On Wednesday of last week, I was happily teaching the last period of a grade one class. They're not my own class, mind... but I sure regard them as a "bonus": After a full day of working in the Special Education Centre at my new school, I'm lucky enough to have "prep coverage" for a grade one teacher during the final forty minutes. This means I get to do ARTS with these kids: drama, dance, music... and not surprisingly, it has become something I really look forward to-- my "reward" at the end of a long and challenging schedule.
We were doing a music lesson, and I had just finished teaching the kids the old camp song, "Poor Little Bug on the Wall":
Poor little bug on the wall!
Nobody loves him at all.
No one to blow his nose,
No one to tickle his toes,
Poor little bug on the wall!
One of the things I love MOST about teaching the littlest students is that when they giggle hard enough, they actually tip over, and remind me of the Weebles toys I loved to play with when I was a child.
One little girl did NOT find the lyrics amusing, however:
"That's SUCH a SAD SONG!!!"
Yes, I replied, it IS a sad song. Cue the perfect segue for the next part of the lesson: How many different ways can you sing the song by changing the sound of your voice? Could you make the song SOUND really, really sad? What does "happy" singing sound like? (How could we cheer this song up?) Then, what about "angry" singing? Heck, what if different animals were to sing the song??
We had a rollicking good half-hour together.
Before the bell was to ring, I reminded the children that we would all be going on our first field trip together the next day. They were all to remember to dress warmly (with wellies on!!) to attend the Fall Fair.
As a "ticket out the door", I said that each student would have to tell me the answer to a question, using a "complete sentence" response. The question was:
"What are you MOST looking forward to seeing at the Fall Fair tomorrow?"
Now, some of these children are very, very young-- really, just glorified kindergarten students, and many of them are English Language Learners, as well. So, I prompted them:
"I am MOST looking forward to seeing..."
And each kid would repeat my words, then fill in the blank.
I was slightly alarmed when answers such as "ZEBRAS!" started cropping up.
"No," I said as gently as I could, "I don't think so. Can you think of something else???"
When the subject of "GIRAFFES!!" was broached, I couldn't take it any more.
After all, I'm a proud "farm country" girl. I know that Farmers Feed Cities. I shop local markets. I know exactly where my meat comes from, and I expound on the fact that "Good Things Grow In Ontario" whenever I get the chance.
The kids patiently listened to my spiel, and didn't even seem all that disappointed by the time I was done. Once I was fully satisfied that they all understood the "No Giraffes at the Fall Fair, and Why" lecture, I allowed them to pack their little backpacks and go home.
Bright and early on Thursday morning, we all clambered onto a rickety orange bus that smelled like old cheese... but we didn't care! Everyone was leg-swingingly happy as we drove up the main road North, on our way to the fair grounds.
The squealing started at the first sight of the ferris wheel, and grew louder as the scent of hot buttered popcorn and spun sugar candy wafted over us through all the windows I had opened.
"NOPE," I said firmly, to groans of disappointment. "That's not why we're here!!"
I reminded everyone of the farm animals we had listed the day before-- and what's more, the wide variety of craft competitions, the horse jumping exhibition, and the Ontario Dairy display-- they might get a chance to milk a cow!! Excitement resumed-- amazingly, I had discovered that there was more than one child who had never clapped EYES on a cow...
We exited the bus, and made our way in a line through the throngs of other screaming children.
And you'll never GUESS what was waiting for us in the first field, smack to the right of the Main Entrance Gates...
To a multitude of the delighted screeches of "MS. BAAAAAAKER... We thought you SAAAAAID..."
I looked over and saw:
May God have mercy on my poor, weary soul...