Where Else Do We Have Days Like These?

Slice of Life 2013  11 of 31

Thanks to Ruth and Stacey from Two Writing Teachers for hosting the Slice of Life Challenge.  You can read other slices on their blog.  

We've all been there.  I am working with kids during writing workshop, trying to help 3 kids at a time find information for their research projects.  A line of kids snakes back (even though I've told them not to wait in line for me...they're wasting their precious writing time), all of them with "just a little question."  I look up to see who's next when two students tentatively approach me.    At this point, I'm a little frustrated with the way class is going and then I hear...

"Mrs. Johnson, C has worms in his desk."

"What?" I immediately reply, swinging my head to look at C.  I picture his desk full of worm carcasses and call my young oligochaeteologist over.  (That's someone who studies earthworms. I looked it up).  

He sheepishly walks over.  "Did you bring something special to school today?" (I'm doing my best to stay calm).

"Yes, I'm going to study worms," he says with a gleam in his eye.  I'm still picturing all those dead carcasses in his desk.  I ask him to bring them over.

He dodges back to his desk and brings a small Macy's jewelry box with holes stabbed in the lid.  Gray graphite  rims the edges of the circles, revealing he had poked holes in with his pencil.  He carefully lifts the lid, and digs through several dried out oak leaves to find his treasure.  Sure enough at the bottom of the box is a squiggly, scrawny worm, wiggling amidst the leaves.  

He then tells me how he found it at day care and decided that worms was his next research topic.  He brought it to school so he could study it further.  I just had to smile at his excitement.  Plus I was extremely glad that it was only one worm in a little box and not a desk full of worm carcasses.

After lunch, B reminded me that he brought his science experiment to school.  Could he please show it to the class?  Well, we already had one science experiment going on in the worm box, so I agreed to let him demonstrate his.  I wasn't really sure what it was...but he was eager to share.

Well, who knew...you can buy these Dr. Dreadful science kits full of gross concoctions that YOU CAN EAT.  I set up the document camera, the kids gathered around and B proceeded to mix water and a powdery substance to make fake ear wax.  He then assembled a tube that connected to a plastic ear.  The brown goo (ear wax) was sucked into the tube and then he used a plunger to push the ear wax out of the ear.  The room erupted into OOOOHHH's and GROSS, and lots of laughter.  

It's days like today that make my job so fun and I'm glad I get to teach fourth graders who love to learn.


  1. I connected with you about the snaking line of children who are waiting for my attention. I cracked up at how that all played out in your classroom. I really appreciate it when things feel stressful in a classroom and before you know it you are having fun.

  2. That is awesome! How lucky are you - and are they, to have a teacher who is open and understanding and excited by their love of science. Wish all classrooms were as warm and welcoming. Thank you!

  3. This just made my whole day! What a great slice from your very blessed life. : ))

  4. That's what teaching's all about! Hurray for you.

  5. What wonderful little scientists you have in your room!! Love their enthusiasm in pursuing their interests and wonders.

  6. Amen. Love the story.
    And I'm glad with you that it wasn't a desk full of carcasses!

  7. Audiobooks have always helped us. They engage the imagination far more than TV. It's a good half step towards getting them to read. There are lots of sites to download them, but we use this one a lot because the stories are all free and original. Here is the link if anyone is interested. http://www.twirlygirlshop.com/moral-stories-for-kids

  8. Love you title! Love your students snaking around you! Love that you allow such choice in your classroom! Thanks for sharing - makes me ready for a brand new day.


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