Afternoons in the Reception class at Sunnyside School, provide some of the best opportunities for carrying out little learner observations. This is where members of the Sunnyside Team step back for a while and look, listen and note, as the little learners play and learn in their chosen activities.
This afternoon, Mrs Caring focused her observations on little learners visiting the writing table. It was as she was scribing away (nineteen to the dozen), that she felt an urgent tapping on her arm. "Mrs Caring..." whimpered the little voice beside her. As Mrs Caring turned on her seat in the direction of the tapping, she came face to face with a little learner cupping a rather drab and battered looking seashell in her outstretched hands. "This doesn't work," she moaned, thrusting it under Mrs Caring's nose. "I just can't seem to hear any waves!"
The little learner went on to describe how her friend had heard the sea inside the shell just a few moments ago, but now the waves had suddenly and mysteriously disappeared. "Well....." began Mrs Caring setting down her clipboard and pen, "Have you tried covering your other ear with your hand, when you listen to the shell? That might help you to hear the sea."
The little learner dutifully followed Mrs Caring's instructions, but was very quick to report that she couldn't hear even the merest trickle of sea water in her seashell, let alone the nearby rolling waves of Whippy Cove beach. "Shall we see if the shell will work for me?" suggested Mrs Caring, examining the rather uninspiring looking ex-mollusc. With the shell firmly pressed against her ear, Mrs Caring waited a moment or two for the noise of twenty nine other little learners playing nearby to subside, but when that didn't happen, she said, "No...I can't hear the sea either...how strange!"
By now the little learner was feeling very miffed and extremely disappointed by her wave deficient seashell. "Well...I wonder why your friend can hear the sea...but you and I can't?" questioned Mrs Caring, giving the shell a shake (for some absurd reason.) With a quivering bottom lip, the gloomy little learner looked at Mrs Caring and whined, "Well...that's because she's got a sense of humour."
Desperately trying to stifle a chuckle, Mrs Caring said, "Does that mean you and I don't have a sense of humour then?" After a few moments' hesitation the little learner replied, "Well...my sense of humour is very tired and it's gone to sleep!"
Mrs Caring suggested that perhaps her own sense of humour was having a nap, and that's why she couldn't hear the sea either.
The trouble was, Mrs Caring's sense of humour wasn't having a nap - it was very much awake, and trying (unsuccessfully) not to explode forth into an uncontrollable fit of the giggles!
A wonky shell
I'm experiencing some problems, I'm not getting on too well,
I'm struggling to hear the sea inside this little shell.
It's all right for me friend, for her it works just fine,
So there must be something very wrong, with these ears of mine.
I've tried sittin' in a chair, I've tried layin' on the ground,
But no matter how I listen, I can't hear a blessed sound.
I've heard it said before, though it could just be a rumour,
But to hear the sea inside a shell, you need a sense of humour!