Saturday, August 15, 2009

the gift of reading

yesterday was possibly one of the best moments i've ever had teaching. my partner-in-crime, who i have now been co-teaching with for 4 years (the first year she was a student teacher in my first grade classroom, ever since then we have co-taught together in her kindergarten classroom) and i decided to wrap up all our classroom library books in 4 large boxes (one for each table group). we left the large wrapped presents in the closed house keeping area for 2 weeks as we introduced the rest of the classroom. then yesterday, while they were eating their snack, we placed one of the gifts in the middle of the carpet.

"santa clause came!" one little girl shrieked with excitement.

"in here," we began in a hushed voice, "is the most important, exciting thing we are going to do in kindergarten. what do you think could be in here?"


"a car!"



"army men!"

(you can't beat 5 year old logic)

"in here is the real magic we are going to learn in kindergarten. are you ready?"

we placed one box at each table and one on the floor for our friend in a wheelchair so 3-6 children gathered around each box.

"open them up!" we declared and the ripping began.

a part of me was worried we'd have disapointed groans when they discovered the boxes were only filled with books. instead we heard absolute squeals of delight.

"books!" high pitched happiness filled the room.

one little boy jumped up and down, waving his arms, "muchos, muchos, MUCHOS BOOKS!" he cried with his spanish/english vocabulary.

i had chills.

we left them alone for almost 10 minutes as they pulled out book after book in their box and listened to delighted squeal after squeal with each new book they discovered. torn wrapping paper littered the floor as everyone found a book that was perfect for them- trucks, princesses, monsters, animals. the only one slightly disapointed girl was one who went through all the books on her table in a rush looking for "the bear book". finally i let her go join another group (whose box i knew contained animal books) and within a minute she was settled down pouring over brown bear, brown bear, in pure happiness.

later that day we discussed what we'd found inside those boxes and sorted the box of animal books into 'fake animals' and 'real animals' for our budding classroom library (they decided on the label names). every day next week we plan to add another basket to the library as we slowly build and discover our books. of course, we couldn't finish our lesson without a reading of brown bear, brown bear.

it was magic.

a friend recommended this lesson to me about 5 years ago saying "you absolutely cannot start your year without wrapping your books". but she taught 4th grade and i wasn't sure how it would transfer. i can't believe i waited this long. so now i say to you- "you absolutely cannot start your year without wrapping your books".

it was one of those days when i know, for sure, that i have the best job in the world.

**there are many pictures that go with this but at the moment blogger is not cooperating (it's eithre blogger or my computer) stay tuned for the photo-journalist account!


Alison said...

I love this! I will definitely do that next year. How far away next year feels right now...

Tara and Dale said...

i love this idea! also stealing it and passing it on. Thanks for sharing your lovely blog with the world. :)