The Crossing Guard Chronicles: “Don’t You Mean ‘Ate’?”

Steve is at it again, teaching like a master at his ‘Curbside Classroom’. The depth of his teaching is intuitive and rich. There is so much here in his post, I had to read it over again. Enjoy!


The ‘Curbside Classroom’

Johnny Carson had Ed McMahon, Groucho Marks had George Fenneman. My ‘straight man’, here at the ‘curbside classroom’, was a middle schooler with a contagious laugh, perfect for the role.

Me, to a group of kids gathering at the crossing post: “Joe’s pizza is so good, I ‘et’ seven pieces!”

My ‘straight man’: “Don’t you mean ‘ate’?”

Me: “Hmmm, maybe it was ‘eight’ I ‘et’.” (drumroll, please)

Confused looks, then some smiles and an occasional, ‘oh, I get it’!

‘Get it’, or not, for me it was ‘mission accomplished’: a few smiles, some laughs, a language lesson and a feel good moment to start the school day.

The morning banter offers an opportunity for kids to communicate with an adult, me. For most, it’s easy, for some it’s awkward, and for a handful, it’s difficult. However, as days turn to weeks, weeks to months and the school…

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About Jennie

I have been teaching preschool for over thirty years. This is my passion. I believe that children have a voice, and that is the catalyst to enhance or even change the learning experience. Emergent curriculum opens young minds. It's the little things that happen in the classroom that are most important and exciting. That's what I write about. I am highlighted in the the new edition of Jim Trelease's bestselling book, "The Read-Aloud Handbook" because of my reading to children. My class has designed quilts that hang as permanent displays at both the National Liberty Museum in Philadelphia, and the Fisher House at the Boston VA Hospital.
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22 Responses to The Crossing Guard Chronicles: “Don’t You Mean ‘Ate’?”

  1. beetleypete says:

    I always say this, but Steve should really be a teacher. 🙂
    Best wishes, Pete.

  2. I agree that Steve’s post does have a lot of depth, giving even us adults much to think about.

  3. Wonderful share, Jennie! Steve, thanks for all you do for the younger generation. May all of our young people have caring adults like you in their lives…we can all make a difference–one word, one smile, one child at a time.

  4. petespringerauthor says:

    Teachers who are paying attention know how vital the support staff around the school are. I’ve learned valuable information about my students from instructional aides, playground monitors, custodians, school secretaries, bus drivers, and crossing guards. Anyone who works with children should be valued as they may acquire information about students that helps the teacher. Schools need more caring adults like Steve.

    • Jennie says:

      You are absolutely right. The first time I came across Steve, he had his ‘students’ answering questions about Pavarotti and ‘How much wood would a woodchuck chuck’ plus more. I was bowled over. Blogger Hook dubbed him the Curbside Classroom, and it stuck. While all support staff are instrumental, Steve is in a class by himself. Schools need more Steves. Thank you, Pete.

  5. cindy knoke says:

    Wonderful and inspiring.

  6. Norah says:

    Great share, Jennie. I love Steve’s posts. He’s a gem.

  7. Opher says:

    I love this. He is such a character. You’re so lucky to have him.

  8. frenchc1955 says:

    Jennie, thank you so much for this!

  9. Thank you for this, Jeannie. Love it.

  10. Clever that. I need to check out his blog.

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