Today I begin my summer grammar course for middle school students. At 4:00 this afternoon, ten kids whose parents have forced them to attend my class and who were hoping that summer might provide a much needed respite from boring school work, will walk into my room and face a 58 year old woman who will try her damnedest to make grammar fun. They will be trapped with me for 1.5 hours (and I with them).
The only way to teach anything is by hooking their little sick minds in with stories. I am known for my stories all the way to Beijing.
Here is the first handout they will receive before we launch into a lesson on the importance of prepositions.
The Nerdy 8th Grade Girl
Once upon a time, a nerdy 8th grade girl was spurned by the popular clique, a group of overly developed females who wore scrunchies to tie up their blond ponytails and who spent lunchtimes deciding which Beatle—Paul, John, George, or Ringo—they loved the most.
These gossipy girls shaved their legs, curled their hair, and carried purses with lipstick, photographs, and transistor radios (which were banned at the time). The leader of the gossipy girls was Kathy and she was a looker. Boys drooled all over their desks when she walked up to the blackboard to diagram sentences.
She was also a kiss up and Mrs. Poier’s pet. Her blue eyes and blond hair and that stupid scrunchy annoyed the nerdy 8th grade girl. The 8th grade girl hated Kathy’s guts and hated her scrunchy and hated her blond hair and hated her purse and hated her lipstick and wanted her hidden transistor radio. She hated everything about her (but her transistor radio).
How could that nerdy 8th grade girl get those dumb boys to notice her?
She would become a grammar whiz. She would help them cheat on their homework.
She would memorize all 53 of the most used prepositions in the English language.
Now, if only her plan would work.
I will let you know how the story went over, up, down, around, out, and through…