THE “F ROW”
In my fifth grade classroom the desks were set up in five straight rows. Each row was labeled with a letter of the alphabet: A, B, C, D, F. When you arrived at school the teacher would check your homework, give you a grade, and tell you to sit in the row that matched your grade.
I was one of those kids who often forgot to bring my homework to school. Mostly because I often forgot to do my homework at home. I was really good at coming up with excuses, “My brother folded it into a paper airplane and he sailed it into my neighbor’s yard and it got shredded in their lawnmower.” “My dad accidentally lit it on fire and the fire department couldn’t save it.”
She never listened to my excuses. She just pointed her finger right at the “F Row” and said, “Sit.”
You’d think the embarrassment of sitting in the “F Row” would have motivated me to do my homework, but it didn’t. I wasn’t a bad student. The kids in the “F Row” were. They were in the “YELLOW BIRDS” reading group and they had a “special” math book. I wasn’t dumb—just lazy. But as the year went on, the teacher treated me like I BELONGED in the “F Row.” I started to hate going to school.
Spring finally arrived and I was counting down the days until fifth grade and my regular appearances in the “F Row” would be over! Our house was within walking distance from school, so we were “walkers.” One April day as I neared the school, sans homework, I noticed a field of dandelions, bright yellow and in motion with buzzing bumble bees. I rolled up my jeans and ran through the field, dragging my feet to stir up the bees. I got stung three or four times and ran home crying, but it was a happy cry. I knew my mom would mix up a baking soda paste to cover my bee stings and I’d get to spend the rest of the day at home!
Running through the dandelions became a regular thing. It got me out of one “F Row” day each week. It was painful, but worth it. My mom began to get suspicious. Why was I getting stung on a regular basis, but my siblings managed to make the trip to school without bee stings? Eventually, my brother ratted me out. It was back to the “F Row” for me – just in time for the big field trip.
The fifth grade field trip was a nature hike at a nearby park. While we were there, our teacher asked for a volunteer to pick up bugs and place them in specimen jars for our upcoming science unit about insects. I was the only kid to step forward, so she had to let me take on the task. I knew a lot about insects because I had my own bug collection. As I picked up bugs and placed them in jars, I told everything I knew about each one. My teacher was impressed. On that day, she treated me like an “A Row” kid. I liked it!
For the rest of the school year, I did my homework. I never had to sit in the “F Row” again. And I realized that doing the homework was way easier than thinking of ways to get out of doing the homework. Though by sixth grade, I forgot that lesson.
Click INSECT BOX to get the template and instructions for this craftivity. I painfully relived this story while inventing this craft.