Wednesday, June 4, 2008

"Mrs. S, I have a question..."

With kids, it is seemingly always from the blue.
What brings up the questions they might ask?
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Why?
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Why?
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Why?
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Why?
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Why?
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Why don't they every stop asking why?
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And all the other questions...
The ones that leave you standing there with your mouth open in wonder...
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Yesterday at school I was making my selections at the salad bar when a kindergartner left his table and came up to me.
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"Mrs. S, are you dead when you are 100?"
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I responded that many people are dead before they reach 100 but some people are still alive then. Apparently satisfied, he went back to his seat.
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Moments later a different kindergartner approached Tanya as she was getting her lunch.
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"Mrs. B, can you be dead when you are 100?"
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Apparently my response, or the retelling of it, did not satisfy. I still am wondering what conversation inspired this interrogation.
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Kindergartners again--sometime last year:
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I went across to the art room to ask the art teacher something about schedule or books or something. The kindergarten class was doing art.
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As I spoke with Mrs. B, a boy walked up and waited patiently till I was finished.
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"Mrs. S, what is the difference between an alligator and a crocodile?"
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As it happened, I had enough of an answer to satisfy his curiosity: "One's snout is rounded and the other is pointed. There is something about the teeth, how they fit either inside or outside the lips. But I don't remember which is which."
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"Thank you."
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I was not left wondering where that came from for a very long. I told the kindergarten teacher about it and she said she had told the kids that if they had questions about things they should ask me because librarians can find answers to all sorts of things.
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That takes us to the library. My goal in the library is to make students independent library users, able to find what they need, critically aware of information sources, how to identify bias in information. I teach each grade level to use the tools of the library that are appropriate for their needs. (Toni Buzzeo has a great picture book that illustrates this philosophy--it's called Our Librarian Won't Tell Us Anything.) So basically, when a student asks a question, I try to get them to problem solve to figure it out for themselves.
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So, when a fifth or sixth grade student walked into the library and blurted out:
"Where is the Little House on the Prairie?"
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My immediate answer was: "Somewhere in Kansas."
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But I promise that after enjoying the look on her face, I did offer her this: "...but if you mean the book by Laura Ingalls Wilder, look back in the fiction section in the Ws."
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7 comments:

Daryl said...

Fabulous .. just fabulous .. you should write a book!

:-Daryl

Sharon said...

Love it!

Liz said...

What a wonderful job to have! And what a great librarian you must ne. I bet the children love you.

FANCY said...

*LOL* Katney...

I want you to be my teacher ...I always have a lot of why question...I really love your story...:K

Thank you for the comment in my little "cottage" And the Word verification is one necessity...;-)

Andrew Clarke said...

Katney, could I suggest a book for you to peruse, and see if you'd encourage others to read it? "Outcasts Of Skagaray" was written to protest against cruelty, either to children or any life form at all. It became a full lenght fantasy adventure. For excerpts, to get an idea, you can check www.threeswans.com.au Your opinion, if you give it, would be valued.

Paulie said...

Isn't that your job as a teacher/media specialist to teach the kids how to be independent thinkers? Looks like you are doing a great job!

Amrita said...

Hi Katney,
thank you for visiting my blog.

It is apleasure visitng you. I wish i was a librarian. Love this job.

you gotta be a walking encyclopedia!

I will put you on my bloglines feed so i can visit you whenever you post.