Wednesday, March 7, 2012

OIK Tuesday: st. patrick's secret identity

On March 1 I presented the new month's calendar to my kindergarteners.  Although many in my school enjoy the undeniable convenience of a calendar stored on the computer and presented on the Promethean Board, I still make a grid on a big sheet of 1-inch graph paper and hang it at the front of the room.  The physical work of each day's Calendar Marker is then always visible, birthdays and other special days can be referred to at any time, and the months become concrete artifacts that line the top of the walls and create a timeline of our kindergarten experience.  Call me old-fashioned, but I think 5- and 6-year-olds need this concrete, omnipresent record of passing time in order for it to begin making sense.

So there was the blank calendar, with weekend numbers recorded and a small green shamrock in the number 17 box.  "What do you notice?" I asked the class.  Some of the responses were...

"What is that green leaf for?"
"I notice a clover for Leprechaun Day!"
"St. Patrick's Day is coming."

I acknowledged these varying levels of familiarity and began a short and challenging explanation of St. Patrick's Day for a widely diverse group of children--after all, how do you fit the gigantic concepts of Christianity/Catholicism, sainthood, Ireland, history, immigration, cultural traditions and leprechaun magic into two sentences?  After my first sentence about how many kinds of people have come to live in America, just like some families in our class, and have brought their celebrations with them, like Chinese New Year, I started to say, "St. Patrick was--" and then got interrupted by a visitor at the door.

Bryon filled the pause that followed:  "--a rock star?!"

Have you heard of the rock star called Patrick
Who pulled off a Catholic hat trick?
The shamrock he takes;
The Irish he makes
Into Christians with wakes,
Then banishes snakes.
I'd like to see Bono do that trick!

Heidi Mordhorst 2012
all rights reserved


Okay, I worked way too long on that terrible piece of nonsense.  I may have to come back and try again with a poem on the bigger idea of the rock stars of Kindergarten:  those personalities who loom large in the K curriculum and the way their contributions do or don't make sense in the egocentric, here-and-now minds of 5-year-olds.  Happy upcoming St. Patrick's Day, folks.

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