Statistics and crime map…
Nov 02 Published in Remembrance, Reflections by Purple
This is a continuation of my journal from my 2001-2002 school year. Please read the previous posts to give this entry context.
Miss Emily Dickinson, bless her heart, taught my students about personification. When Emily came back to the modern world and discovered, to her amazement, her enormous fame, she also discovered The Book of Qualities by Ruth Gendler. Besides the example of her own poem “The Sky is Low,” Emily used the Gendler book to provide the students with examples of personification. Then they each picked their own quality to personify.
Gendler draws fanciful characters to accompany her personifications, and Emily encouraged the students to do so as well. They quickly caught on to the concept.
Excitement wears red and yellow gloves. He likes to make up fire with the powers of his hands, in the gloves. He taught me how to make up fire when I was twelve. Right now I can burn anything with my powers of my hands and gloves. I was scared of thinking I was going to get killed and burned, by having the powers to make up fire.
Jealousy is a person that is short, poor and he has one sister and a brother he doesn’t like tall people he think they are evil. He is charming but only whenever he wants to be. He wheres the same green shirt everyday and black pants. He is jealous of everyone and he has friends but sometimes he seems shallow, dishonest, repetitive and mean. He is jealouse and he doesnt admit it. He would never go to a party if they invited people he didint like.
Happiness is six foot two and has long beautiful golden brown hair that reaches down to her feet. Her eyes are the color of the sky which twinkle like the stars. Her lips are as red as a rose, and her checks are as pink as the sunset. She wears bright clothes like the color of the rainbow. Happiness always has a smile on her face as big as the universe. Whenever she is spotted she lightens up your day.
Fear loves to scare people. People fear him and he loves that. Fear has big ears and wears baggy clothes. When he was a little boy he went into a dark & lonely alley. He felt the presence of someone, but as he looked around him he did not see anything. All of a sudden he heard screams and he also saw a stream of blod. At the end it was his friends playing a trick on him. They laughed at him and Fear saw they enjoyed it. So, now he decided to make others fear him so he can enjoy himself. Fear is a small person of 4’5”. He’s kinda chubby and he has bright baby blue eyes, and he has an afro. Fear does not fear anything but himself.
Pleasure is a beuatiful young girl. She is tall and tan and they all love her beutiful hands. She gives and receives all day and night.
“All the boys’ love me”, pleasure always say.
Excitement is a guy. He wears black tight shirts and leather pants and jackets. He loves and plays electricity. When he is having fun he is with Joy, Anxiety, Pleasure, and Intensity. He has had shocks of electricity when he was thirteen. I have learned from him how the electricity works. Sometimes Excitement might be with Pleasure, and the day seems wonderful.
Bordom is like a dark cloud who sneaks over peoples lives. At first they don’t know what to do. They just sit around with him holding them down. He gets into their minds and rains on their brains acid rain that makes their good ideas disappear. So that they think; well I could go outside but no, there it goes, that rain, that awful rain. His foggyness clouds up their minds and makes it blank, so that they stare into the wall and have nothing to do.
Fear is her name. Fear wears glasses with tape in the middle of it. Fear has blonde hair and she wears geeky clothes. She hangs out by her self and has no freinds. Fear is sure Fear is going to get picked on. Fear is also sure that Fear is going to fail a test. Fear wonders if she will get into colleage. She also is scared of being beat down by her abusive father & gambling mother.
Imagination is tall six feet four inches he has tall spiky hair he thinks he can fly he is always happy never sad. When he runs he thinks he’s just standing and the floor is moving. When he writes he thinks it is magic. He imginats that he is very strong and brave. His name is Imagination.
It’s hard to stay focused on just sixth period when there were wonderful pieces from other classes, too: Pain is a man filled with confusion who is sheltered by darkness. One of the drawings accompanying Pain shows a person in an Advil/Tylenol hat and a Pepto Bismol shirt. After nearly twenty years, I can still be surprised and entertained by students’ observations. As Emily said, “To live is so startling, it leaves little time for anything else.”
Sometimes if a student is driving me a little crazy, I’ll say, “Could you please stop acting fourteen. Why don’t you try to act like you’re forty-seven?”
One of my favorite things about fourteen year olds is their willingness to play along. Since forty-seven is my age, it’s amusing to see how doddering, aged and stiff they imagine forty-seven to be.
On Friday, I found a little photograph of Xochitl stuck to the clock. Xochitl’s too short to have done it without getting a chair, and that, surely, I would have noticed. I’m astonished at the things students can pull off even with a watchful, twenty-year vet like myself.
For homework, (on Halloween!) Emily Dickinson (the witch!) gave the students a picture of herself to color along with the assignment to write a paragraph explaining why they colored her as they did. The assignment Ms. Hansen judged as the best combo of coloring and writing would win extra credit.
Xochitl’s Emily was wild, her cheeks rosy with real blush, the lines of her dress colored pink, yellow, green and blue with orange cuffs and waist. Yellow and pink polka dotted the border. As Xochitl explained, she wanted to give Emily some “pazzaz.” She concludes, “I just wanted to give her some spunk.” Pizzazz and spunk. Adjectives that would describe Xochitl.
On Friday, Mark and Amanda were in such parallel bad moods, that I wondered if they might be mad at each other, but I don’t think so. Mark is moody. He often withdraws. Sometimes I think he just gets overwhelmed by the rampant female energy in the room. But Friday he was clearly unhappy, turning away from the girls who were teasing him and calling to him.
“Having a bad day, Mark?” I asked.
Amanda was quiet, but her face had, what in the old days, would be called high color. Even when not talking, Amanda manages to be dramatic, mad dogging everybody and everything.
“Ms. Hansen, can I lay on the floor?”
I let her. She plopped down in front of the fan.
Later she wanted to go outside, but since she wouldn’t give me a reason, I told her no. She gave me her look, tight lips and up turned eyes.
I asked her the same question I’d asked Mark.
“Yeah,” she nodded, “a real bad day.”
With fourteen year olds, that’s about all a person can do. That’s all they want. A little acknowledgment. It’s an invitation to talk if they want to. They usually don’t. They are walking a tightrope to their identities. They have to go alone. Still, they like to know there are safety nets.