Why Elephant

fish in a bag

I’d like to propose a new school year. I’ve heard of tradition, year-round, year-round modified, etc. I think we should start on January 6th and go until October 28th. Think about it. Once we get close to Halloween, all we are doing is fighting our way through trenches filled with sugar and excitement until we get through Christmas.

I love Christmas. I don’t want to ‘get through it’, I want to celebrate it! School just isn’t the place to do it. Kids are hopped up on leftover Halloween candy, Thanksgiving Pie, Hot Chocolate, and Candy canes for weeks. If ever there was a teacher doing a serious dog and pony show to keep interest in her lessons, it was during the Holiday season of October-December. Let’ s just cut it out of the school year and our problems are solved.

I live in Arizona so, it’s really too hot outside in the summer anyway. Keep the kids inside and add swimming to the PE course and we’re golden. Of course, if we were to really do this, we would miss out on some pretty special days.

This is my first year with three classes. In the past, with my one class, we have done Secret Santa or a week of kind actions or something like that. I’ve taught a lot of Christmas Around the World and stuff like that. This year, we read the Iliad. Not exactly your “feel good” book for the Holidays.  We did have a little party in our homeroom.

I almost always learn something from my students, usually about how NOT to do things again. This year, I told them that they would have to plan their own Christmas party. Collaborate and let me know what you want. That was the extent of my instructions. They returned to me with items to request from parents and we ran with it.

Rootbeer Floats and Hot chocolate. Lots of cookies. A white elephant gift exchange. It was easy and chaotic, just what they wanted. I tried to set the tone by putting on It’s a Wonderful Life while they snacked. I don’t think they could even see it without color. It was sad but funny.

The white elephant exchange went pretty well. They all brought a gift that was from home, homemade, or cost less than $5. The exception was the poor boy that spent $15 on a huge Hersey kiss, just the have the girl freak when she found out he had bought it. Silly. We did the left-right game and everyone got a random gift. I have to say, in spite of the mother load of chocolate, the best gift was the live goldfish in a bag. Top points for creativity.

Who brings a fish to an elephant party? The kids begged me to keep it as a class pet, but I reminded them that we had allergies in our class. They were too high on sugar to realize what I was saying and let it go.

There is no moral to this story. There isn’t really a punch line. The point was that I was just really impressed with the idea of bringing a goldfish to a gift exchange. I kind of want to be invited to a white elephant party now so I can copy.

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery….and the easiest way to get good ideas.

Cause I said so.

Photo credit: http://www.alibaba.com


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