I just spent the morning in a kindergarten room at a local elementary that serves a particularly poor part of town. I'm thinking that everyone should go out right now to their closest school and hang out with 22 six year olds for a while. If they did, we might end poverty and build world peace.
Because how can you be mad at anyone when a little boy is doing the "in the middle" song as a ballerina and we're all dancing along and the girls are laughing so hard they're almost peeing their pants? The kids are like puppies. They'll love you to pieces and not judge you at all, as long as you admire how high they can count.
And once you learn that Devlin lives with his great aunt and walks to school in the freezing cold and asks to take the extra snacks home, and that the snacks are purchased with a grant, then how could you not give $5 to the food bank fundraiser next time you're in the Wegmans checkout line?
And you'll all end up writing to your congressperson about the stupidity of scripted lessons and increased testing and funding inqualities when you see one little girl barely speaking, a boy wearing his weighted "listening shirt" so he can focus, another girl yelling out the entire plot to the story, and lispy Jesus whispering to you all the words that start with "J" (only, you know, in Spanish). Because this and a lot of other stuff All Happens At The Same Time and makes all your Data Driven Instruction seem like it comes from another planet, one where children are all the same and can be run through education machines.
And you'll worship at the feet of the teacher, who manages to make everything she does a way to teach 3 things at once. She was getting them to make predictions about plots while reminding them of their sight words and having them count page numbers and sharing with each other and asking nicely and laughing and I don't know what else.
Three other quick things:
- This picture is my student Pete in the same classroom a few years ago. I'm pretty sure I have his permission to share the photo, and you can't see the faces of any of the children, so I think I'm good.
- I might have found my next knitting project: mis-matched mittens and a whole bunch of silly hats for the children who walk to school (which is most of them. Binghamton doesn't bus much, as a district).
- After thinking about what the teacher told me about how many winter coats they gave out from their school clothing bank, I went to Macy's this evening, where kids outerwear was 80% off, and bought 4 jackets to replenish the supply. Might buy a few more if I'm out this weekend.