Tuesday, December 07, 2010

A Special Visit

Today I had the great pleasure of visiting and volunteering in Andrew's classroom.  I had originally signed up to chaperone a field trip to a local tree farm, which would have been great, too, but this was better.  Mother Nature and the Snow Miser were on my side, apparently, because the frigid temps we've been having around here this week caused the kindergarten teachers to wisely make alternative plans--they had the presenters bring their show on the road to the elementary school! 

We working parents don't often get to enjoy things that stay-at-home parents do, and volunteering in the schools on a regular basis is one of them.  I enjoyed myself so much today that I could think of little else than how nice it would be to have the luxury of being one of the regular volunteers, to have that be my Tuesday "thing."  I try to be as involved and informed as I can, and it's probably easier for me than it is for many people...I'm a teacher, my school and his are next door, my sister and several good friends teach there...the list goes on.  But it's not the same as being able to witness first-hand the atmosphere, the schedule, the kids and activities that I hear stories about, and just flat-out being able to watch Andrew in his element.  And boy, was he ever in his element.  He was self-assured, confident, smart, well-behaved, and funny.  And I'm not saying that to "brag on" my kid, but to marvel inwardly and with a couple of tears in my eyes at what an incredible little guy he is and how stinking lucky (blessed, if you will) we are.

As I prepare the photos from today's visit, (all taken with my cell phone, because I don't think these once-in-a-blue-moon opportunities through very well ahead of time), I am wishing that I had written down some of the one-liners and quips I heard from the kids in his class today, because they had me chuckling for most of the afternoon.  Again, I'm a bonehead.  Enjoy the pictures.

After we ate lunch in the classroom (due to the adjusted schedule), Andrew's teacher announced center time.  Andrew made a bee-line to the housekeeping center, where I'm told he spends most of his time.  He ventures occasionally to the art table, but I can understand why he avoided the blocks--that's where the rough crowd hangs out.  Andrew and his little buddy were making taco soup.
Andrew in one of the housekeeping costumes.
Soon after this picture was taken, Andrew's teacher caught me off guard by asking me to read aloud to the class while she helped get set up for the next activity.  Back in the day, before I finished my degree, I was an instructional aide in a kindergarten classroom, and BOY did I have deja vu today!  But the class was great, and once I got over my smidge of stage fright speaking in front of other adults, we read a great story about a puppy who wants a little boy for Christmas.  It was touching and appropriate, but I was on such auto pilot that I don't even remember the title of the book. 

The presenter from the forestry service came into Andrew's classroom as the first part of their "field trip."  He brought in a pine tree that "just happened" to have a bird's nest in it.  The kids were enthralled, and a riot damn near broke out when we heard a bird starting chirping.  I bought it for a minute or two, and was actually concerned a bird was going to be trampled in the melee, but it turns out that Mr. Funnyman Forest Ranger had some sort of bird chirp thing in his pocket.  Andrew announced out loud that the noise was coming from his pocket, and I was pretty sure they were going to take the old guy down and frisk him until they found that bird.  I never should have read Lord of the Flies.  I always assume the worst about groups of little kids resorting to mob violence.  Andrew stayed in his seat as the rest of the kids rushed the park ranger. 
The presenter had some pine tree slices that he brought along to demonstrate how one can tell how old a tree is.  Andrew volunteered to count that one and determined that it was eleven years old. 
We moved on after the park ranger tree aging lesson to a different classroom down the hall.  This presenter, who is a well-known local conservation teacher that I knew from previous experiences at my own school, brought a tree stump full of products that we get from trees--everything from fruit to toothpaste.  Yes, toothpaste.  I still need to look that one up.
She also led the kids in a brief musical session--cedar wood blocks and emory board-type instruments were distributed, and the kids played along with a CD of a Native American musician singing about the gifts of the cedar tree. 
The final activity of the "field trip" was a lesson on pinecones--the different types, sizes, etc., and a hunt for pinecones throughout one of the classrooms. I forgot to take pictures, though, because I was too busy scurrying around the room hiding the pinecones, and remembering to do so at knee level where the munchkins could find them.

I was pleasantly surprised that there was a school assembly toward the end of the day, and I stayed for that too, at Andrew's request.  I could have gone back to school and actually done my job, but the plans were in place, and what the heck?  I don't get these opportunities often, as I said.  So, we marched down to the gymnasium to watch a really great performace of a cute little Christmas musical by the 2nd graders.

Andrew and I were starving when we got home, so we made pizzas together for an early supper.  He declared that he was only putting one pepperoni on his, and that I could have the others.  (He will eat cold pepperoni out of the package like it's going out of style, but he doesn't like it on pizza--go figure.) 
We went back to school later on for Andrew's first school show of any kind--the art show.  He had several pieces on display throughout the cafeteria, but those masterpieces will have to wait for a different post.

All in all, a great day, and one that I will treasure.  Andrew has asked me to come back again on a regular day when I can see him in his classes and his specials.  I think I can manage that--it will be a good use of personal days.


Diana said...

Awwww, Andrew looks very handsome in his little postal service costume. He has that look on his face that says "I'm very important." What fun! I remember all the times helping at my sons' school way back when... *sigh*... I miss that. Wish we lived
closer to them, I would help at the grandkids' schools now. Yeah! LOL!

Tobye said...

I always enjoy the few opportunities I get to visit the kids at school. It makes me wish, like you, sometimes, that that was my life.

Tam said...

Aw what fun time! Merry Christmas.

Manic Mom said...

I have not lurked onto your blog since school started for us in Sept. HAHAHA He has grown so much in just those few months, I can't believe it. Time goes by so fast. That's why I try to soak up as much of their youth as I can.