Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Elementary School

I registered my kids for elementary school today. 
Fifth and first grade. 
I love elementary school days. 
The work isn't too hard, yet. 
You spell words like L-A-K-E and 
You get served grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup at lunch. 
Volcanoes are constructed from clay and erupted. 
Butterflies are observed emerging from cocoons that are kept on a classroom table. 
But things ARE getting more complex. 
Computers are in every classroom. 
As are iPads. 
Technology is an everyday part of learning now. 
Handwriting is still taught in our district. 
I've heard from other parents across the state who say handwriting isn't taught at their school anymore. 
Every girl needs to learn how to write her name in cursive. 
For notes passed during class. 
Are notes still passed in class?
I'll have to ask my fifth grader. 

I don't remember much from my elementary school years. 
In first grade, my teacher was Mrs. Cave. 
She was a small woman with short blonde hair. 
Very sweet and reminded me of my favorite television teacher Miss Beadle. 
Miss Beadle taught the children of Walnut Grove on the show Little House On The Prairie. 
Oh, how I loved Miss Beadle and her soothing way with the children. 
Maybe my teacher didn't look anything like Miss Beadle and I'm just fabricating in my old mind what I wanted her to look like. 
Fifth grade comes in a bit clearer for me. 
But not much. 
I had Mr. Wilkes. 
Was that his name?
Or was it Wilkey?
I don't know. 
He looked like Chuck Woolery. 
All of my memories go back to pop culture television. 
I remember doing a state project. 
I did New Mexico. 
I knew something about New Mexico because I went on a month long trip to the state with my grandparents in fourth grade. 
That trip was during the school year, too. 
I don't think that's allowed anymore with all of the testing and prepping for testing and pre-pre prepping for testing. 

Life was a bit easier when I was in elementary school in the 70s and 80s. 
We didn't have stranger danger drills. 
Drills where the kids and teacher hide silently in a corner of their locked room away from windows and away from the door sight line. 
In case a shooter has entered. 
And I don't remember girl bullies in elementary school. 
Girls didn't start getting snarky until junior high. 
Now it starts in second grade. 

I'm soaking up these elementary school years with my daughters. 
Listening to Gigi read to me when the word structure finally clicked in her mind.
That happened this summer. 
And listening to Zoe tell us some random fact about mummies or milkweed plants. 
Their minds are just beginning to open. 
To the world at large they are just kids. 
But I know what they really are. 
They are walking, talking sponges for the future. 
Of the future. 
Ready to soak in all of the knowledge presented to them. 

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