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.

1 comment:

  1. Well of course you have to have another Fairy Ball! They look so pretty in their dresses and they are growing so fast!

    I love all the wonderful things you do at school but I can understand why you are sometimes exhausted! I really love the ideas for making children understand the trials that others go through everyday. I am going to share that one with the Leadership and RAK teachers.