Week 3 of the after school program with the children who have moved to PA after the hurricane in Puerto Rico: once again my lesson plan went right out the window.
The boy with the huge brown eyes again refused to join our circle. When asked why, he says “I’m mad,” and “I don’t like this,” but not in an angry way, he says it with a half-smile on his face…I’m not really sure how to convince him to join us.
Maybe I can’t.
When I brought out the book “In This Heart” by Jo Witek (which I highly recommend), all the kids wanted to take turns reading. With the language barrier, the reading took a while, and then we talked about each feeling. (One of the challenges of this group is that it’s kindergarteners up through fifth graders all together, who are worlds apart developmentally, but all of them got really close to me and were absorbed in the book. Two of the little ones snuggled into my lap.)
When we got to a page about being scared, I asked each child what made them feel that way. A lot of them talked about having nightmares. Many said they miss their family members who are still in Puerto Rico, and that they wish so badly that they could see them. One said there are mean boys in his neighborhood who beat people up.
One girl said “police,” and when I asked why, she made the shape of a gun with her hand.
The news media and most of the rest of the world has moved on—but there are so many people—so many children—still suffering from the effects of that terrible storm.