Saturday, September 24, 2011

I love unexpected gifts!

I had an unexpected gift this week...naptime was imploding; very few children were succumbing to sleep. My teaching resident took some nine tykes to the playground; I had six asleep; and I was passively supervising another eight children, who were quietly drawing.

One child suggested I read Red Light, Green Light by Anastasia Suen.

Of course, I immediately read the book. What do you do when some children are sleeping? You do anything necessary to keep them asleep. I may not have planned to read the book (it was on my bookshelf, but not my lesson plan), but with sleeping children at risk, I would have read the Encyclopedia Britannica aloud! For me, there was no debate.

"Yes, let's read this!," I entreated the small group.

All eight children gathered around me to read the book quietly.

Well, that simple book reminded one child (Naia) of a song...and she quietly and spontaneously sang to the tune of Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star:

twinkle, twinkle traffic light
around the corner, shining bright
red means stop
green means go
yellow means moving very slow
twinkle, twinkle traffic light
around the corner, shining bright

This simple song was the opening of the gift. It was so lovely to have this young girl dare to sing a solo, and to see this small group of classmates listen reverently. But then - what transpired! Each child needed to share a song.

Liam C. sang the traditional twinkle star,
Estee revised the lyrics to include daddy's hugs,
Alex merged "Twinkle, Twinkle" with "Baa, Baa Black Sheep,"
Eleanor offered a song about pool safety,
Oscar sang what he remembered of Naia's song,
Gideon shared the words to "Yellow Submarine"
Zaki offered a tonal "ooo, oh, onk, onk, ooo" that everyone found delightful and started to beat out on their thighs and hands.

Children taking turns.
Children singing solos.
Children listening to one another.

It was magical.
It was a small group.
It was a sign of our community jelling.

An unexpected gift.

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