I have had a chance to do a tiny bit of writing today in the form of marking grade one homework, a task I do not look forward to. It is usually a battle with my six year old who would rather be playing “ship” a game where she and my three year old load up our family room bench with every toy they can find in the house. The carpet is the water where the sharks are and they must try to position themselves on top of the toys on the bench to avoid being eaten. Ship is a game that takes twenty seconds to set-up, fourteen seconds to play to completion and three hours for me to tidy. Homework is usually the last thing on her mind and today was no exception. After going over a couple of erroneous math problems and having her fix them it was time for page number three and we were both dripping with sweat.
The instructions to the student were to find the opposite of a word, write it underneath it and then fill in a crossword with the newly written word. Okay, that sounds a bit hard for grade one but she knows the material, she just won’t sit still long enough to work her way through it. She dances around her chair, she finds crumbs on the floor and squishes them together in her hand, she sharpens her pencil, she checks the ink levels on her markers, the stickiness of her stickers, the crispness of the paper and we’re finally ready to begin.
The first word is “last” and she has to find the word “first” on the sheet. She struggles and I ask her, “What do you think is the opposite of last?” (in a very calm and loving way of course)
Me: Last week?
Ellie: whispering in my ear, “FIRST mommy?”
Me: Yes Ellie
Hanna then attempts to read the next word on the page. It is “whisper”
Me: Try again
Me: Very close
Hanna, soft and confused: whippers?
Me: Sound it out
Me: No, try looking at the page, not at me and sound out each letter
Ellie: whispering, “Hanna, see what I’m doing?”