Thursday, September 25, 2008

Da Bears

This has been a week of volunteering in the school. On Monday, I spent the morning in Patrick's classroom, hangin' with his peeps. After doing some copying, etc, I got to sit in the back of the room and take children individually to play a rhyming game where I presented the kids with 24 puzzle pieces that had pictures on them; the pieces could be arranged into six little circles based on their rhyming sound. It was fun to meet all his little friends and to see the Wild Boy in his Natural Environment. I got to play the game with Patrick, of course, and several of his friends. It was great.

One of the tasks his teacher had put on the list that I *didn't* get to was coloring in a huge stack of papers and cutting the pictures on them out. It was a stack that I had copied earlier in the day: 45 copies of a 2-page set of numbered bears, six bears to a page. So, like a happy parent drunk on being in the classroom, I said that I would be happy to bring them home and do them there. Thank heavens they don't need to be brought back until mid-October, because when you do the math, six bears on a page, times two pages in a set, times forty-five sets, equals FIVE HUNDRED AND FORTY BEARS to be colored and cut out. That's a freakin' lot of bears, people!!! Josie, who loves this kind of thing, has been sitting with me in the evenings, coloring away, making tie-dyed bears, bears with clothing, bears with swirls, etc. I'm assuming that this is a math project for the entire K, since there are three classes with 15 kids apiece. Phew. I figure as long as we do about four sets a day, we'll be done in plenty of time.

Then, yesterday, I went with Josie's fouth grade (there are only two classes in each grade other than K) on a field trip to the C&O Canal. Thankfully, there were three separate things to do there: there's a great seven-station setup in the museum there of hands-on bridge building, dress-up and pulley-systems, among other things, a trek down the trail one way to see the Lock system and the old Lockmaster's house (we actually got to open and close an old-fashioned lock!), and then, after lunch, a trip across the top of a ruined aquaduct. Also thankfully, the two classes were split up, with each going to a different station, because 25 kids is MORE than enough to keep track of near water! Holy cow, are fourth graders hyper!!!!! I think when Patrick reaches that age, I will have to carry a pouch filled with tranquelizer darts and one of those pole things to blow it through, so I won't have to get too close and risk bodily harm. Many children in the class were so hyper and excited and, let's face it, a little bored by some of the information, that they talked too much and tended to run, etc, so much so that when they got back to the school for the final hour of the day the teacher REAMED them out and made them all write letters of apology to the National Park Service guide (who, I have to say, was a very, very tolerant and nice man who obviously had lots of experience with field trips). Josie, I am proud to say, was not at all hyper, and seemed thrilled to have me along. She actually held my hand several times, which was sweet and I know will probably be fading soon.

Despite my being totally exhausted from the kids and the temperature, which was surprisingly high yesterday, I was so glad I went. This was the first time I was able to go on a trip with Josie, because Patrick was always too little and couldn't be taken along, and also I was able to assuage my fears about her new behaviors. She does indeed have several friends in her class, and not only does she like them, but they seek her out, as well. It was such a relief! I also asked her teacher how well she seemed to be transitioning, and while we could only talk for a minute, she said that she seems to be very happy, and is doing well, and that Josie's old teacher at her previous school had talked to her about Josie's being in pull-out enrichment classes, which is why she's being pulled out already (apparently there's been some kind of computer glitch and the testing data for the kids in her class was wiped out, so they'll have to retest everyone else). Hooray! So, now I can stop worrying about that. Also, Josie finally mentioned the other day that she'd like to have one of her friends over, so the preference for being alone seems to have almost run its course.


Kristi said...

I want to go on a field trip with Kaeli so badly, but it never works out with my schedule at work! I got to volunteer for their field day last year, and it was so fun to watch her interact with all of her friends!!

Because of your title I have that skit from old school SNL stuck in my head. Da Bears and Da Bulls. Then, Chris Farley "chokes" on some huge peice of meat. Ha ha ha

AndreAnna said...

Wow, that's busy!!

Kristin.... said...

I love chaperoning field trips when I can. Meg is on one today but my babysitter (MIL) is away so I couldn't attend. I have to chaperone Drew's preschool trips as parents drive the kids. I take a ton of photos.

You've been busy. I cannot wait for the day that I'm busy with things other than changing diapers and pulling kids off furniture. :)

Melissa said...

Man to be there with a temp. can't be easy!

d e v a n said...

Sound like it's going well!! AND that's a lot of bears.

creative kerfuffle said...

too bad we don't live closer cos i love love love to color, though that is a hefty number of bears! yeah josie for helping you. and i LOVE that she held your hand on the fieldtrip. times like those make dealing w/ the other wild kids worth it.

LoriD said...

I don't think I'd have the nerve to ask a volunteer parent to do that much work. I'd be okay with the colouring, but I hate cutting stuff out.

I've never been on a field trip with the kids, although if there was ever one near water, I would definitely be there.