Friday, October 12, 2012

The Power of the Written Word

I spend the majority of my days observing young children in a classroom setting. Most of the time I find myself frustrated by their behaviors and attitudes. I often wonder if I was like this when I was a kid, or are younger generations actually getting progressively worse? Is that just something older people say?

Every now and then, I'm pleasantly surprised by a handful of the kids I keep an eye on. This little story probably should not count as a pleasant surprise, but here it is. Because if you make me laugh, you get points.

There's a kid in the first grade that has proven to be a fairly analytical thinker. He's all the time asking questions that first graders would not typically ask. I've noticed that he doesn't just let things the teacher says fly over his head. If there's something he doesn't understand, he'll generally ask until he gets his answer. He seems to be pretty smart. And in that sense, he's definitely a diamond in the rough.

This week, the class spent time studying Christopher Columbus and his first voyage to the New World. Each day, the first graders were required to write about a certain aspect of the journey in their very own Captain's Log. For example, on Tuesday they discussed the types of creatures they may have seen on the trip across the Atlantic. On another day, they wrote about different aspects of the ship. This brings us to the journal entry in question.

Bear in mind, these children were encouraged to use their imaginations, but keep it as realistic as possible in relation to a sea voyage that may have taken place 500 years ago. Also, the passage I quote is written by a 6-year-old. Therefore, the spelling isn't so much accurate as it is phonetic. That being said, enjoy the following:
"Are ship was almost attakt. Are ship was almost got [fudged] up."
Only he didn't say fudge.

His teacher eventually had a talk with him about what he wrote. But this was after she had a good laugh about it. He realized before she even showed the paper to him that he had written a bad word. He told her that he wrote that because he was angry about the ship being attacked. She had him clarify, was he really angry, or just imagining that he would be angry if he was really on that ship. He let her know he was just imagining it. She was able to get him to make a quick edit so she could hang the paper in the hallway with the rest of the class.

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