This week I am celebrating how amusing and amazing my students are by sharing a few of the things that made me laugh or made me pause.
1. My class had the opportunity to go to the forest and participate in outdoor games with some high school students who are taking an outdoor education course. It was less than a 25 minute bus ride away but for some of my students, a completely “other” world. In our pre-trip discussions about what we might see, one child predicted elephants . . .
There was a mixture of fear
“I’m scared – of the dark, the prickles, the bugs, the dirt . . .”
And huge excitement:
“I’m ready for the trip! I packed my nopulars so I can see near and far.”
Nopulars (binoculars) do help with that! All children had an amazing time! Within seconds of sitting back on the bus, I heard, “Can we come back here?” multiple times.
2. As we continue to study the ocean and all of the amazing sea creatures that live in its waters, I have the chance to read aloud many fabulous nonfiction titles. Friday, we started reading Here Come the Humpbacks written by April Pulley Sayre and illustrated by Jamie Hogan
One of my students was fascinated that whales are also mammals and that the baby whale rolls when it is born and breaks the umbilical cord attaching it to its mother. All morning she kept telling me:
“I really love talking about the hunchback whales.”
In the first few pages of the book, the author explains that the male humpbacks have scars on their skin from past competitions. This sparked an interesting conversation.
“What competition? Races?”
“No. They are competing for the girl whales.”
“Why do they have to have competitions? Isn’t there enough girls to go around?”
3. I found a book at the public library this weekend that I just had to bring in and share with my class: Wild by Emily Hughes
After reading the book aloud, I admitted that I really loved the book and wished I had a copy for our classroom. One child remarked:
“You really should buy it. Otherwise, you might go a little crazy.”
4. Right now we are reading the novel The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate
This is a seriously beautiful book to read aloud and there are many moments of silence where we just allow for space and thinking. If you know the story (as I know so many of us do), we are at the part when the baby elephant, Ruby has arrived. Students have needed to talk a lot about how the older elephant Stella has felt about the baby coming. When Stella announces that she can hear a baby elephant coming because she can hear her crying, Ivan tells her that she is just hoping. “No,” Stella says softly,”Not hoping. Not at all.” It took the children some time to get what this meant. Slowly, through discussion they recognized that Stella didn’t want a baby to come and experience the captivity that the animals at the Bg Top Mall experienced.
The next day, I knew it had really sunk in when we read this part:
“Relax, Stella,” I say. “It will be okay.”
“Ivan,” Stella says, it will never, ever be okay,” and I know enough to stop talking.
I paused. The class was quiet. One voice piped up
“Stella doesn’t want the baby to feel what they feel. . . to feel locked up and sad.”
We all continued to sit in silence for another few moments until another child prompted, “Okay, you can read now.”
This book’s magic is in these multiple moments of understanding and compassion that we quietly share.
I celebrate spending each day with children who make me smile – for so many reasons. What are you celebrating in your week?