On the first day of school, I write a long letter to the kids about some things they'll learn, and some things about me and what I like to do. I ask them questions about their lives and their interests, and their only homework on the first day is to write me a letter back. It's a great way to get a sense of their writing voices, and to find out whose parents do their homework for them.
Here are some gem lines from letters I got this morning. They are all exact quotes - I have not altered a thing.
"Now I want to tell you all about me. I love pasta and salsa. It makes my tongue tingle like my tastebuds are dancing. Your friend, Isabella."
"My favorite shows are Flashpoint and Big Brother. I used to love Knight Rider 2008, but it got cancelled for reasons I do not understand."
"Though Greece and Egypt seem to be interesting topics indeed, I find it difficult to talk about curriculum from the relaxing comfort of my home. I instead will take the opportunity you gave me to tell you about myself."
"I am in a band called Stones of Gold. But we've never even had a rehearsal so I don't think that's going to work."
"I have two gerbils named Lewis and Clark. It was kind of stupid to name them after explorers because they never leave their cage, but I like history so that's why I did it."
"Mrs. Browne I'm really not sure what to right so I will tell you that my favorite food is cheese and I have two annoying sisters named Abby and Katie. Have a nice night."
"I love to eat chocolate, whoopie pies, pies, ice cream, chips, chocolate chips, and cake."
"Some things I like are swimming, soccer, watermelon and lacrosse."
"One day my parents got a letter! It said your daughter has led poisoning! Then my parents asked my grandparents what kind of paint they used in the house! It was my great grammys and back then they used paint with led in it! Led paint can give elderlys and small children led poisoning! That day we moved!"
And my favorite, from an awesome cracker-jack kid who emerged as a leader in the first five minutes of school:
"I own over 12 globes, 20 atlases and least 100 small maps around the house. I also have 20 books on various civilizations and ancient cultures. I do like video games but I play games like Total War and not Call of Duty. Total war has about 10 different games, and they follow groups like the Romans and Napolion and others. You pick your groups like the Franks or the Saxons and move your troops on each campaign. So you are not rotting your brain with zombies or guns but learning. I don't play video games all the time. I mostly play in the house with legos or in the backyard with myself."
I fully intent to use this against him when he runs for President.