It was a hectic day, but not a bad one. Friday is when I have both my 5th and 6th grade classes, and despite my grumblings, I actually do enjoy it.
The 6th grade has been especially fun for me because I've centered the class around scary stories, which they always enjoy. But rather than just reading the same books to them, I have developed 'units' based on themes that often arise in urban legends and ghost stories. For example, we just finished discussing the classic Vanishing Hitchhiker. This commonly known legend usually involves a person driving along a lonely road at night, spotting a person on the side of the road, offering the person a ride to someplace, and learning soon after that they were actually giving a ride to a ghost. Over the past few weeks, I brought up the real story of Resurrection Mary, the famous ghost of Chicago. I read stories from the Alvin Shwarz books as well as On the Day I Died by Candace Fleming, and we watched a couple of episodes of my old favorite show Are You Afraid of the Dark?. I even played them the song "Last Kiss" by J Frank Wilson and the Cavaliers so they could see that this idea is present in all types of media and pop culture- not just "scary stories." As a fun clip, I showed them the part in Pee Wee's Big Adventure when Pee Wee gets a ride from Large Marge, whom he finds out is actually a ghost.
Most of the kids have never seen the full movie (heart-breaking, I know!) but they specifically asked to watch that clip again today. Despite their sometimes obnoxious behavior, I do have a soft spot for boys this age- they're just so funny. The things they come up with make me laugh- not the fake kind of "haha- yeah that's pretty funny" type of response, but real belly laughs. Today during the Pee Wee Herman clip, I guess one of the boys passed some gas, because one of the others soon exclaimed "Man, that smells worse than Large Marge's face!". There are more fart references than I'd prefer, but I guess you get used to body humor working in a middle school.