Who’s the dark-haired girl?

Slice of Life Challenge Entry #16

Yesterday, I had one of those days. A day where everything that could go wrong, went wrong. Just a lot of 5th grade drama and problems. I wanted to call in sick tomorrow. However, I knew if I didn’t come to school, it wouldn’t solve the problems. So I decided to change my attitude and perspective. I decided that I would come in tomorrow ready to have a long meeting with my students in the morning. I would see the potential in my students and help them realize it. I would give them the “pep” talk. I would get my students to be the problem solvers. I would listen to them.

So, I came in this morning optimistic. By the end of the day, I couldn’t believe it. It was one of the best days we had in a long time. During the read aloud of Number the Stars, we read Chapter 5 titled, Who’s the dark-haired girl? Even as I read the title, I had a few nervous “ooooohs” from my students. They knew that this wouldn’t be good news.

As I read through the action packed chapter of the German soldiers coming into the Johansen’s house, their eyes looked at me intently with fear and nervousness for them. They were listening to each word carefully and feeling for Ellen. When Ellen tried to take off the gold star of David necklace, my students gasped, wondering what would happen if she couldn’t get it off. As the solider ripped their family picture and stepped on it with their boots, they asked me why? They couldn’t comprehend the hatred that they had.

As I read the last scene, where Annemarie’s hand had the imprint of Ellen’s Star of David in her hand, the students felt relief. Relief for Ellen. Relief that the soldiers had left and they were safe for now. These are the moments that I live for as a teacher. The moments where students are feeling deeply moved by a book. The moments  where their minds are opening up. The moments where they are trying to make sense of the world around them. I’m glad that I came to school today.

8 thoughts on “Who’s the dark-haired girl?

  1. Stacey says:

    Powerful moment during read aloud. Good thing you went to school and didn’t leave the reading to someone else or for another day. It might not have had the same effect.

    Nonetheless, I’m sure the kids are going to be on the edge of their seats throughout the rest of the book… especially the woods scenes.

    Don’t know if you ever saw this on TWT, but here you go: http://twowritingteachers.wordpress.com/2008/05/12/solsc-crying-in-front-of-my-class/. It’s one of my Number the Stars moments.

    • jee young says:

      Thanks Stacey for sharing the link to your slice. I found myself even getting pretty emotional during this part of the read aloud, I think I may have to have tissues with me especially for the ending of the book. This is my first time reading this book to my students. I’m soo glad I am though!

  2. elsie says:

    You are teaching your students so much more than reading, writing, and ‘rithmetic! Thanks for sharing a powerful moment and incredible day.

  3. Debbi says:

    This is a book that I have recommended to many students over the years. I have never had one of them come back and tell me that they didn’t like it. Years ago, I used it as my modeling of a book talk. I even have a Star of David necklace that a childhood friend gave me. (Neither of us are Jewish; she just thought it was a pretty necklace. I agree.) I’m glad you had a good day!

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