After reading a book about caterpillars, I placed several large stuffed (carnival prizes) caterpillars in a pile on the floor and asked the students to guess HOW MANY. Then we counted to make sure there wasn't a hundred or a million, like some thought, but just five.
I asked the kids if they were same or different, and reminded the class to always look for the things that are the same in people and or objects before focusing on differences. My students are really good at this, and I hope they take this skill through life.
We sorted, classified, discussed sizes, longest, shortest, likenesses and differences, and then we had caterpillar races on the 3 ft. long ones. The children sat on the floor and scooted. There was so much cheering and laughter and movement. The visitors expressed alarm when we morphed into butterflies. I put wings on all my students and told them to be careful and fly around the room with out bumping anyone. They did! Kids do live up to our expectations.
As the team left, they told me how impressed they were with me and my program. I have heard that for decades, and from so many "officials." Once I was asked to institute a cultural diversity program, and I objected to one aspect of the new curriculum, having to document every single thing I did. Instead, I invited the developers to come into my class and observe how I incorporate CD in my class room all day, everyday. Someone from the university came to observe me. I handed the woman a copy of my lesson plans for a year, highlighting how I touched on CD. She was so impressed, I was excused from using their program. I have been told by so many that I should be teaching teachers. Maybe? But I made an impact on youngsters over the years, and I parented many parents. I think God put me where I was needed most.
As my 39th school year (my last) winds down, I am feeling mixed emotions. These next nine weeks I will find myself wavering, a tear building in the corner of my eye and swallowing hard when I do all of the lasts.
All good things must end...and I am looking forward to a new beginning. Like the caterpillar, I will emerge anew.