First Grade and Fence Posts


Many have asked me why “fence posts and first grade?” What do they have to do with one another? My reply is, “everything.” 

First grade is just that, a grade of firsts. It’s where most children begin to read, where they connect written word to meaning, and where they begin to see that numbers, shapes, and objects can all coexist and have significance. It’s where they begin to understand that the stories they share with their friends, dream at night, or make up in play, can be put down on paper, and come to life through their written word. First grade is where we can turn a crumpled piece of paper into a snowball on a hot August day, and have a “snowball fight” in our classroom without malice or cruel intentions, and then write a story about our adventure. It’s where friendships are sowed seamlessly, sometimes for a lifetime. It’s where imaginations grow, and knowledge and schema are stretched and added to, then anchored and held to our past. First grade is the fence. Endlessly stretching, leaning in, holding the past and present together, yet yielding and reaching for the future. 

I am the post. I hold the fence up, sometimes bowing, bending, accommodating as it stretches, but all the while holding steady, firmly planted in my beliefs and effort to teach, extend, entwine and support. I keep the fence in line; figuratively and not. I anchor. I hold. I forge, and they learn and stretch and grow. And so do I. 

First graders and first grade are the fence. I am the post. And sometimes I wonder; who’s supporting who?


3 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Ruth Ellen Hodges on August 18, 2010 at 1:22 am

    Tammy, I hope you don’t mind if I write about this. I love what you are doing and find it so interesting. Please keep up the good work. I am very proud of you and I am sure your Dad and Gr/parents are watching from above and saying “Thats our Tammy”…Love this and YOU.


  2. Posted by Michelle Wells on August 18, 2010 at 6:15 am

    So very true! My Shannon has some very special friends she has had since Kindergarten and first Grade and now as a Junior in high school they are such good help to one another and I am pretty sure if asked she would hold her first grade teacher in the highest place of loved teachers! She actually picked out her first grade teacher when she was about 3 or 4 at the school carnival! She even told the principal that having Mrs Newman would be a requirement not a request! LOL


  3. Posted by Michelle on April 2, 2011 at 1:19 am

    Hope you don’t mind. . . I was just browsing back to your first posts and read this . . . wow! That’s an amazing way to look at it! I love your explanation – so powerful with your words. I can hear your determination in what you do day in and day out. I am literally in awe of this post. And now I understand “First Grade and Fence Posts.” Awesome. Just awesome.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: