The three R's

Sometimes I think I am just too nice.  Tuesday I judged the 4 and 5th grade science fair.  It appears that teachers talk, and so Wednesday Mark came home with a message from Ms. Brito.
Which went something along the lines of...

Dear Mrs. Hoog, 
We are having the Middle School Book-Fest on Friday and I am looking for judges.  If  you are available it would be a great help if you could help judge this event.  Please email me if you have any questions.
Ms. Brito.

Dear Ms. Brito
I will be able to come in.  When do you need me?
Mrs. Hoog

Dear Mrs. Hoog,
The book-fest will begin at 8:30 in the Gym.  I will provide all of the materials you will need. 
Thanks for volunteering.
Ms. Brito.

I wasn't actually sure I "volunteered"  but I went anyway.  Let me preface this by explaining what a "Book-fest"  is.   In attempt to elevate Language Arts to a high level, with an importance such as science and math,  the book-fest was created.  It it very much like a science fair for books.  The kids are given an assignment to read a book.  Then after they have read the book they have a series of papers to write.  A summery, A critique, an author biography, Literary elements, The historical and social issues and a view of how this book relates to their life are the elements of the book that are to be displayed on their board.  Then the judge, that would be me, listens to their explanation of the the book and any other information they feel is necessary for us to understand the book.  

Ms. Brito, being one of my favorite teachers at St. Patricks,  really sets the kids up to succeed.  (so a teacher friend tells me)  She did everything in her power to help the kids with this assignment.  And to my amazement it was still difficult for them to have all required elements.  
I don't know if this is a gender, age-related or cultural discrepancy but at least one out of every 5 student didn't have all of the elements they needed!

As with the science fair I have complied my top ten list.
1. Somethings never change.  (Middle school girls are just as giggly as ever)
2. *WARNING* always question when a child does a book report on a book that has been made into a movie.
3.  Middle school girls LOVE  Twilight
4.  Just because you can speak English does not mean you can write in English.  You would be stunned at how many times the word when was spelled "wen"
5.  Schools need to teach kids how to use spell check. 
6.  Listen up KIDOS  a summery is not the re-telling of the book!  (I actually had a student tell me the entire story of The Wonderful Wizard of OZ. He was the only student I was able to judge in that thirty minute interval!)
7. One of the questions the judges were required to ask was, "Which character did you identify with most?"  at least 10 kids said, "NONE"  Hello?!?!  not one characteristic in all the characters had anything in common with you!
8.  The kids that love to read are obvious.  Their excitement radiates off of them.
9.  Some kids think they can get away with anything.  Despite the fact that I am not your teacher,  I do know you read that book, but it wasn't in 7th grade.
10.  Reading, Writing and Reason are not always present in the average middle schooler.
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