Sunday, March 4, 2012

Whale Tales

Each day in first grade last year we began with a community circle.  It was a time for the entire class to come together, share, and begin our day together.  With 28 first graders it took a lot of front loading and practice to ensure that we could sit to listen to 28 of our friends and to make sure our none of our sharing went on too long.  With practice and many friendly reminders, we were making progress as the year went on.

By December we were perfecting the art of community circle and my friendly reminders were becoming less frequent for the class, except for one student.  He became my sidekick, so that I was able to keep him close and provide constant reminders to listen to his classmates.

One day, as we were about halfway around the circle, my sidekick uncrossed his pretzel legs and knelt next to me.  I patted his back and whispered, "Let's listen to our friends."  He listened for a few more minutes and then suddenly bellyflopped into the middle of the circle.  "I'm an orca whale!" he exclaimed as he flopped around the middle of the circle.

Lessons learned...

  • proximity doesn't fix everything
  • teaching requires thinking on your feet, as there are many situations you could never predict (but they make hilarious stories later!)


  1. An orca? That's funny! First graders are so much fun when you can look past the disruptive behaviors of a few. Love the idea of community circle to start the day. That is how my kindergarten teacher friend starts every writer's workshop.

  2. I laughed out loud at "I'm an orca whale." (And am still laughing as I type this.) This is my first year to teach first grade after working with middle school students for the past nine years. They are fun bunch to teach. And the stories are definitely funnier in the younger grades (less drama than middle school). Thanks for sharing!

    Thinking Out Loud

  3. That is hilarious! I could totally see that same thing happening in my classroom. :-)

    First Grade Delight