Saturday, July 14, 2012

Imagination - A Key to the Door of Knowledge

A couple months ago, I heard a knock at my speech room door. Normally, kids don’t knock; they just charge up my ramp and burst in at their scheduled time. When I answered the door, one of my first-grade students was standing there, “Hello, I’m Jordan “two”, Jordan “one” had to stay home today. I’m new to this school.”

Of course I invited him in, and he invited me into his imaginary world and into his current internal story. He informed me that Jordan “one” had to stay home to take care of a visiting elephant – it had escaped from a zoo. Since the others in his speech group were away on a field trip, I had time to hear the whole story, help Jordan write it down, and introduce vocabulary such as “pretend” and “imagination.”

I think Jordan has a future in writing fiction but he struggles in school. He has a very difficult time listening and following directions. Once he told me his mind was “all buzzy” so he couldn’t pay attention in class, but I’ve noticed, when he begins to actually hear a story, or create one of his own, he focuses. Tapping into his imagination seems to help him become more receptive to new information.

Albert Einstein once said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge.” That gives me hope for Jordan and others like him.

And speaking of imagination, one of the imaginative books Jordan loved this year was, Creepy Monsters, Sleepy Monsters, by Jane Yolen, illustrated by Kelly Murphy. He wasn’t alone - all of my speech students loved this story. It is written in verse and creates possibilities for vocabulary growth, rhyming, phonemic awareness and speech practice. The illustrations are adorable. When I read this one to my students, they inspected every monster on every page, counting monster eyes and legs. They laughed when they spotted items they could relate to – like backpacks, swing sets, and monster beds that were not much different from their own. The worms in the salad and sandwiches grossed them out but they wouldn’t let me turn the page – they were so engrossed!

When school is back in session in the fall, I hope I’ll hear another knock at my door, and when it opens, I hope it will open to a world of new stories.

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