Thursday, November 01, 2007

Wallflower in a Comm Class

I was supposed to be covering a fellow teacher’s Communications class. There are four children in it, ranging in ages from seven to seven and a half to eight. Let’s call these kids, Jane, Jen, Ellen and Dylan.

Instead of going to visit THEIR classroom as I usually do, last Friday I had to bring them to my science classroom up in the intermediate wing, so their regular teacher could use her classroom. No problem, I thought. Apparently, I had no idea how EXCITING it is to be in a different teacher’s classroom.

There is an aquarium in the room and the kids were immediately drawn to that. And I have a container with a dissected turtle in it, which I often forget is there, until new kids come in and want to know “what happened to the turtle?” and “is he still alive?” Ellen said, “I used to have a really big turtle in my class.”

My students had made little imaginary animals out of modeling clay. Ellen and Jen and Jane and Dylan wanted me to inquire of Mrs. Massey if THEY could do that in art class.

They wanted to use a microscope. So I got one out. The kids stood on chairs and carefully took turns peering through the eyepiece at the specimen of a potato. Dylan wanted to turn the knobs. I said, “You won’t be able to see the cells clearly if you turn the knobs.” He turned the knobs. Then he looked into the eyepiece for a little longer, looked at me and said, “I can’t see anything any more.”

We settled in to watch a movie. Jane said the tv was too small. Jen yelled, “Too small! Too small!” Dylan wanted to play with his pencil case during the movie. When he saw me spying on him, he’d push it away from himself on the table, but then slowly pull it back when he felt I wasn’t looking. Sometimes he would move it close to his ear and open and close it like a mouth. Then he’d nod at it and say things like, “I know. Yes. I think so too.” Then Jane would turn to me and say, “I had a hermit crab that died.” Jane and Dylan would then begin to swing their legs under the table and would have a footsy war. I would try to stop it only to be told by Jane, “Know what happened to me at the beach? I got pinched by a hermit crab.”

After the movie, Jane would walk around the classroom on her heels aimlessly. All of the kids would decide the pencil sharpener was so exciting that it warranted making a line in order that they all sharpen their pencils. Then Dylan would get in line two more times to try again. He would then break the pencil sharpener and get quite angry with me for not having one that works.

Jen would try to recall the word “equator” from the movie. She would say, “it’s the E word…but not the bad E word…” which would leave me wondering….what IS the bad E word that I don’t know about.

I would then listen to an engrossing conversation on the topic of pencil shavings. Jane would tell Ellen that they are “a little dangerous.” Ellen would agree and add “if you get them in you it could poison you.” Jane would elaborate, “They could KILL you!”

Well, I’m certainly glad we got that cleared up.

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