Monday, April 2, 2012

Plumbing & How To Improve Independent Reading

Arturo was a 3rd grade kid who was impossible not to love even though he worked his hardest to piss you off.  He looked almost like a snowman: perfectly round body and a perfectly round head.  His million dollar smile is going to wind up getting him out of a lot jams in his life (and won't hurt with the girls...).   For as cute and charming as Arturo could be, he was stubborn as a mule, and a lazy student.  If he wasn't in the mood to work, he sat, crossed his arms, and did not move.  We never figured out a way to get him out of his funks, but did figure out that calling home only got him beat.  Arturo was only with us a couple years before his family moved along (he was in a at least four schools by 5th grade, but it'll be the schools fault when he doesn't pass a standardized test... but I digress), but he provided a nice bank of tales his time.  Below are my two, somewhat related, favorites.

We had a little boy named Brendan back when Arturo was here.  Brendan was a 1st grader when Arturo was in 3rd grade, and the poor little guy was a mess.  Among challenges we had with Brendan was that he would regularly crap in the urinal.  Brendan's father was no doubt embarrassed by the nature of the problem and the fact that he kept doing it.  He had a litany of excuses why his son was doing it, and wanted him to clean it up in the future.  As much as my custodian hated cleaning up messes like this, I am generally opposed to having children clean as punishment.  Further, I was not sure why the kid was doing it.  Eventually though, we had to tell Brendan that if he kept it up, there'd be consequences.

Sure enough, a few days later we discover a healthy dump in the urinal and call Brendan down to the office.  He's hysterical that he didn't do it.  Given that he's never denied it in the past, we give him the (temporary) benefit of the doubt (could there honestly be two knuckleheads frosting the urinal cakes?).  Sure enough, after spending several hours of instructional leadership questioning kids about who might be shitting in urinals, we find the culprit: Arturo.  He knew he was in trouble.  He knew we were going to have to call his foster mom who was likely going to hit him.  He just couldn't resist.  He thought crapping in the urinal was hysterical and knew we'd blame Brendan (who's antics were known).  I yelled at him for a while, typical principal BS ("This is VERY disappointing), before sending him on his way. As soon as my office door was closed, I cracked up laughing.

Of course, after this incident, I had to ask Arturo's teacher to keep a closer eye on when he used the bathroom.  Every now and then, I'd check in with the teacher as to how he was doing and whether any problems had a arisen.

"Everything's been fine, but he's been going to the bathroom quite a bit lately.  He says he's had diarrhea (Arturo was the kind of kid who'd just bluntly tell you that)."  Shortly there after, Arturo was granted permission to use the bathroom when he was caught sneaking back into the classroom several minutes later to get a book.  "I can't poop without something to read!"  What 10 year old says that?!

Despite never taking a book home, Arturo finished the year with the highest independent reading scores in the third grade.  :)

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