Wednesday, January 6, 2010


There is nothing I love more than a good read aloud. Especially one that is full of high drama, stubborn children, repetitive text so the children can chime in and read along, and good voices. I think most early elementary teachers feel the same one. So one of the aspects I love about intersession is that I get to do read alouds all the time- no set curriculum to tell me there's no time- no really important lessons we have to get too or I'll have to erase my plan book and draw lots of arrows... I can grab a book whenever I want to and dive in.

Yesterday I decided to indulge in one of my all time favorites, Thomas' Snowsuit by Robert Munch. I adore Robert Munch. I adore Robert Munch because his stories typically make absolutely no sense to adults, but kids find them hysterical. They're goofy- usually mention peeing, or underwear, or something just as ridiculously silly- they tend to be repetitive so the class has lines to chant during the story, and they usually involve children who outsmart adults because the adults are so set on their routines they don't think outside the box or notice the obvious.

So yesterday I opened Thomas' Snowsuit and dove in. The book begins with Thomas' mother showing him his nice, new, brown snowsuit and Thomas says "that is the ugliest snowsuit I have ever seen. If you think I am going to wear that snowsuit you are crazy" (or something like that). Occasionally at this point there are a few children who are shocked that a child would call his mother's snowsuit ugly, or tell his mother she is crazy.

Yesterday, however, this was not the case. One little girl let out a shocked yelp "crazy?" so I stopped and said, "I know none of you would ever call your mother crazy, or refuse to put on your snowsuit, right?" I went back to reading- or tried to go back to reading- when a boy chimed in, "But my mother is crazy"
And then from across the carpet another boy related, "yeah, mine too!"
"Oh no, it's my dad that is crazy!" a boy says, shaking his head knowingly.
"My mom says I'm crazy"
"My mom IS crazy"
"Only when my mom drinks soda- then she's crazy"
"My mom is so crazy she...."

So, do I stop the conversation and move on, before some child reveals his family's secrets? Or do I indulge my curiosity? Stop the lesson and let everyone write about a time their family was crazy? Just what do they mean by crazy...?

I laughed before details were shared and went back to reading, letting everyone get lost in Thomas' battle over his ugly brown snowsuit.

I do love when a group of children bonds over literature. I've just never had a group bond over family drama in that way. Perhaps it's the holidays that brings out every one's craziness.


Sneaker Teacher said...

at the end of last school year I got a whole bundle of the froggy books from Scholastic. My students would always chime in at the froooooogy...whaaaaaat part and I loved it. It is fun when they can be a part of the read aloud and when they really get into it!

jwg said...

That's one of my favorites and adults who complain about Munch need to play a lot and regain their senses of humor!