Saturday, January 21, 2006
A Bit of Levity
When it comes to the Education Biz, January is such a drab month. Winter Break is over and done with, Spring Break is so far away and the TAKS test looms. The shine is off the new shoes and the backpacks are frayed, as are the teacher’s tempers and nerves.
We needed a bit of levity, frivolity and general silliness. One day I caught our new Assistant Principal wearing some funky bear paw slippers. Back in his kindergarten days, he wore them when it was time to “Slip into Books”.
From that “Slip into Books” day was born. We kept it a deep dark secret from the kids. The wall were papered with signs saying “Feet = Books”, “Something Odd with Happen on Friday”, “What did the Teachers Forget? “, “Blame it on Mr. A” and “It’s all Mr. A’s Fault. The kids helped make the signs, which heightened the excitement since they had no idea what was going to happen.
Wild rumors swept the school. The teachers weren’t going to show up, Dr. Seuss was coming for a visit, we were going to invaded by aliens, Mr. A was going to walk around books glued to his foot or the teachers were all going to wear chicken suits. We never did figure out the logic of that last one.
They resorted to bribery. “Oh, you’re the best librarian ever. You can tell me, I promise not to tell anyone”. Several budding con men claimed they did know and that they would, for a price divulge the secret.
Friday rolled around and most all of the teachers exchanged their shoes for fuzzy wuzzy slippers, the more outrageous the better. That morning the hall, where the students wait for the breakfast lines to open rang with giggles as they admired their teachers choice of footwear.
We’d told the kids that there was a pizza party for the first ones to figure out the slogan.
Their minds started whirling and twirling. Again, some were utterly outrageous “Stomp on Books”, “Stamp Out TAKS” (we wish) but as the morning progressed and we started giving out hints, some got pretty close.
5 of my morning library kids were determined crack the code.
“Let’s go to slippers.com” one suggested.
“No, we’d better try slogans.com” said another.
“Ms. M, how many words? “ pleaded another
“3” said I, the instigator of the event.
“Books, one of the words must be books” chorused another.
“Yes”. I was being very cryptic that day.
“What’s the rest of it? “ they asked, hopefully.
“It’s got a verb”
“Verb, what’s a verb” they inquired.
“Figure it out, you learned that last year”. Mean old librarian knows the TEKS all to well.
Quick group consult and verbs begin to bandy back and forth. One comes to the conclusion that it has something to do with slipper.
“Slipper with Books?”
“Slipped on Books?”
“Slip on Books?”.
“What’s a preposition?”
“Anything a plane can do to a cloud”. That one is courtesy of my own 4th grade teacher.
Quick grammar lesson and I’m caught in the middle of an Outburst game or I’ve time traveled back to the days when I used to watch Password on TV.
“Slip through Books?”
“Slip Over Books?”
”Slip Under Books?”
“It’s a compound preposition.”
”As in compound word”
“Slip around books?”
“Slip into Books”.
“You got it!”.
The team members break into wild cheers and high fives and rush out to tell all the other students that they “know” but that they are not telling!
By 9am I have a winner for each grade. With one exception, all the winners are teams of 2 or 3 kids who got together and brainstormed.
And amongst all that fun we actually accomplished some educational objectives.
The kids practiced prediction, had a real life lesson in reasonableness, expanded their vocabulary, reviewed grammar and most importantly learned the value of cooperation and teamwork.
Two heads really are better than one.
Anyone care to join us for pizza on Wednesday?