Slice of Life Tuesdays: Peanut Butter and the Middle School Mess

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Slice of Life Small LogoDISCLAIMER: The following story is my on-demand writing done with my 6th grade class after the mini lesson, “Add Some Spice” to the Narrative Arc with tension/conflict. Students were able to choose a type of conflict and use tension to move the plot along so that readers will want to turn the pages. This is my draft based on the true story, with a little added spice!

 

The worst argument I ever had with my sister was a summer day after my mom went back to work. We were both old enough to know better. Middle school students are supposed to be able to handle Mom going to work, and we knew what we were supposed to do in case of an emergency. This was NOT an emergency.

My sister and I were doing chores and she did not finish the dishes. She said she was going out for a bike ride, but I reminded her that we were not supposed to leave the house without job being done. She said she would do them when she got back. I blocked the door to the garage so she could not leave. First mistake.

Judy pushed me into the desk, and I fell backwards. She’s taller than me, so I had to think fast. I reached into the cupboard and pulled out the jar of Jif Peanut Butter. Second mistake.

I opened the jar and scooped up handful of peanut butter. I lunged towards Judy and smeared the goop into her long black hair. She screamed bloody murder! She grabbed the jar and dug into the middle, then covered my face with brown sticky peanut butter. I screamed, heading to the phone that was on the desk. I dialed my mom’s work number. Third mistake.

My mom heard both sides of the drama through her earpiece at her cubicle, and so did all her co-workers! She was so embarrassed that she excused herself, saying that one of us had fallen down and needed help. Thankfully, her boss allowed her to leave work so she could “deal with us.”

She dealt all right! She dealt out smacks on our rear-ends, more cleaning duties, and a week’s grounding to both of us. I vowed never again to worry about what my sister was doing while my mom was at work. I did my own chores and kept out of trouble the rest of my middle school days.

Responsibility is a hard lesson, but learning to stay out of other people’s business is even harder. Especially when it’s your little sister.

 

DRAFT of Idea: July 23, 2014

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What I Learned While Teaching Others, by Jennifer Sniadecki DRAFT

*Establish Routines and Follow Them*

Routines are required because routines are reassuring.

Routines lead to relaxing and getting down to work without distractions…

or trouble.

Teachers teach procedures and routines in the first weeks of school so that students can have order and consistency in their lives, so they can feel successful, and so they can learn to get down to business without worrying about the small stuff. Don’t sweat the small stuff (they say). Having routines makes life easier – really! Students know where to turn in homework, when to go to their lockers, and how to get to the lunchroom independently when teachers help them to learn the daily procedures. Harry and Rosemary Wong even wrote about it in The First Days of School. But I’m finding more and more that teachers need the procedures and routines just as much as the students.

(The following is a personal story that is meant to show how teachers need routines just as much as students. Thank you for allowing me to share.)

As a “veteran” teacher, I’m supposed to know how to teach content, manage my classroom, and manage my time. Daily tasks such as taking attendance, transitioning to the related arts classes, and end-of-day dismissal procedures need to be taught, practiced, and mastered by staff and students alike. I’m still learning…nowhere near mastery yet. Here’s one tidbit I learned: