Thursday, April 18, 2013

A Day In The Life Of

Third graders are so wonderful!  They are still young enough to really, truly enjoy school and everything about it.  They have a great attitude and still want to be a teacher-pleaser.    They try really hard and are, in general, a pretty cooperative bunch. 

So... what's it like to be at school from the perspective of a 3rd grader?   Well, although I can't possibly know 100%, I have a pretty good idea of how their typical day goes.  So, let's step inside their shoes and take a look.

Arrive on bus and gather outside the school doors, anxious to get inside and get to classroom.  Talk in a really loud voice, because you're outside and you can.  Bell rings.  Push and fast-walk through hallways and get to coat rack before any of your neighbors get to their coat rack.  When they arrive declare, in a loud voice, "I got here before you!" like there is some kind of contest going on.  Grab binder and head into class.  Say hello to your teacher who is standing in the doorway greeting you.  Check in for lunch.  Help teacher out and turn on Promethean board and document camera to display planner and night's homework.  Grab chair and sit in seat.   Ruffle through messy desk to find pencil.  Find pencil that needs sharpening so zip over to pencil sharpener, quickly sharpen pencil and return to seat. Copy down the night's homework.  Remember that you haven't turned in your homework so grab homework out of planner and jump from your seat.  Rush across the room to turn it in as teacher is announcing to class to remember to turn in their homework.  Begin working on math journal page.  Listen as teacher points at the board and goes over planner and explains the schedule for the day.  Say, "Yes!" out loud and clench fist and put into the air when teacher gets to gym on the schedule.   See teacher frown as she looks your way.  Settle in as everyone else does and feel happy about the day ahead of you.

Listen as teacher explains math activities for today's lesson.  As soon as she mentions the words "choose a partner and.." tune out everything she is saying to start making waving motions and intense eye contact with your friend across the room.  When she asks if there are any questions, look confident as you shake you head no and hope your partner was listening.  Scramble across the room when math begins to your partner and begin working on assignment.  When neither of you can start because you can't remember what to do, look at the Math board and figure it out together.   As you talk over answers and solve some problems with your partner, hear your stomach grumble loudly.  Laugh with your friend as you envision your stomach answering the math problems.    Wonder how much more time before math ends so you can have you snack.  Get immediately back on task when teacher eyes you from across the room.

At snack, head to the hallway to dig through your lunchbox and find your dessert that's supposed to be for your lunch but you want to eat now.  Think about whether you want to eat it now or wait until after your lunch.   Make the right choice and grab your banana and keep that yummy chocolate chip cookie for lunchtime.  Something to look forward to.  Ask teacher to "start" your banana because you can't and ask her if she thinks the banana is "too mushy".   She confirms it is not, so head off to eat banana with friends on the back carpet.    After snack, head back to desk.

Teacher announces it is Book Club time and you locate book club folder in desk.  Panic for a few minutes as you wonder if you completed the assignment for today.  Open folder and see completed work and feel good that you did what you were supposed to do.  Go to book club meeting place and sit back while another student takes charge.  As teacher approaches your group, sit up straight, clear throat, and comment on other student's reading.  Make sure teacher knows you are participating.  Show her your assignment so she can congratulate you on your nice work.  

After Book Clubs, wait as your table is called to line up for music.  Line up for music, but move so that you are near your friend in the line.  Start talking with friend.  Notice that all of a sudden it's very quiet and the teacher is waiting for everyone to stop talking.  Stop talking.  Resume talking again as soon as teacher leads line down the hallway towards the music room.   Stop talking when teacher stops in hallway and shushes the line of students. Resume talking when teacher turns around.    Arrive at music and happily go to seat.   Wait for teacher to return to get you.  Have fun in music playing instruments and singing.   When teacher appears in doorway, music teacher relays to her that the class was good but "very chatty".  Put on your most innocent, cute face and look at teacher.  Teacher smiles and shrugs.  

Walk and talk back to the classroom.   When lunch is announced get a piece of paper to draw because it's the only time of day the teacher lets you draw.  Teacher reminds students to stay in their seats until she returns with buyers.  Stay in seat.  Talk loudly across the room to your friend as soon as teacher and buyers leave room.  Talk even louder when another student tells you to not talk so loud.   Stop talking so loudly when same student declares, "I'm gonna tell the teacher."    Draw.  Hold up drawing and show to everyone.  Break pencil lead because you are pushing too hard and debate whether it's worth a chance to try and get up and sharpen pencil while teacher is gone.  Remember that you will have to stay in for 10 minutes of recess if you get up out of your seat. Remember that the teacher will follow through with the consequence and you will be inside for 10 precious minutes of recess.    Search through desk and find tiny pencil with lead and use that. 

When teacher returns to class with buyers, go and get lunchbox.  Sit down and eat chocolate chip cookie first.  Then eat pretzels.  Then eat fruit snack.  Then eat sandwich.  Clean up, wash desk, and find a book to read after recess.   Realize that it's "fiction" day for IDR but try and sneak a Calvin & Hobbes anyway.   Put away Calvin & Hobbes when teacher catches on and pull out Magic Tree House.

When bell rings, go to hallway and put on jacket.  Take off jacket when other friends tell you that it's warm and you don't need it.  Put jacket back on when teacher tells you it's not that warm and you need to wear it out if you brought it.  Sigh.   Head outside to play. 

Run, swing, yell, jump, climb.  Repeat another twenty-five times.   Pick up stick.  Put down stick when you see recess lady looking your way.  Run, swing, yell, jump, climb.
Be glad you brought your jacket out because it's chilly with the wind. 

Bell rings and head inside.  Go over to desk and open Magic Tree House book to look for spot where you left off.  Spend five minutes trying to figure out where you last stopped.  Look at your friend across the room reading.   Watch teacher come into room and start cleaning up things on her desk.   Look at book when teacher looks your way.  Decide you don't want to read Magic Tree House.  Look through book box and locate a book on tornadoes.  Start reading.  Show student next to you pictures of a tornado.   Teacher comes over and reminds you that it is fiction day and that book is non-fiction.  Tell her that you just can't help yourself because you are so interested in tornadoes.  Smile.  Listen as teacher tells you that that's great -- you can look forward to reading it Friday then.  Put tornado book up and grab Magic Tree House book again.  Flip to a page and start reading.   Suddenly find the story interesting and really start reading.  At about this time, teacher announces that IDR is over, find a place to stop and put up book box.   Put up book box.  

Watch as teacher shows video on loggers in a logging camp.  Get excited about learning about Michigan lumberjacks and hearing about the lumbering industry.  Wonder what it would be like to be a lumberjack.  Hear more about lumberjacks getting up early, working all day, living with other men in camps, and decide you're glad you're not a lumberjack.  Daydream about what you are going to do after school.  

Get called to line up for gym.  Stay really quiet in line because you don't want to be one second late for gym.  Walk to gym and as soon as you enter the gym, run screaming to your place.  Feel so happy to be in gym.    When teacher returns, listen as gym teacher tells her  the class was good, but "chatty".    Return to class.   Walk over to window before going to seat to look at solar powered monkey.  Have the urge to touch it but know you shouldn't.  Resist urge and just watch and laugh.  

Return to seat when teacher asks you to.  Go to back carpet for some reading.  Sit next to reading partner and make a funny face.  Lay down on floor and act really tired.  Sit up when teacher reminds everyone that there is not enough room to stretch out all over the carpet.  Listen as teacher reads book.  Enjoy the story and the way teacher reads it.  Talk to partner about the book when directed by teacher.  Forget what partner said when teacher calls on you to tell what your partner thought.  Feel better when teacher explains that it is hard to listen to someone else sometimes.  Tell yourself you will really concentrate and listen to your partner next time.  

Go back to desk and get binder out because it's near the end of the day.  Look under desk and kick eraser over underneath someone else's desk so you don't have to pick it up.  Stack chair, get mail, and go into the hallway to pack up.  Return back to the class and sit on desk.  Look at clock and see there are only five more minutes of school and you can't wait to get home and have another snack and watch some TV.  Hurry to stack some chairs when teacher asks if anyone can please help stack chairs.  Get two tickets from teacher for helping out.   

Line up at door one minute before the bell.  Bell rings.  Push and fast-walk through hallways and get to bus before any other students get there.  When they arrive declare, in a loud voice, "I got here before you!" like there is some kind of contest going on. Talk loudly on the bus and laugh.  

No doubt in my mind, life is good when you are a third grader.

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