The Nest

This has been happening during recess since I started working at the elementary school last month.  A crowd of children, usually the same children, gathered around.  They were looking down at a collection of broken branches, various sized rocks and leaves that they had named, “the nest”.
Then, the inevitable alarm, “Woooop, woooop, wooop, wooop!”  which then set off other alarms, “Woooop!, wooop, wooop,!”  Upon looking at the “nest”  which was now a scattered collection of sticks and stones, I notice that one half of the children, the protectors of the nest, stood glaring at the other children who I guess were the accused destroyers of the nest.
All faces were serious.  Then, as always, a lone child ran to me to call out the nest destroyer. “He broke the nest!” said the child to me, to which I answer, “What nest?”
“The nest we made!”  I walk to where he pointed and came close to the “Nest protectors”  who all at once pointed at the accused side protesters.  And after weeks of this, I decided this time to throw a wrench into their game.  I said, “Um, don’t nests belong in the trees?”  “Birds make their nests in the trees, so that they don’t get destroyed.”  The children looked up at the trees and down at their “nest”.
With a bit of a confused look, they agreed ,but continued to protest about the children who were destroying nature.  I told them that I agreed that nature shouldn’t be destroyed or disturbed and that was enough to satisfy most of them.
I had succeeded I think upon returning from break to stop this game.  I had noticed fewer and fewer children playing “the nest” game.
I smiled inside, and then as days have passed, I felt a little bad.  It’s seemed this was a game that the children had played for a while.  Thinking back, I think I had heard one of the children say, “We don’t know what else to play!”  So, here I am smiling that I broke up a silly game, but now I’m stumped trying to think of a replacement game.
That was yesterday, today, I’m thinking, “Wow, those kids are creative to think of such an elaborate game with the theme of protecting nature and I decided the game that so annoyed me had in fact also intrigued and impressed me.
I hope to come up with a game that is fun, but also appeals to the child of justice, the first grader.


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