I forgot to mention this when the subject of rewards came up.
I had a class clown when I taught 2nd grade. He was in no way disrespectful or mean and did not purposely misbehave (most of the time). But he loved getting the class’s attention, and it was not easy to keep them on track in the first few weeks of school.
I gave the student a sticky note, and I told him that when I go like this (modeled making a tally mark with my finger in the air) to make a tally mark on his sticky note. I told him I would do this every time he was talking out of turn, that it would be between the two of us, and there were no consequences tied to it. By the end of the first day of doing this, his sticky note was covered and he was in tears (which was not my intention). He had written “Bad” at the top. I told him it did not mean he was bad and that the only reason I did this was him was because I didn’t think he knew how much he interrupted his classmates and me. I said that I knew if he was aware of how much it was happening he would do his best to stop. I erased bad and wrote “Room for Improvement.” I told him that tomorrow, we’d do the same thing, but his goal was to have less tally marks. No specific tally mark count, just “less.” I said if he could do this, I would let him pick 2 jokes out of the joke books I had to tell the class at the end of the day.
This was the best solution to any problem I may have ever had.
Each day, the goal was to have less than the day before. It whittled down to a much more manageable number. He was proud of himself, and the other kids loved the jokes.
I used to keep a word file of my favorite quotes from my students.
Here is what I have left of the file (I had more, but I don’t know what happened).
This was when I taught K-1 Special Ed
"I was here tomorrow." -T.
"Look! I’m a dad!" - J.
"He just needs to wash his tongue." -T. about a kid who sticks his fingers in his mouth so we make him wash his hands a lot.
"I am going to name the frog Junior. That’s my tribute to Martin Luther King Junior! The KING!" -M.
"I got money cash. I’m rich baby, I’m rich." -M.
"Miss ——-! my hands are wobbly, they keep on messing me up"- J. about his handwriting.
"Hey red head! Do you know why I called you that? It’s because you have red hair!!!"- M.
"Miss ———, what time is your bedtime?" -J
"About 9 o’clock these days."-Me
"That’s my bedtime too!"-J
"I have a really strong tongue." -T.
"I have a good memory card in my brain." -R.
"I am clapping for my own self." –M.
"I like you as a teacher. You’re nice." -A.
"I’m not a very big fan of yours anymore."-T. after getting in trouble
Someone asked about my breast cancer bracelet
"I got this bracelet to help people who are sick." -me
"Aww. Miss ———— are you sick?"- S.
"If I were your teacher, I would let you do whatever you wanted. Except cuss. And I would give you nickles all the time." -T.
The martial arts teacher and I are “jousting” with those pool noodles. As a natural response, I am flinching.
"I don’t think Miss M——- likes that. I think you should stop." -G.
"Polly, if you keep ignoring me I’m going to have to feed you to the crew."-S. to the paper parrot pinned to his shirt on Pirate Day
"And then there’s this animal, it’s worse than a snake. It crawls down your throat and eats your heart."
"My brain got sleepy, and it almost made me go to sleep. So my brain forgot to tell me to open my eyes when I was walking. So I ran into a door! And I almost bleeded."-T,
I wear a necklace with a heart on it to work.
"Miss M———, do you wear that necklace because you love us?"- S.
"Yes." - Me
For my birthday I gave my kids Browns lunch bags filled with favors.
"I can’t believe it. I can’t believe it. This is the best day ever. It’s YOUR birthday and you gave ME a present!" -M.
Later… after showing his sister what he got and pulling out a peppermint patty
"A breath mint! I’ve GOT A BREATH MINT!"
J. and I are playing Chutes and Ladders (no one else is playing). J randomly looks at me and says:
"We can’t get mad though, because it’s just a game. You can’t get mad at games because they don’t really matter that much."
"Miss ———, you’re my white chocolate." - M. (this and the following comment were meant innocently… there’s a story behind it that maybe one day I will tell).
"Maybe you could help A. think of a way to make it up."-Me
"Be nice to people A. Be nice to all the people."-J.
"Miss ——-, you’re the cream in my coffee. And I LOVE coffee." -M.
"Miss ———, I’m going to stay with you forever."-S.
"I can’t go home yet, I forgot my breath mint!" -M.
"That was me. I just farted." -T. (when no one asked)
"Go Browns and I wish you a Merry Christmas." - J. to my dad
"How did you know I like guitars so much?" -M.
"Because we love you and we just know everything that you like." - Me
"Oh. SAAAAAAAWEEET!" -M
"I can come home with you if you want." - B.
Our principal walks into the gym dressed for mismatch day. D. says this in a sing-songy, but serious voice — not loud enough for anyone other than me and him to hear: “Oh Mr. P. I like your shirt. It is cool. What a handsome man you are.”
While making tally marks and graphs of the people who are right-handed and left-handed, John who is left-handed had this discussion with me, a righty.
"Miss ————, it is MUCH easier to use your left hand."-J.
"For some people, for other people its easier to use your right. That’s why we have left-handed people and right-handed people."-me
"But right hands are bear hands."-J
"Bear hands?" - Me
"Yeah, like the animals." -J
"Who told you that?" - Me
"I saw it on a thing on tv about baseball." - J
So because they used the term BARE handed, J thinks right hands are bear hands which makes it harder for people to use them.
Mrs. L. was saying that my clothes for mismatch day were still color-coordinated. I was disagreeing with her.
"I agree with Miss _____." -D.
"Thanks for having my back D." -Me
"You’re welcome. Don’t worry, I will always be here for you Miss ————." -D
"OWWWW. You just cracked my NIPPLES!" - D. (he meant knuckles)
"You’re wearing glasses!?" -D.
"Yeah, they are new." - me
"Oh. You’re going blind?!" -D
"Can we do the matrix as part of our dance?" -M. about our spring performance to Hannah Montanna
"You have to use the toilet when you’re in there." -Me
"I did use the toilet."-T.
"No you didn’t. You don’t pee in your pants when you use the toilet." - Me
"Oh. I didn’t know that." -T
"I have an exercise ball, Adam tells me to do some stomach crunches but I never do." - Miss L. (my work best friend) to me while walking behind my class
"Its ok! I will remind you to do it in music!!!" -Tyler
"That Titus. He’s my dog man." -J. about one of the 6th graders
"You can’t eat me Miss ——-. Then you would have two hearts and you would throw up." -J.
"It’s not Miss ————-’s FART!" - JB (she meant fault) speaking about the computer not working
I have known Sal Pulito since I was in the third grade. His sister, Aurora, has been best friends with my sister since they were in Kindergarten. Sal was born with Pulmonary Atresia, which means that there is a lack of blood flow to his lungs. It has become a life and death situation for him. Sal is one of the most kind-hearted people I have ever met. He is probably the only one that understand the difficulty of dealing with the antics of “Salt and Pepper” as our sisters called themselves.
His insurance covers a very small percentage of the medical costs, and the deductable that he has to reach first is huge. Obviously, this explains my passion for the recent Health Care legislation, as I know it has been for many people on tumblr. But this story is so personal to me, I wish I could paint you a better picture of the Pulito family, but I will do my best below.
Sal’s parents are first generation immigrants from Italy. They speak Italian and English. Sal’s dad loves Elvis, and admittedly, looked a little bit like him when we were all younger. Sal is a phenomenal key board player, and has been in a band that performs at local restaurants and parties. In recent years, due to his medical condition Sal has had to move back home with his parents. Sal is a year older than me, and I can only imagine the freedom in addition to the good health Sal is hoping to have with this surgery. Sal’s older sister Jackie has a spirited daughter who is 12, and Sal is such a good uncle to her. Nina is the oldest, and for all you Chi-town people I know, she lives in Chicago with her husband and is book sniffer like many of us. Aurora has a little boy who Sal entertains with his music, and Vinny is adorable when he dances along. I have to say Sal’s mother is probably my favorite in the family. Her Italian Flag cookies and homemade spaghetti sauce have been a favorite in our household. Mrs. Pulito is one of the warmest people you could ever meet, and seems to take you into the family as soon as she meets you. She wants the best for everyone, and is always there with a hug and a kiss.
I can only imagine the financial hardship Sal’s condition has added up to over the years. But, what is stuck in the back of my throat is imagining this family without Sal. It is my every hope and prayer that all goes well for them. It would mean a lot to me if you could make a donation, even $1 donations help. I know money is tight for many, so reblogs are very much appreciated as well.
Please click the link above to visit his donation page. The Donate Now button is at the top of the screen.