From Waffles to Writing Books

M-m-m-m, oatmeal with brown sugar are just what a body needs on a damp, cold Monday morning in a hotel far from home. I am sipping my coffee, blowing on the spoonful of creamy warmth as I peruse the USA Today front page. Several people have arrived in the dining area. They are milling about the breakfast area making their choices for the first meal of the the day.

All of a sudden, I begin to notice activity in the waffle section. Two men are standing around, making comments on the news story above their heads as the wife of one man comes over, “What are you doing?” she inquires of her husband.

“I thought I’d have a waffle,” he replies. She glances over to the waffle irons.

“Did you put batter in it and turn it over?” wife asks. I believe she already knows the answer to this question.

A look of puzzlement crosses the man’s face. “I thought it already had that in it. Don’t I just wait here for the waffle?”

Exasperation with head shaking describes the wife, as if this is not an unusual response from her husband. “You have to put batter in the waffle machine, then flip it over. The timer will beep when it is ready.” she says in a very calm voice.

“Oh, I guess I would just have been standing here a while if you didn’t come over here.” he says with a laugh as he watches his wife pour the batter into the waffle iron and flip it over. She walks away before the timer beeps. Her breakfast is getting cold. After the waffle iron beeps, he is able to wrestle the waffle to his plate and join his wife at the table.

I suppose the wife has always done it all for her husband. This makes him helpless in new situations. I remember this scene when I am working with kindergarten teachers today. They have a difficult time believing that their students can be successful and independent in writer’s workshop (after all they are only five). I continue to sing the song,” Kindergarten’s Can Do Writing Workshop.” You know the tune, it all starts with a belief that your students have something to say. Today I brought thinking by Katie Wood Ray, a blog  post by Katie Keier (Catching Readers Before They Fall), and another blog post  from a  kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Wills to try to convince them kindergarten students can write books. Not just they can, but they should be writing books! If they (teachers) always do the thinking for their students, those students will still be standing there waiting for someone to tell them what to write. I hope my message made them think about stepping out and giving this a try with their students.

11 thoughts on “From Waffles to Writing Books

  1. Love this post, we were both thinking in similar directions. Katie Keier, recently chatted with her on twitter and started reading her blog. Katie Wood Ray is also such a great resource, love her books. I will have to check out Mrs. Wills. Thanks!

  2. Oh my goodness, I laughed SO hard…I love how the wife patiently replied to her husband. I enjoyed how you weaved the classroom into your story. It’s so much easier to do the work yourself then patiently wait for children to gain independence. A great reminder, thank you.

  3. I laughed as I read this the first time this morning. Some peoples husbands…mine (at times) included! But it got me thinking about all the times we do things for our students that they really could do themselves…hmmm.

  4. This connection is perfect! I would think that would be a great way to introduce the idea to the kindergarten teachers. Who doesn’t want to be the wise woman who sets her husband free to make waffles on his own?

  5. HILARIOUS that the husband thought his waffle was magically being made for him! Men are so helpless sometimes… I’m glad my husband wasn’t raised that way but there are so many (especially, I think, of older generations than mine) who need someone (mom and then wife) to do everything for them! I love your connection to children though, and how some teachers assume that their kids won’t be able to do something. We run into the same thing in foreign language — everyone is always so surprised at what my 6th and 7th graders can do by the end of the trimester, as if they thought beginners could only learn a few isolated words, not speak and write and read and listen… in whole sentences!

  6. Great scene with the waffle maker! Isn’t it fun to people watch? You are so right about believing in KG kids. They are capable of amazing thinking and writing. Making books with little ones is the best!

  7. As I just finished lunch, a waffle doesn’t sound like anything right now, but maybe later… I love the connection you made between the woman’s husband & your teachers’ students. It’s sometimes too easy to do things for someone rather than find ways they can do for themselves, yet so harmful. Your writing showed the lesson well. I wonder what the husband would have done without the wife ‘saving’ him?

  8. This put me in mind of an interesting text just in from my husband:
    observation from a marriage counselor –
    women expect men to change – they don’t; men expect women not to change – they do.
    My comment back to him:
    the women have to change to accommodate the unchanging man.
    I’m thinking about this on a student – teacher level now…and can see it a few ways.
    I’m thinking a waffle may help my thought process.

  9. grade4wizard says:

    Your two parts of the post tie well together. The strange thing is that I understand what you are saying, and agree with both points, however all I can think about is eating a waffle. Lesson learned: one should always eat before reading not to get distracted.

  10. First – the husband in this narrative. I am so glad my mother-in-law insisted that her son should learn how to cook and sew and clean – skills he found useful all his life. I’ve made sure that our son was raised the same way. Second – how awesome is it that you made that teacher connection from that scene at the waffle stand to your own classroom. I love the way teachers discover learning situations all the time! Thanks for this post!

  11. jee young says:

    I think the work you do with your kindergarten teachers is so important! That is great that you continue to make them believe that kindergarten students can be independent and write books. I agree that we need to let the students do the thinking. 🙂

    Jee Young

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