They are incredibly enthusiastic about everything.
Their faces literally shine with unabashed anticipation.
They volunteer for anything.
They sit on the floor with their legs crossed, which, in itself, elicits my admiration. (When I sit on the floor, I usually can’t get up.) (I’m seriously considering investing in one of those medic alert necklaces.)
Their hands are always in the air, wildly waving because something I’ve just said has set off an idea in their heads. (Even if it’s not remotely connected in any way to what I’ve just said.)
They can keep their little arms flailing forever until I finally call on them, again and again and again, ad infinitum.
They love to laugh.
They get me.
Seriously, they get me!
Third graders are sharp!
A Berkshire Tale is made up of ten interconnected stories about the first year in the life of a kitten. Since Tuesday was March 1st, I read them the chapter for that month which involved flying a ghost kite and being a hero. They loved it. They jumped into the plot, pretending to be sheep and goats and chickens and they asked a ton of questions.
Then they wanted to know about the other stories in the book. Did I have one about Halloween? Thanksgiving? Christmas? I told them about the Christmas story and how it had presented problems which caused a serious case of writer’s block. https://aroundzuzusbarn.com/2015/06/20/simon-the-dalai-lama-of-cats/
A hand shot up – an eight-year-old who eagerly shared his personal, stressful experience with writer’s block: “I just sat there and sat there and sat there and sat there and sat there and couldn’t think of anything to put on that paper.”
Other young heads bobbed and nodded empathetically. They wanted to know how I solved my problem and I told them about Simon, the cat at the Red Lion Inn. I explained about getting dressed and going to the lobby at 2AM during a snowstorm when everyone else at the Inn was sound asleep. They listened attentively as I told them how I
sat on a couch, by the fireplace in front of a Christmas tree with Simon by my side and he helped me to finish my story. Not one of those eight-year-olds screamed, “You talked to a cat, you crazy old woman?” Not one. Their heads nodded, obviously affirming my ingenuity in seeking sage advice from a black and white tuxedo cat.
They get me!
We then did a project which involved writing invitations:
Dear_____________, Please read with me. _________________
(Some decided to put in their pet’s name. I told them it was a brilliant idea. One child said she had an alligator.)
They thought the cat reading a book on the cover of the invitation was great. No one brought up the fact that cats can’t read, even if they’re wearing glasses! Teenagers are inflexible on such details. I should know. I spent 20 years teaching high school English and I’ve been rendered fearless by the experience. Nothing scares me. I am invincible! But I digress…..
I gave them all my business card. (Third graders love to get business cards. They resolutely tuck them into their pockets with a “My people will contact your people” attitude.) Then, I headed over to the next class which was equally invigorating.
When I checked my e-mail that night, I found a note from one of the students.
I wrote back: “Finn is a very handsome cat. I think my cats, Roxie and ZuZu, would get along very well with him.” I included pictures.
Rory sent me three more pictures of Finn with the note, “My cat Finn is a girl. You are so cool.”
Even when I make a mistake, I am forgiven and then complimented.
I love third graders!
They get me!