So, I ain’t their mama but somehow I am. Today I felt like I have ten kids and for the past two days they’ve been away at grandmas. When I walked in the door this morning, Zavier, who is way more interested in his peers than his teacher, yelled across the room; “Hey look Harriette it’s Michelle – HI MICHELLE!!!” When the parents dropped off they were begging for us to NEVER have a snow day again. Everyone was clamoring for me, each other and digging into the materials like it was going to snow for the next 60 days straight and they would never see school again. They were loud, obnoxious and full of wonder and delight.

After a LONG morning meeting where we shared our adventures of the past two days (if your child leaves their boots at school and it snows, please let them go out in their sneakers – please!) I asked if they wanted to have open classroom and studio instead of math and journal writing and of course James and Harriette were like; “NO, WE WANT MATH!” So I did something I never do and pulled out an addition problem worksheet that had problems that weren’t easy and slapped it down on the table in front of them and watched as they devoured the problems in minutes flat. I watched as they looked to the ceiling for the answers and rapidly filled in 12+4=16 or 11+6=17 (Sophia joined in the math fun too.) They never cease to amaze me. The rest of the group used their worksheets as “weapon’s plans.”

While this was going on, the rest of the class was crouched in the block area making plans and I thought…hmmm. I inched closer so that I could hear and for the next hour I slunk around the room and eavesdropped on the most interesting play.

First of all I want to state that I in no way encourage “war” or “weapon” play and often find time and space to spread and talk about peace and love but I also see the benefit in the need for kids to process the information they get from the world. Because as Jackson often tells me when I ask how he knows about certain things; “I read it at the grocery store in the check out stand.” (Even if you don’t think your kid is reading – they can read enough, dissect photos, and glean massive amounts of information from pictures and conversation that one my think they don’t hear or understand.) The kids in our class are trying to make sense of our adult world and especially what war means. It is all around us. It is a part of our reality. As much as it is difficult for me to listen to and watch, I know I cannot interrupt their process.

Today we had a couple of hours of “war” strategy play. There was NO “shooting,” chasing or anything physical at all. There was just verbal strategy and negotiation.

Here is some of what I overheard:

“Who’s in the American army? ~Zavier

“Where are the bombs? ~Asher

“Who are we fighting actually? ~Isabel

“The enemy is all around us.” ~Jackson

“What team are we on?” ~Zavier

“I’m in the Spanish Army.” ~Isabel

“I’m in the American Army.” ~Zavier

To Justin: “Isn’t it great they don’t have a boat – they can’t get us?” ~Isabel

“Who’s the captain?” ~Sophia

“How about if this is where we work to make weapons?” ~Sophia

“You know you can get killed by noise.” ~Isabel

“We need a lot of sleep because we’re captains.” ~Isabel

“The ship is sinking.” ~Asher

“I’m jumping overboard.” ~Isabel

Some connex/weapon work:

“It’s a gigantic drilling machine.” ~Sophia

Meanwhile back at the home front, Harriette and James moved on to creating a snow-person land.

In the big yard after lunch, there was an entire class effort to create a intricate mouse trap including paper mice.

In the afternoon, we made a geometric group collage.

After two weeks of reading two chapters a day, we finally finished “The Secret Garden.” We were literally on the edge of our seats as I read the final chapter. (See, we’re well rounded!)

That’s all for now – over and out!

Love,

Mama/General Michelle

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