Quiet and Loud

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Who needs books when you have pillows

Who needs books when you have pillows

I was renovating my book area in my classroom. It’s small, no room for a chair. But that was OK. I wanted to make it cozy. I put a cushion along the wall with matching pillows. I pictured children sitting together or with an adult, leaning on the pillows or each other and looking at books in a quiet and peaceful setting. I knew this was a great way for children to bond with each other or with a teacher.
Within a few minutes, Nate picked up a pillow and threw it at Calvin. Soon they were both tossing pillows back and forth. Time to put away my intentions and observe the intentions of the children. I could become disappointed that I failed, or I could open my eyes and see that they are bonding. It might not be a book. It might not be quiet. But with each bop of a pillow, they are creating bonds that are the building blocks of friendship.
This was the only way I saw Nate express friendship. Nate and I had a good relationship, but he was not what I would call cuddly.
One day, Molly was wearing a red cape with a hood. Nate told her he was the Big Bad Wolf. She started to run and he chased her. My first instinct was to tell him that they can’t run in the classroom. It’s not really a rule. We use guidelines not rules and the guideline is “WE TAKE CARE OF EACH OTHER.” So I watched closer to see if they were taking care of each other.
The two were in control enough that they didn’t bump into chairs or tables. Then I noticed something even more impressive. If someone walked in the path they were using, Nate would change paths about ten feet before he reached that person (By this time Nate had run so far ahead in their circular path that Molly was now chasing him). He did it three different times so I know it wasn’t just a fluke.
They continued this game for about ten minutes and then Nate stopped at the book shelf. He grabbed Little Red Riding Hood (the book, not Molly) and breathlessly asked me to read to him. I leaned against the cushions in the book area and Nate rested his head on my arm while I read. We read three more books.
Nate and I did bond while sitting quietly, but he needed to play boisterously first. He didn’t have to choose between a quiet activity or a loud one. He needed both.

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