This is an actual letter that I sent to three administrators and the P.A.S.S. teacher (a different take on adaptive behavior programs–kids who have very specific acting out tendencies) regarding one of the most surprising results from Chopped Poetry. This came from an 8th grade student that I teach.
I did an experimental lesson in my room last week over poetry. It actually went pretty well, but I had to share this one with you. The kids picked an envelope with “ingredients.”. This student chose free verse. In the envelope were the following items that HAD to be in their poem:
Type: Free Verse
Figurative Language: repetition, personification
As it runs through the wild
listen to him
The shriek of his roar,
his footsteps like thunder against the
When he runs
The wind whips by him with a cry.
This is Heavy Metal.
This is freedom.
by Zach Simpson (name changed)
Once I had completed the explanation and directions for the students, I went to wake Zach up to tell him the directions. When I shook his shoulder and said, “Zach?” He didn’t even raise his head–he just whipped this paper out from under his face and held it aloft. I let him finish his nap.
Zach’s “target behaviors” that he must avoid to participate in Friday Funday are being verbally and physically aggressive toward teachers and students as well as leaving the instructional area or school building without permission. I have seen none of those behaviors, but I do spend the better part of most days silently determining when to let him sleep and when it’s time to wake up and do work. Some days this job is more rewarding than others. Not only did Zach get a nap this day, he also got a 100.