First day of school. 

Getting-to-Know-You activity.

Four Truths and a Lie. 

Surely, this one was a lie:

"I have six sisters and two brothers. I'm the baby and I'm 13. My oldest sibling is my sister who is 32. My mom is 47. My sister who is 29 has four sets of twins and she's pregnant again now, but this time with just one baby, and she's due in September."

It was not. I know this wasn't a lie because as she talked I started making some connections and realized that one of her sisters was a high school classmate of mine fourteen years ago and one of her other sisters was a student of mine four years ago.

This then prompted other students to pipe in and discuss their link to this commonality:

    Student B: I have five brothers and sisters.

    Student C: I'm the second-to-last of eight!

    Student D: I have four sisters and a two brothers!

    Student A: (the one with Nonomom Sister): DANG, we got a lotta brothers and sisters up in this classroom!

The spin-off conversations were even more interesting:

    Student B: Do y'all all have the same daddy?

    Student A: We do. All nine of us. My mom and dad got married when she was 16 and he was 18 and they're still together now. But my sister– each of her sets of twins has a different father and the baby on the way now has a different father.

    Student C: DANG! I know she collectin' that CHILD SUPPORT, though! 

    Student B: My two younger brothers and my 16-year old sister are still at home, but my older brother and sister are 22 and 21 years old and they've moved out. There are six of us and we have three different fathers, but we all always lived together.

   Student D: Well y'all are better than us, because the seven of us have four different fathers and I only live with three of my brothers and sisters. 

   Student B: My mom was actually going to have another baby last year, but it died a couple of months before it was supposed to be born. He was a boy and my mom…she kinda has a sadness now.

   Student C: Yeah, my mom had two or three miscarriages, too.

Not that I didn't already know this before, but it's everywhere, this rattling juxtaposition of life and loss.

Welcome back.

19 thoughts on “Icebreaker”

  1. Baby Smiling: I’ve always played 3 Truths and Lie, but increasing it to 4 Truths when dealing with my students means that they have to think for a longer amount of time, thereby stretching out the activity to help fill the space of a VERY long extended class period.

  2. That is a LOT of twins!
    Some crazy ovulation crap going on in THAT one!
    I think it’s good that your students obviously have parents who are honest with them (at least some of them) about pregnancy loss.

  3. WHAT grade do you teach. OMG. That is insane. I like that kid that said “DANG, we got a lotta brothers and sisters up in this classroom!” LOL! That is hysterical. Kinda sad that the coversation about different fathers and not living together is just as common place as how many siblings do you have.
    Poor kid whose mom has sadness. 🙁

  4. Wow. First, that’s a whole lotta kids! We live in 2.2 children-land, and I don’t think you’re allowed to have more.
    Second, that’s an amazing track for conversation to take. You really know how to get a conversation started.
    Third, life and loss. Yeah.

  5. Life and loss for sure. The kids’ perspectives on their families cracked me up and made me a little sad. Also, dear lord, FOUR? sets of twins??

  6. Holy hell! That’s a pretty intense conversation! Someone asked me the other day if both my kids had the same father. I stared at her and said “yes, they’re far apart because we had trouble TRYING to have another.” I understand her question because it’s all around, but JEEZ!

  7. Kids are awesome. They are so honest and forthcoming and resilient. And not for nothing, I think they already trust each other and you a bit to have these sorts of conversations that go beyond just sheer numbers, ya know? Which I’m hoping bodes well for the year.
    And now I’m wondering how Bella’s intro on the first day of Kindergarten will go. because if it includes siblings, it could get interesting.

  8. Becoming Whole

    I’m glad that these kids had a teacher who is as sensitive as you are in the room with them while having this discussion, though I know they talk about these things with plenty of adults who are not quite so sensitive. Life and loss in the same basket.

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