Posted by: jockmackenzie | August 26, 2009

The First Week of School – Part 1

Post Card - front

A school like this one (Eastview Middle School, Red Deer, Alberta), especially if you are coming from a small elementary school, can be a daunting edifice. I’ve overheard numerous parents and students say exactly that, “Oh my, now there’s a daunting edifice. Our last school seemed so small and so friendly. This place looks scary . . . and daunting.”

On the first day of school, often during the first few moments of having a new group arrive in my classroom, I recite this poem:


Ladies and gentlemen, hobos and tramps,

Cross-eyed mosquitoes and bowlegged ants,

I come before you to stand behind you

To tell you a story I know nothing about.

Early one morning in the middle of the night

Two dead boys got up to fight

Back to back they faced each other

Drew their swords and shot each other

A deaf policeman heard the noise

And came to kill the two dead boys.

Now if you don’t believe my fable

I’ll tell you another called the four corners on a round table.

Most of the kids visibly relax, a few chuckles are heard, often someone says he recognizes the poem, and the whole mood in the classroom lightens considerably.

I then challenge the class to memorize the entire poem – while attempting to beat the current world record of 6 minutes and 23 seconds that it took the best class in the previous year to complete this task. (I can never remember the actual number, and can’t today, but 6 -23 is close enough.)

Everyone stands and repeats after me and mimics the actions. I’ve done this countless times but never filmed it so you’ll have to settle for another of my low tech movies filmed with my digital non-movie-but-has-a-movie-mode camera. Well the camera looks like this (and the video follows):


*** My low-tech movie has run into technical difficulties so I promise to post it on my next blog entry.

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