My classroom is in a small private school in the woods. It’s not exactly where “the deer and the antelope play” but we all enjoy the rooster, hens and even the turtle. However, Miss Popcorn Goat gives us the main reason to come to school each day.
As the students began to arrive, a gal commented on the workers outside,“I’m so glad you’re preparing the roof.” There had been a leak and I was also happy the workers were repairing it.
One kid wanted me to know what the Dr. said, “The lady told my mom my ears are possessed.” I had to stop and think a minute before I could process this startling information. The written report said he had a challenge with auditory processing. Wow, did I ever have fun helping him understand the devil wasn’t actually involved…
After everyone settled down we were ready for Math. I often try to generate a bit of motivation before the work starts. I mentioned saving for a goal and how being able to add would be a big help. One kind soul spoke up, “Guess what I’d save for–an electric chair for old people.” Before I could chide her she added, “’cause my grandma has a hurting back.” Then I was able to breathe knowing the old people were safe after all.
Thinking of grandmas I was reminded of long ago when my own kids would rush to the phone for “Wrong Distance phone calls” from their grandparents across the country. Did you know there was a time when people even would yell into the phone on long distance phone calls.
Brainstorming is supposed to be a good thing. But sometimes it’s more like a tornado. In Math we were learning about shapes. A boy sounded out the next one: “ox ee gone.” While I was looking to see where his eyes were pointed, a helpful student said, “Do you mean oxygen?” I said, “It’s a shape called octagon with eight sides.” Someone else piped up with, “But October isn’t the eighth month!” Oh boy, was I in trouble now!
In Social Studies we were studying Transportation and one kid held up a beautiful picture book about sailing boats. He showed us one with a sleeping cabin and asked, “Who would stir the boat while everyone slept?” From then on, when I was on a boat I couldn’t help but watch to be sure someone was steering it.
In Reading class we were discussing superstition. We were giving examples and I mentioned Friday the 13th. A gal said, “Yeah, I know people think bad things happen then. That’s because of the movie Friday the 13th.” Sometimes lack of historical perspective makes cause and effect trade places in a child’s mind.
In Geography one kid knew where the Dementia Republic was. He pointed straight to what we used to call the Dominican Republic in my day.
And a guy had just checked out a book on The Battle of Lexington. His friend asked, “What was the score on that one?” Bet his dad watches lots of football. The next week he checked out The Battle of Concord. He inquired, “Do they call it that because they conquered the enemy?”
Everyone seemed to enjoy ending the day with some fine music. As the class quieted, a child asked, “Is that Mozart’s or Beethoven’s Ninth Sympathy?” And I thought some symphony music would calm everything down. How wrong I was.
I needed some peace and quiet to recover from my full day of explaining and clarifying — over and over. So I opened my lunch kit and pulled out some Hawaiian Punch. I thought I’d indulge in what my dear student had mentioned at lunch time: drinking quiet punch.