I’ve been teaching long enough to know that there are times when the student has more to teach than the instructor does. As a Montessorian, moments like these are sheer bliss. They mean we’ve worked ourselves out of a job. The students have become independent, which is the ultimate goal of the classroom experience and in life. Working with the lovely and talented Kit Grindstaff on her Teacher’s Guide for her most incredible fantasy The Flame in the Mist was one of those blissful "forging toward independence" experiences.
Kit describes The Flame in the Mist as the story of courageous and fiery-headed Jemma, who, with the help of two magical golden rats and her friend Digby, has a dangerous destiny to fulfill: to stop the evil rulers of her country, and the mist and misery they create. Whoa! Stop right there. Magical rats. Evil rulers. Mist and misery. Shoot…I’m chomping at the bit to make a guide for an awesome story like this one. But alas, fair Kit has a plan of her own – a good one, too.
Kit created her own guide that far surpasses anything that I could have dared to attempt making – an astounding 35 page feat of splendor comprised of chapter-by-chapter analysis, historical setting, a summary of Medieval times facts, a cool section entitled “Nursery Rhymes – Innocent or Creepy”, character analysis done in marvelously creative way, and even a criss-cross puzzle! All she needed me to do was to pretty it up a little and add the Core Curriculum State Standards annotations to it. She did the heavy lifting. I merely cheered her on.
I became enraptured by the story as I poured over the guide she created. So much so, I dropped a bomb of a hint that I wanted to read the book. Kit graciously sent me a copy in which she inscribed, “Thank you for helping me rock the schools with Jemma and the Ratresses.” No….sweet, Kit. I think you’ve done it all by yourself! And, I’ve have to say, that I’m mighty proud of YOU!