Cheerful, Creative, Connected

A couple of months ago when I was substite teaching it was time on the schedule for silent reading. As the students were finding their books and beginning to read one student told me, loudly, that he was a non reader, that he coudn’t read. This statement was followed by the moment when the class is watching to see what happens next. As a substitute there are a lot of these moments as we get to know each other!

I told him that he could still look at a book and gain a lot from it, and told him to wait while I looked to see what books I had with me that he might enjoy. I had Kid’s National Geographic Books which have the most spectacular pictures. Each page has one photograph and an amazing fact about that a creature. By studying the picture he could interpret, or imagine, what the fact was about. He enjoyed looking at the book and occassionally would call me over to read the fact to him. We both felt successful out of that encounter and the class was able to proceed without disruption.

I remember that moment well, but what I remember most is the creative, collaborative game that he asked me to play with him later at recess. He had a tennis ball and was wearing a a baseball cap. We played catch and he used his cap to catch the ball. The smiles and laughter as we played were contagious. Eventually two other students asked to join us and he kindly included them. When the timing was right I quietly stepped out of the game.

He was included in silent reading. He included other class members in a game of his own creation.

I thought of these moments of teaching when I read this today, “Einstein was right about the imagination. It is more important then knowledge…through his play, (he) is learning to imagine himself in entirely new ways. He is discovering, however hatlingly, the value of belonging to a community, one to which he brings his own unique and important contributions…” from the book, Teaching The Restless by Chris Mercogliano

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