Every morning in my class we sit around in a circle to greet one another. We pat and clap a pattern with our hands and chant a little song.
“This is Teresa, Teresa, Teresa. This is Teresa, who are you?”
Each child must say their name and then we repeat it and introduce them. The two seconds it takes each child to say their name is usually a good indicator of their mood and the kind of day they’ll have.
They must have gotten bored of their names because lately they’ve gotten more creative with the insertions they put into the few seconds after we ask, “who are you?” Now, on a typical morning we greet Robot, Froggy, Dolphin, of course Piggy (they have some weird obsession with Piggy and will start singing some super piggy song if anyone so much as whispers the word), and sometimes if they’re feeling really daring we’ll get a Pompies (little kid Spanish word for booty) or a Poopy in the mix. I like it.
I’m pretty sure it was Nick* who first started the trend, which is one of the reasons why he is my favorite. He is usually Robot. There are other reasons why he is my favorite and they all revolve around his unbridled creativity and imagination.
He is the most engaged nonreader I have ever seen. I teach my kids that they don’t always have to read the words to a story, they can also read the pictures and tell themselves a story from what they see. When Nick “reads” to himself he is generally the loudest kid in the room. While looking at picture books, he makes noises as though he is playing with a toy car set, motors revving, explosions, and people screaming, jumping out of burning cars.
He can’t write yet, but when my class is working on writing, he’ll draw four pictures and use them to tell the most epic adventure story full of good guys and bad guys and ingenious escapes. I’m really proud of him now because he’s started to string together letters to make words that go with his pictures. For example, when (by force) he wrote a real story, he indicated that he went to the moobies (movies) with the word “MOBX.”
His dance moves and sense of humor so closely resemble my own, it’s hard to tease apart which one makes me like him more. Given any opportunity to dance you can always count on Nick to bust out the pony accompanied by vigorous pompies slapping (his own of course). I can’t tell you how many times I’ve won dance offs with that move.
He’s also the king of fart jokes. Once I was playing a game with my English language learners where one kid would say something they liked and all the other kids would step forward if they agreed or stand still if they didn’t. When it came to one little girl, she couldn’t think of what to say and Nick urged, “Say I like farts!” The poor girl listened, not knowing what she was saying and the rest of the group stepped forward (they just liked getting to step forward). I know I’m not supposed to, but I couldn’t contain myself either as Nick broke into a bad case of the giggles.
He also has a real cute squeaky voice when he asks questions. Every morning my kids do the exact same thing: sign in, put their backpack away and sit down to read. But some mornings he comes in starry-eyed and wanders around with his backpack on before asking me in that raspy little voice, “What I do?”
Yep, he’s a darling, with all the qualities a kid should have: spontaneity, creativity, and great comedic timing with fart jokes.
*Name changed to protect the real little guy from baddies.