Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Criss-Cross Applesauce

When I started doing substitute teaching here in Florida, back in 2006 or so, I worked in various elementary schools nearby and learned many things. I learned about FCAT, the standardized state testing system. I discovered in person that Physical Education classes are held outdoors unless the weather is very, very inclement. There is a roof over a large section of concrete where some games can be played or where activities can be held in a light rain. I learned that different schools handled things like lunch and dismissal and traveling around the school as a class group, each in their own way.

Universal in all of the schools was the direction: Criss-Cross Applesauce. Often for story time when the students are called to come to a piece of carpeting in the otherwise linoleum tiled classrooms or in the media center or in the combination lunch room/auditorium area for an assembly or in that covered PE area for roll call. You must have guessed by now that the direction means for the students to sit on the floor, cross-legged.

When I was in elementary school myself, nearly a million years ago, we sat in small chairs at the front of the classroom for reading group. I have a recollection of very occasionally doing a project where we needed to sit on the floor to be able to draw a large picture or make a poster or map or some other group work that was larger than our desks. Occasionally for PE we sat in this cross-legged style and were directed to sit "Indian Style" which is likely the reason it had to be changed. One of the perceptions about Native Americans at that point in history was that they always sat in their tepees or hogans or igloos. or around the fire smoking the peace pipe in a cross-legged fashion. They may have, I really don't know for certain.

The Criss-Cross Applesauce phrase, I learned by Googling, comes from a rhyme, supposedly said to babies. I have never heard anyone use this rhyme. I can only imagine that it came into popularity during the 10 years I worked in Nursing Homes rather than schools. I was also reminded by Google that this sitting position is sometimes referred to as sitting "tailor style" as well.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Unbending Faith

There are a lot of reasons the Pastor Emeritus at my church retains his popularity. I think one of the main reasons is that he is one of the most unchanging people I know, and I mean that in a good way.

Several weeks ago we heard that Pastor had been asked to officiate at a wedding in Jacksonville, Florida. (200 miles from here MOL). The story I heard was that he had baptized the groom years ago at Palm Grove Church. This young couple had won a Dream Wedding from a local television station and when it came to deciding on who should perform the ceremony they asked Pastor.  The wedding was to be televised live on the sponsoring station.

Today was the day and I watched the live feed on the Internet with interest. Would Pastor be nervous? Would the couple ask for some strange ceremony? Would there be room for Pastor's style to show through? I was impressed that Pastor looked and sounded like he always does. The ceremony was quite traditional, and it moved along apace.  It was held at a beach front resort hotel, out on a deck sea-view side. It was nice to see a newer symbolic covenant made by the couple.  Everyone in the world must know the one with the two candles lighting a third and then being blown out. Probably a lot of people know about the Sand Ceremony too, but I hadn't seen it. The mothers of the bride and groom came in together each carrying a glass cylinder, one looked white, the other beige.  After the vows and the rings, the bride and groom each picked up their cylinder, and together poured them into a third container.  Two different people blending together inseparably in marriage. Pastor narrated and illuminated the actions.  

His recommendations to the couple: Pray together, take the next three weeks to  read the Gospel of John - a chapter a day, and worship together.

We love Pastor because of his predictability, his unchanging faith, his positive nature.  

Monday, May 6, 2013

Cool Monday

Sunny, breezy, Monday with a high of around 75 to be more precise. Mondays I usually do laundry. I didn't have a huge amount to wash, so I finally took down the curtains in the bedroom, bath and hall and washed and dried them.  I say finally because the curtains in this house, along with the mini-blinds, have been holding years worth of dust. I haven't done them since returning to Florida. I've been thinking about cleaning them, but just haven't had the burst of energy to get it done till today. I have some "new to me" drapes that I was given several months ago. I would like to hang them in the living room before the weather turns deadly hot. The thing holding me back from doing that is the hooks aren't compatible with the rods I have. They are quite long, so I may cut them off and make curtains out of them.

Not today though. The whole house is in need of a really good "redding up" as my mother would have said, so I think that is the afternoon activity, after I take a walk in this lovely weather.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Remembering What I Forgot

Those who follow my adventures will be aware that I have recently started volunteering at a local elementary school twice a week.  This is a type of therapy for me, helping me to avoid my agoraphobic tendencies and adding to my mental and physical exercise while providing a bit of help for a few teachers and students in the process. Yesterday I told a newly graduated teacher that I had not gone to Kindergarten and that there were no Preschools when I was a child. I'm not sure she actually believed me. The year she was born I was helping monitor preschoolers in family childcare.

Due to my October birthday I entered first grade at the age of five, so what I'm seeing at school probably mirrors my first grade experience. I don't remember doing the story writing that modern American school children engage in. After the initial shock of leaving my mother and entering school I have two memories of my first year at school.  One was learning to write. I was one of perhaps 4 or 5 children in my huge first grade class who was left-handed. The class was instructed on how to place the paper on the desk and how to hold the pencil, then the lefties were instructed to slant the paper the opposite way while holding the fat blue pencil in our left hands. I remember being in the midst of the righties with my paper turned the leftie way and succumbing to that early peer pressure and tilting my paper their way. (This is what encourages the hook-handed posture of many lefties.) I battled the peer pressure/teacher pressure till I went home that evening. My father asked me what I had learned in school that day and as I started to demonstrate writing he observed my method of coping and told me in no uncertain terms that I would turn my paper the proper way for a leftie and keep my wrist flat on the desk. After all, neither my mother nor sister hooked their hands in such an awkward way to write.  I often wonder what would have happened if I had been born into a right-handed family. My second memorable first grade experience had to do with numbers.  I don't really remember what we were learning about them, but I wasn't learning it.  Apparently several chances had been given to comply with an assignment and I had failed to comply.  The punishment was to stay indoors while the rest of the class went outside for recess and working on the now forgotten concept.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Wet Weather = Cooler Weather

Off and on rain the past two days has meant today's temperatures have been quite pleasant. It should be a good night to sleep. It was clear for the students at Anclote Elementary to have their Field Day on Tuesday. Field Day here in Florida seems to be an afternoon of fun and games outdoors for the students with parents and volunteers running various events. No actual competition except to better one's own performance.

Inside the school the teachers had extra planning time. I pulled worksheets out of math workbooks and filed for several teachers.  The kindergartners were learning to differentiate between reality and fantasy in the stories they were writing and I thought a lot about how little I could do at their age.  I didn't go to kindergarten. I started my formal schooling in first grade. I didn't know how to write or read when I entered and with the exception of basic math skills I learned to do all of the things these kids are learning - eventually.

Today was Quilt group at the church.  We're concentrating on small quilts for kids these days.  We have a missionary we support in Arizona who works with Native Americans and often visits new mothers in the hospital where she is chaplain.  She can use the quilts as gifts for the babies. Our church also supports a group in Tampa working with moms and babies and we will send them some as well. Sewing the tops together is a bit of a break from the bed sized quilts which are usually twice as big. We use a smaller seam allowance to sew together the smaller squares. otherwise the process is the same. They are completed more quickly, creating a sense of accomplishment.

This afternoon I worked on the bag I showed the beginnings of several posts ago. I have the outside sewn together with all of the pockets and piping and interfacing. Once I get the extra stiffening settled in the bottom I will be able to start on the lining. So, on the downhill slide.

Tomorrow is back to school. Hopefully the teachers will become more accustomed to my presence and will start thinking about things I can do to help them.