Sunday, January 29, 2012

Is it tomorrow yet?

Last Monday I was at my desk writing a report when one of my students peeked around the door and asked me, “Do I have speech today?”

 “No,” I answered, “You have speech tomorrow.”

“But it’s already tomorrow!”  

Most likely, the day before his parents had told him he’d go to school “tomorrow” and he was at school so he jumped to the logical conclusion. He stood looking confused (and in need of attention) so I invited him in, took out my calendar and gave him a quick lesson on, “yesterday”, “today” and “tomorrow” then sent him back out to recess.

Later, I looked for a picture book to help teach the concept but I didn’t find one. I did, however, find an excellent book on yesteryear, several of them. One of my favorite discoveries was, Verla Kay’s, Hornbooks and Inkwells.  It is beautifully illustrated and when read aloud its perfect rhythms and rhymes are an auditory delight.

I imagine many of you are familiar with state content standards for education; there are now numerous common core standards that have been adopted across the country. One of them is for students to identify and create rhyming words – what better way to teach rhymes than in an appealing story written in verse?

Another activity that is right out of the common core standards is to retell stories and to sequence the events. After listening to Hornbooks and Inkwells, my students had no trouble retelling many of the details. They loved hearing about the two brothers Peter and John Paul and the mischief they made. They were appalled by the neck yokes and they rooted for John Paul in his struggle to learn to read. And when . . . well I’d better stop there. I don’t want to spoil the story for you.

Speaking of stories, if anyone out there can recommend one to teach the concepts of “yesterday,” “today,” and “tomorrow,” I’d love to hear about it.

I’ve got to run now; I have a birthday party to attend. I’ll look over this note tomorrow, before posting it. But if you are reading this, I guess it already is tomorrow.

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