3rd Graders Plot to kill Teacher

I recieved this text from a close friend yesterday: "Did you hear about the BD 3rd grade class in GA that plotted to kill their teacher? 9 students involved."

"Woah!- April fools?" I responded, thinking it was a cruel trick to pull.

"No! For real!"

I looked it up, it really happened. (Click on the title above to read a news article.) A class of special needs 3rd graders in Georgia came up with an elaborate plot to kill their teacher after she yelled at one of them. I have to say that this news really freaked me out, and while I'm currently writing about it, I am crossing my fingers that it doesn't get turned in to a huge national news story and give any other students ideas...

I could rant now for pages and pages about how things like this come to be, and what the teacher and administration should have and could have done; but the truth is, it scared me because while I am shocked to hear of this plot, I am not at all surprised. Our system is failing our children, and as a hard-working, dedicated BD teacher, I know that I am doing my best and that it simply is not enough.

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A Cry For Help

I confiscated this from E today during literacy. He misses a lot of school and today was his first day back in a while. He hates everything, but he's always hungry. He's always violent, says things a 11-year old shouldn't even know about, and generally smells really bad. This child needs a lot of help. He's reading on a 2nd grade level in 5th grade, and already hates the world. In the 2 months he's been in my class he's already been picked up by the police and brought to the precinct twice. I am really worried that if he doesn't get some serious help soon he'll never get better. His IEP was rewritten a few weeks ago. I suggested a more restrictive environment, more counseling (including individual and off-site) and a placement with more resources for an emotionally disturbed child, but it was denied. They say that the BD program I run is sufficient and the half hour group counseling session he refuses to attend weekly with all the same kids who tease him all week should help.


Rock, Paper, Scissors, SHOOT!

I heard this yesterday at bus dismissal:

"Rock, paper, scissors, shoot!"

"bang. bang. You're dead. haha. I win."

(A new spin on an old game... we used to play it differently, I told them the rules though, hopefully they will stick.)


A Full Moon and a Bloody Skull

I actually don't know if there is a full moon today, but judging by how it loooked last night, and by the way the school is out of whack today, it must be full.

We got another student today, number 11, and he is in 4th grade. My only 4th grader. Having a new kid made all of the other students excited to show him what they can get away with... which lead to an unpleasant sequence of events. For the most part I was able to keep the class under control. But it was E and K who really made things difficult.

They have a love/hate affair that is a little strange, but not all that uncommon amongst 11 year-old boys. They are constantly fighting, making up, laughing, telling "your Momma" jokes, and then fighting again. A couple months ago breaking up one of their love-quarrels I got hit in just the wrong way and fractured my thumb. Since then they have calmed down quite a bit (as neither of them had any intention of hurting anyone excluding themselves ofcourse), but today they started fighting and I realized that it was going to become physical. I called for security, and when the crisis teacher arrived she helped me tear the two apart. K, laughing through the whole thing wriggled out of my one-handed grasp, and punched E in the head. E then reached passed the crisis teacher, grabbed his hairbrush off his desk, and whapped K in the forhead. THUD!

K, in my arms started laughing hysterically until he saw the blood covering his right eye. That's when he got upset, stopped haughing, and tried to go after E. Luckily, when he was hit I got a better grasp of him and he wasn't able to get free. I grabbed his hand and slapped it over the open gash on his head. The crisis teacher was able to wrestle E out into the hall while I settled my class, held K's hand to his head, applying as much pressure as possible while assigning other students in my class to tasks,
J- get me some paper towels, put them in my left hand (I needed something to cover the wound with)
T- go to my desk, get my keys and call the office (I need a NURSE! NOW!)
C- go close the door to the classroom (so that E and K wouldn't be able to see one another)
N- take paper towel and cover the blood on the ground, make sure not to touch anything but the paper towels.

By the time the vice principal had arrived K had calmed somewhat and we were able to get him to the nurse and then to the emergency room. E was sent to the office for the rest of the day, but no consequences, no suspension. Once the problem left the room my students were so off-task that no work was completed the rest of the day, and my hand was a bloody mess. I still have blood on my pants, and my brace was tossed out because of the blood.

Oh what a day- I guess they showed the new kid what we're all about.


Behavior Logs- Student A Part 1

Behavior Log: Student A

Week of 1.17.06 – 1.20.06

Monday 1.16.2006

• No School.

Tuesday 1.17.2006

• A was on her best behavior today. She got all of her work done in class, and was generally very respectful.

Wednesday 1.18.2006

• A was working very hard first thing in the morning. She got right to work, and completed her math message.
• 9:05am – A asked to go on the computer, and was upset when I responded that we had to get more work done before she could get time on the computer she was very upset but came to work with me at the circle-table. She began working on the math assignment, but began getting more and more upset (although I am not sure what triggered her behavior). She began to throw the math manipulatives into the box that they belong in. When I asked her to stop, and place the blocks into the box, she began to throw them from further distances, and continued in the fashion until she was standing up and throwing them across the room. At this, I told Amber that I would have to call security if she could not keep herself under control, but she only became more upset by this and started throwing blocks at another student, prompting him to follow suit, and then he also began throwing the blocks.
• 9:15am – Security came up to get A and the other student, but A refused to go. By this time she had thrown several blocks on top of the cabinets, and had even warned me that I had to “get out of her way” or she would be hitting me with them because I was in the path that she wanted to be throwing blocks in. The security guard that had to take out A's classmate sent for another security guard to come up and take A out of our room, and Amber did go with her.
• 10:45am – When A returned from the office she was very upset with me. She was short with me and extremely disrespectful. She yelled at me that I got her in trouble and repeated several times, “why do you always got to call security on me, huh, girl?”
• A did not do any work for most of the morning, but got back on task in the afternoon and did most of her work the rest of the day.

Thursday, 1.19.2006

• A had no major incidents today. She had a good day.

Friday 1.20.2006

(Note: this is A’s first day with a personal aide, Mr. J____ on the classroom. She knows Mr. J___ because he has been working in the school all year, and in previous years as well.)

• 8:35am – A was extremely loud this morning and would not get quiet during breakfast time. While she was talking I hear her repeat the phrase “sucking dick”. At this, I inquired into what she was talking about (rather than continue to ask her to stop talking and lower her voice), and she responded by asking me if I had ever seen the movie “Harold and Kumar go to White Castle”. At this I told A that it was not appropriate and that she needed to stop talking about the movie while she was at school, but she continued to be loud and talk about the sexually explicit scenes in the movie. She also got out of her seat and was running around the room. Eventually A calmed down and had a seat, and got to work.
• 9:45 am – A threatened another student in the classroom with a pair or scissors. All scissors were confiscated and put up. We explained to A the seriousness of her threat, and she seemed to calm down for a little while.
• 10:15 am – A and the same student whom she had threatened began arguing back and forth with one another and writing on each other with marker during a math project. The students in the class said that A did not start the argument, but A did cover the boys clothing with markered-on polka-dots, while being very upset. When security came to take the boy out of the classroom that she had been fighting with, he yelled back to A that she was a “football head”. At this, A got up, ran out in the hall, and threw a marker at him, and returned to the classroom much more calm than she had been during the incident.
• 11:30am – A Created a “dot-to-dot” with markers that spelled out “Fuck You”. When I saw what she was doing I told her that it was inappropriate and she quickly turned it over and explained that she was just making a dot-to-dot of her name, and spelled out her name on the back of the paper.

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A Rainbow

Driving to work this morning I saw a rainbow. Yes. A rainbow over Newark. Amazing. I feel like I had the chance to see a once in a life-time event.

I was observed again today. It went well.

A few weeks ago I broke my thumb breaking up a fight in my classroom, and I have a stomache ache that insists that I am going to keel over and die, but I saw a rainbow over Newark today, and I feel good about it.



I don't even have the energy to complain about how much this school year is bruising my self-esteem. I wish I loved my job. I wish I could just teach and be a good teacher. I wish that I could relate better to 5th graders and work with them in a way that got them excited to learn. Even more than all of that I wish that I wasn't so exhausted from wishing that I could do more to actually do more.

Wish me luck, and I'll give real updates soon.
5th grade is hard.