Thursday, April 4, 2013

Sweet Nothings: The Heart of the Matter

One of the things I love about first grade is that children at this age are generally so willing to love. They express affection through countless "I love you's," abundant hugs, and the occasional note. While "I love you's" are precious and hugs are sweet, the notes get me every time. Last year I taught third grade, and it wasn't unusual to find a short note on my desk from time to time. Those notes arrive from first graders as well; however, they contain far less -if any- words. Still, the message is clear.

Swept away by waves of the Common Core current, we are consumed with helping young children absorb a plethora of grammar rules and foundational writing elements. We're so focused on the curriculum that I think sometimes it's easy to forget that some methods of communication are inherent. Some skills need not be taught, but instead should just be nurtured a bit. Children don't have to write an essay to get their point across; a Crayola-sketched heart will suffice. In these cases, I am reminded that a picture really is worth a thousand words... or maybe just three.