Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Attention all Bloods: please put down the blades

My friend Sharon teaches writing to high school students up in Harlem. She loves her kids, but most of the time is spent babysitting--quieting them down, forcing them to pay attention, etc. One day recently was a particular bad day. The kids just would not listen. They kept disrupting her lesson with incessant chatter. Finally, when Sharon had had enough, one of her students told her why they just couldn't pay attention:

"I'm sorry, Miss Sharon, but today is Female Bloods Initiation Day!!!"

Turns out her kids were in a tizzy because on "Female Bloods Initiation" day, all the new Bloods gang girls run around Harlem cutting people with blades.

I can just hear the matter-of-factness in Sharon's voice when she replied, "Alright. Are there any female Bloods in this classroom?" before carrying on with her lesson plan.

Oh, and you've got to check out these kids writings. Sharon's getting some terrific stuff out of these students. For one lesson, they wrote about "place" by "Using specific sensory details to bring your writing alive." The place they wrote about was their homes.

Check the link above to read about life in Spanish Harlem....where

"if you walk around looking like an idiot you will get stomped….fast."

Also in Spanish Harlem, one may spot "fake hair on the ground" (!!!)

You can also read from a student who writes about Canarsie, Brooklyn:

"When I walk out my front door it smells like hot garbage and wet dog."

Sensory details, indeed! Genius! Suddenly I really, really want to teach high school.

But I'm concerned I may get stomped...fast.

2 comments:

The Blackout Blog said...

The 3rd one is really good.

Ps, do I smell a guest speaker?

Mark in DE said...

Lordy! There is not enough money in the world to get me to teach school.

In the words of Sissy from Sordid Lives: "Uh-uh, no, no siree, no way, no-no-no-no-no, no ma'am".

Mark :-)