Thursday, April 28, 2011

Fundraising, Flowers, & Funnies

One thing that I will miss a lot about teaching is the random laughs I get while grading students' work. Mostly, I find grading to be extremely monotonous and have to force myself to get through it. My attention span is very short when it comes to grading. But once in a while, some piece of work will surprise me--I love this kind of entertainment!

You may have to click on the images if you want to read them--I'm not sure if it will be possible or not, but I either find the next few pictures either very endearing or hilarious.

Here is a an essay about a treasure that has been buried by a character the student invented. Without being given the idea by anyone else, she decided to write in pirate lingo!

Some other buried treasure maps and essays....

I thought the name this student invented was cute...."Scabbard Jones"....

Grading one memory verse after another can be this one carefully...the word "ministers" has been spelled in an interesting way.

This little boy is very dramatic. Here is his journal entry about not liking to sharpen pencils. He is an English Language Learner--first year in an English speaking school.

Answer #3 is answer the question, "How do you use electricity?" The textbook wasn't very clear, but I think it mean, "How do you use electricity in your life?" I think his answer is funny. So matter-of-fact. It reminds me of my brother, Tommy.

During our urban communities unit, I never once remember mentioning night clubs. Maybe it's a lost in translation thing....

As part of earth day, the elementary students painted planters and then planted flowers in them. These flower boxes were later put on the window sills of our school to help "beautify" our dreary exterior.

I'm getting really good at taking pictures around school without including any students' faces.

Now for the real story!

We read a book called, "Rent a Third Grader" in my language arts class. The book itself is mediocre and uninteresting, in my opinion, however there is a neat opportunity for fundraising projects that can be emulated in real life. Last year, we raised money for a foster baby's formula. This year, we decided to raise money for the Red Cross in Japan. I made fundraising notebooks for my students, where they could record the work they did to earn money, write their common goals which they developed together as class, and track the total money collected. They also used these notebooks for brainstorming, poster proposals, and reflections. We were doing so well--after a week and a half, they had earned just a tad over 200 kuai by doing odd jobs and chores in their communities. The next step was our bake sale. Ironically, I made three pretty big mistakes that could have hindered the sale in a big way. It's ironic because in the book, "Rent a Third Grader", the characters are always falling into bad luck.

Mistake #1: I forgot to send the letter home that was to inform all the elementary students about our bake sale on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.

Mistake #2: I forgot to buy brownie mixes over the weekend, and on Tuesday night they were all sold out. brownies!

Mistake #3: I forgot the large bowl of cookie dough that I had made Tuesday night (to replace the brownies) in my no cookies!

Wednesday seemed like it would not be a good day for the sale. I had brought mixing bowls, measuring cups, baking pans, pot holders, and spatulas, but had forgotten the doughs and batters. I had forgotten to inform our customers about our little sale....I even announced in the morning staff meeting that we would postpone the sale until the next day.

However, my students impressed me by arriving to school with shopping bags, ziplocs, and picnic coolers filled with baked goods that they had made at home on their own! Wow! We were still able to have our bake and craft sale on Wednesday because the students happened to be more prepared and responsible than their teacher. Have I trained them well or am I losing my mind?

Here's some of the pile of food that the students brought. One girl even brought a brownie mix, which was perfect, since I had brought everything (even the oil!) but now mix.

We got to work, and worked from 8:30-10:30 on making posters, book marks, greeting cards, and other little crafts so that we would be ready for lunch recess and the bake sale that we planned to have during that time.

Here are some poster proposals that won and were copied onto larger posters.

Our first bake sale day, which I thought would be a failure, had an awesome turn out! We had lots of food: banana bread, fruit kabobs with drizzled chocolate, brownies, rice krispies, and pop corn. And we had a lot of crafts to share too!

I was so thankful for my students! I began the morning with confessing and apologizing for my three mistakes. I thought I was going to have to tell them we would have to postpone the sale, which I knew would disappoint their excited hearts...but they pulled through! :)

Cute bookmarks that they created.

Part of a poster....since I can't share pictures of the actual kids, this student's rendering of what the bake sale looked like will have to do.

Even though no one really knew about the sale, the kids still made about 300 kuai! That's quite a lot actually! That left us with a little over 500 kuai--the third graders are trying to reach their goal of 1,500 kuai.

Later that day, a lady bug kept following one particular student around. It was very humorous. So we wrote some sentences about the lady bug and corrected them with proper punctuation.

Thursday's bake sale was more ambitious. I finally sent the letter home to all the elementary students announcing the purpose of the sale and how all items being sold were made by third graders and being sold for 2-5 kuai. We continued making crafts and we baked up a storm! I didn't get a picture of it, but we had two ovens in our classroom, baking non stop for almost three hours!

Cute little paper bird some girls were working on making for the sale.

Setting up while our students ate. My TI and I had a stressful job trying to make all the goodies fit on the table and shooing all the elementary students away--"Go outside or else you don't get to buy anything!" became the overarching threat.

Lots more food. Three kinds of cookies, cinnamon muffins, cheese cake, cheese sandwiches (a cute little girl made since she doesn't know how to bake anything), rice krispies, dozens of brownies, banana bread, more much food! Even cupcakes...

One of my cute little girls made these cookies and then packaged them very sweetly. She is an only child and her mom has a lot of cute ways of packaging food (she sends me snacks sometimes). It looks very impressive for an 8 year old to make, but I totally believe that she did it on her own! She's that kind of over achieving, incredibly talented students that just melts your heart with sweetness.

The back of her cookie package! Looks so much better than my plastic wrapped cookies.

Ok--so the line today at lunch recess was insanely long! I did take a picture of it because it wrapped around the lobby where we were set up and even went outside a little bit. Some people stood in line for almost 30 minutes! My students were able to raise over 700 kuai on today's sales alone! They now have 1,242 kuai in their treasury! With one day left to sell and another week left to work in their communities, they will for sure reach their fundraising goal!

I hope that through this project, they will learn the important of helping of others in need (even their enemies--since there is some cultural animosity there), and that they can do so much to help the world even if they are young. It has been great to watch them take ownership of this project. I will share the common goals another time, but they sound like official statements that could be posted on company websites. They came up with their ideas and voted on everything very democratically and one their own. What great students I have been blessed with this year. I will miss spending time with them very much.

One girl kept saying over and over again, "I just love crafts....I just love crafts". The boys were singing strange songs about mother's day that they were making up as they made greeting cards. There was one little girl who delighted in helping with the cookies because she had never baked cookies before. What a fun opportunity I was privileged to be a part of!

I will miss teaching.


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