SOL #31 – So long March 2017! We’ll send you off with a song!

The events leading up to this event are a little sketchy and may or may not have taken place during writing workshop.   However, it involves several pig erasers in my student, Al’s possession.  Said erasers were nameless at the time of the slice.20170330_123126

Another student and I suggested the pigs be called Bacon, Hot Dog, and Pork Chop. Al did not find this entertaining.

He continued to brainstorm names, accepting Pork Chop – not because it’s a food, but because it’s just a good sounding name.  He still needed two more…

“Ohhhh!!! Spiderpig!!!”  Al shouted.

And then the low chatter of students raised and then transformed into the singing of Spiderpig – as a class, they sang.  Al danced to a beat (not the beat), eyes closed,  basking in the voices of his classmate’s singing.

“Spider pig, Spider pig.  Does whatever a….”  it didn’t last long, they weren’t all very confident with the words…  But the memory of the impromptu song will last much longer.

After deciding he would write about this for the last slice of March, he said of this event:  “One day the blogs are going to get old and everyone is going to forget it, but I’m never going to forget it.”

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SOL #30 – “Life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.”

The sudden changes in mood and conversation with fifth graders still surprises me sometimes often.

I had a couple students at my table during reading workshop today.  We read Langston Hughes’ Mother to Son and were talking about it.  Really they were talking about it and I was listening composing this slice in my head.  It is amazing what these kids are capable of understanding and the conversations they have:

Well, son, I’ll tell you:

Life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.

It’s had tacks in it,

And splinters,

And boards torn up,

And places with no carpet on the floor –

Bare.

But all the time

I’se been a-climbin’ on,

“I’m picturing the son leaving for college.  And the mom is saying that life is going to be hard, but he should keep trying.”

“Yeah, but I think she wrote it on a note.  Cause people don’t just go around and talk in poems.”

“No one’s life is easy.  Everyone has struggles.”

And reachin’ landin’s,

And turnin’ corners,

And sometimes goin’ in the dark

Where there ain’t been no light.

“It means there are lots of struggles, obstacles.  She’s saying there are hard things in life.”

“And you think things are better, you’re done.  And then there’s more.”

Don’t you set down on the steps

‘Cause you finds it’s kinder hard.

Don’t you fall now –

For I’se still goin’, honey,

I’se still climbin’,

And life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.

“She’s telling her son not to give up. ”

“Plus, if you sit on a tack, that would really hurt.”

“And falling off the stairs and landing on tacks and nails…”

The sudden changes in mood and conversation with fifth graders still surprises me sometimes often.

SOL #29 – “Boom. Clap”

“Maybe you could add onomatopoeia here? To describe what it sounded like when we crashed?” I suggested to a student about his slice as another boy sat next to him typing.

He looked at me quizzically, so I gave him a few examples, “Boom!  Crash!”

“Sound of my heart…”  sings the boy next to us.  I couldn’t help but start cracking up!  Perfect timing.

 

SOL #28 – Reflection and an Apology

My car ride home is quite a haul, but it allows me to reflect on the day.  Yesterday was one of those days, where among other things I lost my patience too many times. 

On my drive, all of a sudden it hit me why that one kid was shoving a book in my face earlier…

I was cranky.  I had a headache.  And one of my students held a book up to my face, fanning the pages, while I was trying to give directions to another.  I’m not sure exactly what I said, but it was something like, “Why is that in my face?  Go sit down.”

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Earlier in this day I had published a Joy List post on our classroom blog.  Do you see it yet?

It took me until the ride home, but I realized that he saw this.  He saw that I love the smell of new books. He saw that I was having a bad day.  He was trying to bring me joy.

He may not have gone about it in the right way, but he tried.  I owed him an apology.

And an apology he got.  I pulled him aside this morning, apologized to him and thanked him for trying to bring me joy.  He smiled, laughed, nodded and went back to work.  I think I am forgiven.

My kids may not always know how to express it appropriately, but they are good, compassionate young people.   I am lucky to spend my days with them!

 

 

SOL #27 – One of those days…Saved by a Dart Gun

It was one of those days that is bound to happen once in a while.  Especially when that day is accompanied by a sinus headache and a classroom full of fifth graders.

It was one of those days where you can’t tell if the students are acting out more than usual or you are just crankier than usual.

It was one of those days that things go missing, you raise your voice too often, and you spend your plan time cleaning and reorganizing because that is all you can manage.

Luckily, today was one of those days where I spent my plan time cleaning and reorganizing.  And upon my irritated tossing and frustrated searching, I stumbled on some envelopes that my best friend and former co-teacher left me for “those days” when she changed schools.

I read through the different envelopes that remained and found one the perfect one for today.  “Open when…You’re stressed.”   I ripped open the envelope to discover a toy dart gun.  Despite my cranky attitude, I couldn’t help but smile and chuckle out loud.  The stress didn’t go away, but it did dwindle some after the thoughtful gift from a friend and a few minutes of target practice.  It got me through that last half hour of the day.  Tomorrow will be better.

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SOL #25 – A Friday Story To Beat All Friday Stories…

Friday.  Their eyes were not on me.  On the iPads or the friend across the room, but not on me.  They weren’t listening either…

“Leave everything at your tables and come over here and sit.”

It didn’t take long until everyone was sitting in front of me.  I sat on the ground with them, legs crossed in front of me and started sharing a few housekeeping details I need them to hear when I noticed the boy in front of me reaching.  It looked like he was reaching toward my foot… My voice trailed off as I watched him.

He slowly reached toward my foot and pulled my cheap green flip flop off.  The whole class was watching  now, quiet.  My announcements forgotten.

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He held the flip flop in two hands, looking at it and turning to the side and back again.  Still we watched, entranced by this confusing turn of events.

Then, to the surprise of everyone, he sniffed my flip-flop. Yes, I kid you not, nose to flip-flop and inhaled.

The silence was broken with the cries of confusion and, frankly, disgust.  “What?!?”  “Gross!”  “Seriously?”

When I inquired the reason for this strange action, all I got was a shrug…  WHAT?!?

SOL #24 – Shadows

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“Have you noticed we are getting shorter by the hour?”

Don’t worry.  No one is actually shrinking.  Today is beautiful.  The sun is shining and it feels like spring.  It is the perfect weather for an investigation into shadows.  We went outside once each hour to trace shadows, observing the changes.

After our third shadow, a student came up to me and asked, “Have you noticed we are getting shorter by the hour?”  🙂

Some days I wish they were shrinking, because most of them are eye level or taller than me…