Wednesday, May 16, 2012


This morning I spent an hour in Little Dog's classroom as a guest for "Show and Share"  the modern, more inclusive version of "Show and Tell."  This month, Little Dog's class assignment was to tell the story of how they got the children got their names.  Children were allowed to bring a parent to tell the story if they wanted, and Little Dog did.  He is not much of a public speaker apparently.  The idea of retelling the story himself made him anxious, and since I also dislike speaking in front of groups of my peers, I agreed to come help him out.

Show and Share is run a bit like the Donahue show (yes, I'm dating myself).  A speaker is introduced, they tell their story and then they are peppered with questions from the students in the class.  Apart from the running of the microphone to questioning audience members (the speaker keeps the microphone in this class) and the maturity level of the program content,  this could be a rehashing of Phil's better days.

When the time came, I was handed the wireless mic, I explained the origin of his name and why Mr. Dog and I opted for a name that was not very common.  I told the class a little bit about the person he is named after and why he was important to us.  The class listened quietly while Little Dog beamed with pride.

After the "showing"part of the exercise, we moved on to the "sharing."  This is where the kids get to raise their hands and ask questions about the presentation.  Little Dog took the mic and called on his classmates one by one, passing the mic back to me after calling on each name and taking it back once I had answered.
"Did you fight over the names?" asked one little girl who seemed at least a little disappointed when I said we did not.
"What is his middle and last name?" another child asked, and I answered.
"What is his brother's middle name?" yet another child asked.
"Do you like his name?" another boy asked, as though I had been forced to name him against my better judgement.

As we worked our way through the sea of little hands raised patiently to ask questions, we hit more than one who forgot what they were going to ask.  Some of the kids were prepared, asking sensible questions, others were not.  We got many duplicate questions and a few who asked things that I'd explained when I told the original story or had just been answered.  In fact, several of the kids seemed to ask questions just to hear themselves speak.  As I looked around the room, I realized that in many ways, this was much like the meetings I attend all day at work.  I guess schools really are preparing kids for the modern workplace.

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