Tuesday, April 22, 2003

Happy Holidays
It's National TV-Turn Off Week and, of course, Happy Earth Day.

Back to School
Today I taught at my first grade alma mater. I wonder if Mrs. Haslett's class was in Room 4? With the tiny, new windows and replaced floors, I wasn't hit with an immediate sense of familitarity when I first walked in the building. But in a quiet moment at the end of the day, the short hall near the office and a certain flight of stairs spoke to me.

Looking back across the past two months, I realize that an amazing number of sick and home-with-sick child teachers manage to leave a good-to-great lesson plan. Today, however, I was working from the phone notes another of the fifth grade teachers jotted down when Mr. Whitehead called.

For math, his had a quick exercise in congruent, similar, and symmetrical figures. That group also had music and recess in the morning. Then I led a science lesson on plant reproduction, four times, as the classes rotated. I had the students read out loud, calling on the next student when they felt done. It struck me how eager they all were to read, even the kids who turned out not to be strong readers, and even the ones who would have to read (surely they saw them coming?) loaded words like stamen, pistil, or ovule. Not a flinch, not a giggle. As an aside while they tackled the comprehension activities, one girl knowingly asked the teacher’s aide (who came in with some special ed students), “don’t we have ovaries, Ms. Wilkinson?” One boy might have had a certain tone in his voice, but he had a certain attitude all day. When, as I shared these reflections with the other fifth grade teachers (three delightful, sharp, and motivated women) over lunch, they noted that students had had some sex ed earlier in the year, so they knew. I can’t explain it; I know middle schoolers would have caused a scene.

Capital City Weather: mostly sunny, seventy, and pollen-y.

No comments: