Capturing a specific moment in time, painting a picture with words, a descriptive word picture—these are some ideas of a snapshot. I think of a snapshot as a photograph. I take a picture of a scene and it is preserved in that moment . I think of the various scenes in my classroom, and give you these snapshots. Many of them reflect a love of books and reading. Consider them word pictures, capturing the events of several moments in a first-grade classroom.
- The very busy and chatty child listens to my reading at story time, totally still and quiet, eyes big, and so involved in the story that he has forgotten to eat his lunch.
- Mia sits very still at her desk, absorbed in reading Dangerous Animals. She is not listening to the class phonics lesson at all! It’s okay – she’s reading. And she is reading well.
- Chad says, “Come here. I want to show you this cool fish I read about!” So we go to his desk and he reads to me about this fish and shows the illustration and is very excited about this learning.
- The child with ADHD colors and colors on his book illustration, fills in all the white spaces, and tells me, “Some of the kids left white spaces, but I think it looks nicer when I color it in.” You are right, Devin, that’s what we want to do for our book!
- Ah, the making of slime in our classroom! It is a fun Friday afternoon activity to celebrate Alan’s birthday. His mom brought the supplies and she and I work with small groups to make slime so each child ends up with a nice amount of the dough. It is fun to watch the children enjoy playing with their slime, shaping it, standing up on their chairs so they can string it down to their desks, and tossing it from hand to hand. One child comments, “This is better than going to Dutch Wonderland!” Another says, “I’ve been wanting to make slime my whole life!”
- I grade the endless stacks of papers and find a note on one. “Miss Birt is the beest teacher.”
- The child who often teases Lori helps Lori clean up a spill.
- The child who struggles to read is the first to notice that there is a new word in the “Spotlight on Words.”
- Matt has now finished addition and subtraction in Xtra Math! (That is the first grade default for this computer program of math facts.) I need to set him up in another level and ask, “Do you want to do addition and subtraction?” He grins, “No! Times!” I reply that first grade doesn’t do times, and ask, “Would you like to do very fast addition and subtraction?” He is excited about this challenge, “Yes!!” So Matt will have only two seconds to answer these math facts.
- Everyone remembers and takes part in Book Day. Many of the children dress up as book characters and some made posters or displays about books. We had Waldo, a lion from “The Lion and the Mouse,” the Cat in the Hat, Tigger, Queen Esther, Olivia the pig, and other characters. It is fun seeing their creativity and enjoyment of the day!
- The ELL child shows me his loose tooth. He is pleased that he will soon lose a tooth, and says, “My tooth is shaking!”
- A child is grinning from ear to ear, all excited about something she’s hiding behind her back. She can’t wait to show Mom—her math homework! We hope she will always be that excited about homework!
CONTRIBUTOR: Arlene Birt