Tagged virginia

“Ditto is lost in the sound”

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Is it possible, said Virginia, to become a sound?
What? said Ditto. I was lost in the melody of your voice.

“Ditto goes to school” (XXVII)

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I’m going to say two words, said the schoolmarm, tell me which begins with “eh.” Listen carefully: egg, pan. Which word begins with “eh”? Egg begins with “eh.” Now, I’m going to say two more words. Tell me which begins with “h”… I wonder, thought Virginia, what Ditto is thinking? It looks like he’s paying attention. I never realized how boring this class was until I got put in intervention. We never say what we think. We just repeat. I wonder if the schoolmarm likes what she does? I guess grown-ups don’t get bored as easy as kids.

“Ditto goes to school” (XXVI)

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Shall we read page three of The Children’s Story? said Ms. Johnson. Oh yes, said Virginia, I want to know why the teacher and children are afraid. Very well, said Ms. Johnson, page three says:

The children rustled, watching the teacher, wondering what possessed her… Johnny looked away from the door and watched with the other children. He did not understand anything except that the teacher was afraid, and because she was afraid she was making them all worse and he wanted to shout that there was no need to fear. “Just because they’ve conquered us there’s no need for panic-fear,” Dad had said. “Don’t be afraid, Johnny. If you fear too much, you’ll be dead even though you’re alive.”

We still don’t know why they’re afraid, said Virginia. No, we don’t, said Ms. Johnson. I don’t like to be afraid, said Virginia. Neither do I, said Ditto. Maybe that’s why Johnny has so much hate, said Virginia. Why? said Ms. Johnson. Because he doesn’t like to be afraid, and he’s angry at the person who’s making him afraid. Are we sure it’s a person? said Ms. Johnson. It says “they” conquered, said Virginia.

Who are they? said Ms. Johnson. I don’t know, said Virginia, but they must be bad if they conquered. Is conquering bad? said Ms. Johnson. That depends if you’re a conquer or a conquered, said Virginia. A “conqueror,” said Ms. Johnson. “They” could be another kind of animal, said Ditto. Like what? said Ms. Johnson. Any kind of animal that’s different from them, said Ditto, like a herd of rhinoceri. “Rhinoceroses,” said Ms. Johnson. Or a swarm of bees, said Ditto, or a school of piranhas. What’s a piranha? said Virginia. A piranha, said Ms. Johnson, is a freshwater fish with an insatiable appetite for meat. Insatiable? said Virginia. Impossible to satisfy, said Ms. Johnson. Oh, said Virginia.

Why don’t you like to be afraid? said Ms. Johnson. Because, said Virginia, I don’t know what’s going to happen. But something good might happen, said Ms. Johnson. But it might not, said Virginia. We fear the unknown, said Ditto, like Hamlet. Hamlet? said Ms. Johnson. Yes, said Ditto, my parents and their friend Blurtso staged a play called “Hamlet” last year. What does Hamlet say? said Ms. Johnson. He says, said Ditto, that he would rather stay with something familiar that doesn’t make him happy than take his chances with something unfamiliar. Something unfamiliar? said Ms. Johnson. Yes, said Ditto. Like what? said Ms. Johnson. Like death, said Ditto. Are you afraid of death? said Ms. Johnson. Yes, said Ditto. And you, Virginia? Yes, said Virginia.

Do you think Johnny is afraid of death in the story? said Ms. Johnson. Yes, said Ditto, or something worse. What’s worse than death? said Ms. Johnson. No one can say, said Ditto, until they know what death is. So it might not be bad? said Ms. Johnson. It might not, said Ditto, but we don’t know, so we create nightmares to fill the unknown. Is that what Johnny’s dad is telling us, said Ms. Johnson, when he says, “If you fear too much, you’ll be dead even though you’re alive”? Yes, said Ditto.

Have you ever heard of Franklin Delano Roosevelt? said Ms. Johnson. No, said Ditto. He was a president of the United States who said, “We have nothing to fear but fear itself.” What does that mean? said Virginia. It means, said Ditto, that the worst thing to do is be afraid. Why? said Virginia. Because when you’re afraid, said Ditto, you’ll do anything to stop being afraid. Do you think it’s easy, said Ms. Johnson, to frighten people into doing what you want them to do? Yes, said Ditto, all you have to do is convince them something unknown will happen if they don’t.

“Ditto goes to school” (XXV)

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I don’t like Johnny, said Virginia. Why not? said Ms. Johnson. Because, said Virginia, he’s filled with hate. Is hate a bad thing? said Ms. Johnson. Yes, said Virginia, very bad. But his hatred, said Ms. Johnson, makes him strong… is strength a bad thing? No, said Virginia, it’s a good thing. So a bad thing, said Ms. Johnson, can create a good thing? That doesn’t make sense, said Virginia. Maybe, said Ditto, there is good in bad things, and bad in good things. That makes even less sense, said Virginia. Why? said Ms. Johnson. Because bad is bad, said Virginia, and good is good.

Is a tiger bad? said Ms. Johnson. No, said Virginia, I love tigers! What if one of those tigers ate Ditto? That would be a bad tiger! said Virginia. But it’s the same tiger, said Ms. Johnson. Yes, said Virginia. So good things can become bad, said Ms. Johnson, in certain situations? And bad things can become good, said Ditto, like Johnny’s hatred.

Hmm, said Virginia, how come we never have discussions like this in our regular class? Because, said Ms. Johnson, your regular class is scripted. Scripted? said Virginia. Yes, said Ms. Johnson, what the schoolmarm says is prepared by the department of education, and she reads the script they tell her to read. Why don’t they give her a good script? said Virginia. Because they think it is a good script. But it isn’t, said Virginia, it’s a bad script. I think it’s a good script, said Ditto. Why? said Ms. Johnson. Because, said Ditto, if it weren’t such a bad script, I wouldn’t have failed my test and been put in this class, and this is a very good class with a very good script.

“Ditto goes to school” (XXIII)

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I like your house, said Virginia. Thank you, said Ditto. How is the intervention class? I love it, said Ditto, we’re reading a book by James Clavell. James Clavell? said Virginia. Yes, said Ditto, and Ms. Johnson asks all kinds of interesting questions, and she lets me answer any way I choose. Really? said Virginia. Really, said Ditto. It’s not like our regular class? said Virginia. No, said Ditto, we talk about whatever the story brings to mind. That’s great, said Virginia. Yes it is, said Ditto, you should try to get in. To intervention? said Virginia. Yes, said Ditto. How? said Virginia. What was your Benchmark score? said Ditto. I was a yellow light, said Virginia. Maybe if you failed your weekly tests, said Ditto, you could become a red light. Do you think? said Virginia. I don’t know, said Ditto, it’s worth a try.

“Ditto goes to school” (XX)

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Intervention? said Virginia. Yes, said Ditto, every day during lunch I have to meet with a special teacher. Until when? said Virginia. Until I pass the next Dibels. What if you fail the next one? Then, said Ditto, I continue to be intervened.

“Ditto goes to school” (XIX)

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An abject failiure? said Virginia. Yes, said Ditto, that’s what the teacher called me. I’ve never heard the word “abject”, said Virginia. “Abject”, said Ditto, refers to someone cast down in spirit, someone reduced to hopelessness and surrender. Really? said Virginia. Yes, said Ditto, at least that’s the way Thoreau uses it. Thoreau? said Virginia. Henry David Thoreau, said Ditto, a man who wrote a book called Walden—my parents have a copy and they let me read it. Was Thoreau abject? said Virginia. No, said Ditto, but near the end of the book when he’s talking about the importance of protecting your thoughts he says, “Sell your clothes and keep your thoughts… if I were confined to a corner of a garret all my days, like a spider, the world would be just as large to me while I had my thoughts… from an army of three divisions one can take away its general, and put it in disorder, but from the man the most abject and vulgar one cannot take away his thought.” How come you can read Walden, said Virginia, but can’t pass the Dibels? I don’t know, said Ditto, I guess Walden is a different kind of reading, or maybe Thoreau has been outlawed.

“Ditto goes to school” (XVIII)

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It’s your turn, said Virginia, I’m sure you’ll do fine.

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Alright big-nose, said the schoolmarm, you’ve got sixty seconds.
Read as many words as fast as you can… Begin!

DIBELS Nonsense Word Fluency

bol    kiv     ul    jac     lel
fij     kug    jat    oj      deg
wav  pek   yos   mub   fiv
ec      faj    vog   kif     puk

“bol?” said Ditto, What’s a “bol?” Just read the word, said the schoolmarm. But “bol” isn’t a word. Just read the word, said the schoolmarm. But it doesn’t make sense. Just read the word, said the schoolmarm. But there aren’t any words. Just read the word, said the schoolmarm. This isn’t English, said Ditto. Just read the word, said the schoolmarm. Can I use a Rosetta stone? Just read the word, said the schoolmarm. Or the Pentagon’s decoding program? Just read the word, said the schoolmarm. Or maybe a soothsayer? Just read the word, said the schoolmarm. Or a deck of Tarot cards? Stop! said the schoolmarm. Your time’s up! You scored one out of forty, you’re a red light. A red light? said Ditto. Yes, said the schoolmarm, an abject failure, you’ll start intervention in the morning.

“Ditto goes to school” (XV)

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Spring is here, said Virginia, only two months before summer vacation. Summer vacation? said Ditto. Yes, said Virginia. What’s summer vacation? That’s when we get three months off before coming back to school. Coming back? said Ditto. Yes, said Virginia, in the fall. For how long? said Ditto. Until the next summer, said Virginia. And then? said Ditto. Until the summer after that, said Virginia. How long do we have to keep coming? Forever, said Virginia. Forever? said Ditto. Yes, said Virginia, until we grow old.