Winner winner, chicken dinner

I should prolly just go ahead and rename this blog Ashley Kwan: Musings of a 7 Year Old Korean Cutie because, basically, I'm just ripping her off at this point.

Usually Steph, Casey, Laura and I trudge down the stairs each morning to a chanted greeting courtesy of Ash and (her far less enthusiastic counterpart) Ashlee.

"Minnndeee. Steph-an-neee. Cay-seeeeee."

This morning Ash was standing at the foot of the stairs, all alone, hands hidden behind her back.

"I have a present for you, Mindy Teacher, " she cooed, then presented me with a small canary yellow envelope, complete with Aristocats stickers. "I made an eraser for you. Remember our game yesterday?!"

*Let me back up a bit.  Yesterday I was wandering through class while my students dutifully attempted to complete FOUR pages of double-digit addition and subtraction problems.  Some of them are very slow, and some of them are quite fast.  But none are as fast as Ms. Kwan.  I stood behind her in awe as she robotically and methodically wrote each answer, never bothering to "carry" or "borrow" or show her work AT ALL.  It was amazing.

Naturally, I had to show the child who was boss, so I did what any self-respecting teacher would have done: I challenged her to an old-fashioned Math Duel!  36 addition and subtraction problems, winner takes ALL. (Including their opponent's dignity and self-respect, apparently.)

I photocopied a review page from her math book.  We each sat at our respective desks, and when Cailyn yelled "GO!" we flipped those suckers over and counted for our lives.  The students watched over my shoulder, marveling at how efficiently I completed first grade equations.  They taunted Ash.  I finished first and cheered Ash on, because not only am I a teacher, I'm a good sport too.  She finished about 30 seconds behind me.  If only I'd taken those precious 30 seconds to check my work, perhaps I would have seen my errors.  But alas, my confidence got the better of me.

Ash missed only one problem.  I missed three.  Because I didn't pay attention.  Because I did what I accuse my students of doing.  Because I worked too fast and valued speed over accuracy.  Because I added when I should have subtracted.  DAMMIT!

Blue Class cheered.  Mindy Teacher hung her head in shame.

Back to this morning.  Inside the envelope was a homemade eraser and a handwritten note:

Dear Mindy,
     Thank you for teaching us in Blue Class!  Do you remember yesterday we had a math game?  Good game!  I am the winner winner, chicken dinner.  Where did you learn all the silly words?  Like winner winner, chicken dinner and lier lier, pants on fire?  I think you learned it from your mom.  Or your dad.  I like you very very much!  What are you going to be on Halloween?  I want you to lead us to the scary haunted house.  I made this earaser.  Do you like it?
                                                                                                           To: Mindy
                                                                                                                     From: Ash
Your Student 
Ash <3 
 Methinks she made the eraser as some sort of subliminal message.

"Winner winner, chicken dinner"?  "Good game"?  Ugh, I am such the smitten kitten for this kid!


Salinger, Hemmingway, Han and Kwan

Gah. The silence is killing me. Apparently putting fingertips to keyboard proved far too much work for me this month. Lazy ass.  Well, since I'm already in the shitter for October, might as well continue my indolence with a post fit for a Lazy Ass.

Coming to you all the way from Blue Class is Jeffrey Han, Dumb Blonde Thorn in My Side.  Seriously, this kid fell from the Tree of Common Sense and missed EVERY damn branch on the way down.  I can actually see the hamster standing on the wheel. But sometimes Jeffrey pulls a perfectly cut gem outta his ass; one with so much clarity and insight, I am compelled to bow down before him and kiss his stupid little "indoor shoes". (BTW, what is up with the whole "indoor shoe" thang, Korea?  It's not like teachers or staff or parents take off their shoes in our halls or classrooms.  What's the big fuss?  Mindless Drone-ism, methinks.)

Anyway, without further ado, I bring you:

The Strangest Thing I Have Seen
By Jeffrey Han
Something strange I have seen is a monkey.  Two months ago, my family and I went to the animals park in Everland.  We watched a group of Japanese monkeys.  Some of the monkeys have red puffy butts.  It looked so disgusting and dirty.  I thought they got a Swine flue or cancer.  I couldn't leave because they were so weird.  Finally, we found a staff and ask him.  He answered when they wants to marry the male, their butt gets big.  It was so strange I have seen.

 He's right.  That's pretty damn weird.

My second offering comes from Ashley Kwan.  If it were at all possible to bottle up sass, spunk, and pure unadulterated personality, she'd be the fucking Daddy Warbucks of that shit.  She is amazing.  Today, she told Stephanie that Blue Class was gonna take Green Class "down to the town", as in downtown.  She's an epic shit talker.  It's like she was birthed from mine own sarcastic, snarky loins.  Oh, and she's got some wicked vocab application skillz.  (Of note: compromise, a word Blue Class knows well.)

For your reading pleasure:

The Strangest Thing I Have Seen
By Ashley Kwan

I saw something strange it was a turtle with two faces!  I saw that in Coex auwkqureaum (Aquarium. This is why English is hard.)  and I saw a snake with two faces too!!  I thought it was a monster or an eliain, but it was not a monster or an eliain it was an animal.  I am worried that the two faces on the turtle don't compromise!  Because when one face goes to the left, the other one is going to the right!  Then they will have a fight and that will happen to the snakes!  I think the snakes will bite each other.  I was surprized when I saw them!

"Surprised" is an understatement, child.  That is just gross.

On a serious note (I know), Blue Class has been honing their writing skills over the past seven months.  They have been working diligently to development their "writer's voice".  We have practiced informative writing, summary writing, and enough personal narratives to last me a damn century.  But it wasn't until last week when Casey offered them the famous Halloween prompt, "In a deep dark forest there was a deep dark house..." that I realized just how far they've come.  Their journals were full of super sentences; full of details and imagery; full of imagination.  I was astonished.  

I do not fancy myself a writer; It is a hobby I enjoy, and if I happen to entertain a few along the way, well then, fuckin' ay.  But I do think it is important.  At least as important as speaking and listening and definitely more important than most of the rote memorization hagwons cram down my kids' throats.  I guess what I'm getting at is that they're getting it! and I couldn't be prouder.* 

*I actually typed "pruder".  I prolly could be pruder.