For Monday's classes, we read Mona Gardner's very short story, "The Dinner Party." Taking place in colonial India, it begins with an officer's wife suggesting that women have moved beyond the "jumping-on-a-chair-at-the-sight-of-a-mouse era". One of the colonels, of course, protests, saying that men have "that ounce more of nerve control." A debate ensues, a cobra is detected in the room, and the story ends with a nice twist.
It's a good filler activity, a story we can do in less than a whole period. Plus, sexism issues are always good for discussion, especially in middle school.
I consider myself a pretty creative teacher, which is probably why students are still discussing whether what happened Tuesday was my plan or not.
I began the class with a starter question about which gender handles crises better. The students wrote their answers, then we went around and checked in with their answers. There was some posturing and minor arguments as some students, mostly boys, claimed that the other gender was the weaker.
We were about 2/3 of the way through the students when Mikayla quietly and calmly said, "Hey, there's a mouse!"
I looked where she was pointing and saw a brown and grey-ish rat run from under the computer table in my room to under my desk at the front.
"Huh," I said, "So there is!"
Shrill screams rang out as six of the students climbed on top of their desks, shrieking.
All six were boys.
I called the front office, who called the janitor, who said he couldn't do anything about it, and about 6 minutes after we spied George-Bob (so named by my 5th period and me), I finally managed to calm the class down enough to continue the lesson.
After we pointed out the way one particular gender handled the crisis, that is.