Friday, October 3, 2008

Bear factory

About a week and a half ago, I had my first opportunity to go to Smunch's school and volunteer with his first grade class. I love doing this. Smunch's little face lights up the moment he sees me and that might be worth it all by itself, but I also love getting to know the other kids. I like knowing what kind of people and what kind of students his friends are. To date, he seems to like the quieter, brighter boys the best. I'm fine with that. There are plenty of troublemakers in his class. Some of them would be fine as friends too. Others, I'd rather he didn't want to hang out with. But so far, I like his taste in other kids, so that makes me feel good about how he's doing. Unlike that first week, he's happy at school now. He likes his teacher. He's made a new friend or two.

But I digress.

Last week, the first grade (all four classes) finished up their unit on bears by turning the multi-purpose room into a teddy bear factory. They stuffed their own bears.Then, at the next station, they picked out a "wishing star", put it inside the bear and sealed it up via zipper and velcro. Then they had the "wish fairy" (a first grade teacher who retired last year) solidify that wish.Each student had their picture taken with their new bear, had it blow dried (supposedly to make it fluffier, although I couldn't tell the difference), choose a bow for the neck or the head and pick a name, which I wrote in my best calligraphic handwriting on a birth certificate for them. Smunch named his bear Jeffrey, after his grandpa.

All the while, teddy-bear-themed music played.

Yes. It was sort of silly and had limited educational value. But the kids were so proud of their bears and so happy to be doing something fun that it was worth the silliness. Jeffrey is the only stuffed animal remaining in Smunch's room. At six and a half, he decided long ago that stuffed animals were the purview of girls and ceded all of his to Mam. It's nice to have a little speck of his younger life return, however temporarily.

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