Donna's fourth-grade classroom looked like many others I had seen in the past. Students sat in five rows of six desks. The teacher's desk was in the front and faced the students. The bulletin board featured student work. In most (1) it appeared to be a typically traditional elementary classroom. Yet something seemed different that day I entered it for the first time. There seemed to be an (2) of excitement.
I took an empty seat in the back of the room and watched. All the students were working on a task, filling a sheet of notebook paper with thoughts and ideas. The ten-year-old student closest to me was filling her page with “I Can'ts.”
"I can't kick the soccer ball very far."
"I can't do long division with more than three numerals."
"I can't get Debbie to like me."
Her page was half full and she showed no signs of stopping. She worked on with determination and (3). Everyone was writing sentences, describing things they couldn't do.
"I can't do ten push-ups."
"I can't hit a ball over the left-field fence."
"I can't eat only one cookie."
By this time, the activity engaged my (4), so I decided to check with the teacher to see what was going on. As I approached her, I noticed that she too was busy writing. I felt it best not to (5). The students wrote for another ten minutes. Most filled their page. Some started another.
"Finish the one you're writing and don't start a new one," were the instructions Donna used to signal the end of the activity. Students were then instructed to fold their papers in half and bring them to the front. When students reached the teacher's desk, they placed their "I Can't" statements into an empty shoe box. When all of the student papers were collected, Donna added hers. She put the lid on the box, put it under her arm and headed out the door and down the hall. The students followed the teacher. I followed the students. They were going to bury their "I Can'ts"! The digging took over ten minutes because most of the fourth graders wanted a turn. When the hole approached three-feet deep, the digging ended. The box of "I Can'ts" was placed at the bottom of the hole and quickly covered with dirt. Thirty-one 10- and 11-year-olds stood around the freshly dug grave site. Each student had at least one page full of "I Can'ts" in the shoe box that had been buried. So did their teacher.
After burying the box, she gave a speech. "Friends, we gather today to (6) the memory of 'I Cant'. While he was with us on earth, he touched the lives of everyone, some more than others. His name, unfortunately, has been spoken in every public building ----- schools, city halls, state capitols and yes, even The White House. We have (7) 'I Can't' with a final resting place. He is survived by his brothers: 'I Can', 'I Will' and his sister: 'I'm Going to Right Away.' They are not as well-known as their famous relative and are certainly not as strong and powerful yet. Perhaps some day, with your help, they will make an even bigger mark on the world."
As I listened to these words, I realized that these students would never forget this day. The activity was (8), a metaphor for life. It was an experience that would (9) in their minds forever. On those rare occasions when a student forgot and said, "I Can't", Donna simply told the student that "I Can't" was dead.
I wasn't one of Donna's students. She was one of mine. Yet that day I learned an (10) lesson from her. Now, years later, whenever I hear the phrase "I Can't", I see images of that fourth-grade (11). Like the students, I remember that "I Can't" is dead.
interrupt stick undercurrent enduring provided respects funeral curiosity symbolic persistence honor
Question1. What were the students in Donna’s class absorbed in?
Question2. Explain about the underlined part (paragraph) in your words.
Question3. What is the message of this story? How will you use the message in the future? Write an essay on this.
Question4. What is the message of this story? How will you use the message in the future? Write an essay on this.
1 respects 2 undercurrent
3 persistence 4 curiosity
5 interrupt 6 honor
7 provided 8 symbolic
9 stick 10 enduring