Madonna’s life lessons entered our classroom again today as we explored the story of Mr. Peabody’s Apples. This is one of my favorite stories as it brings so many enriching conversations into the classroom. The story is about a boy who plays baseball and loves his coach. In his small town everyone knows each other. One day one of the players sees the coach take an apple from the market and not pay for it. He tells his friends who tell their parents, who tell others. Soon no one is showing up for ball games except the protagonist who explains to the coach everyone thinks he is a thief. The two go to the store where the reader learns the coach actually pays for the apples ahead of time. I am sure many of us have been in situations where we see things and make assumptions. It is what we do with these assumptions that shows our character.
Students talked about how the boy who thought the coach was a thief could have
a. gone and talked the coach directly to see why he did not pay for the apple
b. gone and discussed what he saw with the shop keeper
c. not said anything to anyone
If he had done any of those three things he would not have found himself with the coach and a pillow. The coach asked him to cut the pillow and spread the feathers into the wind. The boy thought he got off easy until the coach suggested he pick up all the feathers, which is the same as undoing the damage of spreading the rumor. Students and I discussed how the only person you have the right to talk about is yourself. If you do choose to tell someone something remember it is out there as not everyone keeps things to him or her self. Also, we talked about if you do spread a rumor be ready to own it. Taking responsibility for actions is a huge life skill. Students admitted to spreading rumors or being the rumor, so they all connected to the tale of Mr. Peabody.
We then talked about admitting things. I think back to how much more trouble I got in for lying about something I did then had I just admitted to what I did. I suggested students work on just being honest the first time around. It might work out better for them in the end.
Later in the day during Pax I heard a student say to another classmate, “You ruined it for me.” I happened to call him over and asked what was ruined. He told me Pax died. Now I read the story and have no recollection of that happening, so I asked him where he heard that. The student who told him came over and I asked the student if he even read the book. He had not. He told me he was dared by another student to read the last page, but skimmed it quick. So we called the other student over and none of them had really read the page and made an assumption. We talked about many students in the class would be upset if they all heard Pax did not make it, and they realized how this could have effected classmates. So tying this back to Mr. Peabody, I was proud the students admitted and took responsibility for what they said. They also saw it would be hard to collect all the feathers if the rumor had spread.
Who knew Madonna could write such prolific tales with life lessons to help students grow on their journey? You decide for yourself! Listen to Madonna read her tale!