If you have been following my blog, you’ll know that Khalil is a kid who struggles with math. He’s terrified of the End of Grade (EOG) tests. When I asked him what most scared him about those tests, he said, “I’m afraid my mind will go blank.” I said, “Oh, that happens to everyone. Just go on to the next problem and come back to that one.” Khalil was horrified. “I can’t skip anything!” I reassured him that he could easily come back to a skipped problem if he marked the test booklet by turning down a corner of the page. He spent a while considering that option as we did some math prep for the EOG.
The next item on our agenda was an EOG-style reading passage about Hollywood. Apparently, Hollywood used to be farmland in the late 1800’s. When he read “1880’s,” Khalil rose from his seat, one arm outstretched with a pointing finger. “That’s when disco was invented!” he cried exuberantly, looking a lot like a very short John Travolta. “Um, disco was the 1980’s,” I amended. He said, “I stink at math.”
As we read that early movies were made in places where the weather was rainy and cold much of the year, the passage read that “people would not want to film there.” Khalil remarked, “I would!” Ever ready to help him face reality, I said, “It would be hard.” Khalil simply replied, “It would be a horror movie!” Good point.
Finally we came to the section that described how the first movies were made without sound. “That was no good!” he exclaimed. The article explained that subtitles would flash on the screen and he added, “I’d be fine with just sound!” Khalil was amazed that actors used hand movements to show emotions. He started wiggling his fingers in front of his face. “That doesn’t sound right! It’s like sticking up your fingers. Like this.” Khalil lifted his thumb, then his index finger, and then shook his middle finger while keeping other fingers nearby. “They might stick up THAT finger!” He also showed me the same issue with his other hand, concluding, “That’s just not right!” Obviously, it would be quite tempting for those early actors to slip the audience a middle finger. Khalil paused, considering their dilemma. “That stinks.” Then his ramblings triggered a recent memory and he added, “I dropped my phone in the toilet and that just stinks, too!” What a life.