So, yesterday when I pouted about not getting a snowman built outside our classroom window during recess, one of the little darlings commented, "Well we would have built one but we didn't have a carrot!"
Today, when I packed my lunch I opened up the produce drawer in the frig and grabbed a nice, fat, orange carrot. There would be no excuses today! The temperature would reach 35 degrees by recess - the perfect weather for snowman building. These little darlings have twenty-five minutes outside to frolic and play and certainly could spare a few minutes to roll and create a snowman. It's what kids do.
Once at school, I sat the carrot on the back table and forgot about it until the kids arrived. As per usual, it didn't take more than a nanosecond for two or three of the cuties to notice the unexpected item in the middle of the table.
One ventured over and picked it up. "Is this a carrot?" he asked waving it in the air so the others would see.
I was ignoring the commotion on purpose just to see what would happen. I was trying not to smile. "Come on. Hustle up people. We have a busy day," I said waving them to their seats.
Meanwhile, there was a small crowd at the back table passing the carrot around trying their best to figure out this anomaly. A carrot on the back table just had to be explained. But I remained deadpan and somehow managed to corral them to their seats, leaving the carrot behind.
When they were settled I zoomed in my focus on the carrot commenter from yesterday.
I pointed to our daily schedule on the board and reviewed each activity as I do every day. But when I got to "Recess" I squealed, "Well, I don't know about all of you, but I simply can't wait for recess today. You can build me a snowman because I brought you in a carrot!"
The majority of them broke into a relieved laugh and nodded, mostly because they were glad the carrot was simply just a carrot and not some crazy experiment or idea that their teacher had conjured up. You never know.
The carrot sat there all morning as we worked around it for math and writer's workshop and lunch. And then, a few minutes before recess I collected the carrot and handed it over to the boy who insisted a snowman was impossible without one.
"You are the keeper of the carrot," I informed him. "You can make sure it makes its way to our snowman. Outside my window. That you're going to build."
He beamed ear to ear as he took the carrot in both hands. He had a big responsibility and he was not about to let it get away.
As they bundled up in their snow stuff, I noticed he carefully handed the carrot to a friend to hold while he zipped up and tucked in. It was handled with a careful touch.
They didn't disappoint. If I haven't yet mentioned this year, they are an amazing bunch of kids. Kind. Considerate. Honest. Curious. Helpful. Smart.
I have outside my classroom window, a 4' tall, carrot-nosed, rock-eyed snowman made especially for me.
And as any teacher on earth knows, that is more precious than gold.