Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Feeling Flush

This is the time of year when I have to be kind of creative in the classroom. We are a week and a half away from spring break. And that is only a week long, mind you. We still have to get through the end of the school year. The snow is gone and the sun is peeking through every now and again, making us all think that summer vacation might just happen at some point.

In a room full of kids who don't want to be there under the best of circumstances, it is challenging to keep things going.

So...when they show the slightest bit of interest in anything, I leap on it like a puma who just broke up with his vegan girlfriend and has spotted meat on the hoof. I'm desperate.

We just finished up an "interesting" unit on paper airplane construction and tested their creations for flight distance. Next up: paper boats. I don't know why they want to build boats. They just do. So we are making boats and trying to see if we can get them to float for any length of time. I can make math and language lessons out of this if I don't let them know the education is in there.

In an effort to get into the spirit of the whole thing, I looked up directions for making a simple paper boat and whipped up an example. I am, however, tired and not really given to adult behavior at this point. This could go a long way towards explaining yesterday.

Ms. Sheep: Hey! Lookit! I made a paper boat!

The Stalker (who has followed me since fourth grade and through three schools): Mmm-hmmm...

MS: I said LOOK! It's amazing! In fact, I think it is the greatest boat ever crafted out of unread parent notices that no one bothered to take home!

TS: (absorbed in his own boat building) That's very nice. You did a good job.

MS: I'm gonna test it. I'll bet it will float, like...FOREVER! (begins scanning the room for sources of water)

TS: We could take it outside later. Maybe during study hall or something. You just have to wait until after lunch and then we can go visit that enormous puddle.

MS: No. I wanna do it now. I just need to find a place...I know! I'll put it in the toilet!

TS: That is a very bad idea.

MS: No. It is a very good idea. The toilet is right over there. I won't even have to go outside.

TS sighs and puts away his half-built boat. He goes into the bathroom, shuts the door and the sounds of running water, crumpling and crashing can be heard. Also audible is a great deal of muttering. He emerges a few minutes later and takes his teacher's boat.

MS: HEY!!!

TS: Look. I'm putting it in the sink. I've stopped it up with paper towels like we did that time in the downstairs boys restroom that you don't know about. Only this time I shut off the water. Just leave your boat in there and we'll check it when I get back from lunch. Think you can handle that?

MS: I still think...

TS: NO. It stays in the sink.

MS: (mumbling) Could've made some wicked cool waves in the toilet...

It actually floated for quite a while in there. It would have lasted longer had I not kept sneaking in to add more water. I sort of accidentally filled the little boat when I lost control of the tap and scuttled it. But I didn't admit that when The Stalker and the boy who is Gauged And Aerodynamic came back from lunch.

MS: My boat sank.

TS: That's the way these things go.

GAA: How did you float your boat?

TS: (before MS can answer) I put it in the sink. SHE wanted to put it in the toilet.

GAA: That's disgusting. And someone would have flushed it eventually.

MS: Yeah. That would have been a mess, I guess.

GAA: You'd be surprised what would go down there. I've seen people flush soda cans and everything.

MS: I really didn't need to know that. It's possible I could be obligated to say something about this.

GAA: Sometimes we just go in there to flush stuff.

MS: And then the toilets get backed up. It's not good.

GAA: My toilet at home is amazing. It will flush anything!

MS: Mine's pretty good. Swirly water and whatnot...

GAA: Hey! You dissin' my toilet? No one talks trash about my toilet!

MS: (snickering and having forgotten all disappointment over her failed toilet boat experiment) What? Is your toilet gonna come after me? Should I be all scared of your toilet?

GAA: Yeah, you better be scared. My toilet don't mess around.

TS: It'll flush you up, girl.

That was the end for me. I couldn't even breath. I think I may have actually hurt myself laughing. It was nice to have a little moment of joy in an otherwise rough time of the year. We probably won't ever make it into the paper boating hall of fame, but that's OK. Maybe one of them will grow up to be a plumber or something. At this point in the school year, it's perfectly acceptable to stretch the limits of probability.

It's also the time of year where I apparently lose the will to knit. I've lugged that foolish sock around with me for weeks now and still can't seem to work up the gumption to make it into something finished. Maybe when school vacation finally rolls around I'll have the time and the inclination to do something with it.

Or I might just race boats in the toilet. You never know how these things will play out at this time of year...



Kath said...

You teach boy children. You don't really need me to explain what would have happened to your little boat if you had tried to float it in the toilet - do you? (Think "target practice".) Perhaps The Stalker was really doing you a favor by insisting on the sink? If so, I'm giving him points for that one!

trek said...

I've kinda lost the will to knit, too, but now I can look up paper boat construction and teach the Neatnik!

Anonymous said...

I love your stories. What ever happened to the bridge builder from last year?

PICAdrienne said...

My son's Cub Scout troup used to have the "Rain Gutter Regatta" each September. Nice long strips of contained water for racing boats, not that boys are ever competitive, or anything.

Mia said...

I'd love to meet "TS" ::laughing::

Karen said...

Being the mother of a boy I totally agree with Kath. Caution is necessary when boys and toilets are involved.

Donna Lee said...

I loved teaching science. One of my favorite comments came from one boy who said "Hey, you're trying to make me think, aren't you?" No, would I do that?

Anonymous said...

It seems there's been a bit of role reversal in your classroom. I must say that I am pretty surprised that The Stalker didn't jump at the chance to have a little target practice with your boat; he must really like you.

Spring vacation, eh? Any chance you might make it down my way for a little Tuesday night knitting?

Knitting Linguist said...

You are lucky to have students who care enough to plug up a sink for you, to save you from toilet-clogging boat experiments :)

catsmum said...

can't comment ... laughing too hard for coherent thought