Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Flat as a pancake

A few weeks ago in one of my favorite second grade classes (i.e., one of only two classes I see before lunch, when the kids go absolutely gonzo and it is virtually impossible to regain control), a little girl named Queenie ran up to me and threw her arms around me.

"Hi," I said.

"Hi," she answered fondly. Then she took an abrupt step backward and blurted out, "But did our letters come back yet?"

Ah, the letters, the Flat Stanley letters! Despite the fact that I spent five weeks hammering in the notion that I was really going to mail their letters to real people who would take real photos and really mail them back, some of my students are just beginning to cotton on. Queenie, however, has been on board from the very beginning; not only does she quiz me about whether or not the letters have come back every time I see her, but she has since made me promise that I won't open the envelope until I'm in front of the whole class.

Now, Queenie is your basic dream student -- back straight, hands folded, eyes up front, hard worker, eager to please, sweet smile. So I can't say that I'm surprised...but I am also, I confess, the teeniest bit thrilled. There were a lot of reasons I almost didn't do the Flat Stanley project -- I thought the kids would lose momentum, I spent my own money to mail the packages, I didn't get explicit permission from the administration to do any kind of ongoing project, it's not technically a "grammar and punctuation" kind of lesson -- but at least student got really, really interested in it.

That's the good news. The bad news is that when I finally put up my Flat Stanley bulletin board (which I only get to do because another teacher is being kind enough to lend me her bulletin board space for the month), there's a good chance I'll get in trouble for it because the letters are outdated. (The kids worked on them throughout the month of December and then mailed them off, and I obviously can't display them until they come back!) I'm actually considering doctoring
them so that the dates aren't visible. Let's see what Mr. Quality Review Man (as he is not-so-affectionately nicknamed at my school) has to say about that!

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