Friday, September 14, 2007

A touch of the bi-polar perhaps

My reports on the student teaching at Brown Elementary seem to alternate between giddy satisfaction and dour pessimism. Nevertheless, today was a good day. I got six hours of sleep, and worked nine hours, but I feel pumped up and inspired about what got accomplished here.

For our pattern lesson, the kids acted out action patterns (stomping feet, clapping, clapping again, then slapping their sides, etc), then glued paper shapes in a pattern of their own devising. In science, they did some more investigations into balance, using clothespins as counterweights for paper shapes that could then perch on outstretched fingers or sticks.

In both cases, the kids weren't desk-bound or dulled by busywork. They were engaged, enthused and active in their own learning process. It was a good way to end the day and the week.


At recess, a kid who speaks with a lisp and a case of rhotacism approached us teachers and shyly confessed he had a song to sing. I encouraged him, and he began:

"I walk a wonewy woad
The only one that I have evah known
Don't know whewe it goes
But it's home to me and I walk awone"

It was like Elmer Fudd singing, but I must say, he carried the tune well. I congratulated him and asked him where he got that song. "I wote it," he said.

I evinced surprise at this precocious display of the songwriterly craft. "That's interesting," I said, "because I've heard it on the radio."

"Oh," he said, quickly and unabashedly changing gears, "I was just kidding. I mean, I go a fwiend's house and we wisten to Gween Day."



One of our literacy centers is the listening station, where the students read along to books they listen to on tape. It makes me feel old to realize that although kids today know how to operate DVD players, they're utterly unfamiliar with tape players. They grasped the concept of rewinding quickly enough once I explained it, but it was obviously new to them; they thought the tape was broken once it came to an end. Yikes.


It's an odd thing, to watch a first grader diligently, systematically and shamelessly picking his nose right in front of everyone. Eyes wide, looking up at the teacher and making eye contact, taking in every word, and really screwing that finger in up to the second knuckle, first one nostril and then the other. Earthy little fellows, aren't they?


On on of my thrice-daily treks to the nurse's office with the bathroom malefactor, I saw another child, Z, in the hall getting a drink. Z is one of the first graders not in my class, and he's in the hallways suspiciously often. I gave him an "I'm watching you" look and walked to the nurse's office. In opening the door, I saw to my surprise that Z had followed us down the hall. "Go to your room!" I said, and he walked off. My charge finished in the bathroom, and I walked him back. Who should I see on the way but Z, still in the hall by the water fountain. "I'm taking you to your room right now," I said to him.

"That's okay, I know where it is," he said.

Smart alec.

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