Sunday, November 11, 2012

MORE Spontaneity - Part III

More Spontaneity - Part III

There is no end to spontaneity, especially if you are working with students.  What a great “job” we have.  We get to be with creative, fun, interesting students all day long.  

One of our children picked up a snail for “science” and put it  in our car to take to school the next day.  The problem was, they put it in the car on a Wednesday, forgot to take it in for “science” on Thursday, and the poor snail ended up on its way to Elnora, Indiana on Thursday afternoon on our way to the Anabaptist Orchestra Camp.  (Haydn’s Farewell Symphony anyone?)
At first, the snail stayed in the drink holder area.  One morning I found it had crawled up towards the dashboard on the driver’s side and cemented itself there.  Next, it got knocked off onto the floor.  We were afraid the unfortunate creature had been crushed under the driver’s foot when once it again it was rescued and put back in the cup holder.  A compassionate member of our family put it in her empty Hampton Inn coffee cup, where it happily stayed the rest of the weekend, on the trip home, and was finally presented for “science” on Tuesday morning.   We also discovered that snails like to crawl out of their coffee cups and eat the paper on the outside of the cup.  
A few day’s later another snail ended up in the high school area of our school on a student’s desk.  The student (a high schooler) made a house for the snail out of paper, put the snail inside it, and deposited it on another student’s desk.  The recipient of the snail and his house was not too amused, but she left the snail in its house on her desk.   
Now the idea had caught on and several snails began appearing as “pets” on students' desks.  The snails were obeying all the rules and the students were learning all kinds of interesting things, such as:  snails leave slime trails on your desk, snails can crawl over the edge of your desk and stick to the sides, and snails can eat part of your seat partner’s English worksheet.  
One beautiful fall day a math class asked their teacher if they could  finish their lessons outside on the picnic benches.  

A third grade girl brought in a gorgeous green frog in a five gallon bucket for “science” recently.  The bucket was pretty tall, but the frog happened to be able to jump out of the bucket.  It happened to do this in the middle of English class.  It also happened to keep jumping away from the student who was trying to catch it.  It was finally returned to its bucket where its owner placed a large book over it for the rest of the day.  
In preparation for our last honor roll party, I asked one of the older students to pull down the attic stairs for me.  He did, and two other students who had finished all their work came to help me.  All three of these young men are quite the gentlemen.  They very helpfully passed a few items down the stairs for me (this isn’t easy for me to do on folding attic steps in a long dress), and then they had a spontaneous idea.  They asked if they could organize the attic.  It was during the twenty minute study hall before lunch, they had finished all their work, and I gave them permission.  

The results were amazing.  Not only did they organize everything up there very nicely, but they also “decorated” the attic, hanging up a Monet print we aren’t using this year, and arranging desks and chairs.  They called it their clubhouse.  They haven’t had a lot of time to have more club meetings, but it sure does look great up there.  
One day at recess a teacher noticed that one of the first graders had on different colored socks.  He asked her why.  She replied that those were the only two socks she could find.  Her mother later told us that those were the only two “special” socks she could find that were her favorites, and assured us that the little girl had lots of clean, matching socks.  The teacher thought it was funny and declared the next day non-matching sock day.  The idea caught on.  Now Fridays, and sometimes every day, is non-matching sock day.  It is creative, it is interesting, it is not copying the fads and fashions of the world, and it is fun.  No harm done. 

And, another planned spontaneity.   We try to encourage our students to be non-conformists.  (This goes way back to when my husband was in public junior high school.  All his friends had shirts with “Coca-Cola” written on them, as was the current fad of the month.  He asked for one, and his mother replied, “No, I will not have you walking around being a walking advertisement for Coca-Cola.”  Lesson learned.)  If students can have a broad range of interests and skills, they will not only be more adaptable to other cultures and environments, but they will have a greater ability to relate to others just in case they are ever missionaries.  

My husband lives in “teacher” mode.  This is a good thing.  More of us need to BE teachers instead of just putting on a teacher hat Monday through Friday so to speak.  He enjoys frisbee disc golf and asked his mother for a portable, frisbee disc golf basket for a present one year.  (He wasn’t quite yet forty.)  She got him one of those really neat non-portable ones, although it does fit in the back of our Suburban. 

So, last Friday it arrived at school and the students all got out their own disc (he has taken most of the boys disc golfing before) or let them borrow one of ours.  One of the first mishaps was that he disobeyed rule number who-knows-what of disc golfing, never walk in  front of someone whose disc is behind yours, because if they thrown it you may get hit.  He got hit in the arm.  Hard.  

So, now the disc golf basket sits in the field across the parking lot from the school, and if anyone is able to get a “hole-in-one” by throwing a disc from the entryway of the school, they will be rewarded with a large drinkee from Cefco.  Ah, the pleasures of small-town living.