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The Magic Portable

I’m teaching a grade 3/4 split class in a portable today. This means two grades at once in a big box that sits outside the school. This is only a half day assignment and when I arrive, the students are still finishing lunch and they are unsupervised.

When I open the door, I’m enthusiastically greeted by a student named William who asks me if his tiara is on straight. I don’t see a physical tiara, but I’m not going to let that stop me so I respond with an enthusiastic OF COURSE AND IT LOOKS AMAZING!!!!

His eyes widen and he welcomes me to the Magical Portable before introducing me to his BFF Nissa, who offers me an olive.

“The pimento is to die for,” she says as she brings her right hand to her forehead dramatically.

It’s clear that I’ve stepped into the most fantastic classroom there ever was as I reach in and sample one of her imaginary olives, apologizing for not bringing a fork.

Another friend named Eva enters the scene with a unicorn.

Not an imaginary unicorn. A full on stuffed fake unicorn that’s half the size of my body.

I take a moment to absorb the sheer delight of everything unfolding around me before shaking the unicorn’s paw and giving a curtsey.

The students are ecstatic that I’m playing along and I’m delighted that this is today’s assignment.

“Can Uni help you teach today,” Eva asks politely.

“I wouldn’t have it any other way,” I respond as Nissa throws her imaginary olives up in the air and rushes to her desk.

The bell rings and I can’t find a lesson plan. It’s perfect though. I’m waist deep in theatre of the absurd and get to improvise.

“Bligg blogg spliffity doo,” I say directly toward the unicorn.

The class giggles.

“She speaks unicorn!,” Eva says.

“Spligga Gigga Bibbily Boo,” I continue. With gestures.

I run with it. Gallop really. It’s really good work.

I inform the class that I’ve ask Uni to help me teach today.

“What did she say,” William asks from the edge of his seat.

“She said she will help,” answers Eva excitedly, “I speak unicorn too and she will help!!!”

Within minutes, I have a stuffed unicorn tied to my body thanks to my long winter scarf.

The class chants.


I go back and forth between English and the language of the unicorn as we create our own story about a magical portable.

The story writes itself.

I feel grateful to spend half a day with a group of children who are so willing to be imaginative and creative.

At the end of the afternoon, Eva hands me her masterpiece picture of a person with a unicorn horn.

“It’s you,” she said.

“The horn is so accurate,” I reply, “I didn’t know anyone could even see it!”

“I can see it,” she whispers confidently.

I throw a little more gibberish toward Uni, reach for one last olive and prance out the door.



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