|at Two Writing Teachers!|
Nonetheless, my "one little word" for the year has managed to sneak its way into my day. (Thank goodness!) Delight. Days like today are why I made it my OLW: to find delight even when I'm tired, even when things are crazy, even when I've been feeling discouraged. And just as promised, delight shows up. It's everywhere. I just have to notice it!
First, a student ran into my classroom this afternoon breathlessly waving Tears of a Tiger, which I booktalked a few weeks ago and recommended personally to her last week. "Mrs. M! I woke up at 6:00 this morning to read this book! It's sooooo good!!!" Especially sweet since she's been one of my many students who insist that they "don't have time" to read.
Then this evening before dinner, I was watching reruns of The Andy Griffith Show, which to me is like snuggling into my mom's arms since that's where I first watched it. Much to my DELIGHT, one of my all-time favorite episodes came on: the one where Helen Crump is introduced as Opie's new teacher. From the moment Opie and his friends start calling her "Old Lady Crump," I'm cackling every 30 seconds.
In this episode, Opie and the other boys in his class have decided they hate history, to the point that they boycott their assigned reading. The best part (and one of my absolute favorite moments of the whole series) is how Andy gets them to do their homework again with his dramatic storytelling of Paul Revere's ride:
Despite the historical (and grammatical) inaccuracies, I love the DELIGHT in learning that shines in this clip. Andy's enthusiasm as he tells the story comes together with the wonder on the boys' (and Barney's) faces to show that learning can be fun. No, that learning IS fun, and if you don't know it yet, it's just because nobody's helped you discover it in a way that means something to you.
I love that Andy gets them to buy into learning by knowing their interests: he knows that little boys love Indians and guns, so that's how he hooks them. Then he makes the story come alive so much that they forget it's "history" and just DELIGHT in the story. After all, as Ruth and Stacey so often remind us, story matters. Suddenly, history is so exciting that they're clamoring for more.
That's what learning should be. That's what I want for my students: DELIGHT in learning. So thank you, Andy Griffith, for reminding us what can happen when we draw on student interests and share the power of story with them. For someone who wasn't officially a teacher, you sure were a good one.