I have a student who somehow managed to be in sixth grade while two years older than everyone else and completely hardened against any sort of behavior consequence. He does the most ridiculous things you can imagine, and nothing we do to him will even get him to blink. He’s tough and he’s angry, and he’s doing his best to convince everyone that there’s nothing we can do about it.
Today I was sitting with him at lunch, and noticed he wouldn’t stop fidgeting with a piece of paper. I helped him cut it into a square, and then started walking through origami steps. I was guiding him through making a paper crane, but I didn’t tell him what he was doing, and he was dutifully following without questioning the point. On the last step, he pulled down the outer flaps and realized that they were wings.
You should have seen his eyes light up. This big tough kid held the crane to eye level in the palm of his hand and looked at in amazement. In this adorable little-kid voice, without a touch of sarcasm in his word choice, he gasped, “It’s a birdy!”
We made it a collar and attached it to his desk so that it would protect him without flying away during class.
I do not joke.