All hail Halloween and Jack the Pumpkin King! Students certainly did largely hail the holiday, in practicing writing an opinion position piece on whether Halloween should be celebrated or banned from elementary school. Read a feature story in Scholastic the other day. Then when the timing was right, paused to write “Stop Light” paragraphs, colorfully filling lines and pages with Green, yellow, red. Adding illustrations. Not so painful as some might have thought. I overwhelmingly thanked my little scholars for “treating me” to their writing. The sharing and subsequent discussions approaching friendly debate was incredibly engaging, with children excitedly begging to read next. Awesome! Better than candy, and better for us. Some sage friends were quite thoughtful. A handful even provided candy counter aguements. I was very pleased. This worthy of becoming a classroom book. 🙂
So this afternoon, as students were parading, I think they felt more prepared for a celebration, and childhood rite of passage, in owning their experience with words. We slithered in, out, around and through our small elementary in primarily prepositional ways toward a haunting half mile Cos Play in displaying costumes to families, friends, and the community. A great time was had by all, even Super Teachers and other creatures, in presenting their genuine creative selves.
From this teacher’s vantage point it came together amazingly well. Maybe this is because it felt as though someone had slipped me a chill pill. Maybe it was the after effects of chili a la cob webs. In making my way past broom sticks and other creepy culinary conundrums, and wishing on each silky spider web that carressed my face, my head got fuzzy, disbelieving my own solemnity. Not my usual enthusiastic, bouncy parading self. Strange. But at the same time, I was not in the least up tight about any aspect of it. Sometimes teachers get so caught up in the details that they disallow themselves the joy of the experience….there’s monitoring, and then there is…”Come on-atoring!!!”
At one point, I did begin to slightly sense myself slipping into a trapping in maintaining a perimeter, but held myself together. 🙂 The “containment of the costumed students” began to appear problematic in keeping students from wandering the halls prior to kick off of the parade. Hmmm. Felt a lot like herding curious black cats. Actually that went pretty well too, but remembering what a single file line is and buying into it…..another thing all together….a skill we must work on. Perhaps in practicing fire drills sometime soon, as we are likely due for one.
Things that went right: awesome parent volunteers. Make-up. Group picture. Cheering and watching the parade behind a visible baracade line: blue carpet tile floor interface. No weapons or facimiles of any kind. No masks. No injuries, unless you count J…..n’s severed hand accessory. Students chanting my name. Seeing and group huggings of recently retired Mrs. London.
Halloween is not so revered in some communities and in some circles. Halloween was originally a pagan holiday, adopted by Christianity over time in an attempt to embrace nonbelievers. Halloween morphed through many strange gruesome twists and turns toward todays present observances. I showed a few minutes of a History Channel clip on the origin of Halloween. Insightful….hope not to strong. Many were facinated by this. A couple, I think were a little scared. Some oblivious in costuming and make-uping. Then I showed the opening song of “Nightmare Before Halloween,” probably my favorite holiday movie. “This is Halloween alright.”
Halloween was not smiles and candy for one little boy, even though he wrote a very captivating and persuasive piece in support of Halloween, proving it should NOT be banned from our little learning laboratory. This little boy had justified his position, and drawn some amazing pictures of himself in costume as Sully (blue monster) from Monsters Inc. I think, as well as other themed things. His costume was big, blue, and fuzzy, like the blue, plush shaggy, Sully monster costume. I sense the little boy has phobias….so when people started coming from all directions to pet and maul his costume, it became a problem. He tried to play along at first. He was okay for a bit. Then on the raucous walk back to the building, it went wrong in a near mobbing and clobbering. This was NOT okay.
I dispersed the culprits and saved the victim, nearly calling the animal shelter for back up. JK. Brought him up front to protect him essentially. Did this with a few friends, including Mr. severed arm. At the end of the day when everyone else was playing “Heads UP Seven Up” anticipating a sugar high, this little boy broke down in tears in reliving the memory of the senseless, silly assualt. One child immediately appologized for “mobbbing.”
This little friend once related that he has had nightmares from hearing the story of Bloody Mary. This story seems to resurrect in the halls, and bathrooms, and bus rides home each year about this time. I wonder how old this ghost story is? I used to hear it on the bus when I was a child. I think it was a combination of things for this student. Hoped I hadn’t contributed to his pain with those few minutes of History Channel. For some little ones, altering daily routines is all it takes to make life quite difficult. I witnessed this in taking my turn at the car pick-up line. Children exhausted, many physcially and emotionally spent from all of the excitement. Wow. Hadn’t really noticed this before. Today I was seeing like an adult.
Yes. There was the altared, different me I was coming to terms with in all of this excitement. Didn’t feel my usual enthusiastic, romping, singing self. My over grown child felt suppressed in a new dressing. Much more reserved, and sullen in my Witch’s Costume, velvet coat, hat, sweater, and black lycra running pants than in all the other years. Yow! The Super Teacher Underwear must have been working.
Still the children chanted and loved on me. Unsolicited this was very flattering. In reflecting, I think I did feel verrrrrrry, grown up, and adult-like. Strange, I have no background knowledge in this really, but pulled it off. Oh, well. Still happy I was able to participate, much like wearing my pink sequined hat on Tuesday. Every other day would have to turn over to more serious learning and behavior, or straight pin most inhibitions to the blue carpet wall near a Grizzly Claw and other evidence of me.
Kept wondering why I feel so grown up. Think I am better trying to model best practices in all areas of school and life these days. Trying to increasingly release control to twenty-two nine-year olds, while still remembering who is in control. This being the grown up did not feel bad, just different….but then, I was surrounded by several accomplished role models, and parent helpers.
So it is back to almost normal tomorrow in the Day After Halloween adventures, assemblies, and Red Ribbon pajama days. Hope I can manage to fill some time with Opera writing….this having been replaced largely by Science instruction. Science has been good. Great! Just need to motivate in artful dirrections more now. It will all work out somehow. I know this… and the tricks and treats will surely appear in the journey.