junior high words of wisdom: religious traditions and resources

This is a funny conversation I had with an 8th grader in my 6th period class last week. He is known as being one of the “notorious” 8th graders, but lucky for me he also loves art so he has been a big teddy bear in my class so far.

student: Mrs. Kamman, I have a question to ask you, but I think it might be inappropriate or offensive and I don’t want you to get mad at me. I’m not sure I should ask.

(He sits in the back of the room and was asking this while I was in the front and the class was working on a project, so everyone in the class could clearly hear him and was suddenly quietly listening to what would happen next).

Mrs. Kamman: Well, think about the question, do you think it is inappropriate? Does it use inappropriate language? Is it something that is not your business to know?

student: Well, I’m not sure. I don’t think so, but I really want to ask it.

Mrs. Kamman: Do you want to come up here and ask me privately?

student: Hmmm, well, I don’t think I need to do that…It’s not embarrassing I just don’t want you to be mad at me.

Mrs. Kamman: Okay, well if you have thought about it I think you should just ask then and we’ll see.

student: Okay…Did you have to walk on glass when you and Mr. Kamman got married?

Mrs. Kamman: (giggling to myself) I think you are referring to the tradition in Jewish weddings when the couple steps on a glass for good luck. And no, we didn’t step on a glass at our wedding.

student: Why not?

Mrs. Kamman: Well, although I think it is a cool tradition, we didn’t have a Jewish wedding

student: Why not?

Mrs. Kamman: Because I am not Jewish, and Mr. Kamman isn’t a practicing religious Jewish person. In fact, if he was, we wouldn’t have gotten married at all because Jewish people are only supposed to marry other Jewish people.

(It was interesting and timely that this came up based on the recent dramas ensuing with a certain *to remain anonymous* judgmental Jewish person we know, so it was good that this student didn’t ask anymore “why” questions after that because I might have given him more information than he needed…haha)

Another curious student nearby: Did he wear a yarmulke?

Mrs. Kamman: Nope

same student: Does he own a yarmulke?

Mrs. Kamman: I think so, he wore one for his brother’s wedding

Then student #2 proceeded to draw a picture of Mr. Kamman wearing a yarmulke and riding a unicorn. Students really like to draw him, and for some reason they always portray him as some sort of Greek-god-esque mythological creature!

Resources: (this one is short and sweet but made me laugh all day)

Today I was explaining an activity where students had to recognize and identify 3 different types of balance found in art;  symmetrical, asymmetrical and radial. I have given them notes on this topic, and we have gone over many examples extensively. Of course they all came back braindead after a 4 day weekend, so I was helpfully reminding them of their resources to use for the activity.

Mrs. Kamman: (To a class of 8th graders) So, where can you find the information on the types of balance if you don’t remember the definition for each one?

(I wanted them to say “OUR NOTES!”)

Student #1: YOU TUBE!

Mrs. Kamman: Um, no. Try again…

Student #2: Wikipedia?



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