Friday, June 13, 2008

In The Good Old Summertime

There's time in each year

That we always hold dear,

Good old summertime.

With the birds and the trees

And the sweet-scented breeze,

Good old summertime.

When your day's work is over

Then you are in clover,

And life is one beautiful rhyme,

No trouble annoying

Each one enjoying,

The good old summertime.

In the good old summertime,

In the good old summertime,

Strolling through the shady lanes

With my baby mine;

You hold her hand

And she holds yours

And that's a very good sign

That she's your tootsey-wootsey

In the Good Old Summertime.

The 2007-08 school year is over today...Friday, the 13th. Most kids and teachers are counting it as a "lucky day" (not unlucky). This will be my last post for this school year. I'm undecided whether I will continue it next school year in late August. It has been fun and I have learned alot because it made me much more observant. The blogs effectiveness is still in question on whether it changed any mind-sets, opinions or practices in relation to its goal: to promote and be an exponent for the expanded 3 R's (cubed) i.e. less teaching to and for testing and more learning/teaching for the pure pleasure of it. I have observed the very best and the very worst in practices and rubrics and tried to report/journal on them. I have tried to suggest and summarize my beliefs and opinions about what our public schools (k-8) should be doing. Who knows if it will have any measureable or recognizable ripple in the mainstream of current curriculum.

Two days ago I had occasion to visit three of my favorite classrooms/teachers from this past year. I had to thank them and let them know they were a positive part of this blog. I also had to sing a couple new songs to two of the classes. In the one, I had to share "woody" my new ukulele. It was in this class that my old one broke in my hands while I was playing it. I shared a song that came to me while I was "reclining" in my new chair and feeling "retired". It is the song above. It is probably an old "wood-shedding" barbershop ditty. (yes, that's part of me too) I asked the kids if they knew when summer, as a season, really began. None knew it was the "Summer Soltice", June 21st, the longest day of the year for us. Most thought that summer started when they got out of school for the year...when I was I child, I did too. It was just a different feeling time, i.e. I could go barefoot, run in the sprinklers, play board games and go camping. They had a laugh when I tried to explain "tootsey-wootsey" as an old fashioned way of saying "sweetie-pie" or "honey-bun". (or whatever they say today) Actually for me, it was a time when I missed my "school friends" especially my current "girl friend". Now I'm with my life long "sweetheart" and we hold hands alot. I met her at camp in the good old summertime.

I also sang a new version of an old song they knew, "My Bonnie". I got these new words from my daughter-in-law from Va. She has recently been our house-guest. They go like this:

All rabbits have cute shiny noses.

I tell you this just as a friend.

The reason they have shiny noses?

The powder puff's on the wrong end.

Wrong end, wrong end...

It is cute and they had another laugh. One of the special teachers gave me the pencil you see above leaning against the hour glass. She was giving them out as prizes to her top students in music.(she was the Orff-Schulwerk teacher) It allows me to come back next year and "play any of her marvelous instuments". Oh joy! (my favorite is the biggest bass marimba)

The other teacher was in between classes and handing out yearbooks. She had some of the most creative art lessons that I had to interprete...under the stress of a few reluctant, recalcitrant and rambunctious students. I don't know how she does it everyday. I could see that the kids use her room and her as a "harbor" and "safe place" in that "storm of a school". Yes, I assured her, she could invite me back next year, even though I know I'll have to go where they send me on my "art prep period". (it is the law) "They own me for 7+ hours" and I may not end up where I signed up to go and teach. My lesson from her? Her level has to be a "nicer, kinder place" for these intermediate aged students. I saw the results of her kindness and "second-third-fourth etc. chances" that she regularly gave these stressed out students. Her rubrics were there, first of all, to help the kids find themselves and like themselves and Art.

There are other teachers that I have shared this anonymous blog with. They are also my favorites. They were trying to do the job on top of "testing" and teaching how to take tests. They are creative and inspiring teachers and I wish them well. I hope they don't get burdened down in the "testy" district's regs/standards and their obsession with proving their worth only on paper tests at the end of trimesters. School and Life Long Learning is so much more than that. Peace out! RRR

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