Laptops and Homophones

By Vita Forest

At school, during Literacy groups, where three different activities run concurrently under my leadership and another is outside reading with a parent, we had, what you might call, an incident.

Martin, at ten years old, was becoming frustrated with a program he was interacting with on a laptop.  The cursor was not cooperating.  His responses were not being recorded.  He couldn’t move around the screen as he wished.  Some of his peers looked up like meerkats and turned their heads in his direction, while other class members jumped up to look over his shoulder and offer suggestions.  But all too soon, his muttering and irritation escalated into shouting and rage.  Along with the increase in volume, came a quickly accelerating wave and then explosion of fury which saw him slam down the lid of the laptop and raise it above his head all the better to hurl it across the room…

“Martin!” I shrieked with obvious great authority and calmness.

It was all I could do, being across the other side of the room deeply involved in deciphering his classmates’ handwriting and how they were responding to the latest chapter of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.

Luckily it distracted him long enough to hesitate and in that moment of hesitation I was able to sprint across the distance and gently press the weapon back down onto the benign surface of the desk.  He took some deep breaths and blinked.

‘Do you need to get some fresh air?’ I asked in a quieter tone, kneeling beside him.

He nodded and stood and marched out of the classroom.  I sent an extremely calm student out to follow him on his walk.

The meerkats returned to their work and the classroom returned to the more normal level of noise for Literacy Groups.  Martin returned after ten minutes walking in the sunshine, calmer, with his earlier meltdown forgotten.

Later, as I was marking the stack of books containing the students’ responses to ‘Troublesome Homophones’, I came across the following sentence used by Jason to demonstrate his knowledge of thecorrect way of spelling ‘there’  “The laptop was thrown over there.”

I called him over to my desk and pointed to the sentence nodding in appreciation.

‘Good use of ‘there’,’ I said.

He grinned.

‘I like to look around and get inspiration from what’s going on around me,’ he said.

Indeed.

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Overhead… in the playground

By Vita Forest

This is from last week but too good not to share.

While on playground duty I was approached by a very small boy.  He addressed me with these words, ‘Excuse me, have you seen any dried blood?  I need it for my master.’

I had not, so he went on his way, while i wondered who was his master and if we were harbouring any vampires in our midst…

Homework sentences

By Vita Forest

Actually not by Vita Forest – these are a selection of homework sentences from my class this week…  (the main focus were words that change their form completely when a plural is made).

Men are different to women because they get head lice more often and have bigger feet.”

“Twins are very similar to each other.”

“One man wearing a bright orange shirt stood out in a group of men wearing black uniforms.”

“A teaspoon and a tablespoon have a similar shape.”

“The climate in Sydney is really hot and there is a bit of lighting (sic).”

“I watched some similar YouTube clips they were all about this dude that jumped off London Bridge.”

“Most people in my class don’t have lice.”

Thank goodness for that…

Everyday more geckos

By Vita Forest

For the last two weeks

A strange phenomena

A gang of geckos in my classroom.

They march up the walls

Keeping watch over the rubbish bin.

They peer at the whiteboard

Their sticky toes hugging the frame.

Some particularly curious ones watch me work at my computer

They must tell their friends –

Everyday more geckos.

And on the back wall by a Boy table and under the Indigenous language map

An army has appeared

Everyday more geckos

One clings to the clock and listens to its tock

They crawl up the windows

Every size, every colour, every pattern

When will it end?

Everyday more geckos.

We need that girl

By Vita Forest


While carrying a bag of cat litter through the supermarket

I was startled when three pigeons swooped up

the Jams and Spreads Aisle

Over the Fruit and Veg

And across to the Frozen Food section.

 

Three birds!

In this underground supermarket!

Taking off and flying over the shelves in formation

As if migrating together over rows of tall buildings

All the same height.

 

And I thought

How did they get in?

And I thought

How will they get out?

 

And I thought

We need that girl from school

That wide-eyed uncertain girl

peering sideways, talking hesitantly

But she certainly knew what to do

That time on playground duty when a group of breathless girls

Ran to report

A mynah bird in the classroom!

It couldn’t get out!

 

I advised opening blinds and windows

And carefully herding it toward freedom.

But this girl, this uncertain girl

Marched into the classroom

Swooped down on the anxious mynah

Cradled it in her hands

Walked determinedly outside

And released it.

“Wow!” I thought

(“She has chickens,” I was told.)

 

But today

we need that girl again.

In the underground supermarket

Can someone make the announcement on the loudspeaker please?

She is needed in Aisle 12

Near the Frozen Fruit.

 

 

Overheard… in the playground 

By Vita Forest


Eric: Ms F! Ms F! There’s a banana and a cockroach in the funeral.

Me: What?

Eric: There’s a banana and a cockroach in the funeral!

Me: I have no idea what you are talking about.

Eric: The funeral, you know – where you stand?

Me: Where you stand?

Eric: In the boys’ toilets…

Me: Ah the urinal.

Eric: Yeah, the funeral.

(Much laughing…)