Whispered in my ear at school are words - wise and wonderful and sometimes surprising words - from my first graders. I have to record them because they are so inspirational, insightful, or just so plain dar n cute!
For example, the following first grade stories all happened in only one day at school!
This morning I was standing in my classroom doorway - waiting for my students to arrive - whenever I saw Martin. He looked like he had been in a fight. Both of his arms were bruised and one side of his face was red.
“Oh my, what happened to you?”
Shuffling meekly through the door, he mumbled, “Nuttin'.”
Quickly, he took his seat, and then glanced up to see Loegan – the only other student present that early – staring wide-eyed at him, just as I was.
“Yeah, well,” he confessed, “I had a little accident.”
Loegan snickered. “A LITTLE accident? Looks like Spider-Man dropped you on your head!”
Martin didn’t laugh. Instead, he asked me to come over to his desk.
Blushing, he whispered in my ear, “I really DID have a accident ... I fell down.”
Loegan heard him anyway and laughed.
Martin motioned for me to lean over, closer.
"I fell down," he whispered in my ear. "But don't tell nobody ... It was off the top of my barn!"
I learned that Tommy and his family have recently moved into a new house. And now that they have moved, Tommy is having trouble sleeping there.
“What’s the problem?” I asked him. “Is it because it’s a new house?”
“It ain’t new. It’s a new OLD house. And it’s really, REAL OLD!” He reflected solemnly for a moment, and then whispered in my ear, “See … I keep hearing stuff.”
“Oh? What kind of stuff?"
His eyes looked panic-stricken. “I don’t know, but Momma says it’s ‘cause it’s a old house. And a old house is ALWAYS full of CREEPS!”
"Creeps?" I couldn't keep from laughing. "Oh, she's not saying creeps ... I think she's saying an old can be full of CREAKS."
Tommy wasn't listening. "And you know the worsest part? Momma says I have to get USED TO IT!" He looked stressed to the max. "But I tell ya right now. I ain't EVER gunna get used to that!"
Ben left his seat in the cafeteria and ran to end of the table where I was seated.“Can I ask you something?” he said.
“May I ask you something?”
I couldn’t help but smile at that cutie. “What is it, Ben?”
“Santa Clause said to SHARE. Right? Right?”
It’s the middle of October, so I’m wondering why Ben is talking about Santa Clause.
I didn’t say a word. I was chewing my food.
“That’s right,” Ben continued. “Member? The song says he’s watching you to see if you good.”
I continued chewing. I never say too much on subjects like these ... Too many families have different traditions, and I don’t want to be the one to mess up anything.
Suddenly his attitude changed. “OK, then. Can I whisper in your ear?”
So he whispered, “Stevie’s NO GOOD! And he’s in BIG trouble!”
I raised my eyebrows. “Eh?”
"Uh huh … Cause he won’t share his M&M’s!”
In first grade we use time-order words to show the correct sequence of events found in a story or a short paragraph, for example.
One of their lessons is to understand and to use the following time-order words in writing and in speaking: first, next, last. We study and practice this - off and on - all year long.
And when the day arrives that any one of my students starts using these words in their OWN vocabulary, I get excited. Today was one of those days.
Out of the blue, Ben said, “I really like school."
“Great!” I said. “I’m so glad!”
He had more to tell me because he left his desk and jogged to where I was seated in front of the classroom.
I encouraged him. “What part do you like best?”
There was no answer. Instead, he simply stood there, looking around the classroom at something ...
I looked, too. And then I saw what he saw. All of his classmates were interested in what he had to say, also.
Since Ben is a bit shy, he turned his back to them and whispered in my ear. “First, recess.” He pointed to one finger at-a-time. “Next, PE ... And last - but best of all - LUNCH!”
Now, how can I possibly keep from writing down all the unique observations my kiddos whisper in my ear?
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