Thursday, January 9, 2014

Absence Makes The Heart Grow Fonder

I realized as soon as I saw the kids this morning how much I missed them.  Promptly at 9 a.m. the bell rang and the hallways filled with laughing, talking, happy little ones, anxious to get back to school.  The teachers filled the hallways smiling and invigorated from their two week + three bonus snow days of vacation.  And it was already Thursday!

So what if a pipe had burst under one of the classroom sinks in my hallway late Wednesday night?  And the carpets had been removed from the classrooms, soaking wet from the three inches of water.  No problem that the book shelves were moved around the room and anything left on the floor was completely soaking wet?  What difference did it make that the classroom was a bit disorganized and "off" due to having to move things out of the way in the water clean-up?

I stood in the hallway as the students arrived, wishing them a happy new year and welcoming them back.  

"[student name], is that you?" I asked bending down and looking at one of my little cuties.  "It's been so long since I've seen you, I barely recognize you." 

(giggle) "Oh, you know who I am!" came the reply.

I continued down the row of coat racks attempting to be silly and unable to contain my glee at seeing them again.

"Aren't you SO happy to be back at school finally?" I asked several of them as they urgently pulled and jerked to remove their snow pants and coats.   "I have so many things for us to do today!"

They laughed and grabbed their binders and headed to the classroom.  

Naturally, they instantly noticed two things.  

#1  The disco/mirror ball was hanging from the ceiling. Sparkling and reflecting magnificently I might add.

#2  The room looked very different: bookcases were not in their places and the reading carpet was missing. 

"Let's hurry up and get settled so we can get started," I instructed.   

At this, one student noticed the note on the boy's bathroom door:  "Do Not Use" with a confused face drawn on it.  Because every note needs some kind of face on it.

Pointing to the boy's bathroom as he headed towards me I heard, "Why can't we use the bathroom?"  

Simultaneously two little girls were asking me why the book cases and book boxes were all over the room. 

I held up both of my arms as if calling a touch down in a football game.  I clicked on my microphone.   "Ladies and gentlemen, may I have your attention?   I need to make an important announcement.  Last night a water pipe broke in a classroom down the hall and there was some water in our classroom.   They are cleaning the carpet and had to move some things to clean up the water.  You may not use the bathrooms in the room or the sink/drinking fountain because there isn't any H2O.  You may use the bathrooms and sink in the Media Center."

Fifteen hands were in the air.   How in the world can they have so many questions?  I explained the situation perfectly and completely. 

"What is H2O?" asked one, who had apparently heard only one word of the fifty.  

"Water!" echoed back at least four others.   "It means water."

"What if there is someone in the bathroom in the Media Center?" asked another.

"Well, you can do what you do here.  Wait." I replied.

At this, at least seven hands went down.  Seems that was an important question of the day.  I finished up the remaining questions quickly and we began.

In the middle of our math lesson, a hand shot in the air with urgency.  


"You have the wrong date on the board.  You have 1-9-13 and it should be 1-9-14," stated the little boy. 

"You are absolutely right!" I exclaimed as I headed over to the board to correct it.  "Thank you for being so observant.  I am a year behind the times."

It was great today to see the kids get right back into the routine and the flow of our classroom.  We have a great little community of learners and thinkers.  

I got called "mom" at least fifteen times today, typical for after a long break away from school.  At recess, I encouraged the students to make a snowman outside our classroom window as they headed outside.  When they returned, I looked out the window and shrugged my shoulders.  

"Where is the snowman?"  I asked with a pouty face.  "All that time outdoors and you didn't make a snowman for me?" 

At this two headed for the window.  They pointed far away to a giant snowball. 

"We tried.  We made the snowball but it was too big and wouldn't roll any more."  

Indeed, there was a rather large snowball in the middle of the playground.  

"Well, you can try again tomorrow!  I know you can do this!" I encouraged them as I headed away from the window. "Now, I'm certainly no snowman builder expert, but maybe you should start the snowballs closer to where you want them to end up," I suggested. "Just saying."

After all, last year my class put in lots of time and effort to build this:

Last Year's Snowman

After lunch it was time for reading.  "OK, please come and sit on the --  on the -- back carp--", I said pointing to the space where the carpet normally is. 

They giggled.  "Well, I guess that wouldn't be too comfortable to sit on the hard floor.  So you can just stay in your seat." 

When students asked to go to the Media Center (bathroom), I told them to have a nice stroll and to not get into any mischief. 

As usual, the day flew by.  I know the kids were happy to be back to school on a schedule.    And I'm guessing that the parents were elated to have their kids back to school.

Most of all, I'm quite positive the teachers were glad to be back teaching and with kids.

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