Never Assume!

from The Diary of a First Grade Teacher

Never assume anything! That’s what I was told in school, including college and grad school. Back then, I may not have always remembered those words, but now it’s a different story ...

Daily, my first graders provide me with funny reminders!



Teaching Reading Skills

While kindergarteners and first graders are being introduced to some of the higher-level reading skills, many of them are still too immature (developmentally) to predict outcomes correctly, to infer closer to the truth, and to draw the right conclusions.

Here's what I mean ...

Predicting Outcomes

Today, one of my teacher friends told me a story about her and her family taking a drive out in the nearby countryside.

Whenever they passed a field and saw horses grazing, her husband said to their two young children, “Did you know that if a horse gets a really bad break in one of its legs, somebody has to shoot it?”

Both of the children were quiet for a long time.

Then, finally, from the back seat, they heard a squeak. It was their daughter, a first grader.

“Daddy, if I break my leg, will somebody have to shoot me?”


Teaching Inference

Inference is not a first grade skill, but as a teacher, I will “go there” if the opportunity arises, and if I think the child may understand.

Case in point - Joe Joe Speen.

It’s rare for Joe Joe to be both happy and excited, at the same time, or even on the same day. But today, he was jubilant.

“Man!” he shouted. “I FOUNT OUT my momma’s a Speen, my baby brother’s a Speen, my Papa’s a Speen!”

So I said, “How about that? And YOU? That means YOU must be a … ?”

“Me?” He beamed proudly. “I’M A BOY!”

A little later, we were at recess and I was talking to little Weesie, who never assumes anything. Suddenly, she started jumping up and down.

Pointing to the street next to our school campus, she cried, “Oh, see them people in that car? I KNOW WHERE THEY LIVE!” She was ecstatic. “They live RIGHT HERE in this here town!”

Then, looking as if she just had an epiphany, she mumbled, "Anyway, just about everybody I know lives right here … in this here town.”

ClickN KIDS Beginning Reading & Spelling Programs

Drawing Conclusions

“Daily pick-ups” are students who are picked up after class every day by their parents or their day-care providers. These students don’t ride a bus home.

Every day – after the bus students leave - I give the remaining three or four students some free time. This means that after they have finished packing up and cleaning up – just as the others had to do - they have a few minutes to do something they’d like to do.

Some of their choices include reading, playing games online, or talking with a classmate.

Today Martin – who is usually a bus student – stayed here, waiting for his dad to pick him up. And after being allowed the so-called “free time” for the first time, he ran over to see me.

“Teacher, you ‘member how I don’t like readin’... and I don't like writin’ ... and I don't like math?”

"Oh?"

“Well, I found somethin' I REALLY LIKE at school! Yes Siree! I like FREE TIME!”

Never Assume Anything!

In the video below, the comedian - Benny Hill – demonstrates EXACTLY what one of my professors did to me in front of all my classmates! I was in grad school, so you’d think I would have known by then to never say the words, “I assume … “

Anyway, I was SOOOOO embarrassed!




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