This week (although I was out Monday for my grandmother's funeral, and Wednesday for my 2nd trip to the emergency room in the past 3 months), our class learned about the historic figure of Martin Luther King, Jr., or so I thought. My sub plans clearly indicated that I wanted my sub to teach the students vocabulary like freedom, equality, and justice, but none of those things were taught nor absorbed as information, as I found out quickly today when my students were having a little MLK quiz. I told them to put their pencil down, take their paper, and find the nearest trash can. They looked at me like I was crazy and thus began a paper shredding celebration that I shouldn't even write about on here.
However, some information was obtained by my little 6-year-old minds, and it was very interesting to hear what they had to say about civils right and Martin Luther King, Jr.
1. MLK Fact Writing
My students were instructed to write either something they learned about Martin Luther King, Jr. after watching a documentary in class, or to write about a dream that THEY have like MLK had a dream.
One of my students wrote, in all caps: I WANT TO GET MIRE AN STAT A NOW LIFE I LOVE YOU DR MARTIN." (I want to get married and start a new life I love you Dr. Martin).
Another wrote: "One day, I will make a BIG carnival."
I guess they kind of got the dream...thing.
2. Monday's Holiday
Kiwi was looking at our school lunch calendar for the day's lunch menu when he continued to look at the days to come. "Hm. Thursday and Friday we have half days! There is no lunch!....Hey! Guess what Miss Leiss? We are off Monday for MILK HOLIDAY!" (The calendar had written on Monday "MLK Holiday.") "No, Kiwi, not milk holiday. MLK stands for Martin Luther King, Jr." "Oh. So no milk holiday?"
3. Well, I didn't talk to him at first...
During our Martin Luther King quiz, before I decided to nix it, my students and I got into a discussion about equality (which, they were supposed to learn this week...it just didn't happen...next week looks good for it). I explained to my kids that in the past, people were not treated equally or the same because of the color of their skin. People were not nice to people with black skin or who were different from them. Kiwi decides to yell out at this time about one of our African American students: "Well, that's why I didn't talk to him at the beginning of the year." Me, startled, paused for a moment, grasping for words. I looked at him and said, "You didn't talk to our friend because of his skin color?" "NO, Miss Leiss, because he was mean. And quiet." "Ohh. Well, that's completely different..."
Foot-in-mouth syndrome occurs frequently in Classroom P104. As do naturally occurring misunderstandings and context errors. But, I think it's pretty cool that my kids don't really understand the concept behind MLK day. They don't get why people didn't love each other before, or why it even mattered what color your skin was. Even if technological America hasn't done that much right in the arena of our upcoming generations, I think that's one thing that we've all done well.