Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Sep 25 2012

Little cuties.

My kids are so cute when they get into books.

My intensive kids (i.e. my lowest readers. They range from a mid-first to a mid-second grade level but all have decoding and fluency issues) started a new book today. The target audience of this book is 6-7 year olds, fully 3 and 4 years younger than my kids, and the story involved a boy who goes to the store for his mom but forgets what to buy; in his confusion he “accidentally” buys junk food: ice cream instead of cream, potato chips instead of potatoes, orange soda instead of oranges. But then they get to have a party with all the extra food! It’s a dumb little story, but it’s at their reading level so we went with it. Except they LOVED it. He forgot what to get! I do that all the time! They were giggling like mad at every new food mistake, and didn’t want to stop reading even though we were 10 minutes over time. A-freaking-dorable.

Then, with the whole class, we invited them to my fancy restaurant where they had to “buy a meal” by completing different fact and opinion activities off a menu. Their meal had to cost $30 so they had to do lots of activities. But as soon as I said $30 for one meal, they all gasped. “Whoa, that’s so much! This must be a really fancy restaurant!” So. Cute.

And finally we read another couple chapters of Shiloh, which we are (finally!) almost done with. But it’s taking so long because whenever I ask a comprehension question, 6 kids want to share their opinions of exactly how Marty is feeling, or exactly how we can tell that Dad secretly likes Shiloh. Today we visualized Shiloh’s pen after the dog gets attacked, and they all closed their eyes to make a movie in their mind. Then they laughed like hyenas when David Howard kept dramatically guessing why the pen was messy, because they could picture it for real in their mind. When we brainstormed ways Marty could make money to buy Shiloh, their ideas were too cute: he could mow people’s lawns! He could walk people’s dogs! He could have a lemonade stand! And moreover, they then evaluated each of those ideas to see whether it would really work for Marty. The gifted teacher (who I don’t know because I don’t have any kids in the gifted program) came in briefly to pull a couple kids for computer stuff, and he sat in the back just laughing and laughing. Two didn’t want to go to specials because they didn’t get a chance to share their moneymaking scheme. “One more, please! One more!” Could they be more endearing?

It’s especially charming because usually they don’t like reading. They aren’t very good at it (we average a mid-second grade reading level in fourth grade) and usually trying to get them into a story or a skill is like pulling teeth. Clearly we are reading novels as much as possible for the rest of the year, because when they have time to get to know and like the characters they get into the story, which is way more fun. And also, way more adorable.

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