Marginalia, Graduate Blog

Transcribing Memories

Danielle Holtz

I realized today that while I’ve shared a lot about the process of student teaching, I haven’t spoken a lot about my actual experience with the kids. I want to do this, partly because the 3rd graders at Boone are awesome but also so I have a place where I know the memories are transcribed.

I have been keeping a written journal for my own purposes, but there is often not enough time to write down every crazy cool thing that kids are saying and doing all around me. The necklace I’m wearing in the picture above, for example? I received that the morning of Valentine’s Day. One of my students approached me very quietly and simply handed me a plain white envelope. On the inside, she had placed several stickers of Jasmine (the Disney Princess) and a tiny pink apple necklace.

Guys. Kids are really thoughtful. I’m a new teacher; there is no reason for her to think of me when she is planning out her Valentine’s cards. I had already been feeling like an important part of the classroom, but this was one of the first moments when I realized that the kids saw me as equally important to their lives.

Every day I hear about a million clever, insightful, or hilarious insights from my students. One of my favorites recently was a response to a homework question. The students had been reading about Allen Jay and the Underground Railroad. One question asked:

“Would you like to be friends with Allen Jay? Give two reasons why or why not?”

A student responded:

“While Allen Jay would make a fine friend, I wouldn’t want to be friends with him today because he is dead.”

Although the book doesn’t explicitly state that he has passed away, this student was able to reason that this story happened hundreds of years ago. The question also didn’t specify whether they would be friends in his time, or if he was still alive. I have to give this student a lot of credit for applying this extra logic to the question. I also love that she didn’t worry about getting clarification. She knew this to be true, and so she answered the question to the best of her ability with the information she had.

Every day I witness so many acts of kindness between students. Third graders are at this really great place where they always want to know how their friends are feeling. This can cause problems if a student has a problem that they want to discuss privately, but mostly I really love it when two students walk up to me, one with their arm around the other protectively. Kids are really good at taking care of each other, and they are constantly validating each other’s experiences. It’s something that I think adults really need to take away from working with kids. We could all be a bit more thoughtful about how we treat each other.

I’ve also been really lucky to be able to attend Drama classes with my students. The drama teacher is phenomenal (I’ll save that for another post), but what I’ve loved most so far is seeing my students put themselves into performance. Kids are fearless!

On the first day, the students played a trust game with each other that I’ve never seen before. It’s called Crumble. Essentially, every student is given a number, and when they hear it, they begin to slowly crumble to the floor. Any student around them can then touch their shoulder and help them “rise up.”

The game helps the kids think of themselves as a team and also reinforces the idea that when one person falls, we all fall. I played along with them and my favorite moment of teaching so far was seeing every child turn and run to me as I started to crumble to the floor! They really wanted me to stay in the game. These kids are a daily reminder of why I’ve chosen the teaching “game” in the first place. Have a good week!

Transcribing Memories

I realized today that while I’ve shared a lot about the process of student teaching, I haven’t spoken a lot about my actual experience with the kids. I want to …

Elementary Education MAT Danielle Holtz, danielle.holtz@loop.colum.edu
600 S. Michigan Ave. Chicago, IL 60605

The Graduate Experience