As we rush headlong into 2016 we at Purplearn and The Dear Wise Elders Foundation would like to pause and give thanks. A very big and grateful thank you to everyone whose lives we touched in 2015. We love you all.
Perhaps the biggest thanks of all go out to the children and especially those children at the New Brunswick Middle School. Some children of immigrants, with nothing themselves, were not stingy with their love and warmth in their cards and letters. To all those kids who gave the beautiful gift of a smile to our older adults, you really are the best.
I burst through the
double doors back at the top of the stairs. I mean to stop and open the door
for what will hopefully be the arrival of a merely late, not absent sub next
door to me, but I see a large, dark head in front of the classroom. His stylish
goatee, almost regal bearing, and dark blue uniform mark him as a man among the
boys even before I can see the actual word, security, stenciled across his
back. Ahead of him a group of tightly packed minor trouble makers whisper to
each other and walk quickly past me to get out of his line of sight.
The variations continue with the kids’ footwear. Boys whose shirts look like they haven’t been washed in a week sport brand new $300 Jordans, or one of dozens of other sneakers, often in ludicrous color combinations. The girls are mostly wearing brand name boots like Uggs or Frye or some knock off designer thigh high monstrosities. The style for socks this year seems to be that, if they can be seen, they mustn’t match any other article of the wearer’s clothing. I must confess that even I am caught up in the wild sock trend and I am wearing a pair of brightly colored, tribally patterned knee highs under my stretchy khaki slacks.
As I looked back at my blog posts I noticed that I never finished posting chapter 1 of my one-day-to-be-published book. Ironic that it was about a year ago that I last posted a piece of it.
Behind the fading
whistling comes the staccato drum of alternating light and heavy, running
footsteps. “First!” yells Damarcus, a skinny, light-skinned and light-hearted black
kid who punctuates it with a joyous whack of his bony knuckles against his
“You cheated,” puffs
Jose, a short, heavy Dominican kid who is a little too out of breath for a
twelve year old who has just run up only one flight of stairs.
I wore my tuxedo to school Tuesday, December 23rd. Instead of a bow tie I wore my black silk tie with math symbols boldly emblazoned in primary colors. My purple pocket square perfectly matched the purple plus sign on my tie. It was a special day.
The children looked at me with mixtures of delight and puzzlement as I greeted them with a booming, "Bom Dia!" at the door. I always greet them this way, but I tried to put a little extra boom in it to mark the occasion.
I channel Mr.
My basic point system works in multiples of 5,
making tallying point totals easy even for the mathematically challenged. Small
tasks and demonstrating positive behavior are worth the minimum 5 points. Bonus
tasks and something you want to recognize as especially good are worth 10
points. Group completion of large assignments and homework starts at 25 points
and goes up from there, but nothing is ever worth more than 100 points and
there should be very few 100s. At the end of every class, the group points are
tallied and the totals written in sharpie on the scoreboard in the back of the
Teachers – What if I told you there was a single
system that could handle most discipline problems, guarantee high student
engagement in classroom activities, and ensure most, if not all, of your
students turn in their homework every day? Read on, because all of this and
more can be yours for one low price.
No, I’m not going to charge you for the information.
However, the first thing you have to do is spend about $40. Every year I
patiently wait for sales on games like Connect 4, Jenga, Monopoly, and