Tuesday, March 3, 2009


At the beginning of the school year, in a moment of misunderstanding, I volunteered to help in my children's classrooms with something called Jr. Great Books. I believe the e-mail that snagged me came from my son's teacher and said something like this:

"Do you love reading? Do you love sharing great books and stories with kids? Do you want the love and admiration of all those around you? If you answered "yes" Jr. Great Books is just the thing for you."

(She had me at "love reading.")

At the training I realized that Jr. Great Books was going to be a little bit more of a time commitment than I was interested in making. I tried to back out, but the teachers worked with my schedule and my special needs (can my 4 year old come?) and eventually I could not say no.

So I'm a Jr. Great Books volunteer. I have a "teacher's manual" filled with stories and questions and activities to do with the kids to help them learn to think critically about literature.

Either the kids don't like Jr. Great Books or they don't like ME. It's entirely possible it's me. But it could be that the stories are not that great. And the activities make me feel like I'm beating a dead horse.

I'm a rule follower. Always have been. Except the speed limit. (Sorry, sometimes I just can't drive 55.) But I can't help thinking that I have lots of stories that would be waaaaaaaaay better than the ones Jr. Great Books has in the teacher's manual.

I've tried to follow their plan, but today I'm rebelling. I'm bringing my own story and making up my own questions and activities and it's going to be GREAT.

"Christina Katerina and the Box" by Patricia Lee Gauch was one of my favorite stories as a kid and as an adult, I love reading this aloud to my own kids.

Hopefully the Jr. Great Books kids in 1st grade will love it too.

I'm a little nervous about breaking the rules and hope that no one notices my contraband book.

For the first time in a while however, I'm looking forward to volunteering for Jr. Great Books.


Debbie said...

Yipee!!! :) When we were kayaking I paddled outside the forbidden boey! Shhhh....don't tell! It felt great! A little rebelling now and then is good for the soul!!! Especially since you're rebelling in an area where you have a strength! I bet it will go amazingly well! Be sure to let us know what happened! :)

Erika and Ryan said...

This is the good kind of rebelling. You go girl. I say rebel all you want!

I-Shüan Warr said...

I'm telling! Mrs. WIIIIILLLMESSSS!

Kidding! How did it go!??

(You better be careful or they will ask YOU to make up a new program, which I'm sure you would do great at and enjoy...(

Senia said...

My mom used to volunteer with Jr. Great Books, way back in the day. I'm sure they're reading the same stories now! How did the rebellion go?!

Tara said...

You have Mrs. Wilmes? We LOVE Mrs. Wilmes!

Afton said...

Yes, we have Mrs. Wilmes and we love, love, love her. She is Ms. Frizzle come to life!

I'm trying to figure out where I mentioned Mrs. Wilmes in this blog post though. (Word is she is retiring after next year to teach pre-school, but I will see if she will stay on one more year so she can be Isaac's 1st grade teacher.)