The Nurse's Great Idea

Hi there, have you come to learn about the nurse's great idea? This is the last chapter of the story, "Sally Goes to School", so if you haven't read the story, you may want to go take a look and then come back to this page. It's up to you! Hang onto the balloon to ride over to the beginning of the story.
Come back soon. I'll be waiting!
"Sometimes", Ms. Hall told me, "people get so busy worrying about themselves that they don't stop to think what life might be like for others, and they can't imagine what it's like to feel different. That goes for all people--big ones, little ones, and in-between ones", she continued. "I have an idea that might be good for everybody in the class", she said as she helped me get ready to poke my finger and test my blood. When I asked her to tell me about it, she looked as if she might, then she turned her face up to look at the ceiling, as if she were deciding. Then she told me that I'd learn about it soon enough. I love surprises, but I hoped that I would learn about this one soon.

The next day when I went into the third grade classroom, I was with Abby. It was easier to start the day with my friend. I still noticed Peter and Nina.  First Peter made a face at me, and when I looked at Nina, she just turned hers away. I wish they had diabetes. I wish they could be me so that they would know what it feels like to be the only one  to have this stupid  problem.

By Jared

Mrs. Preston told us that we would all get to wear stars today. She asked us to line up in the front of the room so we could choose our stars. The stars were in a covered box. On the top of the box there was a hole just big enough for a hand to reach inside. When we took the stars from the box, we were supposed to write our names in big letters, so that we would soon get to know one another. You see, there were a lot of new children in the third grade this year.

By Mike

We noticed that some of the stars were red, and others were blue. Once we wrote our names on them, Mrs. Preston helped us to pin them to the front of our shirts. We all looked very pleased. The blue star that I chose made me feel important. Everybody started to return to their seats, but Mrs. Preston stopped us and said, "not so fast. We will be switching seats. The students with the blue stars will sit in the last three rows in the room, and those with the red stars will sit in the first three rows. Red stars, you go first. You may choose your seats."

This was fun, I thought, like some kind of a game, except that Abby had picked a red star and wouldn't be able to sit near me. She was sitting down in my old seat, instead, in the very first row. It took me a few minutes to gather up my school supplies because my Arithmetic book slid off the desk.The pages got discombobulated (I think that means all messed up), so I had to straighten them out first. By the time I reached the back of the classroom, there were only two seats left--one next to Nina, and the other next to Peter. Yikes. I wondered why we needed to change seats, anyway. It wasn't so much fun after all, I decided. I sat down in the desk next to Peter's, and made sure not to look at him. I was looking instead at Marcus, the tallest boy in the class. He had still not reached the only seat left--the one next to Nina. I think that he was confused about this star thing.

Mrs. Preston started tapping her foot, and she said in a very stern voice, "It seems like the blue stars are slowpokes. Just look at them all." Well, all the kids in the front of the room turned around, and they started to giggle. Mrs. Preston giggled, too. I couldn't believe it. She wrote these words on the board, "obey quickly", and then she told all of us with blue stars to copy them down ten times. We grumbled about having to do such a stupid thing, and she then wrote some more words, "the teacher is in charge", and told us that we now had to write that sentence ten times, too. We decided that we'd better not say anything else. While we were busy with all of this writing, I could see the kids with the red stars gather in a circle around her desk. She passed out some colored clay for them to work with, and then suggested that they make animals for a project about Africa. The lucky ducks. I wish I had chosen a red star!

After we were finished with our work, we started to talk to one another. Peter turned to me and said, "this isn't fair, is it?", and I had to agree. Mrs. Preston looked up from her own sculpture and said, "it's very difficult for us to work up here with all that noise in the back. When you're finished writing, fold your hands and be quiet." And that's not all she did. For the rest of the hour (though it seemed like at least five hours),

  • she told the red stars that they were the artistic ones. Now that was just plain silly, because Fredrika Evans was the best artist in the world, and she had a blue star pinned right on the middle of her shirt.

  • she read a story to the whole class and when she asked questions about it, she only called on the kids with the red stars. Even when their answers were wrong, she thanked them for trying, and told them that their answer were "good guesses."

  • she let her "teachers' pets", the kids with the red stars, go out and get water from the fountain, but when we asked to go, too, she told us that we couldn't. She said she just knew that we'd create a disturbance in the hall.
While they were out getting water, Mrs. Preston did something very interesting. She came to the back of the room, and asked us how we were feeling. At first nobody answered. I know that I was scared to say anything, and I guess that everybody else was, too. Then Peter said that he was mad, and sad, too. I looked at him, and nodded my head, telling him that I knew just what he meant. Oliver said that he felt left out of all the good stuff. Clarise agreed, and wished out loud that she were back in second grade. Mrs. Preston told us to remember those feelings. She said that they were important, and that we would be talking about them after lunch.

When the kids with the red stars returned to the room, Mrs. Preston was still in the back, talking to us. We were laughing now, just imagining the sight of a blade of grass running away from its yard. That's the story she was telling us when the other children walked into the class. She looked annoyed when Abby and a new boy, Harold, came to the back to see what was so funny.

Mrs. Preston told them to sit down in the front, and to take out their spelling books. Then she told them all to turn to page 23 and to memorize all of the words. Words like stomach and potato. Hard words that we hadn't even looked at before. That's what she said to them. And she told them that they would have a test on those words in thirty minutes. Leaping lizards--that sounded just plain awful! She whispered to us, "you don't need to take the test, because I know that you already know those words." Of course we didn't--at least I didn't, but I sure wasn't going to tell her!

So there we were, in the back of the room, but feeling like we were on top of the world, because Mrs. Preston was being so nice to us. I wasn't even thinking about my medical problem anymore, I was just thinking about how much fun I was having. While the "red stars" were doing another assignment, (this time writing the names of each state), we were taking turns telling everyone about our summer vacations. When I told about going to the hospital, Peter looked at me differently. I think that he was amazed about all that had happened to me. He wasn't looking mean at all, just sort of impressed, if you know what I mean. All of a sudden I heard the school bell ring, and I knew that it was time to go to lunch.

Lunch was a little strange, too, because all of us who had been sitting in the back stayed together. I know that I didn't want to sit with Abby because I figured that she would be mad at me for having a good time while she was just doing work. I knew that I was a little mad at her for being in the "favorite" group earlier. At least Peter wasn't being mean to me anymore, and even Tina didn't do anything at lunch that made me sad. If fact, Tina was talking about how confused the whole morning had been, and I could sure agree with that. We ate our chicken nuggets and peas and macaroni salad, and when everyone was drinking milk with their ice cream, I just took out some special cookies to eat instead. Now I have to admit that I was embarrassed about that, but I didn't want to get sick again, that's for sure! And the cookies that my Mom had baked actually tasted good. Maybe diabetes wasn't the end of the world, after all.

When we walked back into the classroom after lunch, Mrs. Preston had arranged all of the desks in a circle, and she asked us to sit down wherever we wanted to. Then she pulled up a chair between Ramona and Joseph, and boy, did they ever look uncomfortable. Soon they calmed down, as we all did, because she was being so nice to everyone! She said that Mrs. Hall had told her about an interesting experiment, an idea that she had to help us understand something special. She said that she decided to try it out this morning. "And that's exactly what I did", she explained. "Can you figure out what the experiment was all about? What the special something was that Mrs. Hall hoped you would learn?"

What do you think the special something to be learned was all about?

...Hop onto the frog's back
Come back soon!
For a ride to the land of the answer

As you could probably tell, this is a story in search of some more artists! Would you like to illustrate a paragraph? If you send your picture of what's happening in the paragraph to me, I'll put it on the page. White paper and markers will show up the best. Then you'll be even more famous than you are already! What do you say? The ladybug can fly it to me, or you can send it to me at Lehman College. I hope that I'll be hearing from you soon! 
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Joan Fleitas, Ed.D., R.N.
Associate Professor of Nursing, Lehman College, CUNY
Bronx, New York 10468

Last updated: November 14, 2004