We haven’t been to the library much because it’s been hard with a run-away toddler. But they had a program about making glow-in-the-dark slime! So we made it there, and I found ways to contain and entertain the toddler.
My daughter was so excited. She was mixing and shouting “yo ho ho!” She was telling her friend next to her “wow look at that!” She was laughing and screaming with joy. Unfortunately, the kid next to her had a mom who was a fifth grade teacher, and while I was distracted with baby that mom was desperately trying to tell my daughter to be quiet and listen. My daughter was pretty unfazed, but the mom kept it up. I did ask my daughter not to scream, but mostly she was fine. The librarians–with parents there to help and a ratio of about 8 kids with two librarians leading the project–did not mind filling in when my daughter missed some instructions, and did not mind the raucous joy. She would ask them about why it worked and make observations about color and texture. She spent 10 minutes at the end just happily pulling and stretching slime. Then went in the hallway to spin and stim with joy. The girl next to her was happily, and silently, listening and not trying to get sucked into my daughter’s trouble-making, and left quickly at the end.
I bet with 30 kids in a classroom, if you want to make slime, you need everyone to be quiet and listen to directions. How else would you do the impossible? Which is, after all, what school districts and our public funding policies are asking you to do. But, if you’re a teacher, try not to squash other people’s joy. Try to limit the sush-ing and lectures to situations where they’re strictly necessary.
We’re trying to learn here, you know?