My first SPIFF meeting was coming; I was nervous. The agenda, 'A fun Activity and Christmas Caroling around the School,' failed to appeal to me.
I had had a pretty good time with my second grade buddy during our one-on-one ( which substituted for my missing the first SPIFF organizational meeting ), and we certainly got along well enough when he was one of my advanced math students. But one-on-one, part of a larger group, doing a "fun activity"?
And Christmas caroling involved singing, right? I wasn't sure how I felt about singing in public. Even familiar Christmas carols. Even as part of a large group. Even if half the group consists of second graders. I'd be singing in public.
The Learning Buddies coordinator is also a SPIFF senior pal. She greeted me outside the classroom as we seniors waited for the teacher to prepare for us. She assured me I'd be fine, even after I told her about my beginning-level singing skill. Her optimism buoyed me.
The time came, and the teacher came to get the seniors. I found Eric, we went to his desk, and I sat down ( the senior SPIFFs got to sit ). There was a loud buzz in the room; everyone was talking … but the teacher was able to tell us about the fun activity.
First, some serious talk: the student was to write a finish to the following sentence: "I can spread peace in world by … "; there were several levels of answer and I recall talking about his behavior with his parents and sister.
The student was also to make a snow globe. The materials for the snow globe were at our desk: letter-sized stiff ( i.e., construction-like ) paper with a circle drawn on it, and a rectangular piece of paper about eleven inches by four inches. Eric got his box of crayons from his desk and began quickly. Soon we had a snowman inside the circle, complete with hat, carrot nose, mittens and black buttons on his coat.The
The school's music teacher came in the room. She would direct our singing tour. First, she handed out songbooks … actually five sheets of paper stapled together, one set per student-senior pair. "The student is to hold the book, but hold it up to share with his or her senior PAL, OK? Everybody got that?" Everybody did.
We walked to one kindergarten class, the teacher introduced us and we sang. " … Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer, had a very shiny nose, and if you ever saw it, you would even say it glows." The class applauded appreciatively.
We serenaded another kindergarten class, then went to the balcony; "We'll sing to the school," the director said. This is a second-floor walkway around the center of the school, surrounding the empty second-floor space above the first-floor library. From it one can see into many first-floor classrooms around the library perimeter. We sang one carol from there, then retreated to the classroom from where we had come. We played a bit more word search, the teacher thanked us seniors for participating and sent us home.
Once again I left the school amazed at and basking in the overflowing warmth that can come from giving oneself to second graders.
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