Monday, March 09, 2009

Yankee Doodle Dandy of an Explanation

I kid you not. This conversation actually happened in my classroom this past Friday. It's one of the classic moments a middle school teacher says to herself, "Hmm. Somewhere between kindergarten and now, they've gotten some mixed-up facts about history!"

Here's how it played out. We're talking about the decade of the 1920s.
Me (handing out two articles, one on Warren G. Harding, the other on Calvin Coolidge):
All right, class, start by taking a look at these articles and tell me which president was born on a holiday.

Students: (skimming)

Student 1: Coolidge! It says here he was born July 4th, 1872 .

Me: That's right. How "cool" idge dat?

All: (groan)

Student 1: (picture lightbulb over his head) Ah! So THAT'S why we celebrate the 4th of July! It was Calvin Coolidge's birthday.

Me: (furrowing brows, stifling laugh)

Student 2: Nuh-uh! That's not why!

Me: You're right, it's not why. The 4th of July is Independence Day. Why do we celebrate it?

Student 2: I think it's got something to do with Britain, but it's not because of Calvin Coolidge's birthday!


Anonymous said...

good morning zoanna, i must say that the reason we celebrate the fourth of july is because it is my birthday. at 5:30 am on july 4th 1953 i entered this world screaming and according to my family i havent stopped yet!

Zoanna said...

That's funny, girl. Does everyone in your family have a holiday birthday? Your mom's is Valentins's Day, yours is July 4th....???

Anonymous said...

I think it would be fun to have a birthday on July 4th if I could choose a holiday birthday! All those fireworks and fun! (Not to mention the home made ice cream!)

Your students are cute!
You are too!
"How 'cool' idge dat?"
Funny teacher you are!

Anonymous said...

Ha ha!

Leanne said...

Matt says he has argued with 8th graders that 1) there are NOT 51 states nor are there 51 stars on the flag and 2) Puerto Rico, Mexico, and Canada are not states. He claims to have blocked out most of the really awful ones, but we get a good laugh every now and then...and these are his A students.

Leanne said...

Oh, and then he said this happened last week:

They are studying the journey of Lewis and Clark in class. A GT student asks:

Student: "...aren't Lewis and Clark the ones that went around robbing people in the west?"
Student: "...but I'm sure they did!"
Matt: " mean Bonnie and Clyde?"
Student: "oh, yeah, that's right. At least I was close."
Matt: "If you count getting the 'and' correct as close, I suppose..."

Anonymous said...

Sylvester and Tweety, Paul and silas, they're all close.