Saturday, February 27, 2016

Whirring Dervishness Abounds

Welcome to my crazy life.
Valentine's Day proper was my Mom Sunday. I took spaghetti, garlic rolls and treats for whoever wished to stop by and visit.

 Treats are big at Mom's place.

 Most every lady wears a sweater and they stop by and fill their pockets.  My students made Valentine's for Mom and some other ladies there as well.

  A visit by her favorite Valentine was the hit of the day.

This past couple of weeks has just been crazy.  Hallelujah, Rae and Michael sold their home and found a new one. As is typical, there will be a gap in closings, so we are going to have house guests for a couple of weeks.
It was the best thing to happen for me in one respect because after every family crisis, my house disintegrates into a bio-hazard zone.  Before I ever finished sorting, and sorting and sorting Mom's material life, school started and I simply couldn't face my junk and what remained of her's here at my house, so I didn't. Ugh.
This is an area where my ADD is exponentially exposed. I hate making decisions about stuff.  I have a physical reaction to it. I makes me sick. The problem, well just stroll back through this blog. I do everything with my students and grandchildren. We dress up, paint, glue, paper, mold, build, stuff, knit, sew, button, and on and on and on.  I think every one of those experiences is valuable.
Each time I face this job, I think I have to stop with all this stuff. They don't have to do everything. Then I have a conversation with Ol' Mother Hubbard who says that recently Antebellie was talking about the Fairy Ball and how it was just everything perfect and did I know it would have to be done again?

Okay, so that only involves the dress-up, the candy molds, the punch glasses, the beads, the tulle, the pearls.
As soon as Bean clears the door he wants to know if we are practicing our non-existent water coloring skills.
Bugg and I sit right down to make beads out of the modeling clay Bean and I made last week.
Yeah, added to that is everything I pick up has a memory attached.  A memory I might not have if not for seeing Frosty the Snowman, who still sings, but can't tip his hat so easily.
It is absolutely a misery to me, but like dentist appointments, has to be done.
So most of my spare minutes have been cleaning and sorting to make room for  my people.
In addition, poor planning on my part made for a rough week at school as well.  We were working two big projects.  In turn, each class at my school is involved in our weekly church service.  Mine was yesterday.  I'm ever trying to tie all things together for my students. If they are successful at ISTEP, but have gained no new skills in real world problems, or how to be a decent human being then I have failed.  Their Pope has declared this year the Jubilee of Mercy. I have always taught my kids to sign some, but this class loves it.  March is Disabilities Awareness Month.  Sooooooo, I asked the priest if we could interpret the entire mass. What was I thinking?
So, when one child did a reading or a song, another child was interpreting.  In addition, each day the student's experienced a challenge. On Monday they had to zip one arm in their jacket. On Tuesday they had to keep their leg straight, no bending.  Sunglasses and soap coated glasses were worn on Wednesday and plugs went in their ears on Thursday.  The priest was interested in how this affected them, so Thursday afternoon I asked them to reflect on the week and answer- What challenged you the most?  Why? Lastly, how will this impact your next encounter with someone who faces such a challenge? Of course, I tied this to showing mercy.
I was surprised by the depth of their responses and this is a lesson you hope never leaves them. The priest had them share during the homily.
Another surprise was one I had not considered.  Every day they practiced with their partners, one reading or singing,  one interpreting.  The readers, while certainly not in the usual spotlight at this mass, were the ones that stole my heart.  In working with their interpreter they realized if the child interpreting was to keep up, they would really have to pace their reading.  It is one thing to do this in practice and quite another to do it when you are nervous and in front of the whole student body and others.  I am here to tell you, it was flawless and just remarkable that ten and eleven year old children could pull that off.
But no, that wasn't enough.  This month we study the Civil War through Civil Rights, as part of Black History Month. There are no fifth grade standards for this period of history, so I do it as part of my reading curriculum.  In addition to a great chapter book and interesting articles, we learn about different types of stories, particularly African and African American Folktales.  The students are responsible to tell a story from their own family and one  each of  the  Africa and African American stories we'd studied for a Folktale Festival.
That was yesterday afternoon.  They brought pillows, blankets, etc. and created a storytelling space and all of other students came to hear their stories.  An old African tradition involves creating a storytelling necklace with different beads that represent the stories.  That's why Bean and I experimented with magic modeling clay as the commercial brand is so pricey.

Bean was making little wire pieces for the kid's to put in their beads.
  My students made a bead to represent their story.  The little ones gathered round in their space, paid a penny and chose a bead to hear the tale.  All pennies went to their Rice Bowl project.
Just throw in a big Interact game with Sixth grade and ISTEP prep and last night's soup kitchen

Missy Bugg is grating carrots for the slaw going to the soup kitchen. You can see our beads to the right there.
and allergies abounding due to the dust I've stirred up and waking up at 3 this morning,  the whirring has ceased. Now I'm off to clean the frig and pantry- equally grim tasks that must be done.  Thankful I have a minute to do them.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Valentine Festivities

Tuesday was Playdate and our Valentine Ball.  Miss Bugg had decorated it up nicely and we had a new picture curtain that again had us all cracking up. It was a big time.

Spaghetti and red punch (from cranberry juice).  

 My attempt at using raspberry puree to make pink cupcakes was a fail.  They were grey.  Thankfully it worked on the icing.

This picture makes me want to break out into, "Well, it's those bear necessities...."
 And this picture of Mr. Smiley just makes me laugh.
You will notice a new friend in the mix.  A teacher friend who has looked forward to being a mom for a very long time is now doing exactly that with this sweet little boy.  He just jumped in the fray like he'd always been here.

Gwanfader has been snowed under with work this winter. We were glad he and SweeTee and Wee Will were able to join the fun.

Attending the ball were a few scary rock and roll people.

 Bean grabbed the camera for this one. He has the camera in the normal position, which doesn't work well for a curtain background, so I smile and yell, "Turn the camera!"  Smile, "Turn the camera!"  Smile. It finally registered and we got this one picture with all of us, long after everyone but me had stopped smiling.  Too funny.

Bean is too big for the Ball, boo hoo.  Thankfully he likes to eat, so I'm guessing that will always be a draw.
Wondering how much snow we'll get for Happy Heart Day tomorrow.  Remembering how snowy it was yesterday a year ago, hoping I'd get down the hill for Auntie G-Lou's surgery without incident.
Her son-in-law, Anthony is not doing well, cancer too.  I 'm so sad for my niece to have this awful cancer business twice in a year.  I'm sure they would appreciate your prayers.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

About Through It

Catholic Schools Week is just flat out tiresome.  I was at work until nine last Friday, being teacher at the Talent Show. Sunday was service at church followed by Open House- an Open House I put a lot into and I had one family visit my room. Well there is all that overtime pay-ha, ha.
Here are there American Revolution Tavern signs and some of their knitting.

Their Revolutionary Replicas turned out well.

They did so well with scarves and headbands, Gardner E.  got them started on hearts last week.


During this week, we go out and serve somewhere in the community.  I asked the activity director at Mom's new place if the kids could come and sing and sign. As she was telling what activities there were on what days, she mentioned a knitting circle.  The knitters there knit tiny caps for NICU babies, headbands for the cancer center and scarves and hats for homeless folk.  So, we took our knitting and went and knitted with them.

I tell you, it was the sweetest thing. She told me there are usually six. Well there were about twelve ladies knitting and others just came to visit, including Mom.  Before we left, they sang and signed "How Great Thou Art" and "Biblicious."  It was a good time for all.

So, tomorrow night I'll fix a birthday supper for the Captain, then Pajama Day on Friday, oh my.  Two more days, I can do this.