Saturday, February 16, 2008


Third grade is learning about biographies. I'm reading BigMama's by Donald Crews, an autobiographical tale of visits to the author's grandparents in the 1940s. Big Mama lives on a small farm, in a house without electricity and running water and keeps chickens. I start a discussion drawing a parallel between the authors experience and the children's trips to Mexico to visit family. Many of the students spend the summer with grandparents in remote Mexican villages. They are quite familiar with outhouses, kerosene lamps and chickens.

I often hear chickens when I pull up for work in the morning so I know many of the students are also very familiar with American chickens. E, who has long ash blond hair and pale skin with freckles , raises her hand.

“We have chickens in our back yard”

“Do you gather their eggs?” I ask, bucolic visions flitting through my brain.

“No” she says, “We have roosters. My grandfather takes them to Louisiana”.

I rearrange my thinking and contemplate roast chicken instead.

“Why does he take them to Louisiana?”

“So they can fight”

Hummm...........I think it’s time to check out books.

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