This past Friday was fun Friday in my classroom. I had just returned from Oklahoma City, undergoing eye surgery. My left eye was a glorious shade of red. So red it frightened some of my students. But it was a great teaching experience. I showed them what the stent looked like, and explained the procedure to them.
I had told them before I left that they would be having a sub for two days, and if they were good, there would be popsicles when I returned on Friday.
So math on Friday consisted of two boxes of Uno cards and two dozen popsicles in a variety of flavors.
It just so happened that we had a girls’ table and a boys’ table with a few who intermingled.
I explained the directions and monitored the two tables to make sure they grasped the concept of how to play..
It wasn’t all fun and games. You have to follow directions. You have to change directions. Skip a turn. Draw two or four cards. Follow the color or number suit played. And play well with othwrs.
It’s a great game to play! To sharpen their skills without them ever realizing it.
Popsicles were first to avoid sticky fingers. All was going quite well until there was a minor scuffle between two of my 4th grade boys over which one was going to win. One was boasting he was better than the others. It spiraled downhill in a matter of minutes to slinging comments about the other’s mother. I continued the game, but quickly pulled the two aside. I asked the one why he was so angry, and received no reply. I explained to him he needed to use his tool box tools to breathe, to go to his safe, happy place, and to use kind words. That in my classroom we speak positive, encouraging words. We are kind to one another.
I’m all about teaching life skills to my students. Remember, these are students with disabilities. And poverty. If they learn anything from me, it will be to get along with others by being kind. It goes so much farther in life than the math skills I will teach them. Calculators will always be there.
The one young man that was being attacked apologized to me for being disrespectful in front of me, and I appreciated that. The other one said he did not want to apologize. Upon asking why, he said he didn’t want to. He didn’t feel like it, so I left him to sit by himself, not forcing him to do anything against his will. I wanted sincerity. I did gently remind him that if he could apologize he could join the class having fun laughing and playing for the 40 minutes remaining. He wasn’t buying it.
The irony of the situation was even though he was not playing Uno, he became the ultimate definition of Uno. One. All alone. No one to play with because of his choice.
We all have choices in life. Let’s make good ones. Let’s choose to be kind. To quickly forgive. To forget and move on. Life is too short not to do so. None of us want to live life totally Uno. We were made to be in relationship with each other and with our God. He is the only one and only. He is God. Just as Jesus is the one and only son of God.
If you’ve got some down time, might I suggest picking up a box of Uno cards. No matter what your age, it’s good clean fun.
There is one God the Father of whom are all things and we are for him and one Lord Jesus Christ through him are all things and through whom we live. 1 Corinthians 8:6
Love and laughter,