I have some very needy kids, in terms of attention, in the last test group, the seventh graders.
One little scamp, who throws fits and sulks, got himself a detention before he got done with his work, and was well on his way to getting himself kicked out so the others could get what they needed to done. Finally they settled in, and we started to enjoy working with the words in the new books. "Detention boy" eventually got busy, but did very poorly on his work. He asked when he had to serve. I told him about the student who'd rolled the marble under the science table at the back, having to do it the first week of the new school year.
He finally asked if he could stay and serve it after his lunch. Reluctantly, I agreed.
Some could hardly wait to get out of school. (Since I have/had company waiting at home, I was in that camp for once.) But it was NOT TO BE. I dismissed the kids when 11:50, official lunch time, rolled around.
It was a "cool" detention, as he was 1) over his sulk, saw the class the way it COULD BE, with people having FUN in it, joined in, and off we went.
Says detention boy, "May I go down and get my lunch, then come back up here and eat it?"
"Sure," I say. Now, the buses pull out at 12:25, which means the other kids who have to ride home on the bus are stranded in the lunchroom until then. Both high schoolers and junior high are in there together, and I guess there were some overflow 6th graders when my bunch got down there.
Up comes a girl who had parental permission to LEAVE EARLY. "May I wait in here for my mother to come?"
"Sure." I gave her a paper towel to spread out on the desk surface. She's the one who came to me when she was being beaten on the way to school by her sibling. She is earning an F due to lack of work turned in, but is a really nice girl, reads well, and likes it... but just DON'T ASK for any work on it.
Enter another girl, who tries to stay at school as long as possible, as it is a more enjoyable place than home. She tried to stay last night, but her step mom would not allow it. "Avoiding home" got a paper towel and began an earnest conversation with the "waiting" girl, one of her good friends.
"Detention boy" comes in. He gets a paper towel, and then one of the LD kids, whose MOTHER had already been here looking for him when he'd gone upstairs to take his quiz with that teacher, who can read questions to him, answer questions, etc., give him needed support one on one without the "audience".
I'd told Mom where he was over half an hour ago, but here he was, all goofy. I handed him a paper towel. He put it on his head and danced in a circle. Nobody even paid any attention.
"Detention boy" offers to get ME a lunch. I let him.
"Was there any ketchup down there?"
"I may have some in the fridge. Mayo, mustard, and maybe c."
"Hiding from Mom" got goofy, hearing and reacting to all the M words, as he does. I goofed right back at him, even though there were others present now. All year long, he was to leave classes early and travel the halls alone before the rush, so he'd be with me alone. He'd ask Spanish questions, goofy questions, and just plain be interested. As soon as others came into the room, he'd get aggressive/belligerent, and pick on someone, or hole up with his free reading book.
"Waiting" asked if she could look. A group deployed to the refrigerator. "Detention boy" asked if he could use the mustard.
He pulled out a speckled Dijon mustard. "What's this?"
"Does it have spices in it?"
"Is there a label on the bottle?"
"Duh, this is STILL reading class?"
He picked up a fat yellow "regular" mustard bottle, and asked if he could use it.
"Sure. Please bring me the Dijon."
"This?" He holds it up. Soon, the plain yellow is back in the fridge, but Dijon is being put on in bite-sized trials. I slathered my buns, eating it with fake "ymms".
"What would really be good on this is pickles."
(Turkey, twice the size of the bun. No anything else -- no condiments, no lettuce, no cheese, nothing.)
"There're some in there. You may get them."
I had a jar of Vlasic's Polish gherkins, I was sure. I DID NOT remember having bread and butter pickles in there, too. She comes out, "Bread and butter pickles. Does that mean I can't put them on turkey and bun?"
"You can put them on anything you want, except for the DESKTOP, a classmate, or the FLOOR."
Three minutes of "Do you want my...?" followed, with tons of swaps. Two wanted a single chip sack.
I gave my chips package to Detention boy, who responded first, but was not "Waiting"'s best friend, so had gone chipless in that exchange. He's built like me -- FAT. "I can't eat them. They're too salty, and then I GET FAT from water retention." I pretended I'd eaten a potato chip covered with salt and puffed out my cheeks.
"Are you going to eat your apple?"
When it got set down as though discarded, I emptied my sack onto my desk. "Anyone who doesn't want their apple or carrots may put them in this sack. My HORSES will be your garbage pail."
"Do you have anything I can remove the skin with?"
"No, I took my knife home already, but YOU DO."
"What?" His face said, "No, I don't."
"YOUR TEETH." I clacked mine together... He tried two tiny bites in different places of the apple, then asked if the horses would eat it like that.
"They RUN when they see a sack. They eat oatmeal cookies with icing, and apple cores, so I'm SURE the entire apple would not be a problem. Bet they'll try the carrots, too."
"Hiding from Mom" got goofy and began trying to use Spanish words, whether he knew a word for what he wanted to say, or not. We got into some Spanish stuff, then some silly stuff, and everyone was really enjoying themselves. Three more kids came in, all seventh graders. I guess I was the "PICNIC IN THE SCHOOL" official site.
"Waiting"'s MOTHER came in, moved a folding chair, and joined the group. I offered her a sack lunch. "Detention boy" offered to get her a lunch. She resisted resolutely. After ten or fifteen more minutes of clowning, not a frown, harsh word, or ill tempered outbreak from anyone, (three of the goofiest kids in the group here), Mom and daughter left. One by one, they drifted out. School had been over for several minutes when I looked up at the clock.
I look at my group of seven kids, and think, "Only THREE kids were on the 'can't leave early' list. One of those left with Dad. So, how come I had SEVEN seventh graders in my room for lunch? Five of them were among the 'can leave early' bunch."
"I've KEPT YOU HERE too long."
The last three left. Townie's who could WALK HOME, or not, as desired, I guess.
Amazing. I'm going to miss them!