He was a bump on a log, shaved off at the sawmill on the camp grounds when they were preparing wood to repair one of the boys' cabins. Now, he is a bump on a desk, keeping guard over extra pencils and bathroom passes. He is one of a kind, the only bump on a log allowed in my classroom.
Occasionally, students will pat him absently as they grab a tissue or borrow a clipboard. Some students have suggested names for him...Stumpy, Bob, Oscar. Otherwise, he doesn't get too much attention. He's happy, I guess, to go unnoticed...not really contributing to the class's progress, but always there...on the outskirts, taking it all in.
I can't help but wonder if he has spring fever. The students are infected with it; they are wiggly and restless and practically smell of sunshine.
Last week, I gave them a homework assignment: Bring a beach towel.
"We are going to think outside; no box required!" I told them. I saw the slogan on a t-shirt.
We carried our towels and books and journals outside and spread the towels out on the damp lacrosse field. Students sat in clusters or stretched out on their backs, holding their books up high to block the weak rays of the spring sun. Although the grass seemed dry, the ground was saturated, and the towels got damp. We were too enthusiastic to care. At the end of the day, I draped all the beach towels over the backs of the classroom chairs. Our bump on a log watched. The room smelled like earth and dew and April. I thought he seemed depressed.
If it stops raining, we will go out again this week. If it doesn't stop raining, maybe their homework assignment will be: Bring rubber boots and an umbrella. This time, we will take our bump on a log with us. We will all think outside, no box required, only one bump on a log allowed.