Every Friday my class reads a newspaper. The light went on one day in my dull mini-cranium about two minutes into the lesson. The kids knew lots of words I didn't know, such as: sally port, non-contact visit and CO. We were reading an article about prison. Did I mention that my students are fifth-graders? That means they are 9 and 10 years old, mostly Latinos. All of them are sweet like chocolate, cute to the max, and wise to the bone ... about certain things.An informal survey, "Heads down on desk, no looking" style, showed that eleven of his 28 fifth-graders had visited incarcerated relatives.
"What's a sally port?" I asked.
"Oh, teacher," replied Carla. "That's the wire cage room thing you have to go in to get into the prison."
Another kid chimed in his Michoacan accent. "But there are two of them."
"Two of what?" I asked, completely clueless.
Carla answered, "Them wire cage room things. You have to go through two of them." She stared at me with huge, deep black eyes.
[Sally Port, Potty Patrol, and Extraction, By Paul Karrer, San Francisco Chronicle, Sunday, June 1, 2008]