Nothing but the Truth

I had two fourth grade boys in my writing group today. One is so ADHD, he has the attention span of gnat. Actually, a gnat's attention span may be an improvement. The other boy has Aspergers and struggles mightily with anything abstract. We are working on something their classroom teacher wants me to help them with: to write a personal narrative about truthfulness, or a time you were truthful.
 
My student with ADHD (we'll call him "Wayne") hasn't started his graphic organizer/thinking map yet. I tell him to draw a big circle in the middle of his paper and write "Truthfulness". I blink, and he's out of his chair, looking for a sparkly pencil grip.
 
I turn my attention to my student with Aspergers (let's call him "Paul"). Paul has written a first draft already. I read it over and it is all about the bass he caught with his dad. Something about a boat and a live well. I ask him to tell me what part of the story is about being truthful. He launches into a monologue about how the boat didn't have a live well and he decided to make one, and his dad said it didn't have one, and he felt something heavy on his fishing pole, and it was a mackerel, and, and, and, and....
 
I glance over at Wayne, who has drawn all kinds of tiny circles on his thinking map that are clearly too small to write his ideas in. He spends the next few minutes interrupting Paul and erasing.
 
I grab a blank piece of paper for Paul. We're going to write a new story together, one that's actually about truthfulness. I ask him to draw his circles. He's a pro at drawing circles.
 
Meanwhile, Wayne is writing things like "I don't lie" and "I tell my dad the truth" in his thinking map. I prompt him: "Can you think of a time when you told the truth when it would have been easier to tell a lie?". He responds: "I'll tell you the truth: I like racing cars. Do you know the speedway off of exit 140?". He launches into a discussion while I attempt to redirect his thinking.
 
I turn to Paul and ask him about a time when he told the truth. "I sleep in the morning and my mom kept waking me up and shaking me and I said no and she said go take a shower." He looks very hopefully at me, wondering if this is the answer I'm looking for...
 
Truthfully? I hate teaching writing!

6 comments:

Max said...

Hilarious. I shoot for truthiness myself.

Anonymous said...

To tell you the truth, I wouldn't like teaching it either with these two.....truth be told. Mom

Anonymous said...

What is truth?

Anonymous said...

Gnats and asparagus in your class. It sounds like the teacher has a truth telling issue...

Sarah said...

Goodness, I wouldn't like it either! Good luck with them!

roller coaster teacher said...

Hmmm... what models/stories did the classroom teacher use? Story map graphic organizer?

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