On Friday morning, I was late to pick up my 1st grade students from their classrooms. Everyone was in the hall, lined up for our resource groups. Uh-oh.
My fellow reading specialist, Michelle, was reading with another 1st grader, so I invited both groups to my room. I was worried about the interruption to the usual routine, but it didn't phase them. Everyone found a spot and started to read after a quick conversation. Then I pulled out the whiteboards and markers to try some word work.
"Can I use blue?"
"These are nice!"
We were happily writing words and practicing our vowel sounds when a 3rd grader (K) knocked at the door. He's the kind of student who needs to "run an errand" to my room (or the office or another room) from time to time to keep his behavior in check.
I had heard that morning that his pet rabbit had died the night before. Our staff believes that our students belong to all of us, so word traveled fast. We knew the loss of his pet would cause K to have an awful day.
I invited K to sit at the table. He told me he wanted to tell me a story. I asked if he could help us with our word work before we talked. He agreed, and we took turns dictating short words to the students. He helped the students near him.
After a few minutes, I let the first graders give the dry erase markers a workout (read: make a quick picture) while K and I talked about his pet. He spelled some of the words (d-i-e-d) as to not upset the other students. One student shared that his dog got a shot that made him sleep forever, but it was a quick contribution, and K looked a bit relieved.
The students asked if they could hear a book before they went. One suggested that K read to them, so he did. It was the cutest scene I have ever laid eyes on. K read them I Spy Fly Guy, and the first graders had to keep reminding him to show them the pictures. That made us all giggle. When time was up, we all walked quietly back to our classrooms.
I snapped a picture of K reading to the students. I plan to give it to him on Monday to show him how he looks as a role model. It's not usually the part he plays. I'm thankful that the first grade students were so flexible and accepting. This was an experience I won't forget.