Got a riddle for you. What do you call a group of beings who are vibrating so much from anticipation they are falling out of their chairs, and producing such an electric sense of excitement that it makes your hair stand on end? You got it…my first and second graders 11 days and counting from Christmas. (Either that or gravity has gotten really intense in my room.) It is definitely getting close to Christmas. I have pulled out the red and green paper strips and we are once more working on the “world’s longest paper chain.” It’s kind of a tradition, plus at this point all my students have Christmas brains and after religion, math and phonics, they’re done.
On December 6, St. Nicholas’ Day, we had a visit from the saint himself. The music teacher for the upper grades, Tim Nealeigh, happens to be a very good friend of St. Nick and arranged for him to visit. St. Nick told the students about his life and had a treat for one and all. Now he also knows that the little kids in our school put their shoes out for him, and knowing how much they enjoy that tradition, he filled their shoes with candy while they were in class. That evening the second graders received the Sacrament of Reconciliation for the first time. Between the visit from St. Nick and the anticipation of First Reconciliation, there was one teacher who had a very loooong day!
The next day after the second graders received Reconciliation, I was doing the wrap-up lesson. At the end of the lesson, one of my boys began to beam and said, “You know we are Catholics and we received Reconciliation so all our sins are gone. We’re on the (Santa’s) nice list!” I may have to ask our pastor about that one! I was slightly tempted to remind my young student, he still had a ways to go to Christmas and staying on that nice list might be a little tricky.
This year instead of having a traditional Christmas program, we had a Christmas Family Fun Night. The upper classes are involved in a spring musical every other year. On the years with a musical, the primary teachers are in charge of the Christmas program. This was one of those years and I was one of those in charge of the fun in the Christmas Family Fun night. The families enjoyed decorating cookies, making a Christmas craft and listening to Christmas stories. Afterwards we all joined in a Christmas carol sing-a-long led by the kindergarteners through fourth graders. I was at the cookie table the majority of the night. I thought it went well, albeit we had to wash several butter knives that little ones had licked while decorating. That icing is so tempting!
December 8 was the feast day of the Immaculate Conception. Usually on holy days the children are treated to donuts. However we had just had donuts on the 7th to celebrate the second graders’ First Reconciliation. So instead of donuts we had ice cream bars. Another reason our principal opted for ice cream was on December 14, we had Donuts with Dad. Fathers and their children enjoyed before school donuts. No wonder no one can lose any weight around here.
On December 18, the kindergarten through four grade will go to Heartland and Rest Haven retirement home to sing Christmas songs for the residents. We have added to our repertoire. The children know all the verses to the Grinch song. The residents seem to really enjoy hearing the children sing and many join in with us.
Santa (aka the Darke County Humane Society) came early to my classroom. We have a new document camera for the SmartBoard. Yes I wore out the old document camera. The new camera is a HoverCam. It is about a fifth of the size of the old ones. It runs through the computer so when I can instantly switch from computer mode to camera.
December 20 is the last day of school before the break. If you happen to be downtown, the students will be caroling.
I have a Christmas story to leave with you. I was teaching about customs in social studies class and we talked about Christmas customs. I told my class my daughter’s in laws are from Mexico and they don’t open gifts on Christmas, but on Epiphany to commemorate the gifts of the Magi. I asked if anyone knew what the Wise Men brought to Jesus, and they came up with gold, Frankenstein, and metal. OK. I know a teacher who has her work cut out for her. On behalf of the students and staff of St. Mary, I would like to wish you Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
Kathy Ayette is a teacher at St. Mary’s Catholic School. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.