One of the things I love best about working with young children is the funny things they say in the most sincere way. Things that you know they honestly believe, and you have to fight back the laughter as to not upset them. Today was one of *those* kinds of days. The kind of day that you normally have off from school. The kind of day that reminds you of this fact every chance it gets. The kind of day that when it's over, you want to bury it in a cold drink and forget it every happened. And to top it all off, S had a funeral to attend today, and so I held down the fort with some back up help. Oh, and did I mention tomorrow is a full moon? In the midst of this most difficult kind of day, was something I will hold close to my heart for a long time. Something to pull out on the next difficult day and chuckle at and then put away again.
So obviously today was Columbus Day. Normally we have the day off from school. Someone FUBAR'd the schedule this year, and two weeks ago we had the day off instead. We typically talk about Columbus Day and who Columbus was and why he was important, but to the kids mostly it's just another day off. This year, as we were in school, we decided we'd spend a little more time on Columbus and read a book and do an activity. Keep in mind, that these are first graders, most of whom are 6yrs old, and they have only been in school for 1 full year and 32 days.
So before I read to them the story of Columbus and how he sailed for the Indies and blah blah blah.. I asked the kids about Columbus and who they thought he was and why he was important enough to get his own day. I learned from them that Columbus was a Captain. He probably isn't alive anymore, and that he had a famous compass. You know, like in that movie? (insert straight face here, because inside I was dying). So we read the book, and as I read I asked the kids some questions and we talked about what we were reading about. We learned that the ships were so full of cargo that the men had to sleep on the deck. One of the kids raised their hand when we got to the part about how Columbus and his men were tired of being at sea, and tired of eating salt meat and asked in the most sincere voice, "Do you think they ate enough of the food by now so that they could sleep down below?" Because seriously... out of all the things they learned today.. that impressed them the most. In fact, when we were working on our activity books, several of them pointed out to me that they drew all the cargo under the deck of the ships. Oh, and he had a famous compass. No, really.