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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Understanding Signals

With the third graders in my information literacy classes, I am more than halfway done with One Day and One Amazing Morning on Orange Street. They adore the characters in this book. Many of them asked for it as a Christmas gift and came back to tell me they had finished it over winter break. Sometimes as I'm reading, I will pause to be certain they understand a word or an idiomatic expression. In the past two chapters, there were interactions between characters that I thought might need more in-depth discussion.

When Robert thinks dear old Ms. Snoops is trying to keep the loan of a book a secret, he winks at her. She winks back at him. The exchange happens once more. In reality, Ms. Snoops has short-term memory loss and does not recall loaning the book to Robert. The children totally understood that, and they provided many examples of when people might wink at each other to show solidarity on a secret issue. Parents who are trying to keep a secret from their children was the number one example (though one child said he learned to read lips so he could still understand them). An unlikely child (i.e. so perfectly behaved) said she and her brother wink at each other when they have tricks to play on their younger siblings.

When the Ruff, Bunny's dog, is digging in the empty lot, he unearths a glass jar. Unbeknownst to the children, the mysterious stranger (whom they now know lived on Orange Street as a boy) has watched the event and asks if anyone digging ever found anything on top of that glass jar. Ali hesitates, knowing the heart-shaped blue stone in her pocket came from that spot. She offers it to the stranger, telling him it is an excellent wishing stone. He hesitates and then tells her that was not the object. She should keep it. I paused here to ask the students what they thought about that. It was his, they told me. He just thought Ali needed it more than he did.

I needn't have worried about their understanding.


  1. Ooh, love to see those smart brains working and love the kinds of things you discuss w/them. Thanks for reminding me of this book, which I have and which I started but set aside some time ago. Now will go back to it.

  2. such lucky kids to have you as their tour guide through literature.

  3. I would love to know your response, Sharon!

    I do feel like a tour guide sometimes, Brattcat. I feel obligated to stop and be certain they understand.