Destiny in the Classroom

Today I had an experience that sent tingles down my spine.

First, background. We have been studying cells in my Biology classes, and today we were starting a project where students would study and learn about either photosynthesis or cellular respiration. Students’ task then is to create a children’s book that both teaches about the process they are studying but also incorporates  a storyline to engage the reader.

In order to increase success we did some research to determine what some of the key aspects of a good children’s story are. The best way to do this, read some children’s books. So today, two classes of 15 and 16 year-old sophomores got to have read aloud, one of my personal favorite times as a kid in earlier grades, but also at home with my parents.

I couldn’t help but have a smile cheek to cheek as I read aloud. That 20 minute period today was by far the quietest, most intently engaged period for each and every student, at the same time all year. I even had some students protest when I did not show the pictures quite far enough their way. It was a return to youth, seeming to forget about texting, Facebook, popularity and returning to a simpler time, if only for a few minutes. I never was one to jump at the chance to read out loud as a student, but its funny how things change, how we change, as we progress in our lives.

Some of you may think, “I can see why this would give you tingles.” Though it was amazingly rewarding to see such interest and engagement, this is not the end.

When planning this activity I assumed the library would have some children’s books, if only a small section. This morning when I went down to the library to peruse them there were in fact just a hand full. But, I spotted the book I would read without trouble; “The Cat in the Hat” by Dr. Seuss, a classic. So, I checked it out and I sat down with my sophomores and we read “The Cat in the Hat”, engaged, rewarded and unaware.

Today is Dr. Seuss’ birthday. A holiday celebrated traditionally in elementary schools by reading some of his classic stories.

Today, Dr. Seuss found his way into a high school science classroom.

I had no idea until later in the day, long after the reading was done. I saw an email about it from some spam education mailing. As soon as I saw this I was speechless. Tingles, shivers you name it. How is it, of all the days, that today in a Biology classroom Dr. Seuss was read, was remembered and honored, without even knowing it.

Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss. Thank you for your contributions to literacy.

P.S. Really, all those rhymes? Even for an adult I got tongue twisted a couple times.