Each morning after breakfast duty, I run up to the office to help my 5th grade helpers as they do the announcements. Then I run back to my classroom just in time to greet my first class of the day which is always kindergarten. I think that kindergarten is great in the morning because they are still half asleep. When they are still barely awake kindergarten is my favorite. In the morning thanks to our wonderful 1/2 time music teacher, I have approximately 25 students.
On every 7th day of school I get to see those bright shiny kindergarten faces again at the end of the day. This is always a more interesting experience because they are wide awake, ready to go home and they've multiplied! In the afternoon, when my side-kick is off teaching music at her other campus, I get 35 students all to myself! Kindergartners in those numbers should not be allowed, but that's a soap box for another time.
So this afternoon my herd of kindergarten kids showed up at my door complete with their backpacks, full bladders, dry throats, hurt fingers, runny noses, untied shoes, and tag games still unfinished from recess, and there I was,,,,,,,, the adult in charge, by myself for 45 minutes! I wanted to run and hide.
Did I mention that I'm supposed to be on vocal rest for 9 more days? So despite my trepidation I was a little glad that it was kindergarten because the nice thing about being 5 years old is that you can still be impressed! While they settled in their usual place on the floor, I started playing the piano. As they immediately stopped what they were doing, and stared open mouthed at me I thought, "this is brilliant! they didn't even know I even had a piano in the room and now I've wowed them with my virtuosic skill!" (the skills that last about 24 measures before I crash and burn)
As soon as I made my crash landing they burst into enthusiastic applause and then all of a sudden my piano starts acting strange.....
One of my little ones had crawled underneath and had started playing with the pedal with one hand while he had the other one draped over the top reaching blindly for anything he could touch which of course caused the perfect distraction. At the moment of distraction, and before I could so much as breath about 5 things happened at once, my personal "teacher recorder" had 5 year old mouth all over it, my activeboard had been unplugged, the sound to the activeboard had been unplugged, the piano pedal disconnected and my microphone turned off. It was literally as if they had telepathically sent a signal to do all of these "no-nos" at once!
So my attempts at relative silence went out the window at this point. I was able to refrain from yelling, barely, but I did give them sermon # 374 about the dangers of electrical plugs and why you shouldn't just push this or pull that to see what happens.
While I was in the process of pulling together the shreds of my lesson that had been based on technology that regrettably relied on electricity and sound, one of the students said, "Are you mad?"
I must have been frowning.
With a sigh of long suffering I said, "No, I'm not mad, I'm just a little aggravated, but it will be alright."...... The word aggravated was as freakishly novel as my attempts at playing the piano. The entire class suddenly focused and started rolling their new found word around on their tongue. They came up with a variety of 5 year old derivatives and shouted out things like "agi-ca-tated?" and "agri-jated!" and "ali-vated". When one finally asked. "What does "agi-jated" mean?" I responded by saying it means "slightly annoyed". We were off again, tasting the wonders of a new and bizarre sounding word.
And that was when the story of Peter and the Wolf came to my rescue! To say that my original lesson was well and fully cooked is an understatement, but as my very curious 5 year old class had suddenly developed a fleeting interest in vocabulary, I thought I should go with it. The grandfather in Peter in the Wolf is wonderfully aggrieved. I am so happy that I had a CD that would tell the story, so that I could be quiet. I had the students raise their hand when they got to the character who sounds aggravated which they loved and before we could get any further in the story, it was time to go. They left talking about the characters in Peter and the Wolf as if that was what I had intended all along...
We should always remember that we teach children and not subjects. They always have a funny way of letting us know what they need to learn about whether that is what we had in mind or not.