Since our return from DC (which was wonderful and I will write more about later), I have instituted a new routine in the classroom: Thomas Jefferson moments. I call them Moments with TJ, but that is only because Thomas Jefferson and I go way back. The kids understand that they must call him Mr. Jefferson because they do not know him as well. This new routine was inspired by "Polite Moments" when we would start each morning of the trip with one of George Washington's Rules of Civility--amazing! Moments with TJ simply consists of the reading of and reflection upon an inspirational quotation from our third President. The quote from yesterday is a new lifetime favorite:
"In matters of style, swim with the current; on matters of principle, stand like a rock."
Amen! Well-said, Mr. Jefferson. More inspirational and hilarious moments from DC to come. . .
As I have been preparing for the Washington DC trip and the substitute that will take my other classes all this week, one of my seventh grade students who is probably most looking forward to my absence next week reminded me of this children's book that I used to love when I was little. Miss Nelson is a sweet and kind teacher with a horrible class. But one day when they arrive to school, the class is surprised to find an evil substitute in her place. The substitute looks and acts like a witch--wart and all. And she whips those kids in shape. The class is so relieved and thankful to have the kind Miss Nelson back in the end that they would never dream of misbehaving again. But on the last page in the illustration, you see in the corner of Miss Nelson's room an ugly black wig just like teh evil sub's. Ahhh, the great plot twist , of course, is that Miss Nelson was the evil sub whipping her class into shape.
I tried to find a copy of the book this week to read to the seventh grade just for fun, but alas, I was too busy preparing for my real sub. I wish that I could dress up and be my own substitute next week--it would be a lot easier and a lot of fun ;).
This week has been a whirlwind of preparation for the much anticipated Eighth Grade Washington DC Trip! I am really looking forward to some teaching outside of the classroom and some quality time in my favorite city. But I will be more excited on Saturday morning after we have gotten on the eighth graders through security and all of my preparations will be done (because by Saturday morning it will have to be done, and whatever is not done, I will just have to do without). There is nothing like a deadline to inspire you to get your act together.
getting colonial in Williamsburg
The kids are so excited about the trip. We started a countdown on the board weeks ago. But it always cracks me up the things they look forward to. From the way they talk, you would think that they were way more excited about riding on a plane (many of them for the first time), staying in a hotel, and getting to wear something other than their uniforms in the evening than anything else. As much as I can hype the Capital, the Lincoln Memorial, the Portrait Gallery (which is my favorite place), Mount Vernon (and getting to see the key to the Bastille), colonial Williamsburg, the battlefields of Gettysburg, Arlington Cemetery, the White House, and countless other amazing things we will see and do, they will have no concept of the coolness until they get there and see it for themselves. Traveling with these students is such an amazing opportunity to open up an entirely new world to them--a world where leaves change colors in the fall, where government is a real job that people do, where patriotism and sacrifice are honored and sacred, and where history is actually real.
Even though just thinking about it stresses me out tonight, I cannot wait to introduce a whole other crop of kids to the beauty of Virginia, the coolness of our nation's capital, and the reality of the history that until now has only existed in books.