Friday, November 04, 2005

America...We Have a Problem..

The latest from the floodwaters..

Directive to all district School Nurses - Hearing and vision screening for the Katrina Evacuees. Mission was not accomplished today - a newly enrolled first grade was unable to pass the vision test. Not because she couldn't see the chart, but because she didn't know the alphabet.

School nurse asks one of the PreK centers to send over a picture vision test.

I read "Pumpkin Circle" to the class containing the 9yr old first grader. Book has stunning photographs of pumpkins in all stages of growth and I have an actual pumpkin as an additional prop. Purpose of the lesson is seasons and cycles. Turn to a 2 page spread of a small newly sprouted pumpkin plant.

Child blurts out "what's that".

"A pumpkin plant" choruses the rest of the class.

"Plant" he says, looking confused.

"Yes, a plant, right after it's sprouted." I say, in my best teacher voice. "Have you ever planted a seed?"

"No" he says as if I'd asked him if he'd ever walked on the moon.

Gesturing toward my pumpkin "It is going to grow into a plant and produce pumpkins like this. We crave them at Halloween".

"Oh ", he says, looking at the pumpkin the same way Columbus must have looked at his first tomato plant.

He ponders the concept of a pumpkin while I keep reading. I finish up and start a discussion.

What season do we plant seeds?

"Pumpkin " he says proudly.

"What's another example of a cycle?"


"What holiday did we just celebrate?"


"What's another word for harvest ?"


How sad that a child could get through a couple of years of school without ever encountering the classic "plant a lima bean in a paper cup" science lesson.

At least he added a new word to his vocabulary, even if he's a bit wobbly on the actual definition.


Pigs said...

Aw, bless his heart!

Mama Squirrel said...

Thank you for sharing this experience--it is really eye-opening. I've linked to your post on my blog.

Headmistress, zookeeper said...

Your posts on the Katrina children have been heartbreaking, so it feels funny saying 'thanks for sharing,' but I do appreciate it.

Julie said...

Yes, truly heartbreaking.