An Eventful Day in First Grade

During Daily 5, students are busy at their stations while I do some assessments on sight words with individuals.  There are areas for Read to Self, Read to Someone, Work on Writing, Listen to Reading, and Word Work.  It’s a language arts block that I usually spend 90-120 minutes per day on when there are no other special activities such as assemblies, plays, or library time.   It usually goes fairly smoothly, minus some students who seem to enjoy making my hair turn gray.

Suddenly there is a crash and a bang. It happens in the Read to Self area which is also the station farthest away from where I do my assessments.  I look up and quickly realize that one student accidentally pushed a basket of books onto the head of a student who was laying on the carpet, quietly reading.

Now-let me stop right here. The student who was on the carpet was quietly reading to himself-he was focused and attending to the task while not bothering other students. How do I know this? Because he is the kid that is ALWAYS off task and talking non-stop. He is the one that constantly tears apart erasers, leaves his snack everywhere except in his mouth, sticks pencils up his nose and interrupts me with ridiculous, totally off-topic statements. I did not need to look up and survey the scene before the carnage-I just knew…

So, anyway-I wait for a blood curdling scream because the kid who pushed the basket is yelling, “I DIDN’T MEAN IT!!! I DIDN’T MEAN IT!!! I’M SORRY!!! I’M SORRY!!!”

Stop-I am waiting for the blood curdling scream because the kid who pushed the books is not one to EVER apologize. He just goes about his business and is completely clueless if he hurts someone’s feelings or flat out runs a kid over. Knock a kid to the ground as he barrels through a crowd of people-he doesn’t even know there was a crowd of people never mind the little kid he bowled over. I KNOW it is not good…

I look at my normally-inattentive boy sprawled on the carpet and seeing him hold his hand on his face, I gracefully glide over to him with a box of tissues (OK-maybe I hurdled a few desks in record time but it was graceful. Really).

Blood. Lots of it, too. Just pouring out of this kid’s nose and all over his hands. No wonder my other clueless wonder is so afraid of getting in trouble for once.  With complete poise on my part, I gracefully escort Bloody Child to the nurse (Perhaps I am half-dragging him-hard to recall).   While I hold a huge wad of tissues over his face, I realize that he has not cried-not even a little. His hands are covered in blood and the once white tissue is a scarlet mass over his face. It’s a wonder he can even breathe.

I make small talk down the hall as innocent by-standards look on in horror and whisper behind our backs.

“You know, I can’t believe what a trooper you are! You are so brave! I never knew anyone braver than you. You deserve a medal!” I gush just hoping this kid lives long enough to hand him off to the nurse. I figure that once he is in her care, I’m off the hook.

I leave him in the capable hands of our sweet school nurse, take a deep shuttering breath, and head back to class with my heart beating a bit slower.

Class resumes like nothing happened and I nearly forget about my bloody friend. During the math lesson, the students are engaged in a fun hands-on activity that requires tons of oral directions. We are deep in the throng of this mind-blowing lesson when in walks my student.

I smile and continue teaching when he heads straight for me and I cringe. He’s wearing a clean shirt that is entirely too large for him. All I can think of is:  Did they call his mom? Are we being sued? Am I fired???

“Hey, buddy! What’s up?” I squeak out.

Wait for it…

“Can I have my medal now?”

And yes-he is completely serious.

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