It's only been three days and yet I'm not sure where to begin, so much has transpired in such a small amount of time. My time with the children has been intoxicating - they're so full of love, eagerness, and enthusiasm!
Yesterday, June 23rd, I worked with two boys, one-on-one, who are struggling with letter and sound recognition. I imagine it nearly impossible to receive such individualized teacher attention and they certainly were eager to work hard to show their appreciation, and even surprised themselves, I think. I realize my time here is short, but hopefully it will have an impact.
After lunch, the children were excited to test out my gift to them: a shiny red football (soccer) directly from last years World Cup! We spent much of the afternoon playing dodgeball (not soccer) as a school, in the afternoon heat. Now, being the Jersey transplant that I am, having been born and raised in the Florida sun, it's been a hot minute since I've run around in this heat with the exuberance of a child! Well worth every sweaty, sweaty moment!
This morning (Wednesday, June 24th) I woke up and fed Ben - our pet bull - at the Rock Star B & B where I'm staying with Arthur and D'vonny. He comes when you call his name and his favorite treat are mango skins! After which I carefully made my drive (the potholes will devour your vehicle) to Bigwoods where I was greeted with passing waves from strangers on the road and the smiling faces of the children as I cashed in on the promise of another day.
It was only Ms. Wiggans and I today as Ms. Berlin was out. I had enough good sense to come in with a plan* much to Ms. Wiggans & Mr. Mitchell's (principal) surprise! *Anyone who knows me though, knows I operate best with a plan.
Yesterday I shared the Me-Cards from the Hamilton Park Montessori School students (Bigwoods’ sister school in New Jersey), as well as the idea of meeting in small groups, in a small circle, sitting on the floor. This was new for them, and while a few were hesitant to sit on the ground, today when we met - they all were ready for what was to come!
So, this morning I took the 3rd & 4th graders and we met in the other room, and I laid out the ground rules... We would work respectfully (to me and each other), there would be NO hitting, kicking, or yelling (normal communication it seems), and if they could not accept that they would be asked to work with the other class. I have to say, I was a little unsure, but they controlled themselves like I imagine they never have before! They worked intensely and focused, all morning creating their own Me-Cards for the elementary students at HPMS. I did not even have a chance to do the other art activity I had planned as they worked so industriously until lunch. I did however, get to read them some poems from the classic, Shel Silverstein's “Where The Sidewalk Ends”. This went over very well!
After lunch I joined the girls for a rousing game of Netball. It was my first time, and so much fun, but again with the heat! We cooled down by having our first (of several) read-aloud story sessions - "A Sliver of Sun" - it took some getting used to (the being quiet and settled part) but by the end of chapter 3, they were yearning for more!
Looking ahead, we have two more days this week, then Mon-Wed next week. That following Thursday the 6th graders graduate at 10am (looking forward to attending that) and the following Friday is a half day before summer (and my long drive back to Kingston).
I hope you enjoy the photos.