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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

sol14 March 19th: Why would someone stop to pick up a penny?

"Come on," one of the boys said seriously, "this must be one of those really old fashioned stories! Why would anyone think a penny is important?"

 "They must be kidding " his friend said with the conviction of an astute student of finance, "why would someone stop to pick up a penny!" 

We were almost done with a short story called, the Lucky Penny, an emergent reader chosen because it's a good story with a clear problem and a cute solution.  Plus, it offers students lots of opportunities to apply their emerging strategies reading two-syllable words (penny, lucky, silly)!

During the 10 minutes I had been guiding their reading through this somewhat challenging (for them) text, I had already redirected their thinking more than once. I had also responded to several compelling (to them) questions.  In retrospect, the word "lucky" on a day filled with images of leprechauns, encouraged their thinking to diverge from the central message of the story.  In retrospect, I should have saved the story for a day or two.  But who knew?  So, I tried to answer "burning" questions about leprechauns (Are they real or not?) and about St. Patrick (Is he more like a Santa Clause or a God-man?)"  Now, I had to convince them that the premise of caring about and finding a missing, lucky penny was valid!    

While I was still trying to formulate my response, one of the boys figured out how to answer their questions.  

"I get it," he exclaimed. "He stopped to pick up the lucky penny because it was shiny! You know shiny pennies are always good luck!  I saw that on TV!  No one would stop to pick up a penny for any other reason.  It's not worth anything at the store.  But, if it is shiny and clean,and you find it on the ground, and if it is near St. Patrick's Day, and if you really like pennies, then it might be good to put in your pocket to help when you take a math test!

Perhaps the central message of this story was different than I had originally thought:
It's best when we let the kids answer their own questions!  

6 comments:

Bonnie K. said...

Sometimes it's just that moment of silence that opens the door for them to think and respond with ownership :)

Jaana said...

You gave your students the freedom to think! I'm sure they will look at a penny differently next time:)

elsie said...

Give them the time and they will make it make sense to them. It's fun to listen to musing of kids' minds.

Book Mama said...

What a cute little a-ha moment (that probably seemed really big to him in that moment!) in that boy's life. Love how he owned it!

Alan Wright said...

Thinking time, time for thinking- a necessary part of effective teaching. Allowing learners to speculate and articulate their thinking is vitally important. Your piece underlines this important teaching consideration.

Tara Smith said...

Funny - give them a chance and they always surprise us.