I must admit that the school week was a whole lot of fun . . . if you were 8 years old. For me, it was stressful babysitting while trying to convince myself I was really teaching the kids some valuable things. I tried. I gave it some good effort. I even gave a math test. I haven't allowed myself to look at the tests yet, though. Don't want to ruin my holiday.
In the end, I had to give in to the needs and wants of the masses and just . . . make paper snowflakes. We spent an afternoon cutting out snowflake after snowflake after snowflake. I have to admit I get a little charge when I show the kids how to make a really good one. It's all about the square. You have to start with a square sheet of paper and fold it into triangles. No matter how you cut, you can't mess it up. It's going to be cool. After I cut the first one, the kids ooohed and ahhhed and wanted to know my secret. I showed them and they made a room full of beautiful snowflakes. I wish I took pictures, but when I went to grab my camera out of my bag, I must have gotten distracted by the giant bottle of Advil and its promise of headache pain relief. Never took any. Pictures, I mean. I took lots of Advil. Here's a photo of one I've just made for your viewing pleasure:
But don't think that just because the kids were caught up in snowflake making that they were little snow angels. Oh no. There was most certainly some running with scissors. Not good. There was shouting and silliness. There were unkind words exchanged between classmates who may or may not have been taking things that didn't belong to them. And there were threats of last-minute notes sent to Santa from the teacher. I told them it was never too late for a teacher to get a note to Santa. And oh, how Santa gets upset over those last minute notes. Luckily, he's well stocked with lumps of coal. Big lumps. But no, my threats didn't make a bit of difference.
On Thursday, we had Polar Express Day. The kids came to school wearing their pajamas. So did I. (Have to admit, it was very freeing - despite the funny looks from the people in Dunkin' Donuts.) We pushed all of the desks to the side of the classroom and the kids sat on the floor on blankets they'd brought from home, holding their stuffed animals. I read The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg while we drank hot chocolate served by some wonderful parent volunteers. The children in the story were wearing their pajamas, so that's why we wore ours, too. (In the movie version, hot chocolate was served on the train on the way to the North Pole. We were planning to watch the movie the next day.) We all loved the wonderful story and had a lively discussion about how we know that Santa is real.
In the afternoon, more parent volunteers came in to help us with a holiday craft. Each child made a bobble-head snowman with curled wire arms - a photo holder. After we were done making the big, gluey mess, I gave each of the kids their Christmas gifts from me - a stack of three books and a candy cane tied together with curling ribbon. The kids were excited about the books (imagine that!) and quickly untied the ribbons to look through them. Now . . . remember those stuffed animals - the ones they were holding while snuggled up on their blankets listening to a heartwarming story? Yes. Those. Well, within three minutes, the majority of the boys (and I have 9 boys) had tied the ribbons around the necks of their animals and were swinging them around. The girls were quick to catch on and soon most of my 19 children had leashed their bears and puppies and bunnies and were having bashing battles.
Here's when things get iffy for us teachers. When a child goes wild - I mean makes poor choices - while his parents are right there in the classroom, who yells at - I mean reminds the child to make good choices? As a teacher, I have a hard time disciplining a kid when Mom is right there. As a parent, I think Mom is thinking I'm in the teacher's territory. Better leave it to her. So not much happens. I tried to calmly and sweetly bring the class back under control while the parents hung their heads and cleaned up the gluey messes. Then, one or two at a time, the grown-ups said they were leaving. Without seeming desperate or begging, I tried to get them to stay. No dice. They were out of there. Can't say I blame them.
I did get some delightful gifts from the class, including a handful of Milford Money - gift certificates that can be used at lots of different shops and restaurants around town. Such a great present! Another fantastic gift from one of the girls was a Macy's gift card with her photo and a message to me printed right on the card! So cool. I'll keep it forever - especially since it's from the girl who, when I joked that I had once gone out on a date with Santa, said, "If I were a guy, I'd date you."
But the most heart-tugging gifts were these:
Above is a hand-woven ornament from a delightful little girl who I've wanted in my class since she was in kindergarten (and I got her!). She told me she did the weaving all by herself. I told her it was unbeweavable.
Below is a silver and gold shell wreath made by one of my sweet little boys and his younger brother. They even signed the back.
Okay, okay, so the week wasn't as bad as I thought it was. But I was still exhausted and slept last night as if in a coma. And I'm happy happy happy that I have a break from those adorable little hooligans. I kind of miss them.
On the knitting front, here's one of my latest acquisitions - my first Cherry Tree Hill Supersock Merino Wool in the River Run colorway. It's even better in person. I bought in on ebay for $19.99 with free shipping. Not a bad deal! I can't wait to knit some socks with it. I'll keep you posted.
Don't thing you're going to get through a post without a reference to balls. Here it comes. I gave away 15 balls so far as gifts to teachers, staff members, and parents at school. They were a big hit. My ball bowl was emptied. I made one new one today, and I've got a second on the needles. A few more to go, and my affair with balls will end. For this year. Balls.