Friday, June 17, 2011

Mystery Reader

A few weeks ago I wrote about the bluebonnet flowers that blanket Texas each spring over on Midwestern Girl. I mentioned in that post that the most well-known Native American legend about the origin of the bluebonnet had recently been turned into a children’s book called The Legend of the Bluebonnet, and that our local library didn’t carry a copy of the book. Turns out Germantown Hills Elementary School, where Sara teaches second grade, has a copy though, so she and I put together a plan and just a couple of weeks later I was sitting in her second grade classroom reading The Legend of the Bluebonnet to her students.

I didn’t travel all the way from College Station, Texas to Germantown Hills, Illinois just to read The Legend of the Bluebonnet to 20 second graders. My mom, Will, Hallie, and I were already planning a trip to Illinois to baby sit Lily for a day, and it worked out perfectly that during that visit I could read to Sara’s students.

I read The Legend of the Bluebonnets for the first time the night before my Mystery Reader debut, therefore I didn’t know the story well and was nervous when my mom, Will, Hallie, Lily, and I arrived at school that morning. Sara had just presented the students with the clues about me and they’d made their guesses, and when I walked in they clapped and cheered (probably because they’d guessed correctly, but I pretended they did so because they were just so excited about the book I was about to read). We moved to the reading rug, and I told them a little bit about what it was like living in Texas and why I’d chosen to read them The Legend of Bluebonnets.

Will sat in the “special big boy chair” next to me, and paid considerably less attention to the book I was reading than he did to the second graders. That boy wants to go to school like you wouldn’t believe. He was particularly thrilled to discover that the second graders were reading Magic Tree House chapter books, which are his favorite books right now.

Hallie wouldn’t sit on the rug or in the “special big girl chair”, so she colored by herself in the arts and crafts center.

And Lily somehow ended up here. She looks kind of abandoned, but was actually quite safe (Grandma was right next to her) and very happy.

After The Legend of Bluebonnets we moved on to Puff the Magic Dragon, complete with singing. The first line of the song lured Hallie to the rug – she LOVES Puff the Magic Dragon, and just couldn’t stay away from the rug once the singing had begun.

And finally, as a thank-you to us for visiting their classroom, Sara and her students sang to us – a Sara-original song called Doubles, which teaches kids about numbers and their doubles.

I always knew she would be, but being in Sara’s classroom that day confirmed for me that she is an AMAZING teacher. I’m very, very proud of her, and proud of the difference she’s making in the lives of her students. I would give anything for my kids to have teachers like her (or her!) once they reach elementary school.

Our visit to Sara’s classroom was just fantastic. I had a great time, Will and Hallie loved getting to hang with the “big kids”, and I’d like to think the second graders enjoyed their exposure to a Texas legend.

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