Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Run That By Me Again

Teaching first grade can be a lot of fun especially if you have a good sense of humor and get a kick out of interacting with children. I've got that in spades. Every day I am in awe of the fresh perspective my students hold regarding the simplest things. They have not yet learned to box themselves into 'standardized' ways of thinking so anything goes as far as creating unique utterances and ways of expressing themselves. This means that I am constantly supplied with fresh stories to share with my nearest and dearest. However this week there were three things that made me laugh (in varying degrees) and I feel compelled to share them in this forum.

Yesterday Lauren and I explored symmetry with the class. In order to clearly demonstrate this we modeled taking a piece of paper, folding it in half and cutting a curved line along the folded edge. When the paper was opened it revealed a heart. Thus: symmetrical. The kids gave it a go by cutting their own papers into various designs and afterwards we all examined the shapes. During this time Lauren started to cut out letters for our students whose first names began with letters that could be cut out in this way and remain symmetrical. One girl brought her letter "A" home and decorated it with shiny red circle stickers. She showed it to me early this morning and I was duly impressed. Me likes the shiny!

While the students put away their book bags and went about performing their morning jobs she taped the giant A to her shirt. It was about this time that I heard:

"Super A-hole to the rescue!"

She was 'flying' around the room like a super hero repeating over and over...

"Super A-hole to the rescue!".

As you can imagine I stopped in my tracks and gave a closer listen. Yep, that's what she was saying. Only by now some of the other children were joining in the chorus by saying that this child was a "Super A-hole" and they were calling out her super hero name so she could save them from some terrible danger. Huh? I slowly walked over and asked her where she had heard that. She told me she made it up because 'A' has a big hole in it and her pink shirt was showing through.

I quietly informed her that she might want to rethink her super hero name, perhaps adopting George O'Connor's KAPOW! character "American Eagle" since they both start with the letter A. One can only try to steer them in the right direction. The choice is theirs. Super A-hole spent the day saving others and spreading good will to all.

Another amusing bit came earlier this week and like the "I Spilled Myself" story it also involves a bit of bathroom humor. Anyway...I was walking a boy to the bathroom yesterday and he was explaining to me that he had to go to the bathroom the night before but 'saved' it until the morning. He also 'saved' it that morning on the bus. Of course he meant that he held it but really is there such a difference? They both mean the same thing after all, and how did 'holding it' take off?

Finally on Monday the class was involved in our morning meeting, sharing news and discussing various upcoming events. One topic was an upcoming birthday on Friday. One boy stood up, walked to the calendar and said the birthday was tomorrow - again, again, again. He was saying that the birthday was four days from now but chose to express himself in a novel way. I like it. It reminds me of how children count when they are first learning. Instead of counting 38, 39, 40, many children will say 38. 39, 30 10. It makes sense. I was told that that is how the Chinese learn to count - not in arbitrary numbers but in concepts and grouping. Interesting no?

I have two days left of the week. I wonder what fresh perspectives await.


marxsny said...

I love the A, everytime I see it for some reason I start singing "She Loves to Hear the Music". I love the concept of symmetry although for me personally I feel symmetry is a trap. In the spirit of diversity you should teach your students about asymmetry next and let them decide which they associate with as individuals.

Reya Mellicker said...

Some day, like in middle school, when this girl reads The Scarlet Letter she's really going to get a good laugh, remembering her gigantic A and the adventures of Super A Hole!

Sebastien said...

Super A-hole, that's very funny, I wonder if this is a marketable superhero, probably make millions, no?

Seems like Hollywood is really cashing in with all these superhero movies... Although, I must admit, I'm looking forward to Batman, I always thought he was an interesting superhero...

d. chedwick bryant said...

I like the calendar kid! Like Reya--I thought of the Scarlet letter with the first pic!

J. David Zacko-Smith said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
J. David Zacko-Smith said...

Oh my Gosh - that story is just too cute!

Lynda said...

Hi Gary,
I love to read you Blog Weekly. Your students are very special, because they have a exceptional teacher. I loved the comments for this week. No matter what is happening in your life, children can always bring a smile to your face. Keep up the good work! You are a "One of a Kind" Teacher!


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