One of the skills heavily tested on standardized No Child Left Untested tests is making inferences based on information in a text. A lot of the kids don't get it. They either "guess" something already written in a text, or they make outlandish claims they can't back up. Some kids, when you explain that they have to "guess what the author isn't telling you by combining prior knowledge to information in the text," will tell you that's "the stupidest f@cking thing I ever done heard."
They got it yesterday. I made 5 new class room rules and posted them on the LCD projector:
1) No one can touch Mr. G's laptop any more
2) No students are allowed near Mr. G's desk
3) No student may write on the chalkboard at any time
4) Unless you have detention or tutoring, no students are allowed in Mr. G's classroom after 2:35
5) From now on, you only get 5 passes per month in Mr. G's class
I made the warm-up question "Make an inference for each new rule: why did Mr. G create it? What happened to cause him to make each rule?"
The kids were excellent, and came up with lists of reasons. Examples for rule #1: 'somebody gave you a virus," "somebody broke your laptop," "kids be playing too much and arguing over it," "kids look at stuff they ain't suppose to," etc. Not a bad job! The real reasons were: somebody dumped hand lotion on my keyboard, someone else changed my PowerPoint, somebody scratched my screen, and somebody broke my PC speakers by kicking them.
For #2 some kids didn't make inferences at all. They snitched! "Because Richie stole them stickers out your drawer," or "cuz T took yor stapler and hung up a dirty word," or "Billie Jean stoled your markers."
I think the kids knew I was upset yesterday that, one fourth of the way into the school year, we still have to work on behavior management about 1/3rd of the time instead of simply learning. They were thoughtful and dilligent and respectful yesterday. Excepting one girl who kept writing "I wish Mr. G would die die die die die die die die" all period. Last week she called me "the bestest teacher ever." WW3 is a bit whacky.