[Scroll down for a fun Halloween story!]
I’ve been substitute teaching, and what an experience it is. Last week I spent one day helping in a class of autistic kids, one day teaching English to 7th and 8th graders, two days teaching 2nd graders and one day teaching social studies to ninth and eleventh graders. I enjoyed all these assignments, though there was also much work involved! Being a teacher is a tremendous responsibility, even if it’s only for a day. I was best suited for the English teaching, of course. But I think Idid a great job every day.
The second graders are an amazing, loving bunch who eagerly absorb everything. They are good role models for us in terms of enthusiasm and joi de vive. They do need help with respect and empathy.
I’m returning to Thursday’s second grade class today, and I told them I might bring them a Halloween surprise. I woke up Sunday wondering what I would bring them. I didn’t feel like going to a party store, especially since the day was so beautiful.
I give out Happy Clams as a gift to readers at book festivals. I thought: It would be great to give clams to the kids. But the clams had nothing to do with Halloween. Yet.
I decided to write a Halloween story for the kids reviving around the clam, now named Clarence.
And guess what? I like my story. So much that I’m sharing it with you.
This is a Halloween story about friendship and consideration. If you like it, please share it with some little critters you know! (For extra fun, ask them to create illustrations!)
THE VERY, VERY, VERY WET HALLOWEEN
By Selene Castrovilla
Splash, splash, splash! It was a very, very, very wet Halloween.
KID QUESTION: Why do you think it was so wet?
Just like every other day for the creatures living in the Big Sea. The little critters, who were the youngest creatures, swooshed and swirled through the current at recess.
KID QUESTION: Can you name some of the creatures and little critters who might live in the sea?
All except Clarence, who couldn’t budge.
KID QUESTIONS: What does budge mean? Why do you think Clarence couldn’t move?
Clarence was a clam.
Clarence was used to being stuck in the muck. He was born that way. He’d stayed buried in the sand until this school year. That’s when the Big Sea School Board voted to transport clams to class, so they could learn too. Now Stanley Sea Turtle, the district’s official transporter, surged through the reeds, scooped Clarence up and swam him over to school every day.
At first Clarence’s parents were afraid to let Stanley take their son.
KID QUESTION: Why do you think they were afraid?
But Stanley was sworn to protect all the little creatures who were students, and to respect their families. Even though it was in his nature to eat clams, he never ate Clarence or his family. In fact, Stanley liked Clarence — and all the other little critters too.
So Clarence went to class, and he made friends with everyone. His special friends were Barry Bluefish and Stella Squirrelfish. They usually played tick tac toe with Clarence in the sand.
But today, on the very, very, very wet Halloween, Clarence sat alone.
KID QUESTION: Why do you think Clarence was alone?
All of the other critters, including Barry and Stella, were caught up in the Halloween excitement. They could’t wait to go out trick or treating for kelp. Zipping through the the bubbling water, the critters called out what their costumes were.
“I’m going as Nemo,” Barry babbled. “My mom got me waterproof fin paint!”
“I’m going as Sandy from Sponge Bob,” Stella sang, in a southern twang.
KID QUESTION: What do you think a twang is?
All the critters swung round and round the reeds, calling out their costumes.
Except for Clarence, stuck in the muck. He was used to being stuck, and he was used to being very, very, very wet on the outside. But today, on very, very, very wet Halloween, he felt very, very, very damp on his inside.
KID QUESTIONS: What does damp mean? What do you think this last sentence means?
Clarence had never heard of Halloween. And watching his friends having fun without him, he wished he still had never heard of Halloween. In fact, Clarence wished Halloween would just go away.
But it didn’t.
When recess finally ended, the critters came back to their seats. Mrs. Grouper, their teacher, started her math lesson. She called on Clarence for an answer, but Clarence clammed up.
“What’s the matter, Clarence?” Mrs. Grouper asked. “You love math.”
“I’m sad because my friends played without me today,” said Clarence.
KID QUESTION: How do you think Barry, Stella and the rest of the class feel?
“Oh Clarence, I’m sorry,” said Barry. “I got so excited about my costume that I didn’t think about you. Please forgive me.”
“Me, too,” agreed Stella.
The rest of the class murmured their apologies.
KID QUESTIONS: What do you think “murmured” means? What does “apologies” mean?
But Clarence said nothing.
“What’s the matter now, Clarence?” Mrs. Grouper asked.
“I’m sad because I can’t go trick or treating like everyone else,” Clarence said. “Stanley takes me straight home after class. Those are the rules.”
“Oh Clarence, you can come trick or treating with Barry and me,” Stella said.
“We’ll meet at your clam bed,” said Barry.
“But I can’t trick or treat!” Clarence exclaimed. “I can’t move!”
KID QUESTION: What do you think Barry and Stella can do to solve this problem?
“Don’t worry,” said Barry.
“We’ll carry you between us,” said Stella.
The whole class clapped at this wonderful solution. Except for Clarence, who remained closed off.
KID QUESTION: Why do you think Clarence is not saying anything?
“What’s the matter, Clarence?” Mrs. Grouper asked.
“I don’t have a costume!” cried Clarence.
“Oh, Clarence. Of course you do,” Mrs. Grouper said. “You have the best outfit of all.”
KID QUESTION: What do you think Clarence’s outfit is?
Mrs. Grouper said, “Clarence, you’re wearing a smile!”
Everyone cheered and hugged Clarence. And even though it was a very, very, very wet Halloween, Clarence felt very, very, very warm and toasty inside.
Clarence was a happy clam.
HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!! MAY YOU BE AS HAPPY AS CLARENCE THE CLAM.