A couple weeks ago, I looked at my older son’s homework assignment after he complained that he didn’t understand it. I was thinking, it’s third grade…how hard could it be? I picked up the paper and read the paragraph and the very first question stumped me. I don’t think there was a right or wrong answer, but neither answer made sense to me. What’s worse is that some of the other questions left me puzzled, too.
The assignment had to do with making inferences based on the text provided. The paragraph depicted a story of two children – a boy and a girl – fighting over a book. The teacher walked over to the children to resolve the disagreement. Both children claimed the book was theirs, so the teacher suggested the following compromise: tear the book in half so each child could have half. <gasp!>
The boy agreed and thought that was fair. The girl said the boy could have the book.
Whose book was it?
Looking at it from the girl’s point of view, I didn’t think it would be her book because it doesn’t make sense that she would give up a book that was rightfully hers. That just seems wrong. I didn’t think it would be the boy’s book because agreeing to have your property destroyed for the sake of solving a disagreement seems far-fetched. (I’ve seen how territorial my children are with their property.) I decided it was Tara’s book and she wasn’t even in the room.
Telling the story to a friend last week, she gave me her take on the story. She thought it was the girl’s book. I asked why the girl would so easily give up a book that’s hers (I’m waaaaay too stubborn to comprehend that!) Her response: she gave the book up because the stupid boy would keep whining and not shut up until he got it.
I paraphrased because I can’t remember exactly what she said. Somehow, I can’t see my son writing that on his assignment 🙂
I talked it through with my son and put him in the situation to find out how he would react. (Surprise! His reasoning was in line with mine. Have I mentioned that he’s just as stubborn, if not more so, than me?) Then, I had to admit that I didn’t know and suggested he come up with his best answer. I’m aware that in a few years, he will have figured out that I don’t know anything (like most teenagers do), so I’m a bit disappointed that I had to reveal this fact prematurely.
I didn’t read what he wrote and I haven’t seen the graded assignment in his returned homework papers. The fact that I’m still thinking about this assignment reveals a lot about me, I’m sure. I’m still coming to terms with the discovery that I’m a college graduate, but I am not smarter than a third grader.
Whose book do YOU think it was? Why?
P.S. It’s already that time again: Thursday is the day for my short story post for April. I do hope you have a chance to read it. The story holds a special place in my heart because it was inspired by someone whom I love dearly, and is very much alive in my heart. More about that on another post 🙂