My first grade students gathered around me for story time. They all got comfortable on the rug as I made myself comfortable in the old, dilapidated chair which held the honor of being known as our reader's chair. I waited until everyone had settled down and then began reading. All eyes were on the pictures as I read with expression and a variety of voices. You could have heard a pin drop as all eyes and ears followed the story. And then out of nowhere a little voice spoke up and said, "Mrs. Kelley, what do you say?!"
I looked at the owner of the voice, six year old little Emily. Sweet, precocious Emily with her matching hair ribbons and frilly pouffy dresses sitting in front of me, staring right through me with her huge eyes.
"What do I say about what, Emily?"
"You know. You just shot a bunny."
I was totally confused at this point. The picture book had no bunnies featured in it. I wasn't wearing a bunny or gun jewelry. What in the world was Emily talking about? I looked over at the paraprofessional in my class who was doubled over in laughter. What the heck ?!
"Emily, I am confused. I don't know what you are talking about. I didn't shoot any bunnies."
"Yes, you did. You did so shoot a bunny." She glared at me.
The other students watched the exchange. Being thoroughly confused I didn't know which way to turn. Maybe Emily had bumped her head out at recess? I asked her to come up to see me, hoping to clear up my confusion.
"Emily, I didn't shoot any bunnies. I would never shoot a bunny. I like bunnies.'
Emily shook her little head. She then whispered in my ear, "Mrs. Kelley, shooting bunnies means you farted."
"WHAT!! Emily, I absolutely did not shoot any bunnies !"
"Yes, you did. I heard you."
The paraprofessional leaves the room, tears streaming down her face.
"Emily, it was the chair squeaking. I did not shoot any bunnies. Now let's finish the story."
Emily folded her arms and continued to stare at me with a 'yes, you did' look.
I tried to regain my composure. I tried to get everyone focused on the story again. But the words bunny shooter just kept running through my head. Hopefully the other students were oblivious to the exchange between Emily and myself. I certainly didn't want to be labeled as a bunny shooter.
The day continued and soon we were all involved with making cheerio necklaces to celebrate the 100th day of school. Stringing 100 cheerios requires one to focus so the bunny shooting episode soon was forgotten.
Parent/teacher conferences were that evening. Conferences can be stressful because you never know what to expect. The first parents walked in, sat down at the round table with me and smiled as they asked, "Shoot any bunnies lately?"