Updated Version of the Trojan Horse

The children were intrigued with the story of the Trojan Horse.  This huge wooden horse, built by Odysseus and his men, was placed outside the walls of Troy and left behind as the Greek ships appeared to sail away.  The Trojans, believing that they had been victorious, brought the horse through the gates of the city and celebrated late into the night.  Meanwhile, back at the horse, Odysseus and some of his warriors were waiting until all was quiet in the city.  Then they crept out of the horse, opened the city gates and let in the rest of the warriors who had returned to Troy.  Of course they killed almost all the rest of the Trojans and burned Troy.

The story stimulated an interesting discussion about war in general.  One child asked how war could be stopped so that it never happened again.  I suggested that they think about that and we pursue the answer at the circle the next day.

When the children returned to the circle, David raised his hand.  “I’ve thought about the Trojan War,” he said, “and this is how it could have been different.”  He held up a large sheet of paper.  Here, illustrated in black and white, was the Trojan Horse with Odysseus and his warriors exiting in a single file line.  Their arms were raised, not in surrender, but to carry their delivery of pizzas.

What Works at Home Doesn’t Always Work at School

Children learn early on in life that if one parent responds in the negative to their question, there is a hopeful chance that the other parent will say yes.  This developed skill is brought with them to school.  After all, if it works at home, why not extend the application of this technique?

Working in a co-teaching situation, I experienced these attempts frequently at the beginning of the school year.  My students have had a shock.  It doesn’t work at school.  Constantly amazed at their inability to play one teacher’s response against the other, it was explained to them in this way:

Simply, the teachers share the same brain.

Following this explanation, the question could be heard debated from all sides of the room.  Are we talking two brains or are they half-brained?

Who Said that Teaching First Grade Math is Simple?

While helping a six-year-old with a math problem, it dawned on me that a review was in order.  He appeared to be having trouble with the concept of zero.  So I said, “Let’s say that I gave you 9 pencils.  Courtney didn’t give you any.  So, how many pencils do you have?”


“Ten? Let’s try that again.”  I repeated the scenario.

Taku nodded.  “Yep.  Ten.”

“How did you get ten?”

“Easy.  You gave me 9.  I already had one at my table.”