I was outclassed today. By a bird.
Most Wednesdays, my “reading buddy” is thrilled when I show up at her kindergarten classroom. She picks out a couple books to read, and her teacher picks out a game or two for us to play. We go to a table in the hallway, and spend about twenty minutes playing games (all of which reinforce reading or math concepts), then read the books.
When I started, she could identify beginning letter sounds, but that was about it. And she rarely gave me time to read a page before she turned it. Today she easily spelled out “man,” “bug,” and “pop” (though she does get “b” and “d” mixed up). And when I read, she insists on pointing to each word, and says some of them with me. I don’t pretend I had much to do with her progress, but it’s nice to see.
Today, however, she got bored with the game quickly. And I had barely started the book (The Day Snuffy Had the Sniffles) when she asked if it was time for me to go yet. Usually she wants me to read one more book, or play one more game, and I have to insist that I must get back to the office. But today there was something far more appealing inside the classroom.
The classroom was noisy, and it wasn’t just the sounds of young children. There were also the sounds of young chickens, and I imagine the teacher will be relieved when her youngest charges go back to the farmer they belong to. Of course, they were much quieter when they first arrived. One of the bus drivers is an organic chicken farmer, and he brought a dozen eggs to her classroom.
Four days ago, four of the eggs hatched. (I don’t know what happened to the other eight, but I take it they aren’t going to hatch.) Now the children take turns watching, or holding, the tiny birds. I’m sure the chickens offer the opportunity for a variety of lessons that might not be part of a standard kindergarten curriculum. But they also must be a significant distraction.
In other classrooms I have visited, I have seen a rabbit, snake, salamander, and rats. But this is the first time I have seen chickens.