Friday, April 21, 2017

Tidbits

Just some short stories, as I mull over my post on schools, leveling, racism, and my kids' future.

But first, something from yesterday on my historic house tour.  There was a beautiful moment that solidified for me why we work so hard to try to get the tours right for our students. We were in the keeping room and one of the students had asked me if the characters in the Reader's Theater were real, historical people. The answer is yes, though the scenario is imagined, and so I went through the list explaining who each one was. I explained that we had specifically included a free African-American businessman who really ran a fishing business on our river, because we wanted students to hear more than that there were slaves in Connecticut living in the basement of other historic houses--that some slaves became free, and also that some people of color hadn't been slaves and even owned businesses. And this little African-American boy sitting at my feet whispered, "Because black lives matter." And I said louder, so the whole class could hear, "Yes, black lives do matter."  It's why my colleagues and I do what we do.

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We went to the Bronx Zoo over spring break on one of the beautiful spring days.  Mama and Sis went in search of the big cats while Bud and I went to the penguins.  Call it method acting research for his part as a penguin in the school play!  We all met up to do the bug carousel, butterflies and gorillas, who had several new babies among them.  I teased Bud that he was like a baby gorilla, very clingy on mom when he's asleep.  On vacations, I often share the small hotel double bed with him and he's a heat-seeking missile, rolling my way constantly; I guess I'm an adequte substitute for his Mr. Big penguin, who doesn't travel.  It's actually pretty cute.

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We tried something new with egg-dyeing this year.  Instead of the traditional vinegar-and-color-tablet, we did three different kinds of eggs.
  • Whipped-cream eggs:  Soak boiled eggs in vinegar for 3-5 minutes.  Meanwhile, spread whipped cream (or shaving cream) on cookie sheet.  Dot with liquid food coloring and swirl with wooden skewer.  Roll eggs in cream and keep them covered for 30 minutes.  They were beautiful until we washed off the cream and the color came off, too.  We'd try again, though.
  • Nail-polish eggs:  In disposable conatiners filled with water, we dropped and swirled different colors of nail polish.  We then dropped the egg through the water.  It would have been better if we'd had the little wire scoopers from the Paas kits to retrieve the eggs.  As it was, our hands were covered in nail polish.  And the room stank.  But the eggs were lovely.
  • Later, without the kids, I tried the crayola trick--warm hardboiled eggs in hot water and then write on them with crayon, which will melt onto egg.  Meh, it just looked like I'd colored on the egg.  Maybe my eggs weren't hot enough.
The Bunny liked them all, though.  This year she didn't put anything in all the plastic eggs, just left a reward at the end of the hunt.





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