Monday, December 12, 2011

Impressive is in the Eye of the Beholder

Today we were working on our January quilt.  Yes, I know it’s still December, but when the kids come back from winter break it will be January, and I have to have the correct quilt in the window each month…and on the very first day of the month…no matter what! No joke…the second those little kiddos leave on Friday, the December quilt will go down and the January quilt will go up.  OCD…works for me!

Our monthly quilts involve two 8in x 8in pieces. One is an actual quilt square (Checkerboard and Whirligig are the ones we use most often)…it’s just construction paper, people, don’t be too impressed.  Anyway, one piece is always the “quilt” piece and the other piece is always a “theme” piece (i.e., apples for September, jack-o-lanterns for October, etc.).  The “theme” piece for our January quilt is a snowflake. 

Now snowflakes can be a little tricky, especially for First Graders…heck, sometimes they’re tricky for me.  You have to fold the paper just so, then you have to cut through all those folds, then you have to glue the snowflake onto a piece of paper…without gluing the entire contents of your desk onto it as well!  As tough as they are, though, the kids just love making them.

So the kids are folding and cutting and gluing, and I’m walking around marveling at their masterpieces.  And, really, they are doing a great job…much better than I had anticipated.  And, of course, I don’t hesitate to tell them so.  “Wow!  You guys are doing a great job.  You are all impressing me!”  I said in my sticky-sweet, gag-me-with-a-fork, First-Grade teacher voice. 

At that moment I happened to be standing near a student in my class who, well, let’s just say his fine motor skills are, well, um, well, let’s just say he’s “fine motor skill challenged” which means his snowflake doesn’t really resemble a snowflake at all; rather, it looks more like a piece of paper that lost a battle with a garbage disposal. 

I finish telling the class how much they are impressing me and he holds up his, well, his piece of paper that really wants to be a snowflake, but clearly isn’t, and he guffaws (yes, six-year olds guffaw) and he says, “Yeah, well, I bet I’m not impressing you” guffaw, guffaw, guffaw.  Well, yes and no, kid. 

Certainly his snowflake wasn’t impressive…but the fact that it didn’t even come close to resembling a snowflake…well, hey, that was kind of impressive, wouldn’t you say?  However, the most impressive thing of all was his attitude.  He didn’t cry, he didn’t say, “I can’t do it,”  and most importantly, he didn’t give up.  He simply walked his snowflake tragedy to the recycle box, dumped it, picked up a new piece of paper, and started over.  Now that's impressive, my friends...very, very impressive!

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