Tag Archives: Second Grader

A Second Grader’s Very Bad Day

I was subbing for a second grade class a few weeks ago and had just finished reading Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst. It’s a terrific book that was turned into a fun movie recently. As you might expect by the title, it’s about a little boy whose day started out bad and continued to get worse.4b333f8f9d98dbe92818ebcc367c6471.1500

As is customary. the class was gathered on the carpet as I was reading. When I finished the book I asked them if anyone ever had a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day and if they wanted to share their experience with the class. Well, they’re second graders so naturally they believe their lives are scattered with drama.

So I began to hear all kinds of stories. One little boy explained to me in great detail about how his dog ate his face. When I asked him how that was possible since his face seemed fine, he looked at me like I had six eyes, shook his head and calmly said, “well, it growed back since then.”
Others had similar, though less dramatic stories of things their siblings did to them, goldfish dying, bicycle accidents, stitches, a pet snake that escaped and a birthday cake that didn’t have the right frosting.

Then there was a little boy we’ll call Johnny.

Thankfully, Johnny was the last to go and at the back of the carpet. He was also the most animated. Johnny jumped up when it was his turn and started speaking quickly but clearly.
The worst day I ever had was when me and my family went to Sesame Place and my penis burned the whole day.” As he said the words he proceeded to grab himself between his legs and hop from side to side.

I know you’ve all had those moments in life when you hear or see something you didn’t expect  and your initial reaction is to stare with your mouth open.

That was me. It’s during those crazy moments when you’re grateful for small blessings, like the fact that Johnny was using the proper terminology.

When I finally slapped myself into the here and now and realized what was happening, I thanked him for telling us about his experience and tried to get him to sit down. But Johnny wasn’t having any of it. He kept on hopping from side to side as he held himself saying, “but you don’t understand, it reeeeaaaally buuuurrrrnnned,”

So if you ever think you’re having a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day, just imagine how little Johnny felt that day in Sesame Place.

Or, you could think of me watching Johnny with seventeen other second graders and their individual reactions to his story.

Either way, your day should improve very quickly.


Inside The Mind Of A Second Grader

As many of you know, I do some substitute teaching for elementary school grades. Today I had a second grade class that was given an assignment to complete over the weekend. They had to make a list of the top four things they would change if given the opportunity.

UnknownThe following is a list of the top suggestions as voted on by eighteen second grade students. After compiling this list, the students were then allowed to cast two votes each for the selection they thought should win. Those votes are in parentheses.

Welcome to the mind of a second grader.

1. Must be at least four years old to be president. (4)

2. Must be at least 6 years old to vote. (1)

3. Allowed to eat candy every day. (7)

4. Treat everyone fairly. (1)

5. Will be paid 100.00 dollars on a daily basis. (6)

6. No smoking (4)

7. Recycle (1)

8. Eat pizza every day (2)

9. Have fun (4)

10. No bad words (5)

11. No littering (1)

12. No Healthy Eating (0)



The top vote getter was eating candy everyday followed closely by being paid 100.00 dollars on a daily basis. So clearly money and candy are big priorities for second graders who at least understand the concept of not being able to have one without the other. Though how far 100.00 dollars goes based on the price of candy these days is wide open for discussion.

I thought it was interesting that you could be president at 4 but not allowed to vote until 6. Sort of cuts down on your constituency, don’t you think?

I’m heartened by the interest in not smoking or use of bad words but surprised by only one vote for treating people fairly. But then, maybe they understand the concept of being president at four and how that relates to politics and a lack of fairness to the general playground population.

I also like that having fun had some votes but disappointed there were only two votes for eating pizza everyday since that would have been close to the top of my list.

No healthy eating? I don’t even know where to go with that or what might have been in the mind of the individual who offered this up but at least it didn’t get any votes, not even from the one who suggested it. Although I do wonder what side of the extreme food chain, his or her eating habits currently fall.

Finally, recycling and no littering seem to be bringing up the rear which makes me wonder if they have any interest or concept of the environment. Then again, how much can you expect from little candy eating, capitalist politicians?

So what would have been your two top votes on this list? Anything you would have added?

Is your mind really that much different from a second grader?

Yeah, I didn’t think so.