My class is so terrific! This week they finished up their first Cootie Bug (if you don't know what I'm talking about, read earlier blog One For All, All For One ). I had told them that each time we complete a bug, they get to pick a reward of some sort.
Naturally, they were really excited to chose something special so ideas were taken, written on the board, and the voting began. There were ten ideas, students voted for their top choice, and then the top three were voted on. It was between no homework for the night, inviting a friend in for lunch, or fifteen minutes of "free choice" time. In third grade any free time is a rare commodity, as our days are very hectic. At the end of voting there were eleven students who wanted no homework and ten who wanted to invite a friend for lunch. So, instead of going with the most popular, I let them each get the choice they wanted. It was interesting to see the students excited about no homework for the night, and other ones looking forward to lunch with a friend, not minding homework the least bit.
On Thursday, five of my little ones went to ask a friend to our room for lunch. Imagine my surprise when four of them asked me if they could invite their darling little kindergarten buddy! We are buddies with one of the kindergarten classes and every other week we get together with them: a third grader is paired up with a kindergartner. They read books together, play math games, write stories, play outside on the "little kids side", and just have a great time together. The third graders love being the 'teacher' and helping their buddy and the buddies really enjoy having an older kid help them and give them such wonderful attention. It's a win-win situation for all.
At lunch, they went and picked up their buddies, pulled over chairs for them and dug into their lunches. The chairs were a bit too big and the tables were a little too high, but the third graders carefully got their little friend settled in.
It was so cute to see the little kindergartners talking with a table of third graders who helped them open food packages and laughed and talked. It could have been a little intimidating for these tiny, five year olds to come into the "big kids" room and eat lunch, but they seemed very comfortable.
At one point, one of my third graders came over to me and asked me if I wanted to hear a cute story about her little buddy. "Of course," I told her. "I'd like nothing more."
"Well, you know, my little buddy [insert name] picked up a piece of cheese and took a bite and told me it tasted like cheese!", she laughed. "So, I told her it tasted like cheese because it was cheese!" she explained further, still giggling. "And do you know what she said then?" she asked.
"No idea," I responded. Because I really had no idea.
"She told me that she didn't know cheese was so delicious! Isn't that too cute?" she happily smiled.
"Too cute," I agreed and, happy that I also was impressed with her kindergartner's degree of cuteness, she rushed back over to her lunch and her buddy.
I watched as the third graders helped their buddies out with cleaning up and even saw one wipe some lunch remains off the face of her little buddy. They hugged each other and said goodbye, the recess bell rang, and off the third graders went.
This week I learned that my students are even more remarkable than I thought. The kindness they displayed, the cooperation with one another, and the simple fact that when they have the choice of inviting any friend to have lunch with them, their top pick is a little five year old friend.
I spoke with the kindergarten teacher and she confirmed that the ones who had been to our room for lunch were so excited and had a great time. So we decided we'll surprise all of our students next week and instead of getting together for our usual buddy time, we are going to all have lunch together.
Because, Cootie Bug or no Cootie Bug, my students deserve it!