Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Our Little Bigfoot Hunter

Christopher is obsessed with Bigfoot.  He conjures up plans to catch the Bigfoot he insists lives in the nearby forests.  The name Bigfoot used interchangeably with Yeti and/or Sasquatch.  It doesn't matter the Yeti's homeland is purportedly in the Himalayas or Bigfoot/Sasquatch supposedly exists in the Pacific Northwest, Christopher is convinced his nemesis lives right here in Michigan.

He's been obsessed with Bigfoot/Yeti for a couple of years now.  The first time I rode  Expedition Everest at Disney's Animal Kingdom four years ago I told the boys how I came face-to-face with the Yeti who lives on the mountain. Really, it's just a white screen onto which a black Yeti shadow is projected, but, hey, in typical Disney tradition, I told the Yeti story in a more "magical" way.  Christopher asked approximately 1, 746 questions about said Yeti for the next several weeks and told everyone within earshot including bank tellers, grocery store clerks and passers-by that his mom braved Mt. Everest and a real-life Yeti.  He couldn't get enough.

Months passed without mention of the Yeti and just when I thought the Yeti fascination had finally waned, out popped another question.

A couple of years later, Nicholas's Little League team had a season-ending picnic at a nearby park.  A bunch of boys, including Christopher, went for a walk in the woods where Christopher was convinced he saw Bigfoot tracks.  The Bigfoot/Yeti fascination was in full-force again with more track sightings and walks through other forests uncovering, according to Christopher, indisputable traces of his existence.

Fast forward two more years and the Bigfoot fascination has reached monumental proportions.  Not only is Christopher convinced of Bigfoot's existence he has hatched a plan to catch the perpetrator.

Christopher has spent the better part of this school year devising a plan with his 2nd-grade buddy of how they are going to catch this villain.  They have come up with a very detailed, meticulous strategy that includes spyglasses,  trip wire, a very large net, rope and a flat board.  Once Bigfoot is safely tied up and secured on the board, Christopher plans to go directly to the news stations with his find.  Well, first he will show his teachers and friends at the school and then he will go directly to the media.

When I talked to Christopher's teacher during parent/teacher conferences she said Christopher has hard time paying attention in class.  He stares out the window or watches the clock countdown to recess.  Well, is it any wonder?  Bigfoot is out there and he needs to be stopped!

I wasn't thrilled with some of Christopher's report card marks and his math scores leave a lot to be desired but my thoughts on how to address this with Christopher changed when he wrote his very first story about Bigfoot. 

He cut out squares of paper, stapled them along the left spine, created his title page and wrote two chapters, along with corresponding pictures, about escaping the Bigfoot who tried to capture him and his friend Johnny. His story, by Christoper J. Murray (he included his middle initial for his "author"name), used words like "Johnny shrieked" and "I raced up the stairs" to describe his scary predicament.  He put a tremendous amount of thought and effort into his story, including quotation marks around the dialogue. He would like me to take his story and pass it around at my next writer's conference. How stinkin' cute this that?!

Christopher doesn't really care about 2 + 2.  He can't be bothered learning about parallel lines. Should I scold him because he has so many red marks on his math test or should I congratulate him on his 100% spelling tests, mile-long reading log and killer stories? 

I would rather nurture his creative side.  I know he has to learn to add and subtract and multiply, and he will because he's capable.  But, I would rather listen to him describe his Bigfoot escapades and read his skillful stories.  It's fascinating.

Christopher is on the road to uncovering his true talents and potential. I'm so glad I'm along for the ride.


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