Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Aug 25 2010

Hobo Elf

I wish you all could have seen me today. I went to school wearing navy blue shoes, bright red tights, a brown skirt, a blue and green striped shirt, a hot pink blouse open over it, and red and yellow earrings. There was absolutely nothing okay about my outfit and the kids were not too shy to point it out. “You look terrible! Did the electricity go out in your apartment this morning?” One kid apologized ahead of time and then informed me that I looked like a hobo elf.

We spent the first few minutes of each of my classes discussing this outfit. What’s wrong with it? Why does it look terrible? After a lot of hilarious comments, we came to agreement: it doesn’t match.

Then we discussed how this made the kids feel. Embarrassed, disgusted, uncomfortable. Oh, I get it: this outfit creates negative feelings.

So let me get this straight, kids: when something doesn’t match, it’s negative? Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh, I see. Well that’s convenient, because today we’re multiplying and dividing integers. And when the signs match, your answer is going to be positive. But if the signs don’t match, want to guess what the answer is going to be? (How’s my outfit?) Negative! Very interesting…

I can’t tell you how hysterically well this worked. Legitimately ALL the kids know it now and hopefully will remember forever. I realize that I completely skipped conceptual understanding here, but we did plenty of that yesterday. If I have to dress like a hobo elf to get kids to pay attention, I’m not above that. And this was just too funny to pass up.

5 Responses

  1. TFA Parent

    Please tell there are pictures.

  2. I want to start using the term hobo elf to make fun of my friends. Starting with Ruthie on Friday. I wish you were going to be there!

  3. Oh, Miss Frizzle. You always know how to teach the kids!

  4. HC

    Great idea!

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