from The Diary of a First Grade Teacher
Humorous things – called quotes from first graders - fill my classroom daily.
While I’m impressed with their delightful insights and profound comments, sometimes I find myself just standing there - stunned by their brutal honesty.
And I admit it ... often I can NOT keep myself from laughing. So MANY humorous things happen in my first grade classroom!
I Have a Surprise for You
Today, it all started when I said, “I have a surprise for you.”
During Reading, we discussed our new vocabulary words … One word was surprise.
“Listen,” I said. “What do you think the word, SURPRISE, means in the following sentence: I have a SURPRISE for you.”
Tommy, who’s usually the last one to speak, laughed nervously and said, “I know what that means when MY momma says it ... It means my ol' man’s gonna whoop my a** when I git home!”
At our school the first three books the first graders read are called preprimers. The preprimer-level readers are paperback booklets.
The day the students receive their first hardback book – the primer – is an exciting time for them. It is - in a way - a rite of passage for them, so I make a big deal out of it.
The Yellow Reading Group received the primer-level reader today and they were ecstatic.
But first, I explained to them that - by law - every state-issued textbook must have a book cover placed on it whenever it’s issued to a student. This, obviously, is to preserve the life of the book.
“It’s about time!” Stevie said, grabbing a book and trotting off with it.
“Wait!” I said. And then I laughed because I was happy that he was eager to have his new book. “Come here.”
He turned on his heel and rolled his eyes at me ...
Humorous things (to me) aren't always funny to someone six-years old.
Reaching for the book, I said, “Let me show you how to put this book cover on.”
“I don’t need one,” he said, and kept going. Apparently he hadn’t listened to the instructions about the book cover requirement.
“Come here,” I insisted. “Your book HAS TO HAVE a book cover.”
No doubt, he sensed the concern in my voice because he was ever so patient when he stuck out his neck and spoke to me, ever so slowly …
“I don’t NEED a book cover. See?” He knocked on the front of the book and then on the back of it. Enunciating each word, he told me - as if I were blessedly unaware - “These pages on this here REAL book is ALREADY covered up!”
School Book Fair
Today was the last day for the School Book Fair. The students who bring their money may go to the library to buy new books.
For the past two days Tommy has forgotten his money at home. But today he had an armload of books, and he was headed to the check-out table.
“Ready?” I said. “Let me help you while you get your money.” I set his books on the table for the librarian to ring up.
“Uh, I can’t pay for ‘em right now.”
“Oh, sorry,” Ms. Shoy, the librarian, said. “If you want these books – do you remember? - you have to pay for them right now.” She winked at me because she knows Tommy and his family.
“I know, but it’s the last day.” He leaned over the table and spoke in a low whisper. “It’s like this … Just morning my old man was gone, my momma wasn’t dressed and … and we got trouble.”
Ms. Shoy looked at me. “Trouble?”
I looked at Tommy. “Trouble?”
He sighed deeply and nodded his head. “Whadaya think? We broke!”
Ms. Shoy said, “I called your Momma yesterday, remember? And she told me your book money was in an envelope at home.”
“Okay,” he sheepishly confessed. “I forgot it again.”
He was walking away, defeated, whenever …
Suddenly, he brightened up. “Hey, I know! I’ll put ‘em on lay-a-way.”
I tried not to laugh ... but that was a smart idea and he was so cute.
But whenever Ms. Shoy told him, "No can do," Tommy gave me a so-called dirty look.
I value my first graders for so many reasons ... They're bright, original, and funny.
And one day - whenever they have children of their own - I know they'll understand why it's hard to keep from laughing at PRECIOUS little humorous things!