Saturday, April 29, 2006


A few disjointed, non-connected thoughts from my sprouts.

* Octopus Child, during our daily attempt to give him some extra help in learning letters. I showed him the letter "F" (one of about eight letters he knows) and he yells triumphantly- "F! F like the swear word!"

(Note to self- teach Octopus Child the letters using swear words from now on...)

* Artsy Girl, on the playground- "Whew! It's hot. I'm going to ask my dad to turn on the cold heat when I get home."

* Little Clara, during the Mother's Day Tea- "Hey look! My mom's crying! NO REALLY, SHE IS; HEY LOOK!" (pointing to her very pregnant and embarrassed mother).

* Octopus Child likes to do this when things are hairy- the classroom is chaos and he'll whirl around and pat my belly and ask, "When is your baby due?" (I'm not pregnant, by the way!)

* I was going over letters with my students who haven't quite gotten around to learning them. I had the letter cards held out to them at about chest-height, but they kept staring directly at my face and rapid-fire shouting random letters in the hopes that they could get it right. After patiently telling them a couple of times to look at the cards, I told them, "Just look! Look at the cards- I am giving you the answer! The letters are not on my face; if there ever are any letters on my face, please tell me!" They stared at my face, and one little girl stood up and traced the vein that was now poking out of my forehead while happily chirping, "You have a "Y" right here!"

Friday, April 07, 2006

Gardens in the Desert Sand

...If you walk without rhythm,
you never learn... Fatboy Slim "Weapon of Choice

It's business as usual in my classroom, for better or for worse. This past week, my little punklettes were incredible, and gave me a totally new charge on life!
My newest student is a little boy from Iraq. Not Bone, I actually have an even newer one! In honor of the way he pronounces the letter H, I will call him "Ahtch." The first few days, he was pretty shy. He has really opened up! He follows my directions to the letter, but likes to boss around the other students. Today at our whole group, when everyone was sharing, he asked if he could have a female volunteer. He wanted to put on a play. "I need, uh... a girl. To be the daughter," he announced. He scanned the group, and picked Little Clara. She, of course, was only too happy to oblige.

"Daughter!" Ahtch said imperiously, sort of hunching his body over dramatically.

Little Clara giggled, her hand on her hip. "Um, what do you want?" she played back. The class roared.

"What are you making for dinner?" Ahtch queried, in character. He was very good- he sort of looked like he was playing a part of a much older man.

"Spaghetti!" yelled Little Clara. The class rolled on the floor- this was the greatest routine they had ever seen. The laughter of course was to Little Clara like gasoline on a fire. She piroetted and sauntered back and forth in front of the room.

Unfortunately, that was where the play ended, as Ahtch appeared very confused about what spaghetti was, and Little Clara wanted to twirl in front of the fishtank while telling me, "Wait, wait, I want to say what happens next. I want to pick someone..." Monday will undoubtedly bring a whole slew of dramatizations.

To end what was a truly awesome week, I brought in a new CD I bought of various Middle Eastern club songs, to play their favorite game of all times: Freeze Dance. The game basically is: I play music while they jump around and get down and funky, and every so often I pause the music and they need to freeze. Except for Octopus Child, who takes extreme advantage of this time to run about, slapping his peers silly while they gamely try to remain frozen and I try to avoid knocking over my little statues while I chase him down. I announced that we would be playing Freeze Dance at the end of the day, and the crowd went wild. I totally lost them for the better half of a minute, and was almost completely overthrown by the mob of Freeze-Dance maniacs. The last fifteen minutes of my day resembled some mini-club with my little cottontails jumping around and jamming to the techno-beat of Arabic club music. I was originally going to give them glowsticks and turn out the lights, but I was having enough fun convincing them to keep their hands off one another with the lights on. Maybe one of these days we'll do it!

I'm going to miss these little munchkins... maybe there will be a first grade opening? Or maybe I will open a new chapter with a whole new group of kindergarten characters?