Thursday, December 18, 2008

Why does Miss M need a fireplace?

Ok, I'll give away the correct answer in the beginning. It's for the lower elementary (PreK-2nd) Christmas program. The setting is a living in pajamas, listening to a bedtime story. Clearly, a fireplace would help set the stage.

The fireplace was constructed last week (through our facilities department), but with the upper elementary (3rd-5th) Christmas program last Friday, I had NO TIME to paint the wooden structure.

Suddenly, it was this week, and we needed the fireplace ready for 10:30 am, Wednesday.

I managed to get a beige basecoat completed on Monday. That left the stones for Tuesday.

Tuesday is also my heavy load for teaching. I threw the dress code out the window and wore painting clothes all day long. Between classes, and even during classes, I painted! The typical routine: explain to the students why I have the fireplace and why I need to work on it, start them on their project, and then get back to painting! Some second graders finished their project early and wanted to help. The inside black and top brown are complements of that class!

My last class of the day was 1st grade. I wasn't finished with the stone, but I knew I could not paint during that class. Those kids demand my whole attention!

Retelling the story later, I described the fireplace as the elephant in the room. That's completely the wrong phrase. Sure, it's the big thing in the middle of the room, but EVERYONE is talking about it!

I got first grade seated and quiet as quickly as possible. It was time to start the spiel. Raise your hand if you can tell me what that it? Since most of my kids are non-native English speakers, they don't know the English word "fireplace." Instead, I get the word fire, accompanied by hand motions and sound effects! Yes, in English, we call that a fireplace.

and WHY does Miss M need a fireplace?

The most popular answer was "to be warm." It may be cold in our school, but this fake wooden fireplace is not a solution to that problem!

Answer number two, from Justin, the creator of the pilgrim snowmen below, "so Santa can come and bring you presents!"

As every first grader knows, I live in my classroom. And how is Santa going to find me all the way around the world in China? Clearly, I need a fireplace. It made perfect sense to him! (Never mind the fundamental structural differences between this faux fireplace and the real-deal, namely a chimney!)

Sitting on the ground, doing some finishing touch-ups!

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