To be honest I don't spend a lot of time with third graders. I teach kindergarten and first graders and most of the kids I coach on the jump rope team are fourth and fifth graders. We have some third graders, but most of them are quiet at practice around the older girls.
Yesterday I administered a practice state standardized test to a small group of third graders. When they had all completed the test we had to remain in our testing location until we were given the 'all clear' and it was safe to enter the school hallways without disrupting other test takers. And so, I was trapped in the strings trailer with 5 very hyper third graders. I handed out blank scratch paper and told them they could play tic-tac-toe. There were 5 kids... one would have to be by himself. I figured they would work it out on their own, and if they didn't I'd play with the other kid. Maybe they didn't all want to play. Maybe some wanted to read or some wanted to draw.
The next thing I knew all 5 are playing with their imaginary friends. All 5 playing alone, talking to the air. They even put the pencils down between their turn and the imaginary friend's turn. First graders sometimes have that kind of imagination, but for the most part they are extremely literal. I was amazed at how social acceptable it was for each of the 5 kids to play quietly with their imagination. I thought it was kind of incredible. Is that normal third grade behavior, or did I just test a special, imaginative group of kids?