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Tuesday, April 16, 2013

I Made a 1st Grader Cry

I didn't do it on purpose, honest! 
It was supposed to be an easy half-day afternoon assignment in a 1st grade class. 

The teacher had several math related worksheets they were supposed to complete involving counting coins to equal a certain value. The only materials required were red and green crayons to color the correct coins. Most of the kids were busy starting the assignment when I heard a disturbance on the other side of the room.

"He ripped my paper!!"

It seems that one boy could not find the right worksheet on his desk and decided to take one from someone else's desk. Of course, that resulted in a tugging match between the worksheet owner and the thief.

I gave the little girl an extra worksheet and escorted "little thief" back to his desk where I pointed out that peeking out from under three papers on his desk was the worksheet he couldn't find.

A bit later it was: "He took my red!!"

It seems that "LT" couldn't find his crayons, so he was "borrowing" crayons without asking from inattentive classmates. Returning the crayons to the rightful owners, I escorted "LT" back to his desk and asked where his crayons were.

LT: I lost them
Me: Did you look in your desk?
LT: I looked, they aren't in there.

I see that his desk it totally jammed with books, papers bits of pencils, toys and junk.

Me: Maybe they are way in the back under all that stuff in your desk
LT:  I looked, they aren't in there. (a bit louder than I cared for)

Me: Let's check again. Let's take everything out and put it on top of your desk to check.
LT:  I did and they aren't in there!
Me: Let's do it again.

LT is reluctant but since I not moving away, he doesn't have a choice. Out comes all his hard books, all his soft cover practice books, some small stuffed animals and...a large box of 48 crayons.

Me: Well, it looks like we found your crayons. Now you can start the coins worksheet.
LT:  I don't have red.
Me: Open the box and let's check, ok?

He opens the box and it contains at least three different shades of red crayons.

Me: Pick one of those and use it
LT: (In a loud whiney voice) IT'S NOT RED!!

At this point, I have pretty much exhausted what patience remained. I selected one of the reds and one of the greenish colored crayons, and instructed LT to quit stalling.

"Sit down and get to work. No more delays and no more taking stuff that isn't yours!"

A bit later while monitoring the rest of the class and checking every now and then that LT was at least not bothering anyone else, one little girl approaches to tell me that LT is crying. 

I left a note for the teacher that LT had a hard day today and some tears were shed.

I talked with the teacher a few days later and she told me that it happens a lot with LT.


Summers School said...

I have this problem with one of my fourth graders. He can never find ANYTHING, even if it is right in front of him. We even just got rid of him keeping stuff in his desk altogether- he just has a pile of 'important things' off to the side (he also sits in a special place for it). EVEN THEN, he has a folder where we put all the "papers". He had a missing assignment and swore it wasn't in his folder. I took it, found it within two seconds, looked at him and said, "What do I get if I find it?"

He gets this pouty look, "You found it didn't you?"

"Yep. What do I get? Unconditional love and complete trust?"

"Uh... I guess?"

"LOOK next time."

And of course, he rolls his eyes. It's fourth grade.

Mrs. Sutton said...

I thought this story was going to end with you finding out "LT" was colorblind ;)

Anonymous said...

Since I taught a 1st/2nd grade Sunday School class this year, I believe every thing you just wrote. Having taught high school for 21 years, I would have found it hard to believe all that disorganization starts at such a young age. Some of them never grow out of it.