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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

ABC's, 123's, and scarring kids for life

I've been at a bit of a loss for blog material lately. I have lots of thoughts and a few posts started about some deeper-type stuff, but nothing too light-hearted. Lots and lots of months ago (or maybe even years?? Yep, years) I started a little blog series about my favorite student stories, since working with 3-6 years olds is often quite hilarious. Remember this? Or how about this? Yes, I'm a stay-at-home mom now, but I still have five great years of teaching to reflect on. And lots of good stories to tell.
Today's story comes from my most recent class. Last year I taught four-year-old preschool here in Winterset. Each day there was this awkward six or seven minutes between storytime and lunch. And if you have ever spent time with a group of young kids, you know that time spent waiting around quickly turns into bouncing off the walls and chaos. So, I would always try to come up with some sort of fingerplay, song, or game in order to maintain some sort of ...well... order. On this particular day, I decided to introduce the "Who stole the cookie from the cookie jar?" game. You know the one. It goes like this:
"Who stole the cookie from the cookie jar?"
"(Student name) stole the cookie from the cookie jar?"
"Who me?"
"Yes you"
"Couldn't be"
"Then who?"
And each child gets a turn to be the designated cookie stealer. Seems innocent enough, right? WRONG.
We'll call the kid Joey. Joey was sweet and cute as can be. But he was also a bit oblivious. It was hard for him to understand a joke or an exaggeration. He took everything on a literal basis... Bless his heart. So most of the kids were kinda catching on. Not quite getting the rhythm of the whole thing, but all in all things were going well. Then we get to Joey's turn. "Who stole the cookie from the cookie jar? Joey stole the cookie from the cookie jar." And we all look at Joey and wait for him to chime in with the "who me?" part. It started with him noticing everyone looking at him and his eyes growing very wide. And then he says, "No I didn't, guys. No, I didn't! I didn't steal the cookie!" Now, of course, the other kids understand that it's a rhythm game and they start to say things like "Yes, it's your turn. Yeah, you stole it." This, of course, is even more upsetting to Joey and he starts to unleash a little bit more. "No, I didn't! I don't got it! I don't got a cookie! NO I DIDN'T!!!!" Poor kid. I think he even cried a little. Yes, we got him calmed down and just kinda dismissed the whole thing. The next day as we were playing again, I decided it was better not to set Joey off and just skip his turn. I didn't think he'd notice or care. Wrong again. He insisted on having a turn. Fine. But when it finally came around to him, the whole scenario played out again. Oh, brother. Hope they don't play that game in kindergarten.

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