I've decided that one of these days I will tape record conversations my kids make during a lesson, just because the way this age group discusses things is just so gosh-darned hilarious. Today I was compelled to do a little from our Harcourt Language Arts series, as my mentor teacher gave me a quizzical look the other day during lunch and asked, "What unit are you on in English?"
Gulp. Actually, we've been working on various Thanksgiving and Fall activities, up until this week. We graphed our travel plans, made a Venn diagram comparing the Pilgrims to the Wampanoag (yeah, my kindergartners know who the "Wampanoag" were... jealous?) and wrote recipes for Thanksgiving food with our third grade buddies. I knew that this was worthwhile when a normally recalcitrant student (Limited English Speaker) brought in a bow that he made out of a bent stick and some string.
So, out came the Harcourt, which told me to read the kids a poem entitled "Dogs," and read a book called "I Have A Pet." We took a "picture walk" of the book before we read it, and my kids created a much better rendition of the story than the original author did:
Me: (holding up the book to an illustration of kids standing in line holding various pets) "What's happening on this page?"
Quiet Instigator: "They're at school!"
Me: "How do you know?"
Various kids shouted, "They're standing in a line! We only stand in line at school!" Well gee whiz, the little sugars are right.
We flipped through the pages, looking at various types of pets.
Octopus Child: "There's a dog! He's taking a bath!"
Little Clara: "You don't take a bath with dogs, do you?"
Choruses of "Eww, gross!"
Giggling, Whispering Girl: "My kitten jumped into the bath with me, she was mad and tried to run away. She's dead now."
Everyone at once: "'My cat's dead, too! ','My cat ran away... ', 'So did mine!'"
I turn the page. An illustration of a lizard and a child feeding it a cricket.
Octopus Child: "I had a dream a green lizard was gettin' me. I don't like 'em, they scratch me!"
Girl Who Likes to Copy Me: "She's feeding him a grasshopper, right Mrs. C?"
Little Clara: "NO! It's a cockroach. My mom just kills them, she doesn't feed them to a lizard."
We flipped through the rest of the book, managing to have a large scattered conversation about the best ways to feed a hamster, as well as the short lives of everyone's pets. A page with a pet bird illustration elicited uprorious laughter, with my kids insisting that birds don't live inside (with a few people insisting that yes, they do!) When I tried to read the book, though; the kids weren't that interested in what the author had to write (some mildly interesting blurbs on various animals and the ways that they are cared for). So much for the Harcourt. We didn't even get halfway through it!