I have unshakable faith in children. They always show me the way. ♥

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

how to laugh...

My students and I laughed so much today. So much.

It started in the middle of writing when I was visiting tables, listening to various students share their work (we're writing How to stories at the moment). Hyung shared her story with me. It's title: How to not get sprayed by a skunk

If that's not a useful story, then I don't know what is. Also, I can say with complete certainty that this is not a story that has been written by any first grader I've ever worked with. It's a complete original.

Also, she was quick to point out that one of our strategy mini-lessons (namely, getting a friend to act out your story while you read it aloud to see if there are any things you left out or anything that just does not make sense) was very useful to her writing process. She showed me the page where it had said, "If you see a skunk, move."

Well, when she read it aloud to a friend, Annie pointed out that Hyung hadn't shared with the reader which way to move -- what if the reader thought that meant you should move TOWARD the skunk?! That just wouldn't do!

So, Annie saved Hyung's story (and many potentially skunky-smelling people) and Hyung added to that page "If you see a skunk, move back and away."

The best thing? Hyung has a sense of humor about the whole thing. She gets that it's a pretty funny topic to be writing about. But she still wants it to be the best it can be. And every grin or giggle (from student or teacher) just makes it better.

So, that was first thing this morning. Then we were working on a book about Symbols and the kids were at tables illustrating their books. One table got talking about what would happen if the Statue of Liberty came to visit the Washington Monument, and what it would look like and what they would say (and could the Washington Monument even talk, really?) Then they got giggling about what all the people around would say if they saw the whole thing going on!

I... I don't even have words.

Plus, it turned out to be a nice day, so when we went out to recess we all tossed our coats on the ground and ran around like crazy and made up crazy titles for games that I'm not sure I could spell.

All in all, a really good day to be six. (or several times six, in my case)

I wonder what sort of How to story I can look forward to tomorrow...

Monday, March 1, 2010

what else can I say...

Reason #8764658977 why I love my class:

I'm trying to do less. More spefically, I'm trying to do less with my left arm. It is so easy for me to carry piles of paper, pick up baskets of color tiles, and continue just doing everything in the classroom by myself (believe me, there is always plenty to be done!). Except, as you may remember, I have a broken arm. So, I really shouldn't be doing all those things. The doctor told me not to. My husband keeps telling me not to. Everyone keeps telling me not to.

It's so hard to keep asking for help, over and over and over again.

And while I'm significantly older than I was when I was in school and really good at doing everything my teacher told me, I am (mostly) capable of learning new things. I think.

I'm trying.

Last week I told my class that I had a goal: I was trying not to use my broken arm, even though I wanted to. It wasn't good for helping it heal, and I didn't want to hurt it again. I asked them if they could help me remember my goal if they saw me forgetting.

Later on that day, as we were modeling a project, I remembered my goal and kept asking various students to help cutting out different things for the project. Of course, I hadn’t realized how much there was – I should have had more of it prepared. After asking the third or fourth child to help cut something out, and feeling totally exasperated with myself, I burst out, “I’m so sorry you guys. I shouldn’t be asking you all to do all this cutting; this is not your job.”


There was this absolutely genuine outpouring of support from them: “We don’t mind!” “Of course it’s our job!” Miz F – you have a broken arm!”

It was as though they were all showing me, “Dude. We’ve got this one.”

I looked at all of them, sort of overwhelmed and didn’t really know what to say. And really, what else is there to say in a situation like that other than thank you?

So I did. ♥