Being Taught to Teach

Going on a Drive
January 31, 2011, 7:04 pm
Filed under: Kids Say the Darnedest Things

I have been driving one of my first grade students home from school quite a bit over the last week (we’ll call her Ashley).  Her parents needed some help and it give me more one on one time with her age group.  I think she has taken a particular liking to me and often when I ask her a question has to ensure her response will be correct in my eyes before answering.

Day 1:

Me: “So what is your favorite color nowadays?”

Ashley: “Orange (she knows this is my favorite color)!”

Me: “No way, that’s mine! I like it because it is so bright and happy.”

Ashley: “Me too! Turquoise is my second favorite. I don’t really like purple and pink because the boys think that’s for babies.”

Poor kid, changing what she likes due to boys at such an early age, me: “Well some times I like certain shades of purple and pink, if I’m in the right mood.”

Ashley: “Oh me too.”

Me (trying to think of something to keep her occupied talking about for the car ride): “Guess what, Ashley, I saw a deer in my backyard last night.”

Ashley: “Me too!”

Me: “Really? Mine was lying down!”

Ashley: “Mine too!”

Me: “Wow, I had never seen them lay down and eat before.”

Ashley: “Oh, they do that all the time in my yard.”

Me (now it was time to get the ball rolling, Ashley’s family has a great garden…): “Do the deer ever eat the vegetables in your garden?” Ashley started to say yes, but then decided to ask me if the deer ever ate my plants. “Well, they used to, but then we planted things that they don’t like to eat.”

Ashley: “Oh, they ate all the plants in our garden and then we planted new things and now they don’t eat them.”

Me: “What kinds of things have you planted?”

Ashley: “Coconuts.” She said this completely straight faced.

Me, slightly taken aback: “Coconuts? Really? Where are they?”

Ashley: “They’re under ground, but they aren’t ready yet.”

Me, I stated this as though I should have known that: “Ok, so when they are, are you going to cut them open and drink the coconut milk?”

Ashley: “Eeeeeeeeeeeew, no. We will leave them out so when they kangaroos come they will eat them and leave because they don’t like coconuts either.”

I have a feeling I will learn so much from children…we will have a great give and take.


It’s the thought that counts…
January 31, 2011, 10:01 am
Filed under: First Grade French, Kids Say the Darnedest Things

PJ was bursting with news to tell me one morning last week. As the kids worked intently on their classwork, heads bowed in concentration, PJ showed me what he was so hysterical over. I wish he had waited until recess because it was rather hard to hold back the laughter, but one of the students (some times a trouble maker, but a really sweet kid) had given him a thank you note. This was a small flower printed note in which the child thanked PJ for being such a good teacher as kindly enclosed $1.05…I am assuming it was a tip. Adorable, but strange!


I discussed this later with my brother, what do you do in that situation? Do you graciously keep the money a kid tips you with? Would you make sure the parent knew?

I decided I would probably tell the parents if it were my student, but in my case I’ll probably be working in a low income school where it would matter a little more.

On an awesome side note this kid, we will call him Tipper for obvious reasons, also drew some sweet pictures of Sonic and Knuckles fighting. We tend to talk about video games a lot.

Lions and Tigers and Bears
January 27, 2011, 7:42 pm
Filed under: First Grade French

The first graders started learning about wild animals this week and last.  The big ones on the table were crocodiles, giraffes, elephants and lions.  The kids had to guess animals from PJ’s descriptions.  Although I couldn’t catch every word in French I normally knew what animals he was describing.  It was adorable to see their hands shoot up and flitter with excitement when they finally deduced what animal he was talking about.

Just in time for the animal section the class tortoise came out of hibernation.  He is really sweet and gets to go out in the sunshine of the yard as long as it is warm enough.  So now there are are pair of class birds, a tank of fish and a tortoise!  I can’t wait to have a classroom like this, alive with learning and what not.

After finishing this awesome unit on animals the class gets to go on a field trip to the East Bay Vivarium.  This is one of my favorite reptile pet stores.  Although it is crammed and maze like, it is filled with all sorts of creatures I thought I could only see in zoos.  The store even has a resident monitor who is rented out for birthday parties!  I really hope this little adventure coincides with my volunteer days.

Finders Keepers
January 12, 2011, 5:17 am
Filed under: First Grade French

I have been trying to look harder at how lessons are taught to children.  My cousins and I discussed a lesson their son learned (well, didn’t learn) from Sesame Street.  There is an episode called “Mine-itus” where mine-itus infects the children and it makes everyone crazy trying to claim everything.  In the end the mine-itus has to be cured so Sesame Street could return to normal and everyone could share.  The only problem with this is my cousin’s kid is two.  Needless to say he did not understand the outcome of the lesson, all he learned was, “MINE”!

It seems as though a lot of interpretation is expected with some teaching methods. However, in order for this to work a good discussion has to be held with the children afterward.  I saw this same issue happen during English hour at the French school today.  A story was read to the children that included the phrase, “finders keepers”.  A girl’s chicken is lost, a man finds it and tries to sell it at the market, the girls discovers this, tries to get it back and the man says, “finders keepers,” the girl creates a diversion, steals the chicken and then says “finders keepers,” back.  The children understood that it was her chicken and that she should have gotten it back, however the phrase could be heard repeated throughout the day.  I don’t think the true lesson resonated with the children and now they have been exposed to or at least reminded of a phrase that I remember causing problems on my playground as a child…I don’t believe times have changed enough for that to not be the case any more.