Friday, December 20, 2013

Christmas Crafting

I had the best time with kids this morning without having to be in charge. About a week ago my good friend, Debbie, asked if I could help her with her class on this last day before Christmas vacation. It was going to be a craft day, she said, and she could use an assistant. No problem. I enjoy crafting and I like kids. I had, after all, just retired from teaching myself about seven months ago. So I arrived at 8:30 this morning expecting a chore and instead received a very warm welcome from the kids and a really nice experience.

Debbie had planned two really neat crafts for the kids. My favorite was the Santa paintbrush. Debbie is so organized that she had assembled a "kit" of all the supplies that each kid would need in a small baggie. Her other assistant, her cousin, Jackie, and I only had to pass out the kits and stand back while Deb gave the instructions from the front of the room. The children in the class were all so well behaved and followed instructions carefully. It is clear that Debbie has trained them well this year.

Jackie and I circulated throughout the room, helping where necessary and offering words of encouragement and praise. I thoroughly enjoy interacting with kids during crafting activities and this one was no exception. Shortly after we began a dear friend and colleague whom I hadn't seen in a couple of months wandered into the room to offer her assistance. It was a thrill to see Gracie again. She and several other colleagues are the things I really miss in retirement.

Debbie's teaching partner and another of my old colleagues stepped in while I was there. I had two of his three now grown daughters in my seventh grade class. Time flies! Good to see Brian again.

The kids were split into two sessions for the first craft and at the end of these sessions the kids had produced the cutest Christmas tree ornament. They all did a great job on their paintbrush Santa Claus.

The second craft, a paper star, was a bit more intricate and we had twice the amount of kids in the room! I expected the class to be at the end of their attention span since the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas is when the kids are the most restless. Ask any teacher. By Christmas we are usually missing patches of our hair and our fingernails are nubbins! But this group was wonderfully well behaved and managed to put their stars together and be finished in time to go down to the cafeteria for lunch.

Debbie invited Jackie and I to eat in the teacher's lounge at the annual teacher pot luck. Lucky me! There is always a huge selection of super good food produced by the teachers and today was no exception. The bonus here is not just the food but other former colleagues of mine were chowing down, too and it was so nice to chat with them. I have been so lucky to work with some wonderful people during my teaching career.

While we were eating Tyler and Denise, two old friends, paraded their classes down the hall and everyone was wearing balloon hats! The mother of one of their students makes balloon animals and hats for parties and her son, Mike, assists. So this young man made unique balloon head wear for all of his classmates. That's Mike below in the multicolored satellite looking hat.

There was a spider hat...

And princesses...

And boys with chickens and crazy Santa looking hats...

Denise and Tyler were both still cheerful at lunch time and didn't seem to have lost their minds yet. They are both an example of the vast amount of patience most teachers have. The kids were all having a very good time and were eager to pose for pictures. 

At one point during the day when I must have put my camera down to do what I was there kids, someone found it and sneaked a quick shot of me.

I just want to close with a wish for a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to the students and teachers of Richmond School. Thank you all so much for a wonderful day. Oh, and Miss Lucius, I will return the purple handled scissors that I found in my hip pocket this evening.

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