To the library, this time working with one team of two first grade boys who were in the same class. K I had worked with before, his buddy J was equally as energetic. It was fun: I ended up making finishing homework faster than the other into a race. They competed with one another to race through their math worksheet while I gave a play-by-play account. They liked my announcer voice when I went into Mexican football announcer.
They both dropped their pencils and started laughing. It was a game, and they got returned, and worked quickly, checking the pace of one another, but also on guard from one another, hiding answers, covering their work so as not to give away work for free.
They finished their math sheets at about the same time. They had one homework task left to accomplish: write their spelling words three times each. This is when K pulled far ahead of J. K raced through his words, saying them to himself as he wrote the word on the flipside of another attached sheet of his homework. He was able to use phonics and memory to recompose the words on the different page.
J was more industrious. He ripped the page with his spelling vocabulary words and held it next to the page in which he was to write the words. He constantly looked back and forth between what he wrote and what he read from the sheet. In the time it took him to complete his first word “describe,” K was already beginning his third word. K finished the task of ten words, and J was on his fifth word.
K was the winner, but he didn’t gloat in his wind. J was upset. I asked him if he was sad because he lost.
“He’s getting better at English like me,” said K.
“It’s hard for me.”
“It’s okay,” I said. “You still finished, and you did a good job.”
The two shook hands. Then then laughed about the race with the math problems and how fun that had been. They took their chips, and they went into the other room to go play on the computers.