Thursday, December 9, 2010

Notes on the First Week of December

THINGS DONE BEFORE 9:00 A.M. ON A SATURDAY MORNING
Made a pot of coffee, watched the opening of Star Wars until the Moss Eisley Space Port, practiced rollar blading around the sofa, built a castle out of Lincoln Logs and real pine cones, strolled through the park with new magnifying glasses, ordered a dozen glazed doughnuts, ate one chocolate old fashioned each under a tree bundled in scarves, watched a homeless man pushing a cart of boxes, practiced Christmas Carols on violin, skyped Grandma, colored pictures of Santa Claus and posted them on the girl's wall, looked up the North Pole on the Internet, had sleeping bag races in the hallway, sipped hot chocolate and listened to the White Album, explained Yoko Ono and Perry Como, then decided to start the day...
RISING TENSIONS
A South Korean Taekwondo judge disqualified a Taiwanese athlete for having an extra sensor in her shoe and thus brought on the rancor and fury of local folks. South Koreans, who have some of the world’s most notoriously bad sportsmanship, have to just take this in stride. It is a volatile and developing situation. This sign which reads: NO KOREANS ALLOWED, is just one example.
BATHROOM SIGN

This came down from the school brass during our weekly staff meeting that all foreign teachers who use the only sit-down toilet on the school campus should discard all soiled toilet paper into the waste bin to avoid overflows. It was actually on the agenda, item 3 just after assessment records and before mandatory Christmas decorations.

SALEN WITCH TRIAL
During the 9th grade Americn Lit Unit on New England, I had a Salem Witch Mock Trial where I divided students into random Pilgrim characters: Anne and Louis are married bread makers with their son Quintin... when they see Sarah fall into the river during a thunderstorm chasing her down the rushing water, pulling her out but unable to revive her. She is pronounced dead by Minister Lawrence some hours later. Yet strangely, the following morning, she is awake and fine. She is then proclaimed a witch along with Tiffany because she likes to be alone during barefoot walks in the woods, and Sunny, who likes to spin and sing songs loudly. Students are divided into for and against, and a jury deliberates. The students really surprised me by getting into character, journalling backstories about their lives as Pilgrims. Really fun to do.
HARTENSTEIN DRINKS COFFEE BY THE WINDOW
This pretty much starts every email I send now to people, how it's morning and I am sitting here listening to the sounds of children playing outside or birds in trees, the soft wind rustling paper below or the faint coughing of a student next door. The perfectly quiet moments, are mine.

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