The title refers to the theory that “kids these days” are digital natives, and need constant multi-media stimulation, and without it, they will not be engaged and therefore cannot learn. Hogwash. Because what happened yesterday in my class proved that children are still children, and all they need is a good story….and storyteller.
After a three day absence, we were happily reunited in the classroom on Thursday, and I was greeted with “Did you win anything?” (see, I told you kids are still kids!) and “What happened at the auction?” Building suspense, I responded, “I’ll tell you all about it…..later!” But not too much later – mainly because I couldn’t wait. The scene looks like this….a teacher and her students, assembled on the carpet. That’s it. No iPads, no smartboards, no plugs, no flash. Just eyes wide open, laughs when applicable, oohs and ahhs. And me.
I started with the adventure in the airport, and the flight diversion, playing down (WAY, WAY DOWN) my emotional response. In other words, I didn’t tell them that I acted like a total nutcase. Children needn’t be exposed to everything. I told them about Shirley-Con, and how I played teacher, ringing my bell and even using the Class/Yes response. They laughed heartily. They were with me every step of the way as I reenacted Dianne’s incredible win, as well as the next day’s Army strike when we scored the teacup lot. And as my story progresses, I realize what I’m doing. I’m painting a picture of togetherness, of cooperation, of all-for-one. In every snapshot I shared with them, the lesson was that we worked together, and that it is better than being on your own.
Naturally, “What did you win?” came up again. As well as, “How much was it?” We worked a little math into the equation – “This is how much I spent, but then I sold some things, so subtract this. Then I bought another, so add that.” There reactions were priceless. Some thought it was a fortune, others said, “That’s not too bad!” Ah, to be a kid.
When the story wrapped, I glanced at the clock. They’d been sitting, engaged, mesmerized, 100 percent with me….for 45 minutes. With just the sound of my voice and the movements (such as they were) of my body. So don’t tell me kids need flash. Kids need real emotion, real feeling, real passion. And that day, as on every other, they got it in my classroom. Take Three and all it encompassed was mind-blowingly fulfilling…but so was the sharing. As Shirley says in Bright Eyes, “I’m pretty lucky alright.”