Tuesday, December 23, 2014

School stuff

One thing working in my favor this month, despite being down sick, was that I had purposefully scaled back my preparations this year in relation to my room mom activities. Starting late November, there were 3 activities I knew I would be responsible for before winter break -- a friendship feast, prepping costumes for the kindergarten performance, and organizing the class party.

The friendship feast last year involved all of the kindergarten and 1st grade classes, and they came to the feast dressed as either Native Americans or Pilgrims. I started asking about the event early in November, but didn't get a definitive answer as to whether or not it was happening until a week before it ended up being scheduled. As it turned out, most of the classes were not going to participate. This was the first year our district took a whole week off for Thanksgiving, and perhaps most of the teachers felt it would be too rushed to get all of the elements ready (Hank was a Native American last year, and in class they made paper bag vests, a papoose, a headdress, a necklace, and a placemat) plus actually, you know, teach. But, our teacher wanted to do the feast. The actual food for the "feast" is vegetable soup -- the kids bring in the vegetables one day, chop them the next, and then parents take the veggies home to cook them into soup. One big problem -- we were set to be out of town for the feast, as this was when we went on our trip to Iowa. I have one helper with the class activities who is a godsend -- she also works full time, but is super savvy with setting up online sign up webpages for our different activities. I seriously don't think I could have made it through the last month without her help! In any case, by having folks sign up to help with the different activities, bring extra items such as juice boxes and crackers, and identifying 3 brave souls to cook the soup, the event happened successfully. I prepared recipes for the folks cooking the soup and included a can of tomatoes, spices, and bouillon. I was bummed to miss out, but glad it could still take place.

Nailed it -- except for blurry camera. Luckily I wasn't designated picture taker...

The Monday before winter break was the kindergarten performance. Again, since Hank participated in this event last year as part of T-K, I knew there would be something to prepare in relation to the class's costumes. Each class wears an overshirt of some kind -- most are plain t-shirts embellished with paint, felt, or tape. This year Hank's class was the snowman class. They wore plain white t-shirts with 3 black felt buttons. Well, wouldn't you know, those buttons need to be pinned on each year. In fact -- somebody obviously tried to wash about a third of the t-shirts with the buttons on to disastrous results. The pins left a bunch of holes in the shirts, the white yarn X in the center of the buttons had come undone, and the edges of the washed buttons were ragged. It took some time to fix the the buttons and get them pinned on the shirts, but I got it done. I also brought pretzels for before the show and candy canes for after just to add that bit of zing to my room mom duties (nailed it!)

The Friday before winter break was the class party. Our class party last year was pretty fun, and I admittedly just copied the elements set to my chosen theme, which was How the Grinch Stole Christmas. The party started with the teacher reading the book How Grinch Stole Christmas. Then, the kids received a paper smile I had printed out that said What would make The Grinch grin? We talked about how grumpy The Grinch was at the beginning of the book, but that he came around and was a nice guy at the end. Why was that the case? What would you do to make The Grinch smile?

There were 4 stations to visit after that -- one to make a paper Grinch face and attach the smile the kids had made,

the next to make Who Pudding -- it was a bit of a scientific experiment to scale down the recipe for instant pudding to make in cups. Some kids listened and their came out great. Others, well, I guess there really is science behind making pudding.

The third station was for decorating cookies (love that our grocery store sells un-decorated cookies!)

and the final one was to make a fruit skewer Grinch using a green grape, banana slice, strawberry, and small marshmallow. The kids got to cut the fruit. Almost all of these ideas were found via Pinterest -- sorry for not providing more direct links!

We also bought the teacher a class gift. I sent home a note early in the month to send back money for the gift. It was a little tricky since I am not there every day, so basically the envelopes just went back through the teacher, who sent them home in Hank's backpack. The main gift was a gift card to the teacher's favorite store. A small amount was used to buy an apple scented candle, one of her favorite treats, popcorn, and a rainbow ornament. The kids who have a really good day are said to "get on rainbow." Since the teacher is a long-term sub, I thought she would enjoy a memento of her time with the class. I added a gold disc onto the rainbow ornament with the class info. Another element to the gift was a book from the class to the room. All of the kids signed the book, and hopefully it will be read by classes during the month of December for years to come. So far Christmas is not taboo at our school -- it will be interesting to see if things change as the boys continue school there. The items were wrapped in a nice set of gift boxes BT received at work last year.

There was also ia used book exchange, and kids brought wrapped books that they were willing to part with for the exchange.

It was nice to have help for the party, and again an online sign up page for folks to determine what to bring. I was so relieved when the party was over! I was still sorta sick, but went through the rest of the day with a big smile. I don't think I will ever be a room mom again, but so glad thus far it is working out despite working full time!

One final note on the topic of class parties -- Everett has his party at school tomorrow. I made another Pinterest find -- string cheese snowmen!
I have a hard time letting go of the ideas in my head -- even though I know life would be more simple if I just said no or that's not necessary more often!

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