I had the pleasure of substituting for a third grade teacher today. It was a small class and the children were well – behaved. The teacher left work for the students to do with a note explaining when to assign the work. One of the last assignments for the day was a writing assignment where the teacher began a Christmas story with three sentences and the children had to complete it.
Before the writing assignment, I had begun the day with a book which I read aloud. The class, composed mainly of girls, was amazingly cooperative with me and worked together well. As I announced that I was going to read a book aloud, the girls, almost cat-like, huddled together and leaned against each other to get more comfortable. As I looked, they had legs swung over their neighbor’s and had lain down on the rug, side by side.
They listened intently to the book, made comments, and asked questions about this poignant story of a Spanish girl whose mother left her with her grandparents to come to work in the United States. The mother returned when she heard the daughter had memorized a poem about Little Red Riding Hood and was about to recite it before an audience at the school.
It is amazing how children seem to have no problem making up a story. When it was time to write the Christmas story, it was clear in their minds and seemed to flow smoothly. Some took longer than others as they gave much thought to the plot. The two boys and one girl had trouble creating a plot and had to be prompted. They all wrote the stories and the result was that no two stories were alike. They read the stories from a wicker stool in front of the class. I was very impressed with the results.