Day 2 of Rebel Hour

word cloud with unique different alternativesWelcome to Day 2 of my online writing experiment

Rebel Hour.

A more detailed look at the process is found in my online project, The 7 C’s Teacher Expo.

Here is the prologue for Rebel Hour.

Here goes…

Day 2

From the journal of Ms. Page:

“Okay, class, it’s time you had an audience for your writing! Please turn to the next blank page in your journal…Now, are we ready?”

“Sometimes, writers need an immediate audience, someone they can talk to on paper. So you’re going to create characters. They don’t have to stay with you for long…if you want to create a different one tomorrow, that’s fine….But for now, rev up your pencils and imaginations because you’re going to create an audience for your writing. Two things if you’re not sure how to start–a stick figure is fine–and–here is a short ‘how-to’ checklist of things to think about when you’re sketching…Just to show you that you’re not expected to be an accomplished artist, here are a few of my characters that I created while I had my coffee. Not very special, are they? In fact, downright misshapen, if you ask me.
So, go ahead and of course I’m not grading these. This is just an exercise. If I had you run a lap, you would see it as exercise, right?  Well, this is almost like that. You’re not a world champion runner, but you still run the lap. Well, here, you’re not a world-renowned artist, but I’m still expecting you to do this sketch. And really, anyone can put together a pair of eyes, some hair, a mouth, and a nose, right?”

From the Journal of Ms. Page

So, yes, I’ve painted myself into a corner.

I want the kids to write so I’m supposed to be a writer as well.

Beth Carson is watching me like a hawk. Just like last year. 

She knows me too well.  She’s just that kind of obsessively observant little kid. And she forgets nothing. And despite her distaste for extra work, she probably kept some kind of dossier on me.

I might need to put a bell on her so I know her whereabouts.

I’m pleased with the room. 

‘Solar System’ in one section,‘Video Game Land’ in another,’ Summer Break’ in another, and—this was interesting—kids’ birthdays in the other.

I was lucky…I just pulled cards to form groups and it worked.

I won’t fool myself into thinking it will always be that way, but I’ll take it.

The kids will soon find out I’m just as annoyed at Mrs. Nix’s decision to take away morning break. Very soon. 

***

From the journal of Beth Carson

Yep, it’s day 2 and Ms. Page is continually weird. She’s having us sketch characters–new people or beings or creatures or whatever…from our imagination. She says now we will always have an audience to write to.

She gave us directions and suggestions non-stop. I think she was nervous. \˜≥˜/ 

***

Okay, yesterday was different. Yes, I already complained about too much writing. And yesterday, I wondered about the blank walls. Well, Ms. Page, took care of that all right. She pulled names, asked us to tell her our birthdate, and after about five minutes of shuffling index cards, sent us into ‘designing groups’. Within an hour, those blank walls weren’t so blank. One group decided on the solar system, so they slapped dark blue paper up on the wall and were cutting out all the planets with a few asteroids and floating spacemen and a few aliens and about a dozen satellites with Pepsi and Google and Amazon and Taco Bell ads on them. It’s busy out in our version of the solar system.

Day 1 of Rebel Hour

Welcome to Day 1 of my online writing experiment Rebel Hour.

This is a serialized version of a story I’m working on. It is an edited version–I call it a ‘first-and-a-half’ draft–that I hope is interesting and entertaining.

A more detailed look at the process is found in my online project, The 7 C’s Teacher Expo.

Here is the prologue for Rebel Hour.

Here goes…

Rebel Hour Day 1

“Welcome to your first day of fourth-grade. How about we team up and take down everything from our bulletin boards?”

***

From the journal of Beth: I’ve never had a teacher who had us UN-decorate the classroom. Okay, maybe on the last day of school, but the first day?

What’s weirder is I know this teacher. I had Ms. Page all last year. 

And she never acted this way last year.

Even worse, after we cleared the walls, she handed out notebooks to each of us. And she was smiling. It was almost an evil smile, kind of like you might see in Cruella de Vil. Since I really didn’t see her smile all that much last year, this was really different.

Why was she smiling? Had to be the notebooks, or ‘journals’… She said something about using our ‘thinking-and-writing muscle’ every day. Yeeesh, that just doesn’t sound great and all summer I figured I had Ms. Page figured out. And here I was ready for a whole year of doing as little work as possible.

***

From the journal of Joanna Page: Day 1

Well, it’s like this…after I found out that I’m exiled out here on the edge of humanity in a teetering, creaking modular [not ready to call it a ‘classroom’], I had a little chat with my principal. Mrs. Nix has always been distant, simply tolerating my presence. I just figured she was like that with the other teachers as well, but once I found myself shunted off to Room 36, well, I was a bit of a special case…and not in a good way.

I had methodically put up the usual bulletin board material–‘when’s your birthday?’, the misused homophones that make teachers want to scratch out their eyeballs, reading comprehension tips–stuff that over the coming days [hours?] just blends into the background and darn near turns invisible.

And so it was time to do things a little differently–starting with making this classroom ‘ours’.  No matter how ugly the outside, I want these kids to want to come inside. [And I have a good mind to do something about the exterior, as well. But first things first.]

A quick overview of my novel-in-progress

possible-impossible chalkboard 2

Overview of Rebel Hour
also found at Sail the 7 C’s Teacher Expo

Recently, my mind wandered to ‘What if a teacher with nothing to lose went rogue and followed her instincts rather than a teacher’s edition?’

In Rebel Hour, I use emails, journal entries, character conversations, and straight narrative to tell the story of Megan Page, a fourth-grade teacher who, despite opposition from influential parents and her principal, leaps out of her comfort zone and takes her students (and herself) on a 180-day journey of creativity, novelty, and unpredictability.

Rebel Hour Overview PDF

 

New Book-in-Progress Rebel Hour Prologue

Just checking in with the prologue from Rebel Hour, which can be found at the Sail the 7 C’s Teacher Resource Expo.

 

Rebel Hour

Prologue

So I’m not the sharpest tool in the…the brightest bulb in…let’s just say I’m hardly an Einstein. Some might even say I couldn’t even tie Einstein’s shoes…which makes me think there’s a reason I only wear sandals and slip-on sneakers.

Anywaaaay… when my loving [not really] principal Mrs. Phyllis Nix mentioned last June that there was a fourth-grade position at a neighboring school in the district, I just filed it away as ‘odd but interesting’.

But when my loving [again…not really] grade four teaching partner Joy Ann Clark mentioned the same teaching job, I reclassified it from ‘odd but interesting’ to ‘hmmm…’.

***

It’s now late August and Mrs. Nix has informed me that I’m being moved to Room 36, which through my eight years at A.B. Sweeney has been called ‘the creaking portable.’ It’s a modular classroom set so far apart from the main building that there isn’t even a Room 35…or 34…or 33, 32, or 31. Yep, I’m no Einstein shoe-tying flunky, but it was pretty clear I’d been exiled.

Now, if I were sent to this island of luxury alone, that’s one thing. But for my students to feel separate and unequal? Not good.

So what did I do the next day?

I separated us even further. Yep, I’m quite the genius.

***

“Joy Ann, here’s a thought. How ‘bout if we experiment with going completely self-contained this year?”

Eyebrows raised, she said, “Really?” Her eyes shifted off to dreamland and she nodded. It was as if she was playing out a ‘hassle-free, limited time with Brooke Page’ scenario.

“Yep,” I said. No trading students for math or language arts.”

“I guess we could always ask,” she said. Her eyes drifted, most likely to that far-off galax without me as her career millstone who thwarted her ‘All-Star Teacher’ dreams.

“Should I run this by–?”

“I can do that,” said Joy Ann.

Played right into my hands.

***

And so here I am, on Day 1, in the creaking fortress…and I’ve made a decision.

© 2019  Tim Haag