Today I was in my daughter’s first grade class. I help out once a week for a few hours usually doing math enrichment. Today I was tasked with pre-testing for the next Reading Unit. It sounds more complicated than it really is. Take a list of forty new words and have each kid read them, kind of like a formulating a baseline for the next three weeks of lessons.
The words ranged from simple sight words like car or school to more phonetically complicated ones like enough and disappear. Each kid’s eyes lit up when they got one right – a complicated one that they had to sound out. And that got me thinking, in a jealous sort of way, how lucky they were. The feeling of learning something new, something as simple as figuring out that the letters f-r-i-e-n-d actually spell out a word is amazing.
I want that feeling back, that awe that comes with learning something completely and simplistically new.
Now don’t get me wrong, I learn something new every day. For example, just this morning I learned that if you put the left over gas from the lawnmower into your car it won’t start. And this past weekend I learned mustard DOES, in fact, have an expiration date. But that isn't the kind of learning I am striving for. I want that doe-eyed, how-cool-am-I-for-knowing-that feeling that those 21 first graders had today!
Perhaps I should invest in a paper dictionary and start reading it like a novel! So tell me, what the last thing you learned?