Don't get me wrong, those other teachers I mentioned are rock stars too, but John's fifth grade classroom had his personality all over it. It couldn't have been anyone else's classroom. He had units and lessons based on baseball cards for math and writing. His kids watched Star Wars and analyzed it. Jazz music was integral to his teaching. He was part of the Arts Connect program, and he went to schools all over Atlanta teaching Jazz History. He taught his kids about Looney Tunes (I totally stole that idea from him). He was always integral to the 5th grade play, creating drum pieces for "Uncle Tom's Cabin" in The King and I, and later directing the entire production with Carolyn as his partner. He told terrible jokes (Juneau the capital of Alaska?) and accosted unknowing kindergartners in the hall so he could let them know that kindergarten were the best 5 years of his life (they rarely got it). He was always willing to share ideas and help out a newbie teacher.
And, of course, there was always the drum show. He taught countless students and teachers before and after school how to play the drums. Every year, one of the last things we did at Norton was watch Mr. L's Drum Show. It was loud. It was energetic. It was awesome.
Tonight is his 28th and final show at Norton. I am hauling myself all the way out to Snellville because I wouldn't miss it for the world. Can't wait!
The local news did a great piece about him, see it below. It wouldn't let me embed the video, so just click the picture to watch it.