Tag Archives: Second Graders


It was the end of the school day and the second grade class I was a substitute for that day was packed up and waiting to be called for their individual buses. Some were talking, some were playing games and some were showing off a bit, as second graders sometimes do.

When I looked over at Carter, he had a piece of construction paper out and was drawing what looked to be a card. Curious, I walked over and asked him what he was making. He told me it was a card for his mom. I asked him if it was for a special occasion, her birthday or something else but he just shook his head, smiled a little and said, “I just want to make her a card, but I don’t know what to write.”

I kneeled down next to him and asked him what he wanted to say. He looked at me and said, “I want to thank her for what she does for me.” I told him that was nice of him and maybe he can think of two or three things to write that stand out the most. He turned away from me, stared out the window and said, “She does everything for me. I don’t know how to write that.”

Before I could answer him or suggest some words, his bus was called and he had to leave. As I was driving home behind a school bus, I was wondering how his card would turn out and what he might write. Then the school bus stopped and I saw Carter step off, run over to a young woman, wrap his arms around her waist and press his head against her.

Maybe he finished the card that night, maybe the next day. Maybe he found the words he needed or maybe he’s still working on it. I’m not sure. But I smiled when I saw him hug his mom, not because he wanted to write that card or how his words made me feel. I smiled because…

Carter was home.


An Unexpected Surprise

I was teaching a second grade class last week and had to give them a prompt for their writing assignment. Since I love finding out what’s in the heads of children, I asked this simple question, If you could spend a day or have dinner with anyone in the world, who would it be, and why?

Now I know they’re only second graders but they’re well into the year and that makes a bit of a difference. At 7-8 years old, they can be easily influenced by their friends, athletes, singers, celebrities, even fictional movie/animated characters. Boys may wear shirts or jersey’s with the names of athletes on the back or action hero’s while girls at that age love their princesses or some pop singers. So I was half expecting some of these names to show  up in their writing.

With one exception, it didn’t happen.

Of the seventeen children who shared their writing with me, only one listed a female pop singer. The rest listed family; mothers cousins, aunts, uncles, siblings and even one dad. I was pleasantly surprised, considering everything our children are exposed to today,  to find that family meant more to them than whatever else was out there. Maybe it’s because they are only 7-8 years old or maybe children have a greater, simple, appreciation of family than adults do.

Then I started wondering at what age that mindset changes; because if I asked teenagers or adults that same question the answers would probably be very different. The question we’ve all heard or been asked, if you could have dinner with three people, dead or alive, who would it be and why, is usually answered with the names of notable historical figures or current flavors of the day. Family is usually not the first thought that comes to mind or part of the current equation.
Of course anyone who reads this and is then asked the question might include a relative you never met or one who passed away at an early age, but that would be cheating. First reactions are usually the most honest.

So when does it change?

I don’t have an answer because the answer is probably different for everyone, but at some point, it does change. At some point we become a little more curious about those people instead of these people. I suppose it’s natural.

But for now I’m just happy that, for these second graders, family is still important enough to spend time with and enjoy. Those other people can wait a little longer.