Birds of a Feather….

….flock together.  They also cry, sigh, snap photos and sing. And remember. And love.

(DISCLAIMER:  Of the 5.5 readers of this blog, five of you visit for school-related reasons.  This post is not for you.  But you are most welcome to read it.  If you judge, just don’t tell me!!)

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That’s why this exhibit is called LOVE, Shirley Temple.  Yes, Shirley is signing off, saying goodbye to her precious collection of costumes and personal artifacts, but WE are saying LOVE Shirley Temple.  Because clearly, we do.

I always tell my second graders that there are different kinds of love.  We happen to be completing a letter-writing unit, and I explained that simply because you sign your letter with “Love,” it doesn’t mean romantic love.  There’s always a few groans and giggles.  #secondgradehumor

But that applies to this exhibit as well.  The range of reactions while walking through the museum hall was astonishing – something I was completely unprepared for.  I knew there would be a few fellow uber-fans, and I hoped I’d connect with them a bit.  I have.  The most moving example was the woman I saw on Thursday morning.  By then, I was calmer, having had my expected hysterical reaction the evening before at the guided tour.  I  happened to be standing by the first costume of the exhibit – the Toy Trumpet uniform from “Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm.”

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This woman walked in, saw the costume, and burst into tears. I heard her say, “I can’t believe I’m standing here!”  I offered a few words of understanding, but she had to remove herself for a few moments “to collect” herself.  Such was the overwhelming emotion.  I was happy to see that once she recovered somewhat (because none of us will ever recover completely), she was able to enjoy the exhibit with a docent guiding her.  A kindred spirit.  And one of many.

But it was not only uber-fans taking it all in.  Every age range was represented – even a preschool class on a field trip! All ranges of Shirley interest were represented too – from the people who recalled watching her films in the Great Depression to those who knew only of her as a long-ago child star.  People gathered around the TV that was screening clips of the films, completely taken in.  Some sang along, some tried to recall the time and place they first saw the movie, others just soaked in the experience.  And it was an EXPERIENCE.

What meant the most to me?  Surely (pun intended but instantly regretted) it must have been seeing the Good Ship Lollipop dress from “Bright Eyes,” and talking with and watching the film with the granddaughter of the song’s writer?

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Or seeing the dress that everyone associates with Shirley – the coin dot dress from “Stand Up and Cheer?”

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Or being THIS CLOSE to one of the Heidi costumes – and the doll dressed for Shirley herself with scraps of the original costume?

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All unspeakably thrilling.  And tear-producing. But not the pinnacle of the event for me.  That would have to be meeting and speaking with Stuart Holbrook, the auction house representative and the keeper of the Shirley legacy.

Here’s an obnoxious confession:  For a split second, I considered skipping the guided tour.  One reason was that I’d be so overcome I’d embarrass myself in the middle of a small and intimate group.  But that rarely stops me.  The other reason was that I assumed the tour would consist of someone pointing to the costumes and providing little in the way of new information.  (You may slap me now.)

I’ve been wrong before, but this may have been my wrong-est.  From the moment I entered, long before the tour began, I realized Stuart Holbrook knew his stuff.  And so much more importantly, loved this stuff.  And understood the importance of this collection to everyone on the fandom spectrum.  Informative, positive and unfailingly patient, he was remarkable.  In fact, everyone involved blew me away with their level of commitment – the representatives of the auction house as well as those who work at the Morris Museum itself.  I love you all.

Do you know what Stuart said to me? What I’ll treasure even more than the memory of the costumes and dolls?  When I returned on Saturday, he greeted me with a hug and said he was off to call Shirley’s son, Charlie.  He was planning on telling him about ME.  I guess I represent a certain level of fandom.  And I’m proud to wear that badge.  And cry those tears.

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The schoolroom dress from “Captain January.” A minor costume, perhaps, but one of my favorites. I have an original 1930s doll in this dress, and Shirley did wear it in a CLASSROOM scene.  There’s my school connection for the rest of the readers.  

#loveshirleytemple

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You’ll Hate Me

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It will surprise no one that I’m planning for June.  As in, I’ve written my lessons plans through the last day of school. True, they are simply sketched out, and will in all likelihood change, but the basic course has been charted.  And yes, this is either annoying or nauseating to others – and often both.  #sorrydefinitelynotsorry

Now that each little section of my digital planbook is filled, the purple-eyed monster will begin to rear its ugly head (why purple?  green was taken by jealousy).  That monster is the one who feeds on the fear that all teachers have at the end of the year, namely WILL IT ALL GET DONE?  Or more accurately, HOW IN THE WORLD WILL IT ALL GET DONE AND WILL I SURVIVE INTACT?

The list always seems endless – year-end assessments given, memory books written and illustrated, annual trip to the beach taken, Poetry Cafe practiced for and performed, the classroom-materials sort-out-and-clean-up conducted.   Throw into the mix a little thing like finishing up the curriculum and maybe a Father’s Day quickie (sorry, dads…you get the short end of the stick this year), and the monster has LOTS to chew on.  For me, one way to keep the anxiety down just a tad, is to plan it all out.  If I see it on the paper, in black and white and oh so formal-looking, it helps me see that it can and will and always does get done.

And so, in a little corner of my mind, it’s June.

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PSA: This was a bathing suit Shirley wore in her 1934 film, Now and Forever.  She also wore it many times at home and on the beach with family.  An unusual style, no?  Times were different and innocent then.

PS: It dawned on me, after I published this, that a perfect (and perfectly irritating) example of my ahead-of-the-gameness was sitting over my right shoulder.  These EOY gifts have been filled for weeks and waiting patiently in my computer room for June 18.

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It’s a real affliction.

Stress

That was the topic on this morning’s twitter chat #satchat.  I participate occasionally – it’s often moderated by one of our fine district administrators.  The questions covered such subtopics as “What are your stressors?” “How you do avoid/prepare for/deal with stress?” “How do you support others through stressful times?”  And, of course, there was lots of talk about how to handle stress.  I contributed to that thread quite a bit – exercise, get enough sleep, vent to friends, etc.   Keeping on top of things is probably my number one strategy for keeping stress at bay; a list or pile of things to do will send my blood pressure skyrocketing.  No procrastination here.

Another destressor is taking time to enjoy…whatever you do enjoy.  And doesn’t everyone enjoy eating?  Our PTO hosted our annual Teacher Appreciation luncheon this week.  Let me tell you – EVERYONE enjoyed it – because EVERYONE enjoys being appreciated.

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A cute display of children’s work soothes me too.  I can’t say that it’s a major stress-reliever, but those bulletin boards do put a smile on my face when I walk past.

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The butterflies were simply math worksheets, but add some paint and a few dollar store flower cutouts, and you have a happy garden display.

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Another part of the Teacher Appreciation festivities was “wear your teacher’s favorite color to school” day.  It was a surprise to us teachers, and I wasn’t wearing PINK that day, but most everyone else was!  #prettyinpink #pinkismysignaturecolor #steelmagnoliasquote

One more thing I tweeted about in response to how to handle stress:  I blog.  Thus, today’s entry. I know I don’t have a huge readership, but I really do this for me.  That’s pretty important in and of itself.

P.S. and P.S.

If you’re a teacher looking for validation, stop.  Because even though you deserve it (and if you’re a teacher, you certainly do),  you won’t always get it.  Not because people are inconsiderate or anything close to that – it’s just that people are busy, life is moving ahead, and those validation-worthy moments (and again, that would be ALL OF THEM), are all part of a teacher’s job description anyway.

But when it happens, isn’t it grand?

The first postscript refers to yesterday’s post re: baby day.  Two separate messages acknowledging the day and, if I do say so, me.  The first came from a parent whose child is in my class – and made quite the adorable infant.  Her message actually included the word EPIC.  As in I am EPIC.  Brave maybe, but epic?  Thank you!

The second came this morning from a coworker.  She said, upon hearing of the Royal Princess’s birth, she thought of me and how I was ahead of my time in hosting Baby Day!  I’ll admit, I didn’t make that connection, but I’m glad she did!

royal-baby_2616127bPretty in pink!

The second P.S. is a follow-up to the last few posts about my classroom up-do.  Last two bulletin boards are repapered, and I may or may not have thought about the specific color scheme when I planned the recent projects now displayed.

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Art smock bin makeover.  #detailsarethenewblack  #thenewblackisoverused

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I’m starting my weekend on a high.  Validations and a pretty classroom will do that for a gal.

A Point and a Tip

Teachers are, by nature, a wacky bunch.  Especially those of us who teach the very young.  Or we oughta be.  I guess you could say it’s a spectrum.  I, of course, am on the end of the spectrum – where it reads “TILT: crazy overload.”

This is nothing new.  Popeye said “I yam what I yam” and I am.  I’m wacky, but not delusional.  I know who I am.  Lucky for me, because I know it’s not always the case, I was able to find a career where my brand of crazy works….in fact, it’s actually a good thing.  Crazy means fun, engaging and stimulating to second graders.

I’m talking BABY DAY.  Yes, it’s a thing.  I may have invented it, but still.

We’ve done pajama day, sports day, hat day, blah blah blah.  So is it really such a big leap to get to Baby Day?  I think you know my answer.

There was a lot of prep for this in terms of setting up expectations.  Babies will be working.  Babies will not be crying.  Babies must keep baby talk to an acceptable pitch.

Was I worried this morning?  Well, my Remind text to my parents read #whatdidigetmyselfinto.  But if anyone can do Baby Day, and make it fun and get stuff done, I am your go-to gal.  Not that that is a trait that will win me any awards, but you take what you can get.

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So this happened.  Then this and this:

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And I haven’t had so much fun in a long time.  And most of my days are pretty darn fun.

So, what’s the point?  Wacky might be weird, but it’s creative and engaging and memorable.  You may not get it, or me, but those who matter do – like the kids.  And not a moment of time-on-task was lost.  #idoknowwhatimdoing

Here’s the tip.  Not a big revelation, but it keeps me sane.

Buckets.  Bins.  Baskets.  I may or may not be obsessed by Dollar Tree and its various containers – can you say TURQUOISE?

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I’d love to say that my newly redecorated classroom looks photo-shoot ready at all times, but no one would believe me.  Because if you teach in the real world, it’s messy.

I don’t like messy, but I know the difference between a working mess and a big ol’ mess.  So when one starts to bleed into the other, I just toss the mess into a bin.  Or bucket or basket.   I have them scattered around the classroom – they are full of tape and markers and scissors and erasers and whatever else I need to stow away for a quick clean up.  And they are there when I need to quickly reach for one of the above.

One of my classroom closets is devoted to the storage of these storage containers.  My garage is full of them – because even though I’ve updated my color scheme, I can’t toss away perfectly good containers.

I’m not usually a hoarder – I’ve been known to toss away many an item, only to find out later that I needed/wanted it.  I guess I’m a selective hoarder.

I guess I’m back to my point – wacky and weird.  #ohwell