Monday, March 5, 2012
I stop by Keana's desk for a minute. At first glance, Keana appears to be on the right track. She has found the correct prices, and is in the process of adding them up- a hot dog- $1.99, gatorade- $1.69, a banana- $.99. I watch her list the fourth price- $1.29- the cost of a Three Musketeers candy bar. Keana writes $1.29 below the .99 banana. She is careful to align the decimal points. I am ready to move on to check in with someone else, but then Keana writes another $1.29. And then another. Now she has six prices listed for four items. I wonder what she is doing.
"Keana," I say. "Tell me what you are doing? Why did you write three $1.29's?"
Keana looks a little perplexed. "It says three right here. She bought three candy bars. So I need to write down three $1.29's."
I don't know whether to laugh or cry. We are one day from the state test. My students don't know the name of a relatively common candy bar, let alone the more obscure content they will probably see on the test. "Keana," I say, "Three Musketeers is the name of a candy bar. It's one of my favorite candy bars. It's chocolate on the outside, and then kind of soft and fluffy and a lighter brown on the inside. They are sooo yummy. Have you ever had one a Three Musketeers?"
Keana is adamant. "I never heard of that. I don't think it's true."
"It is sweetie," I say, feeling like there is nothing I can do to convince her. Keana's table mate has been listening to the conversations. "It is, Keana, I like those a lot. They're one of my favorites."
"Well, I have never heard of it," she replies, dubiously scrubbing out two of the $1.29's.
"I'll bring a bag some time. We can all try them," I declare, making a mental note to pick up a bag of Three Musketeers on the way to work tomorrow.
Later this morning, I tried to explain the trains at DIA. The airport is about five miles away from my school, but only one of my 23 students has ever been on the trains that carry passengers between the terminals. And then I explained the difference between driving a nail and driving a car.
Life in an urban school…