C is for: Counting
We count everything in first grade. We count the days we’ve been in school. We count rainy days, sunny days, snowy days and windy days. We count children. We count shoes and we count feet. We count who has what for lunch. We count books we’ve read, and how many words we know. We count money and time, steps and inches in our classroom. We count by ones, twos, fives, and tens. We count odd and even, and how many degrees on the thermometer. We count how many stories we’ve written and how many poems we want to write. We count teachers, parents, brothers, sisters, dogs, cats, and fish. We count pencils, crayons, markers and pens. And of course we count all the way we can use them.
One thing I don’t let my kids count is how many days we have left in school. There is so much to learn, and so many things yet to do. When they start counting days left, they tend to forget about the learning and think more about the summer living (ok the teacher does too at times).
But as things go, the office sent a note home the other day stating that we have twenty-two days left in this school year. I cringed and hoped it wouldn’t be read by my crafty first graders. No such luck.
Sure enough bright and early Monday morning they jubilantly strolled in and announced “we only have twenty-two more days of school!” “Yes.” I reply. “But that is over a month away.”
They look at me as if I have lost my brains over the weekend and replaced them with rocks from their rock garden.
“Nuh-uh” they all chime. “The note said we only have twenty-two.” (Deep breath and some counting on my part) “Yes” but those are school days, twenty-two school days, not just twenty-two days in a row.”
“But the note said twenty-two days,” one girl diligently argues as the others back her up with their heads bobbing in unison. (Another deep breath and more counting underneath) “I know it did, but do you come to school every day?”
“Yes” they all chide. “Really, so you were here Saturday?” “And on Easter?” The nodding wavers. “Noooo, but the note said only twenty-two days until school ways out.”
“Yes, but we don’t come to school every day.”
Finally a light dawns and one boy frowns “ohhhh I see, you mean we don’t count the days we’re not here.” Another nodding, but not happy, “you mean like the weekends, when we don’t come to school.”
I watch as the others begin to understand. The jubilance they felt as they entered is waning as they explain it to each other.
Finally, I think, the end, “get out your journals and write a slice of your weekend,” I announce. Sullenly they get out their journals and begin to write.
I smile as I hear a couple of them say “I’m counting how many days there really is until the end of school in my journal.” It catches on and before you know it they are all counting how many actual days until May twenty-fourth.
“Wow!” One exclaims, “We only have thirty days until the end of school!” And the smiles return.
One thing I can always count on in first grade; nothing will keep my kiddos down for long.