Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Just Sittin' Back Watching Every Adult Die

Damian is one of my fourth grade students, and what a fine, young man he is. One of his recent stories that he wrote and that I was helping him edit during Writer's Workshop class has me still laughing. After you read this blog, you'll either laugh with Damian and me, worry about me, or worry about both of us.

I assigned a prompt, an idea that gets the writer's mind to thinking, and it starts every classroom writer off with the same idea. The prompt was, "You are on a class field trip to the zoo. While walking by the duck pond, you see something glistening under the water. Upon closer inspection you find.........." Each child is then asked to finish the story.

I was checking Damian's prewriting, and he wrote that he saw something shiny under the water, sneaked into the pond, looked under the water, saw a doorknob that looked like a gigantic diamond, pulled on the doorknob, and opened a door that led to a vortex that started sucking all the adults into it. The story continued, but I was intrigued by this unusual development, so I inquired further.

"Damian, did anybody else get sucked into the vortex, or was it just the adults?

"It was just the adults, Mr. W."

"Was it the adults that were in the zoo, all the adults in Albuquerque, or all the adults in the United States?"

"No, it was ALL the adults."

"All the adults in the whole, wide world?"

"Yeah. All the adults."

"Well Damian, your story leaves out some of the details. If every adult in the whole, wide world got sucked in, how long did it take for them to get sucked into this vortex?"

"I don't know. A couple of hours, I guess."

"Well, your story is missing these details. Let's write this down in your prewriting plan...........OK. We have that written down. Now tell me, what did you do during those two hours?"

"I just sat there and watched."

"So every adult in the world, every, single one of them, are being sucked into this vortex, and you sat there and watched for TWO HOURS?"

"At this point, Damian started giggling. "Yeah. Heh, heh, heh! I just sat there."

"What were all the other kids at the zoo doing while all these adults were disappearing? Were they watching too?"

"Heh, heh, heh. Yeah. They were sitting there watching too. Heh heh!"

"So when all the Chinese adults were pouring into this vortex, you looked at all your classmates and the other kids and said, 'Well, there goes all the adults from China.' "

Damian is, by this time, in stitches. He's laughing pretty hard, and I'm starting to get a kick out of this, too.

"Heh heh! Yeah. I guess we just sat there watching 'em go in!"

"Damian, did any kids go get popcorn or a corn dog while all this was happening, or did they just sit there with you and watch?"

Damian is really laughing now. "Mr. W., they just sat there. All the kids just sat there and Ha! Ha! Ha! just watched the adults get sucked into this alternate universe! Ha ! Ha! Ha!"

Damian is an African-American, so I went for the jugular. "When all the adults from Africa got sucked into the vortex, did every kid say, 'Oh look! there goes all the Africans!' "

Damian is unable to stifle his giggles, and said, "Hah! Hah! Hah! Oh my God! I think I need to rewrite this part."

I said, "Damian, I think you're pretty smart for getting my offbeat sense of humor. Let's just say that your story needs detail. We'll let this part go as it is, for now."

Damian, still laughing, says, "No, let me try changing it."

I gave him his story and he went back to his desk. I am really curious as to how his story will play out.

PS. I am referring Damian for the Enriched (Gifted) program. His academic and thinking skills, combined with his abilty to "get" his teacher's unusual sense of humor, make me think that this is one smart boy.

Or, like me, a nimnut with a wacked sense of humor.

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