First and Second Grade News

November 13, 2013

The class spent a day at Claudio’s house this month. It sits
in the woods on a ravine with a runoff-fed creek. As usual,
we defined the boundaries by saying, “If you can’t see the
house, you’ve gone too far.” And as usual
when the class visits, that totally worked. The kids
spent the day happily playing in the woods, making
huts with sticks, making a dam with rocks, finding and
splitting geodes, climbing steep slopes and sliding down
them, observing our flock of chickens, and discovering
such things as horsehair worms, long usually parasitic
nematodes that live in water and look like pieces of very
thin spaghetti that squirm when you hold them. Not
even the adults had ever seen any before. We’re always
impressed with how well the kids handle their freedom
there, and with how happily they play with only nature’s
“unstructured materials”—dirt, rocks, trees, sticks, water,
etc. I know lots of adults have fond memories of playing
this way in woods and fields, even if only in undeveloped
lots in their town. We believe this kind of play is a valuable
part of childhood, and time spent on it is as important as
time spent on more conventional “school work”.
For Directed Journal we asked, “What is something you
used to be afraid of that you’re no longer afraid of?”
Here are some responses:
*I used to be afraid of the dark.
*I used to be afraid of monsters but now I know they
are not real.
*I used to be afraid of zombies.
*I used to be scared of snakes because of the
poisonous snakes.
*I used to be scared that the mountains in Colorado would
become volcanoes and explode.
*I used to be afraid of mom’s TV show.
*I used to be scared of crocodiles.
*I used to be scared of people outside.
*I used to be scared of [my brother] turning into a
zombie but it is impossible.
*I used to be scared of monsters under my bed.
*I used to be afraid of the headless horse.
*I used to be scared of a scary movie.
*I used to be scared of a werewolf. They just have fur.
*I used to be scared of Chucky the doll.
*I used to be scared of mummies but my mom told me
that mummies aren’t real.
*I used to be scared of skeletons because of their skull
and their teeth and their empty eye sockets.
–Claudio

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