M had been crying since he walked in the door on a recent morning. He cried when he had to rush his breakfast because he was late. He cried when he couldn’t read a book because it wasn’t time for book reading. He cried when I didn’t immediately call on him during morning meeting. He cried – and wouldn’t stop – when he wanted to be line leader, but his job this week is the much loved snack helper job, not line leader. He crawled under a table, crying even louder, as we lined up to go to art.
T was also having trouble. He tends to wander around the room, chatting with classmates, anytime he wants: during lessons, read alouds, group sharing and when I am trying to line up the class quietly to leave for art or lunch or bathroom. He is learning that we have structure to our day, but it is not an easy lesson for him.
I kept both boys and 2 others back from art to talk with them each about the things they need to work on. A was under a table, M was under another table, crying LOUDLY, T was sitting criss coss on the carpet, crying quietly and S was flipping through a book.
T (the wanderer) turns to M, who is still crying.
T: You alright, M?
M: Stop messing w me.
Pause. T looks a little dejected.
Mrs. D: I don’t think he’s messing with you, M. I think he’s trying to help you. Am I right, T?
T: Yes. (kinda sulky and pouty)
M: (Through subsiding tears) Oh, I though you were trying to mess with me.
T: (Stands up and moseys over to the carpet, stands above where M is sitting.) What, you upset about not being line leader?
T: Well, we take turns and it’s not your turn yet. Your job is snack helper.
(Walks back towards me.)
Mrs. D: T, maybe you can help him feel better. You think you can do that?
T: OK. (Walks over to M and quietly says a few things about this line leader dilemma. M responds, trying to explain. Pause as T thinks.
T: I know what you’ll like.
Walks over and gets his lunch box with super heros on it. Walks to M and hands it to him. M cracks a little smile as he takes it.
Mrs. D: T, come here. (I point to spot near me where I want him to stand.) Can I hug you? Yes. I’m so proud of you. You just did a very good thing. You made someone very sad feel much better. Here is a star.
T: Smiles shyly.
Mrs. D: A gold star – today, you are a superstar.