Yesterday, Ms. Wooten was bubbling with excitement at her students’ science test scores. They were all above 80%. I believe I understood her to say that their first science test was more around 10%. She was so happy to show us her grade book, naming off each student and their A and B grades. Normally, Ms. Wooten is all-business about transitioning the students and volunteers immediately into reading time. Today, she spent a few minutes celebrating her kids and us. She asked her kids how they knew so much about the science they tested on. She mentioned one child’s response, “Oh, my reader and I talked all about it.” When we read with her students, Ms. Wooten has them prepared with about 4 pages of science, a specific selection from their reading books, and then their free-choice book. Though we are reading classwork for about 2/3 of our time, we focus on the reading and sharing. We are free to stop and talk in a way I imagine is rare in the classroom setting.
This morning, in my journaling, I considered Story Land. Yesterday, I sat cross-legged on the floor with two second-grade girls, enjoying the story that words brought into existence between us — laughing, learning, and relating.
A story creates common ground around which we can gather. It is not concerned with our differences or lack of mutual life experience. In itself it provides common ground. It provides a safe place to be together, explore differences, share knowledge, and discover mutuality.