conversations i never expected to have with 3rd graders: would you rather burn to death or jump out the window and fall to your death?
2 of my students were looking at a newspaper special edition insert from 9/11 and they read/saw that some people jumped out the windows of the trade center. i happened to walk by just as they were making this observation. the conversation went something like this:
"ms. wood, some people jumped out the window!" - d
"oh, really." -ms. wood
"they didn't want to burn." - m
"i would never jump out the window, i would burn." - d
"really?" - ms. wood
"yeah. i hate that feeling you get when you're falling." (holds onto his stomach) - d
"really? i kind of like that feeling. i think i might prefer to fall out the window." - ms. wood
"i'd call my friends to put a bunch of mattresses and then i'd jump out the window." - m
"now there's an idea." - ms. wood
and then i started to move away and they went back to looking at the newspaper, completely unphased and devoid of emotion about the whole thing.
it wasn't until 2 days later that i fully processed what we had just talked about. i have discussions like this with my friends but i never expected to have it with 8-year-olds.