September 28, 2012
By Ekta R. Garg
Enjoy these Spurts from the last two weeks, readers!
When Six goes to school every morning, one of her first academic responsibilities comes in the board work she has to do. To motivate the children to focus their energy and work quickly (but also neatly,) Six’s teacher has instituted the Top 10 list. The first ten children to finish their board work in the morning before the start of the school day get to put write their names on the board under the Top 10 heading. If the list gets completed—if ten children finish their board work on time—the kids get five extra minutes at recess time.
I really like this approach to the Top 10. Not only does it motivate each child to work independently and with the greatest amount of accuracy and speed, but also it causes the children to think of their work as a team effort. If they all work together, they all reap the rewards.
Since the start of the school year, I’ve made it a personal goal to get Six to school on time so she can have plenty of time to settle into her desk and get her brain in gear to get on the Top 10. But I’m not the only one aware of Six’s mission to reach the Top 10 every morning.
The other night as we said goodnight to the kids, Six, still wanting to chat, continued to giggle and chat with her father. Four called in the general direction of Six’s room: “Hey, Di-Di, maybe you should go to sleep so you can go to school tomorrow and get on the Top 10!”
Six quickly settled down after that. And I had to smile at the additional motivation that Six found that night to succeed.
Four, as I’ve recounted on this blog before, loves her animals. Every week she has to pick a new favorite, and one night as she snuggled into her bed I asked her whether she had an animal to sleep with. She didn’t and asked for a particular bear.
I couldn’t find the bear at first. I’d seen it on her bed earlier in the day, but all of a sudden the bear had disappeared.
“I don’t know where your bear is,” I said absentmindedly to Four. I opened the closet the girls share and began to search through the three baskets there (yes, three!) full of stuffed animals. Suddenly I saw the bear and grabbed it for Four.
“There he is,” I said, holding it up for her. “He was hiding.”
“No, he wasn’t,” Four chuckled. “He was just camouflaging.”
One result of living here in the western part of the country means the children learn a lot about the tradition of those who once roamed the land and took care of it. Toward that end Six and Four’s school holds an extended cowboy party to mark the lessons the children learn in the preschool and kindergarten classes about cowboys and those days in the “wild, wild west.”
Because Six was in kindergarten last year, she and Four both got to enjoy the cowboy party. Now that Six is an elementary student, she didn’t get a cowboy party but Four did.
As we drove to school the morning of the party, the girls chatted and Six got slightly frustrated with her little sister who didn’t want to listen. Finally Four offered the explanation for her lack of attention.
“Di-Di, I’m just a bit too excited to go to my cowboy party,” she said by way of apology.
Okay, so I know the girls are huge “Charlie and Lola” fans, but I didn’t realize the animated British celebs had made such an impact on my own children. All that was missing from that sentence from Four was the accent. Since when do little kids talk like that??