Monday, January 09, 2006

Lord of the Do-Nots

Yes, I am Lord of the Do-Nots. My 9th graders have been reading
"Lord of the Flies" for Language I. By reading, I mean carrying the
book around, listening to me read it, and asking each other the
answers to their study guides. Heaven forbid you should ask a kid
to read one chapter a night.

Here's what I get:

"I don't understand this question."
"What does it say?"
"What caused the 'scar' on the island?"
"What did?"
"I don't know."
"Didn't you read it?"
"Then how do you think you can answer the questions?"
"I don't know."
"What were you doing when I read it out loud yesterday?"
"I don't know."
"The scar was caused by erosion."
"Why would he write a book about boys trapped on an island
with erosion?"
"I don't know."
"It was the storm."
"What storm?"
"The storm that blew over the trees and made the scar."
"The scar was in the rock."
"No it wasn't. The wind couldn't blow a scar in the rock. It was
in the jungle. What made you think it was in rock?"
"Because Ralph was 'walking down the scar' it said. So he was
walking down that mountain of rock."

"That just means he was walking in the opening called a 'scar'."
How did they get on the island?"
"The pilot dropped them off."
"Dropped them off? In a helicopter, a spaceship, a hovercraft?"
"Oh...they crashed!"
"Right. Now what caused the 'scar' on the island?"
"The plane."
"Who was the 'man with the megaphone'?"
"Who do you think it was? Why would someone talk through a
"On the plane. They were trying to tell the boys something."
"It was the pilot."
"How could the pilot talk on the megaphone?"
"No wonder that plane crashed. The pilot wasn't even flying it--
he was walking around with a megaphone!"
"What did Piggy find in the sand?"
"A stick."
"A rock."
"What is that word I just wrote on the board yesterday?"
"Oh. A conch. I thought that meant 'couch'."
"How could they find a couch on a deserted island, and blow
through it to call everybody?"

"I don't know."
"Why did they pick Ralph as the leader?"
"Because he was the biggest."
"He was the oldest."
"He was good-looking."
"He looked sturdy."
"How about because he blew the conch, and called everyone
"What was the last group to arrive?"
"Those little kids."
"No, remember, a group marched up in robes...?"
"They had a redheaded leader...?"
"They did?"
"The CHOIR?"
"Oh, is that what they were? I thought they were a 'CHORE'."

So that's how it goes. At least with "The Odyssey" they had seen
the movie. I think I'll tell them to go rent this one. Or else I am
going to bill their parents for pulling teeth for 50 minutes every
day, trying to get some answers out of them.

I don't mean to be so critical of them, but I am ready to pull out
my stringy died hair over this lack of comprehension. I even had
two girls sit right in front of my desk when I read. They didn't
talk, they didn't goof off, they didn't sleep...they watched me read.
Then they couldn't answer one question. Let me re-phrase that:
they couldn't answer one question correctly. I guess I'm lucky they
didn't ask, "What color hair dye do you use, Mrs. Hillbilly Mom?"
I have no idea what went through their minds while I was reading,
but it wasn't "Lord of the Flies."

It reminds me of the beginning of the year, when I decided to read
"Tom Sawyer" to my middle school students, to expose them to
the classics. I lowered my goals when they all shouted, "Oh, I've
seen this movie! It was a cartoon! I think it had two mice in it."


Blogger Rebecca said...

Hi Hillbilly Mom,
Maybe you should go back to a Mr Men book, and then work up from there.
A book you might be interested in is "A Fortunate Life" By Albert Facey.
I actually use to live about three houses away from where he was born (long before my time), and his life reads like a wonderful adventure.
If you can't find the book in the States, let me know, and I will mail you a copy.

4:35 AM  
Blogger MrsCoach2U said...

Careful HBM, Anonymous may come over and scold you for demeaning those poor students on here where everyone can read what you type! I hated to be read to in high school, I'd rather read it myself thank you very much!

8:19 AM  
Blogger Redneck Diva said...

Aren't kids grand?

9:30 AM  
Blogger Hillbilly Mom said...

Mr. Men? Is that a pr0n book? What makes you think I don't have my own "fortunate life?" Just be happy that THIS hillbilly can read!

I saw that comment. What did Anonymous think a blog is for, if not to read? Methinks Anonymous may have been transported on the short bus.

I always hated to slow down for anyone else to read. My kids love it, because they you say...LAZY!

In addition to being grand, they pay my bills, and provide free entertainment.

11:30 AM  

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