors that are utterly ridiculous and I can’t help but burst into laughter.

For the hysterical writing, engaging plot, and interesting characters, I gave this book 5 out of 5 stars. I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys a good story and can laugh at themselves.

Happy Reading!

P.S. This post was initially written for a project with my grade 6 students this term, but I liked the book so much I wanted to spread the word.

Things I've learned about France (or at least Normandy)

Well there we go, my second European country. In some ways, very similar to England (a lot of meat and potatoes, fancy churches, pay toilets...