Saturday, November 18, 2006

Out of the Mouth of Babes

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Albert’s Thanksgiving is one of my favorite Thanksgiving books. Albert is a hapless goose who works an elementary school and is at the beck and call of Patsy Pig, a strong minded PTA President with a penchant for delegating. The book is written as a series of notes from Patsy to Albert.

Our 4th graders take the state writing test in February. They hate to write and I love to – though given how sparse my blog entries have been that statement might be debatable. One of my many assorted jobs is to help generate some enthusiasm among 9 year olds for putting pencil to paper.

The story ends with a twist, which we turned into a sequel. We entitled our opus Albert’s Plant a Flower Day. Plant a Flower Day is one of our fund raisers. Parents and students buy a flowering annual for $1 and plant them in the flower beds. The parents can also stay for lunch and the kids love it. The beds look really pretty, unless you are Martha Stewart and insist on perfection.

We haven’t much of a PTA (a common lament of Title I Schools) so our Principal played the part of Patsy Pig and the school custodian made her debut as Albert.

The results were delightful.

Ms. Smith’s Class
Miss. Juanita was outside clearing the weeds and dead plants. She looked up and saw Juan Carlos and he had a note in his hand.

Dear Miss. Juanita,
Tomorrow is Plant a Flower Day. I have to go to a meeting. Will you please go to Home Depot and buy the flowers for the children to plant tomorrow?
Sincerely yours,
Miss. Jones

Miss. Juanita bought the flowers and went back to the beds to clear the weeds. Janet ran up with another note.

Dear Miss. Juanita,
The shovels are all dirty from our last Plant a Flower Day. I have to go to the Administration building to pick up the 4th grade writing tests. Will you please wash the shovels?
Sincerely yours,
Miss. Jones

Miss. Maria cleaned all the dried mud off the shovels and went back outside. Grecia skipped up with a note in her hand.

Dear Miss. Juanita,
The tables need to be set up. I’m so busy writing notes on all the student’s report cards. Would you please arrange the tables for tomorrow?
Sincerely yours,
Miss. Jones

Miss. Juanita went storage closet and brought out all the tables.

Dear Miss. Jones,
The flowers are all set up on the tables and the shovels are all clean. I have done everything you asked me to do but the garden beds aren’t ready!
Sincerely yours
Miss. Juanita

Miss. Jones, the students and their parents volunteered and the beds were ready in no time at all.

Dear Miss. Juanita,
Thank you for all your hard work. Plant A Flower Day
was wonderful. Christmas is coming and I have an idea for the decorations.
Sincerely,
Miss. Jones

Miss. Gonzales’s Class
Miss. Juanita was outside Housman Elementary school digging holes for Plant a Flower Day. Helen walked along the sidewalk and in her hand was a note for Miss. Juanita.

Dear Miss. Juanita,
Have you finished digging the holes yet? Can you please set up the tables? I can’t do it because I have to go to a meeting.
Sincerely yours,
Miss. Jones.

Miss. Juanita set up all the tables and began to dig holes again. Soon, Julia scooted out the door and brought Miss. Juanita another note.

Dear Miss. Juanita,
Would place the chairs in the hallway by the cafeteria for the parents? I have 3 naughty children in my office and I can’t leave them alone.
Sincerely yours,
Miss Jones

Miss. Juanita arranged all the chairs and went back outside. Susie rapidly drove her wheelchair over Miss. Maria’s foot. In her hand was another note.

Dear Miss Juanita,
We don’t have any flowers! Please go to Lowe’s and purchase some. I’m having a conference with the parents of the 3 naughty children who were wrestling during recess.
Sincerely yours,
Miss. Jones

Miss. Juanita jumped into her car and drove to Lowe’s to get the flowers.

Dear Miss. Jones,
I have set up the tables, arranged the chairs and purchased the flowers. Who is going to dig the holes for the flowers?
Sincerely yours,
Miss. Juanita

Miss. Jones sent the 3 naughty children out to help Miss. Juanita dig the holes. Plant a flower day was a success.

Dear Miss. Juanita,
Thank you for all your help. Don’t forget the Christmas show is coming up and I’ll need your help!
Sincerely yours,
Miss. Jones

Mrs. Johnson’s Class
Friday is Plant a Flower Day at Kingsdale Elementary. Miss. Juanita was busy pulling the weeds and cleaning the leaves in the flowerbeds. Up ran Keanu with a note in his hand.

Dear Miss. Juanita,
Will you please go and buy the flowers for Plant A Flower Day. I would go but my e-mail box is full and I must respond.
Sincerely yours,
Miss. Jones

Miss. Juanita drove to Wal-Mart and bought the flowers. She then went back to the flowerbed. Nancy came skipping up with another note.

Dear Miss. Juanita,
Would you make the signs for Plant a Flower Day? I must attend a PTA meeting so I’m not able to make them.
Sincerely yours,
Miss. Jones

The Art room was full of paper and markers. Miss. Juanita borrowed some of the supplies and made the signs. Just as she finished Christina walked up with yet another note.

Dear Miss. Juanita,
We need as many holes as we have plants. I forgot my blue jeans and don’t want my new suit to get dirty because I have a Principal’s Meeting with the Superintendent.
Sincerely yours,
Miss. Juanita

Miss. Juanita found the tools and dug the holes.

Dear Miss. Jones,
I bought the flowers, made the signs and dug the holes. However the beds are still full of weeds.
Sincerely yours,
Miss. Juanita

Miss. Jones called the Assistant Principal and he sent the detention kids outside to pull the weeds. Plant a Flower Day was a success.

Dear Miss. Juanita,
Thank you for all your help with Plant a Flower Day. Remember that Open House is right around the corner!
Sincerely yours,
Miss. ones

And Plant a Flower Day was a success! I e-mailed the “sequels” to our Principal who had a good laugh (which she really needed).

I think that lesson’s a keeper!

1 comment:

elementaryhistoryteacher said...

What a wonderful way to use Albert and Patsy. Bravo! I enjoyed reading your results.