Monday, September 21, 2009

Mind Your Manners (2003)

So today the entire first grade at my school (nine classes) went on a field trip to see "Jack Frost," which was about the lamest piece of crap I have ever seen in my life. Picture those horrible shows we've all done for education and outreach, only with talentless "professionals" in their mid-thirties as the "kids" from Brooklyn. It was like a bad joke - the Jew and the Muslim and the Catholic dancing around on stage singing about how wonderful the holidays are and isn't it nice to be multicultural (sha la la).

Now, before we left, Miss Victoria and the Criminals had a Very Serious Talk about How We Behave at the Theater. Never ever ever going on another field trip ever ever ever again was mentioned. Twice. A lot of nodding and "Yes, Miss Victoria," dutifully intoned.Directly before we went IN to the theater, it went something like this:

Miss Victoria: Our mouths are...

Criminals: CLOSED!

Miss Victoria: Our ears are...

Criminals: OPENED!

and in we went.

I was never ever ever so proud of them as I was today. They did not talk. They did not kick the seats in front of them. They did not pull each others' hair. They sat and politely watched this piece of drivel as if they were Little Lord Fauntleroy and Polly Anna. The children around them screamed and walked around in the aisles and loudly said "I WANNA GO HOOOOOMMMME!!!" and my babies looked up at me with wide eyes and nodded silently: THEY knew the score.

Then our bus never came to pick us up. They stood out in the cold (the bus field was nowhere near a building) and waited for this asshole to show up for half an hour and did not act up. They squished four classes to a bus and quietly rode home. They ate their lunch and cleaned up after themselves.

We sat down to do some journaling.I told them I wanted to hear what they thought about "Jack Frost." They were to write down their thoughts about it, remembering not to worry if they couldn't spell a word - just circle it and keep writing, we'd come back to edit later. "Pencils up....GO!" and away they went.

So then we're sitting on the rug with our rough drafts, getting ready to edit them so we can write our final versions on the paper shaped like a snowman, and we're working out all those words we circled. "Show. Shhh shhhh...who remembers what those two letters are that make that sound?" "Oh yeah! S H!"I don't spell words for them. We work it out together, we check our First Grade Fast Words Wall, we look in our word bags. But then, Darriel raises his hand, looking tentative. All my kids are so polite really. They think it's bad manners to say something stinks. He says..."Miss Victoria? do you spell...(pause)...boring?"

I snort and say..."B-O-R-I-N-G!"

Every head in the class bends over its paper and starts writing. Does this group have good taste, or what?

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