Saturday, December 5, 2009

Blogging Through The Years: Second Grade

I'm currently blogging through my years in school. Check out Pre-School, Kindergarten, and First Grade.

I began 2nd grade in August 1995. It was my first year at a new school. I'm still unsure of the reason why I switched schools, since I was living in the same apartment I had lived in since I was in daycare. I think it might have to do with zoning for testing. When I was an education major, I learned how schools began zoning in the 1990's to help with test scores. In Florida, we're real big on the FCAT (Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test). It's the bane of every teacher's existence and has lent to teachers "teaching to the test" and not educating children creatively. Schools began zoning to get kids from so-called "A" schools to "D" and "F" schools. And that's why I believe I went from a suburban, mainly white school to a school where I became the minority in a bad part of town.

Second grade was also my first time having two teachers. I would continue this practice until 5th grade. I had one teacher who only taught reading and writing and another teacher who only taught math, science, and social studies. Funnily enough, I always had reading and writing in the morning during these 3 years. It was definitely a different way of doing school and I'm not sure I liked it too much. Usually, I would love one teacher (always the reading/writing one. Imagine that!) and dislike to a great extent the other.

One of my favorite things about my morning teacher were the games. She had about five or so games for us to play with during free time or in the morning. I fell head over heels for the game Guess Who?. If you've never played it, you're seriously missing out. It's such a fun game and I asked for it for Christmas. When I opened the present, you should have seen my expression! My mom actually took a picture of it but I can't find it anywhere. I made people play this game with me for hours. I also remember playing a game with one of the boys in my class early one morning. All of the sudden, he leaned over to the side and vomited. A lot. To this day, I can still picture the pile of vomit on the floor. Luckily, his dad was around and took him home. Poor guy.

Our school was located right next door to a beautiful park. (Yes, I see the irony: bad part of town, beautiful park.) Every Friday, we had a "Friday Surprise" where we would spend the last half-hour of school, playing at the park. The only way you could go is if you still had your "apple" from Monday, still hanging on the board. Every week, my teacher would put up apple cut-outs with our names on a board. If we got in trouble, we had to take them down and throw them away. And we couldn't participate in the "Friday Surprise". This never happened to me, goody-two-shoes that I was am. I do remember one of the worst kids in our class, ripping his apple off the board with such a vengeance one day that he almost ripped the paper off the board. My teacher remained calm, though, but I was scared to death of the kid for the rest of the year.

In my afternoon classroom (math/science/social studies), we would often rotate around in science centers. We usually had a group and we would carry around a notebook and a pencil to work on whatever activity was at the center. For some reason, one day I was working with just one friend, Megan. She was bugging me and not doing her work so I finally just turned around to tell her something and accidentally scraped underneath her eye with my pencil. She started crying and had to go to the nurse's office and I was scared to death I was going to get a referral from it. I was not a girl who got into trouble. And I was frightened by what my dad would do to me if I did get a referral. Luckily, everything turned out fine and I didn't even get in trouble for it.

Second grade is the first time I really remember anything about "Student of the Day." My teacher would pick a name out of a cup every morning and give little clues to who the person was. And we would get to be line leader and help the teacher. The day I got it, I remember my teacher saying, "She's writing with a red pencil...", looking at my pencil, and getting very, very, very excited.

One of my worst memories of second grade was swimming lessons. Next to our school in a bad neighborhood that housed a beautiful park, there was also a beautiful swimming pool complete with high and low dives. In May, our P.E. period consisted of swimming lessons. Mind you, I had learned how to swim when I was a lot younger. (I want to say four or five...) And these swimming lessons were awful. I remember having to pick up a brick from the bottom of the pool, treading water for what felt like thirty minutes, and having to jump off the high dive. Well, we didn't have to but nobody dove off the low dive. And I was never a fan of the high dive. (I'm still not.) Soon, I began to realize there were kids who weren't attending swim lessons. So I started "forgetting" my bathing suit at home and having to do a normal P.E. period. To this day, I still have nightmares about those swimming lessons.
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