Thursday, March 10, 2016

SOLSC #11 - Out Of My Element

To read my student's posts on the
Classroom SOL challenge click here

Introduction: Hello and welcome to my blog! This is the third year I have participated in the SOLSC and also the third year for my students as well! I teach students, ages 11-14, in a multi-age classroom at The Logan School for Creative Learning in Denver, CO. This year, I am hosting students from all three middle school classes and they are participating on a volunteer basis (with a few prizes thrown in for inspiration). I'm looking forward to being part of this amazing community again!

Out Of My Element

I sit in the rocking chair at the edge of the rug, with sixteen cherubs facing me in eager, if wiggly, anticipation. The big picture book in my hand and my daughter's face across the rug are the most familiar things to me at the moment. We usually read this book while laying in bed and snuggling during the bedtime routine. I'm a secondary teacher for crying out loud and this kindergarten class has me nervous and out of my element. There is a reason I teach the oldest kids at my school. There is a reason I don't have a rocking chair. Middle schoolers get my dumb puns, I can be a little sarcastic, and they crawl across the floor less often.

The teacher introduces me to the class, explaining that I'm Clara's dad and will be reading them a story before snack time. Clara has been talking about this all week and we spent quite a bit of time choosing the right book, especially after her first choice was nixed because someone else's parent had already read it to the class. I take a calming breath, smile to hide my nervousness, show them the cover and read,

It goes well. They don't know the book and we have a lot of fun as they try to convince me that the cat is really an elephant and I claim it's a cat because there is no mention of elephants. Yes, I have to stop a few times and ask them to scoot back to their seats at the edge of the rug, or to raise their hands so they don't talk over each other; but I manage to do it before their teacher does (although it was pretty close once) so that's a minor victory.

After the book is finished, I am thanked, the kids are happy and my daughter gives me a big beaming smile. Each child is dismissed to go wash their hands and get their snacks. Clara takes me to the other side of the room to show me where the caterpillars are growing for her unit project. Science is one of my elements and we have a few minutes of discussion and questions and hypotheses that make me proud of her and thrilled with her teachers. It's been a good time and Clara is already convinced I get to come in next Thursday and is starting to talk about what book I should read then. I would happily do it again, but I think it will be the turn of another child's parent to wander out of their element.


  1. It is all too rare that I am able to get a peek into my kids' elementary classrooms, but I do remember one 1st grade group I was privileged to work with on writing their sentences about pumpkins. It really is a different world than middle school! And now I need to look for that book. Silly cat, indeed!

  2. Your daughter will remember this forever! I think every middle school teacher needs to read to kindergarteners once in a while, just to experiences those faces looking up at you! I want this book too!

  3. Listen:
    I don't have a rocking chair:
    no grandpa glasses
    or old-time underwear.
    I don't have a patient mind
    no time to wait
    or scads of time.
    What I have is curiosity
    so take a seat
    and listen to me,
    for when you get as old as I
    you'll finally stop
    and hear the sky.

    --Kevin, lifting a line (sorry for the underwear line but I could not resist) to make a comment.

  4. Love that you got to do this, Max, a treasure of a memory!

  5. Such fun for all - and your daughter will always remember these times.

  6. Yay! Thanks for sharing your experience and a book. My mom still hasn't gotten over me correcting her when I made her come read to my first grade class! She remembers it much better than I.

  7. What a great experience and memory for both of you. I don't know that book, but it sounds great...I'll have to check it out!