Thursday, May 18, 2006

Dogs in School and Other Things to Celebrate About Life

I've had a great workday, putting the finishing pieces into the Comprehensive Exam paper I'm planning on turning in tomorrow. I would love to be finished with it in time to get it out of my hands tomorrow so I can put my energy to packing, moving, and uh, grading the final projects of my MDiv students (yikes). Actually that latter part should be a pleasure. I'm excited to see what the students in my group have done for their final projects. I think they'll be great!

I got to E's school early this afternoon because I'd had to run an errand beforehand and it took less time than I expected. The student teacher who has been in E's class since January has had her solo week all this past week. Since I got there early, I decided to go right on into the classroom to see if she could use a hand getting all the kids ready to leave for the day.

When I got there, three kids were coming out of the classroom carrying things for recycling and trash (one of the kids' chores). "Hey E's Mom!" They called out. They never call me Mrs D - it's always "E's Mom." :-) "We've got a dog in the classroom today!" They cried excitedly.

Sure enough! The student teacher had decided to bring her dog in to hang out with the kids during the second half of the day. I thought that was so cool. Having a dog in the classroom is just about the happiest thing I can ever imagine. In fact it's a favorite phrase I use when I'm trying to describe that feeling of excited giddiness that comes over a group of people when something unexpected happens, "Like when a dog walks into the school."

When I was little, a dog walking into school only happened by accident. And all the kids would go berserk! Something that we otherwise would take for granted for the most part would suddenly become heightened to unbearable degrees just because the context shifted! What a great feeling.

Here are a couple things going on with E the Intrepid 8-year-old that I hope I'll always be able to remember:

1. He's at the age when he'll run just about anywhere we go. Or jump up to a low wall and walk along its edge. Or swing from a tree branch if he can reach it. Point is--he's still young enough not care what the shortest route is between point A and point B.

2. He almost always has a toy sword in his hand.

3. That he says, "I love you, Mom," before I say it to him first.

4. That he was brainstorming ways to start a student movement in his classroom the other day as we walked home together. Apparently his teacher told them that if they earned 40 points they would get a pizza party. If they earned "more than 40 points" they would also get an ice cream party. Well, they earned 41-1/2 points. But the teacher insisted it wasn't enough to put them into the ice-cream party category. "But we earned over 40 points!" We had a grand time thinking up ways to hold the protest. In second grade one of the skills they work on a lot is greater than and less than-- you know, 121>111. So we thought it would be cool to design protest posters that read 41>40! Of course the chant would be: "I scream, you scream..." None of this came to anything, but we sure had a fun time planning it. (I also told E he came by all this naturally. My Mom organized a strike in her classroom over fifty years ago! It's such a great story.)

5. The love notes I unpack from his backpack that girls in his class have snuck in there during the day.


HeyJules said...

What a great list. I'm so jealous!

cyen said...

Ah, to be eight again...
If I recall, mom's protest ended up backfiring, and she got in trouble... I think ;)
I would join that protest too...
41 > 40
Lol... the last time I tried to take the shortest route from point A to point B I ended up busting a wooden street sign to help break my fall!

Revem said...

Ahh, what a fantastic list. Our 6 year old (who is almost 7 we are told daily) does many similar things and it is just an absolute pleasure to watch. Thank you for reminding me.