River Deep, Mountain High

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Dec 22 2011

“Just Drink the Kool-Aid and Be Happy”

Update 12-23-11: Today was by all measures a great, positive day! The kids loved their Shipley’s doughnuts, hot Cheetos, sodas, candy, pizza etc. I was worried that they wouldn’t like my special Kool-Aid mix (4 quarts water, one red Kool-Aid mix, one raspberry lemonade mix, one+ cup of sugar), but they absolutely loved it!! “Mr. B, this is the best Kool-Aid ever!” When one girl in my 3rd Period joked about the sugar content, her friend simply replied: “Just drink the Kool-Aid and be happy!” Indeed.

I think my students enjoyed seeing me loosen up in the past few days. I had been a bit stressed since Thanksgiving, trying to keep up with changes to the curriculum pacing in the midst of basketball season (not getting home until after 8p most nights), while fighting off illness. Although our student-teacher basketball game was canceled, we made a makeshift hoop in my classroom; fortunately, no one broke anything. However, I think they were shooting “lights out” because the power went out in half the building for the final 2+ hours of the day. This killed the music but not the spirit. As one student observed: “our school is so old, the electricity doesn’t even stay on.” Another noted, “someone shopped too much and didn’t pay their bills.” 

I remember having fun days like today more often when I was in 8th grade. At the same time, our test scores were higher and our behavior was better, so it allowed for more flexibility. It’s an interesting chicken-and-egg problem, since we squeeze a lot of activities to prioritize testing, but kids will be kids and need an outlet from time to time. Something to ponder over break. Time to pack…


Tomorrow is the final day of school before my winter break begins. My school district is probably the last district in the nation to get out but I’ve long accepted that misfortune. I’ll be able to fly back to Maine on Saturday morning as long as that Colorado snow storm stays put.

Anyhow, I’m excited that we may have a teacher-student basketball game tomorrow. It got cancelled twice last year due to time constraints and student behavior but I’m crossing my fingers that it actually happens. We’re technically not allowed to show movies or have parties, but I’m still having some music and snacks for my kids as they read science magazines, finish research reports or makeup work, and/or relax after a week of testing. I owe my homeroom and 5th period prizes for winning our class points competition. As they definitely let me know: “it’s time to pay up!”

Since I realized last quarter that my homeroom doesn’t like a lot of milk with their donuts, I decided to cave and make them Kool-Aid. OMG!! It’s been a while since I made actually Kool-Aid, not the cheap wal-mart brand lite stuff. There are a few things I re-realized while mixing up this deliciously, addictive red drank:

1.) This stuff stains! I can wear a green shirt, splash some Kool-Aid on it and be the most spirited guy around. Shoot!

2.) One cup of sugar is A WHOLE LOT of sugar! No wonder the stuff gets people off the chain!

3.) I’m totally going to spill the container all over my car. It’s a shame we already learned about Newton’s Laws. This will make for a great bell ringer, though: “Which concept that we studied in the second quarter best explains why it’s a horrible idea for Mr. B to put a container of red Kool-Aid in the seat while driving to school?”

4.) Testing the concentration of Kool-Aid is the best! I had to remind myself to save some for the kids tomorrow.

5.) I remember my roommate left us a few packs of Kool-Aid when he quit a few weeks in last year- it was bittersweet. If only TFA Kool-Aid tasted so good.

I know I’m not doing the Delta any favors when it comes to obesity and child nutrition, but one day of hot cheetos, soda, kool-aid, donuts, and candy can’t hurt, right? If I don’t write a post on Sunday, you’ll know that I spoke too soon. It was probably also not a great idea to hang a miniature basketball hoop above my door, but we’ll see what happens! Wish me luck….


Oh, yeah!


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    Remove Barriers, Raise the Bar

    Mississippi Delta
    Middle School

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