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Thursday, January 10, 2008

7 Elemental Truths About Third Graders

We have a wonderful program at our library where all third graders in our public school system get to take the bus out to visit the main branch at our library. I see two classes a week on Thursday mornings. I do some storytelling, we do a tour, I give some booktalks, and then they get to check out three books or magazines. Needless to say, not all the materials come back, but that's part of the process. Altogether, I will see 37 classes this year, totaling about 840 third graders. This is what I have learned from doing this program for a year and a half. 7) No matter how many times you tell a class Something #1, you will have to tell someone Something #1 individually. On a bad day you will have to repeat Something #1 many, many times. Examples are: "we are only checking out books or magazines today", "you can not check out the magazines with clear covers", or the inevitable "yes, you will have to bring the books back". 6) They are only as excited as I am. 5) If there is a display of books, it will get knocked down. Half the time they will be knocked down by a chaperone. The whole class will turn to watch and miss what I'm saying about "we are only checking out books or magazines today", and "you can not check out the magazines with the clear covers". Even if I say it an extra three times. 4) The display case is much more interesting than the biographies--I think this means I need to be more excited about the biographies. 3) They want the exact same book their friend has. In fact, the whole class will want the same kind of book, and it will be impossible to guess ahead of time which topic that will be. 2) Students reflect their teachers. If a teacher is excited and involved, their students will be active and involved. If a teacher is distracted, their students will be distracted. If a teacher is anticipating bad behavior, their students will give them bad behavior. And, if a teacher has decided having me in charge means they're on vacation, you better believe those kids think they're on vacation, too (and I better go get my Advil). 1) You have 5 chairs and 20 third graders and 3 chaperones. There will always be a third grader who will try to sit in a chair. They will all have the exact same I-know-I'm-not-supposed-to-sit-here grin on their faces.

1 comment:

Eric said...

I think I can relate to #6 & #2 at the college level. Some things never change...