Thursday, May 15, 2008

When Middle School Boys Plan Vacations...

We've started a new unit in 6th grade Math. It's called "Fantasy Vacation," and it will take us to the end of the school year. Students were given their objective today: Take your $3000 budget and plan a Florida vacation for a family of four. This includes gas, lodging, meals, entertainment, and souvenirs. Today, they started exploring vacation destinations.

For some reason, three of the four students began their searches with Google Earth. After I managed to get to of them directed elsewhere, I came upon Charlie. (You might remember him as the quirky little lad with the "broken hand.") Charlie has a special education label of oppositional defiant disorder and bi-polar disorder, but I believe he is also autistic. He is in his own little world much of the time, often with a toy action figure as a companion.

Yesterday, Charlie (who doesn't handle transitions well) freaked out when I told him we are finished with the computerized program we were working on and would start a new unit today. I ended up having to follow him around the building, trying unsuccessfully to convince him that the new unit would be fun. Luckily, the LMS (Library Media Specialist) recognized my beseeching eyes as a cry for help and cheerfully distracted Charlie with a computer task. He finally chilled and was able to go to his next class.

So today, when Charlie was still having trouble embracing the idea of the unit, I knew I needed to treat him with kid gloves. I saw that he was still on Google Earth and had typed "Walmart Supercenter" into the search field. I gently explained that on this vacation, he should choose a city first. I tried to tempt him with beaches, Disney World, Sea World, or Universal Studios, but he firmly shook his head and scoffed. "NO! I want to find Walmart!!"

"Walmart?! What for?" I asked.

"I have to find a bakgn bettl brler!"


"A Bakugan Battle Brawler--You can only find them at Walmart Super Centers!! They're very rare! I just want to go to Walmarts."

"So you want to spend your entire Florida vacation driving from Walmart to Walmart, collecting action figures?"

"Yes. That's what I want to do."


I hope $3000 is enough for gas.

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