Sunday, August 28, 2011

Today, we tried cutting.

 My students are usually pretty good with scissors, I swear.  That's what I'll have to tell their parents after today, I'm sure.

We're cutting up numbered squares to sequence them on writing strips (tomorrow we glue popcorn kernels on each square). I don't hear screams or see blood or clumps of hair - I assume things are going fine.  I start walking around.  What I find: One student could have a career in confetti making.  One student decided she didn't want to cut out squares so much as quarter inch sections of the numbers.  Not too conductive to step two, I would think.

Then there's the third student:

This student - and he is a very special flower, yes he is - stands up and yells, in a completely shocked voice "Mr. Gardner!  I accidentally cut my shirt!"

Now, he is one who I would not blink if he did such a thing on purpose, but all the students around his table were repeating that he accidentally cut his shirt (of course, with kindergartners, that doesn't stand for much - they generally repeat whatever they hear, regardless).  I look over and see him standing up (he's quite the little guy to boot.  He looks, and acts, more like a pre-schooler than a kindergartner) with a completely stunned look on his face.  He still has his kid belly, and his belly button is just greeting the world for all to see from a hole in his shirt.

I couldn't help it.  I laughed.  Something, under the circumstances, I knew was a no-no.  I tried to address it - pointed out how we need to be careful with our scissors, yadda, yadda, yadda.  The damage was already done.  Within three minutes, another student (a spanish speaking student with almost no English), had decided that laughter must point out the correct path.  He in turn cut his shirt, and proceeded to stand up and beam happily at me.  It was like a mini-reenactment of "The Dead Poets' Society," with less meaning.

I give this student my best language-bridging "Teacher look" (and yes, I am acquiring one, thank you very much - though I am still years away from the famous Ms. Vella "Oh, God, I swear I didn't do it, I was just out here in front of your house, it was my friends who toilet papered your house, and besides you know me, and Lyss is okay with it, I swear she practically invited us to come over, please don't kill me" kindergarten teacher look).

No sooner than I feel that I've given him the teacher "aren't you ashamed of what you did, I know it won't happen again" stare down, than I re-circulate the room, and discover that the original student, also pleased at the laughing, had decided to add on to his work by cutting down from his belly button to the end of his shirt.

Next week, I'm thinking of teaching them how to carve their own turkeys.

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