Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Cup

#1. Elementary Carnival Preparations
Positive: I managed to figure it out. I used our entire budget, got the administration on board to spot us the rest, and managed to rent a dunk tank and an inflatable slide and obstacle course.
Negative: It took FOREVER. Making phone calls on every break I had to try to get in contact with people who inevitably needed to call me back later... Stressing about money. Stressing about disappointing the kids...

#2. Moving
Negative: Again. And of course it would have to be the same week (same day!) as the carnival. So now, once again, everything I own is in boxes in Russ's garage.
Positive: At least when I moved there six months ago, I did not actually take all of my stuff. I mean, hey, if you never actually set up anywhere, then the take-down aspect of it becomes that much faster! And now I don't live alone in a house that makes creepy creaking noises whenever the wind blows.

#3. Elementary Carnival
Positive: It was really nice of the librarian to help me find all those extra parent volunteers. And we had enough going on that the kids stayed busy. The SBOs LOVED the dunk tank, and since we were outside, I did not have to orchestrate a schedule for the event.
Negative: Oh. My. Gosh. 215 kids as of the morning before the carnival. (Not counting the kids that brought their permission slips in that day.) Ridiculous budget! Parent volunteers who finally showed up 15 minutes after the party started. Broken promises from coworkers. Grr.

#4. Rafting Trip is Cancelled
Negative: I was really, really looking forward to this trip. The Memorial Day trip was supposed to be the light at the end of the tunnel. Disappointment. So why did I take Friday off? Especially because there is SO much to do right now!
Positive: Now, I can stay and get things done. I can watch Russ give his graduation speech, and I will get to attend Carly's birthday party.

#5. Flat Tire
Positive: It is not actually hurt. The guy at the tire place said there was no hole, so I will not have to pay to fix the tire.
Negative: The guy at the tire place said someone probably deflated it as a prank. Which possibly means a student vandalized my car. And that is most definitely NOT okay.

So, what shall it be then, Cup? Which is it? Are you half-full or half-empty?

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Live Long and Shoot Aliens

This week I survived a reconnaissance mission to a new planet, witnessed first contact with an alien species, was fired upon by proton torpedoes, and narrowly escaped the shock wave set off by an exploding star ship.

Really, it happened!

You want to know the best part? My 12-year-old students were the ones running the ship.

This week I took my students to the Christa McAuliffe Space Education Center. It is located inside of an elementary school in Pleasant Grove.

In the days leading up to our "mission," my coteacher and I assigned each of our students a position on the star ship: captain, first officer, ambassador, engineer, right wing officer, left wing officer, and so on. The center even supplied us with descriptions of each of the jobs and recommendations for skills a student would need in order to be successful in that post. We briefed the students on their "mission" before leaving on the trip.

At the center, we broke the kids down into their "flight crews," and then we went into the simulators. Walking through the door was really like stepping into a spaceship... or at least the set of a Star Trek episode. Each student had a costume based on their position. Each student had their own computer, training, and aspects of the "ship" that they were in charge of.

I'll save you the rest of the details, but let me just say that I was totally sucked in! My kids did well--some better than others--and we came very close to exploding in the end, but we DID survive. And the success had my kids leaping out of their seats and cheering.

Also, I learned some things about myself:

1. I still have an over-active imagination.

2. I must admit to being a super-nerd.

3. I don't deal well with stress. One of my students later asked me why I had been making faces while she was negotiating with the hostile aliens. I didn't tell her it was because I was biting my tongue to keep from shouting out helpful hints.

My favorite part was when one of my quiet, shy girls came running through the room holding a ray gun. She stopped, locked her eyes on me in a frenzied half-panic, and shouted, "I JUST SHOT AN ALIEN," and then ran back out of the room.

Totally awesome! I want to go back. They let adults come and rent the simulators too.... Anyone interested?