Where are the pilgrims from?
A round Thanksgiving time, I was talking with my second and third grade multi-age class about a certain country and what the citizens of that country are called.
This led to more discussion: Americans are from America, Russians are from Russia, and Germans are from Germany.
I thought I would stump my kids, so I asked, “What are people from Turkey called?”
Immediately one student called out, “Pilgrims!”
While standing in line at a lunch counter one Sunday, a young girl and I drifted into conversation about grades, behavior, boys, and teachers.
I mentioned that I was a high school teacher.
At that point, this once talkative youngster moved closer to her mother and exclaimed, “Mom, I thought that lady was a human being, but she’s a woman teacher!”
Everybody turned and stared at me, then we all burst out laughins!
I knew I might have a little extra I challenge when I opened my classroom door to greet my new fifth graders on the first day of school and heard one girl exclaim to her mother, who was standing nearby, “Oh mother, she’s a man!”
For homework, I asked my first graders to come up with five or six synonyms for the word “pretty.”
The next morning, I came upon a student who wrote, “Pretty is the same as Miss DiNuzzo, my teacher.” I laughed so hard I started to cry.
Since first graders usually get assistance with homework, I asked the student who helped her.
It was her mother’s idea, she saidonly her mother had wanted the student to answer with her name but the student decided to write her teacher’s name instead.
Talk about understanding a concept!
Mahwah, New Jersey
As a new art teacher, I was full of anticipation of the creative and unspoiled expressions of my kindergarten class.
For one lesson, I wanted the children to create their own imaginary landscapes. Boxes of materialscrayons, chalk, markers, stickers, scrap paper, and fabric-were readily accessible for the children to use.
One little boy asked, “Do you have tissue?”
Excited that he wanted to express his creativity in another medium, I replied, “Oh yes, in that box over on the shelf. Just help yourself!”
When I checked on him a few moments later, I was in shock. The whole lower part of his face was dark green! He had used colored tissue paper to blow his runny nose. I now listen and observe much better Heidi Larson
During a health lesson, I asked the question, “Why is it important to get a good night’s sleep?”
Christian, one of my fourth graders, replied, “Because it’s good practice for when you’re dead.”
San Diego, California
After asking my third grade class to line up for recess, I noticed a major body crunch at the front of the line.
“Back up, everyone,” I instructed. My line leader very calmly added,
“And don’t forget to check your rearview mirror.
One of my kindergartners told her mother that she couldn’t wait until next year, because, in first grade, “You get to eat bacteria every day.”
It took some questioning for her mom to understand that her daughter meant, “You get to eat in the cafeteria every day in first grade:’
Mary Ann Tautfest
Early one fall, I was introducing my first graders to the idea that some letters are vowels.
As soon as I said the word “vowel,” Cody raised his hand. With great exuberance, he said, “I know a vowel my mama likes!”
Puzzled, I asked which one.
His answer “Val Kilmer!”
Leigh Kuklis Sammons
The son of a kindergarten teacher at my school got married. The Monday after the wedding, the teacher described the event to her students.
One boy raised his hand and said, “I was in a wedding one time.”
“What did you do?” she asked.
“I was the wheelbearer!” he replied.
Rainbow City, Alabama
In the “Secret Santa Shop” at our school, two first graders were shoping for gifts for their families.
One student remarked that the items sure were expensive. The other said, “Yeah, I’m either going to have to get a job or lose some more teeth!”
“Miss Farmer, me and you are going to be rich,” one of my third graders told me.
When I asked how this would happen, he responded enthusiastically, “I’ve got me some baseball cards, and I’m gonna marry you!”
Thom Hill, Tennessee
During an English review early in the school year, I quizzed my fourth graders about the special name for words such as bookworm and doghouse.
Emphasizing the close link of summer and the beginning of the school year, one of my boys raised his hand, waved it madly, and answered, “It’s a two-piece!”
Two junior high students were Iooking at a poster announcing tryouts for the school band.
I overheard one boy ask the other, “Color guard? What’s that?” “I don’t know,” said the second boy. “I guess it’s some kind of laundry detergent.”
In my fifth grade science class, I introduced a new lesson by asking if anyone could name a disease caused by bacteria or a virus.
I heard the usual responses, such as chicken pox, AIDS, and colds. Then one student replied, `The green disease.”
I asked her to explain.
“You know, the disease you get from tick bites,” she said.
Then I understood-Lyme disease!
Oaklyn, New Jersey
During our study of prefixes, a Dstudent asked what “discharge” meant.
The child sitting beside him replied, “It means you have to return the things you’ve charged.”
Copyright National Education Association Nov 1998
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