Monday morning is our Weekend Share greeting in first grade. Students greets their classmates and then share one thing about their weekend. With a room full of six and seven year olds, you never know what you might hear. Conversations in general are unpredictable and often quite entertaining, and especially when initiated by certain students.
Last week, one of these “certain” students, “Ben”, decisively announced, “Good morning, everyone. This weekend I shot a brown bear with my bb gun.”
“You did?” I asked. (Now usually I don’t interrupt when students share, but in view of the purported unsupervised bb gun, I felt I needed to clarify a bit.)
“Yes, my mom and dad weren’t there and I saw the bear. He looked at me and I looked at him. Then I shot him.”
“Wow,” I asked, “Is that story fiction or non-fiction?”
“Oh, it’s real,” he said.
“So,” I asked, “if I asked your mom about it, she’d say it was a true story?”
“Oh…..” he said, gazing upward and pausing. “Oh, yeah, that’s right…I forgot…it was a dream.”
So, this morning as my crew arrived in the classroom, Ben, skipped up to me, beaming. “Mrs. Hogan,” he said, “I have something really exciting to share today.” From the bounce in his step and the grin on his face, I knew this should be quite interesting.
“What’s that?” I asked him.
“Well,” he said, “I finally saw a real live dinosaur.”
“Yes,” he said, “My dad and I were ice fishing and my dad went to get some bait. And then Pop! up it came through the hole in the ice and then it went back down again.”
A student overhearing this conversation, said, “Dinosaurs are extinct.”
“Yeah,” said another nearby student, “They got wiped out by a meteor.”
“No,” said Ben quite solemnly, “That meteor hit the land…but not the sea!”
A bit later this morning as I commiserated with a different student about the large scratch on his face, Ben chimed in. “Oh, yeah,” he stated matter-of-factly, “I’ve got scratches on me all the time. It’s from dealing with the dinosaurs, dragons and iguanas.”
I can only imagine the richness of Ben’s inner world where clearly anything is possible. For him the delineation between fact and fiction still wavers and he delights in his creative interpretation of his experiences. While my vision is narrowed to deadlines and due dates, meetings and appointments, housework and homework, he’s embracing his world, with elements both real and imagined. What would my world be like if I could live as vividly as he does, limited only by my imagination, each day ablaze with wonder and possibility?