this morning i held my friday morning book club for past students. over the years we've picked up some members who just wandered into the club somehow. i'm not sure how they found their way to us on friday mornings, but they've become an equally important part of our reading adventures. the group today consisted of four third graders, one from argentina, one from el salvador, one from ethiopia, one from vietnam, and one from afghanistan, along with two fourth graders, one from bolivia and one from afghanistan.
this morning i finished the chapter and asked them what they thought of the book.
"well, it has an interestinglead" a fourth grader responded.
"what? it's interesting?"
"no... an interestinglead. how do you say that? interestinglead." finally out of frustration she wrote it down.
"OH... you mean, an interesting lead" i clarify, impressed she is using the terminology and equally amused she assumesd it's a new vocabulary word.
"the book is about middle school kids, and i forgot that" i explained, "it is going to have boyfriends and girlfriends in it, and i want to know what you think about that." hoping they'll say they don't like it so we can pick a new book.
the interestinglead fourth grader put her hands over her ears, "i'm too young" she moaned. "i can't hear about that!" a third grader interjected happily that she was excited to read the book, and couldn't wait to find out what happened next. the fourth grader from afghanistan looked at her, "really?" she asked, "why do you want to know about boyfriends? why would anyone have a boyfriend? they'll just hit you." she demonstrates this by waving her hands in the air. her third grade sister replied, "yeah, i'm staying single!"
"i'm not! i want to get married and i want to have babies" a third grader from ethiopia announced.
"but your husband might hit you!" the fourth grader made the hitting motions in the air again.
i decided to try and step in, "you'll just be careful and marry someone who wont hit you"
"but you have to marry someone from your country" she replied.
"what?" the interestinglead fourth grader from bolivia asked with distress, "but my mom's from bolivia and my dad's from argentia" you could see her mind spinning...did her parents break some international code?
i jumped in and tried to explain that some countries are different. the third grade sister from afghanistan cut me off with the announcement that would solve it all, "well, i'm just staying single!"
sadly, it was time for them to head to their classes before we could continue on the conversation. i was fascinated by the cross-cultural conversation and expectations elementary school students have on their life ahead of them.