Friday, February 8, 2008

Oh, to be in Kindergarten

The other day I got to be the visiting author in the kindergarten class at the school where I work. It was definitely the highlight of my day. I am used to the jaded attitudes of evil and hormonal fifth graders. Their teacher, my friend Lynne, instructed them only to ask questions and not make comments (or tell long 6 year-old stories).They had obviously been well-trained in this - but you could just see their little mouths poised to tell you what was on their minds. I showed them my book Flying Over Midnight, and they really liked the pretty cover. I told them that my Mom painted it and they had lots of questions about that. One little boy asked what she used to paint it and I told him it was watercolors. He said very knowingly, "I thought it was watercolors."
I got reprimanded by another when I didn't use his name to call on him "I told you my name is Loki!" (Sorr-ry!)
Then the question I was afraid of - what is your book about? We-e-e-l-l-l - it's a grown-up book about a woman who is a mom and she plays the piano. Luckily that threw them off track and all of a sudden I heard from everyone who played the piano or knew someone who played the piano. Whew!
Then I got questions like - how did you make the words? How did I make the words? You mean how did I think of them? I used my imagination. No, how did you make them? You mean did I type them on a computer? No! I thought you would use a pen! Oh.
After we discussed using our imaginations and how writers have to practice, practice, practice, and how even grown-ups make mistakes and have to fix them - their teacher asked me if I could talk about editing. (In kindergarten???) Yes, because the kindergarteners are learning how to EDIT their work! Then I got to see some of their writing and I promised to come back and make comments on any future work they wanted to show me.
At the end of our session Lynne asked me to tell them my dog-got-sprayed-by-a-skunk-story from earlier in the week. And even though they weren't allowed to tell me stories - right at the end a little boy scooted up to me and whispered all in one breath I had a dog and he ate some paint off the chair and we took him to the doctor and he died and then he went to dog heaven.


happyone said...

That age is such a joy. You never know what will come out of their mouths. :-)
When I was in kindergarten I was just learning how to print letters!! But way back then you didn't go to nursery school - kindergarten was the first time you went to school.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for reminding me of the joys of being the proud mother of a kindergarten aged child.... sometimes I forget that she someday will grow up!