Do your kids still have fun activities at school?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Hoot Owl, Sep 23, 2010.

  1. Hoot Owl

    Hoot Owl Aficionado

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    Sep 23, 2010

    I walked down the hall the other day and eavesdropped on two kids talking about how much they hated school and they never had any fun. I'm afraid they were right.

    What does you school do for children to have fun? Most of our kids will tell you they like P.E. but then the teacher in there is such a tyrant I'm afraid they don't have fun there either.
     
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  3. **Mrs.A**

    **Mrs.A** Comrade

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    Isn't that just sad!! :( We have Art Masterpiece once a month, and the school does things like lunch on the lawn, spirit week, jingle jog during the holidays and our end of the year carnival..I'm sure I forgot a few things...

    In the classroom, I try to make learning fun for them.. Next week is the last week before our first two week intersession. On Friday we are going to decorate cookies that are shaped like our state..The kids are going to have to decorate them using a checklist to make sure they include our three regions, large mountain ranges, and major rivers...ect.
     
  4. stephenpe

    stephenpe Connoisseur

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    Great thread. At my school not like it used to be but probably ahead of most. We have five elem. schools in our district and each holds an elementary type field day in different sports.
    Soccer, flag football/modified volleyball, softball, baskteball and a real field day with ribbons with running and field events. I use them as an incentive to get kids to behave and do their classwork. We used to have a waterday near the end of school.
    Last day was watermelon day. Kids brought them in, I hauled them to the handyway (conv store) the day before and put them in the cooler and then right before we ate them I picked them up, Ice cold and all they wanted. We used to move up the last day after the watermelons as we had one teacher for each grade, the 5th would go back to the K teacher as most had had him. It was great. We do PBS (postive behavior something) and do things for the kids that stay out of trouble. Do it twice a year, went to a minor league bb game last year in Jacksonville (it was fantastic). Oh yeah, in case you think we play too much we made the only A in our county (in Fla). That makes 6 out of 7 years now. And we are a title one school. :thumb:
     
  5. DizneeTeachR

    DizneeTeachR Virtuoso

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    I think as teacher's we have to be fun. I don't know what started it, but for some reason we would do something silly it kind of became our class thing. The kids loved it... when things would get to "heavy" we would do this little dance thing.

    I remember watching disney movies like those little Mickey Mouse shorts as a whole elem. school. They don't do that any more.

    I do agree we have to be so worried about scores that sometimes the fun gets pushed aside...
     
  6. scmom

    scmom Enthusiast

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    I had a mom visit my class the other day who is an elementary school teacher. She sighed and said, "I wish I taught preschool. You still have fun." That makes me sad thinking you can't learn and have fun in school - something is wrong with that picture.
     
  7. stephenpe

    stephenpe Connoisseur

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    The problem is ivory tower wonks FAR removed from the real classroom have taken over the making of policy and curriculum.
    At least in the elem. schools. HS still have the clubs, sports, newspapers, annuals, smoking in the BR ;) etc.
     
  8. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    There HAS to be a way to teach the standards in an interesting and fun way. Getting the students up and moving seemed to work for me when I was still in a traditional setting. They did plays and other performances that showed their correct usage of grammar rules, so they also showed their creative writing skills and had kinesthetic memory from the performance. Grammar rules may be boring, but COMMA DRAMA is fun!
     
  9. monsieurteacher

    monsieurteacher Aficionado

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    I feel like my kids have fun in my class.

    However last year, I had a rule. My kids from last year STILL remember that rule... No having fun!

    Really, it was a big deal we had, because they kept ending their writing with "It was fun." I was sick of reading it, so I said there would be no more fun in Mr. Fleming's class. We danced to the Beach Boys "Fun, Fun, Fun" as part of our "goodbye to fun party". I used to tell the kids to have fun when they went out for recess, and they would always catch me... ."YOU SAID FUN!"

    It was fun.
     
  10. Sshintaku

    Sshintaku Comrade

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    Sometimes, even I am bored with the things we have to read.

    I think 11th grade is the most boring year of English, because the majority are very old texts that are dry and full of archaic language. I work in as much group work, video, art, projects, games as I can, but there still is a lot of dry reading I can't get around. *sigh*
     
  11. stephenpe

    stephenpe Connoisseur

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    Now that was FUNny
     
  12. Securis

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    I think for the most part the definition of 'fun' is divergent with regards to what children think of as fun and what an adult can conjure to be fun. Sometimes, the two are similar but sometimes not. I have children fight me tooth and nail sometimes at the outset of a new unit but by the end, they are the most involved because they just didn't understand at first. It happens every year, especially with little boys. They get the idea that art isn't fun but once they're in there and we're doiong things they love it. Sometimes you have to high beam them so they stop thinking about fun in their own terms and open up to new experiences. Once they do that, then the definition of 'fun' is convergent. Everybody gets to smile.
     
  13. amakaye

    amakaye Enthusiast

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    This is one of the reasons I love teaching in a private school! We have a lot of fun activities as a school (Christmas sing-along, cup stacking competition, fun assemblies) and in the classroom (holiday parties, etc.). We still have great test scores...
     
  14. Hoot Owl

    Hoot Owl Aficionado

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    Thank you all for your responses & I've gleaned a lot of ideas!

    I still have fun in my classroom but I think, I know, there are a lot of classrooms that I wouldn't want to have my kid in!

     
  15. FourSquare

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    No time for fun when all the kids are below grade level and wont pass The Test. :(

    I still think instruction can be fun though. We move A LOT in my class. We do jumping jacks to practice counting coins. We also have class cheers. I always pick "helpers" (strategically, of course) to come help me teach certain concepts on the board. Sometimes it's just more interesting to have another kid teach you. And we go back and forth from tables to carpet all day. No sitting in one spot for too long!
     
  16. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Aficionado

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    I worry my classroom is a little boring right now, but I'm trying to get everyone into routine!

    I enjoy making the instruction fun. I also believe in special events to wrap up unit studies and other important events.
     
  17. webmistress

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    If I can't make teaching and learning fun/engaging/interesting, I'd go crazy and die of boredom myself. Most of my students hated school in general, but they loved my class, a whole lot-- to the point where their former teachers knew and their parents knew. I think it was my enthusiasm and the way I presented the material, because I certainly had no time for special activities, crafts, educational games, or anything like that.

    School-wide activities usually center around money in my experience, and that makes me skeptical of why they are having these activities. But one teacher had a great idea, which was to take the kids on the lawn and let them read outside. Sounds excellent, but the principal wouldn't allow it. Sad.
     
  18. TeacherShelly

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    My school is a little slice of heaven compared to many. My classroom motto is, "Joyful Learning: Never One Without the Other." I remind my class when there is too much fun and not enough learning that we are here to do both, not just one.

    We have an SF opera company come perform abbreviated operas twice a year. The students get to sing in the chorus. Different classes do different things, but there are always Buddy classes (once a week my class of 2nd & 3rd graders gets together with a 4th/5th and a K/1st all together for an activity), board games on Fridays during lunch, the P comes to play guitar and sing with us or teach a social/emotional subject once a week, we go to our farm for science or gardening once a week, we have art and music teachers come to our rooms every week.

    In my class we sing and dance, went camping overnight, have pajama days and crazy hair days, have parties for different events like solstice, Chinese new year, Valentine's Day, etc, and have free-choice time most weeks. Oh, and the curriculum is delivered in a hands-on active way, too.

    All learning goes through the brain's emotional center. Learning will be associated with whatever emotion is activated at the time. If kids are stressed and fearful when they learn their multiplication tables, well, every time they have to multiply, those emotions will be triggered. On the other hand, if they are relaxed and content, that is much better!

    On any day you will find a class outside reading or doing something.
     
  19. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    I just booked a comic book illustrator to come in and work with my class for 5 half-days. His program ties in perfectly with many areas of our curriculum--Art, Reading, Writing, Media Literacy. The kids will "eat it up"!

    We do many fun things throughout the year to engage our students and to be sure that school is an enjoyable place to be. As the sign on my classroom door says, "A day without laughter is a day wasted."
     
  20. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Aside from what goes on in individual classrooms:

    Our second shift begins at 2:48.

    That's when the after school activities start.

    No matter what you're into, I can almost guarantee that we have a club or team that offers it.

    Swimming or diving? check
    Equestrian? check
    Speech and Debate? check
    Service? check

    The list goes on and on and on. And if we don't offer what you want, write a proposal. They'll consider it.

    During the school day, we have 3 pep rallies a year-- one for each season. We celebrate Mardi Gras (and, yes, we're pretty far from New Orleans)-- costumed characters in the cafeteria give out Starburst to each kid. After our opening prayer service as well as the May Crowning, the entire school community is treated to breakfast: mini muffins and juice.

    We're very big on academics, but the administration realilzes it's dealing with kids.

    As to my own class, I'm not sure you would call it "fun." I'm very content driven, and if you don't like geometry, all the games in the world probably won't make it fun.

    That said, I think the kids do enjoy my class, even if they're not always crazy about the material. I like kids, and for the most part they like me. I'm not afraid to joke around a bit. I'm big on giving them a break when they need one; from my 20 minute homework rule to my 3 misses on the homework policy, I know they're still kids.

    But "fun"??? I'm not so sure.
     
  21. WaterfallLady

    WaterfallLady Enthusiast

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    We have lots of fun in school. Yes, we do academics, but I make it as fun as possible. We play algebra games and reading games. We do lots of science experiments. I sing songs to help them remember algebra concepts. Today, we laughed so much in reading playing a reading comprehension game. I love my job.
     
  22. EMonkey

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    My class gets opportunities to play games, sing, dance, activies, do art, and/or athletic stuff numerous times every day. I do lots of academics but I incorporate and integrate the methods into the academics. If I didn't I would probably not be teaching still. There are all sorts of ways to assist the children in reaching the goals.
     
  23. David Brown

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    Sometimes I worry my students are getting bored:yawn:, I can tell instantly by the mood in the class. To engage them I play a lot of games with them, with a focus on learning. Most of my students get very engaged and really switch on to the concepts:rolleyes::haha:.
     
  24. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    I think there is a way to teach in a fun and interesting way. We have so many power standards we have to hit, but WE teachers are the true designers of the curriculum. It really is up to us to make things fun and interesting. It's really sad to me that education has turned into this thing where teachers are just trying to get through the material (not our fault, we are told we have to teach this, this and this by a certain time), so we try to "cover" material, but does learning really occur that way? It's like we are just preparing our students to take tests and exams, and the focus on students developing deep concepts that they can transfer over into other areas and apply that learning has been lost. A Korean father told the other 1st grade teacher the other day that he doesn't care what his son's grades are, he only cares that his son learns. His comment made me thing, because isn't that what education is really supposed to be about?
     
  25. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    Mine too. We sing, we write together, we read our writings, we move around the room to work, we do things that are interesting. I ask my students in the beginning of the year what they like and I incorporate those things into the activities they do. I believe they will be much more successful if I include things that interests them. This past week we created our high-frequency words with seeds. I know learning in fun ways is possible in the older grades as well. When I taught HS English, we did things like literature circles and each student had a specific task, and they really liked it. We would do review games where I would split them into two teams, and that was always a big hit. I think we just have to be very creative in the way we approach the learning that takes place in our classrooms because it is important that students enjoy the work. A bored student will not learn. Learning should be engaging and active. I am not a fan of passive learning (there will always be times when we have to explain things, or uncover a new concept, but I am a firm believer that lecturing should be minimal, and that students should be doing the majority of the work, not the teacher).
     
  26. glen

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    I just said the same thing to my husband! I love the freedom I have in delivering the content and in assessing learning. To me, it's so worth the pay cut I took going to private from public to see 7th and 8th grade students having fun in school!
     
  27. Jerseygirlteach

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    I'm going to come off all wrong and bitter here but I think many kids nowadays have a very small attention span and very large sense of entitlement. Yes, I do here the "I'm bored" quite a bit in my classroom. I hear it when we're reading from the textbook. I hear it when we're acting out scenes from the book. I hear it when they're competing in class in learning games with prizes that I provide for them. I heard it when I have them work collaboratively on comic book projects that allign with our units. I hear it when we're watching a relevant film that I've selected - after pouring over several choices - because it's at their level and I really believe it will interest them. I heard it when I was having them come up with rap songs that dealt with the Revolutionary War. I even heard it yesterday when we had some free time and I let them play Seven Up and hangman on the board.

    Truly, I do everything possible to both stick to the curriculum and make things interesting to them. I look back to when I was in school and I can't remember anything close to the kinesthetic and collaborative activities I, as a teacher, put forth every week. Yet, as a student I still managed to motivate myself by the desire to succeed and learn. What happened to expecting that?
     
  28. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    I think part of it is that these kids have grown up with technology that allows them so much stimulation (video games) and information instantaneously (the internet). With the technology that exists today, which is a HUGE part of their world, they are not used to waiting, and can have whatever sort of information and stimulation at any moment. In the classroom, the majority of them do not have that. I think our challenge is to educate students in a stimulating way, perhaps one that mimics their natural surroundings. What makes this a challenge is funding. In our school, technology almost does not exist. We do have a computer lab, which is nice. Last year I had my 1st graders make wiki pages and do a lot of assignments on their wiki pages. They loved it! I would bring them in there to show video clips of things we were learning, or to have them do projects, and it was such a big hit. I think incorporating these things that are big part of their daily lives is part of the challenge. One Scott Foresman representative put it this way: We are 20th century teachers teaching 21st century students in a 19th century fashion.



     
  29. Kate Change

    Kate Change Companion

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    I teach in a k/1 setting right now and I have to say, we do a ton of academics! Not that I mind, but it's hard to fit in time for fun. I have recently been criticized for allowing "group play" activities. I think that's an important kinder skill, but it's hard to fit it in with all the academics. It's definitely not as much fun as it was when I was that age. Then again, from what I've seen of higher grades, the expectation there is somehow lower than when I was in school. I'm not sure where the disconnect is? Maybe we're not expecting kids to grow up at the same rate we used to expect it?
     
  30. Peachyness

    Peachyness Virtuoso

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    Here are some FUN (this word was banned at one of my schools :()things I did when I taught kinder and fifth:

    Kinder:
    1) raked up a big pile of leaves and had each of my kids, one at a time, jump in and throw the leaves around (I took a picture and they wrote a story).
    2) brought snow down from the mountains. Each kid got to, one at a time, throw their snowball at me. We also took pictures and printed them out for them to use in their story. They also did the snowball dance smash.
    3) Walked to a nearby store. Purchased apples. Walked back. Cut apples. Graphed with type of apple we liked the best.
    4) Took a huge trashbag and "captured" air in there. Had each kid sit on the bag to demonstrate the power of air. Then, had one sit on it and popped it! :) This DID tie in to a science lesson.
    5) We all created kites and went outside on a windy day and ran around our huge field with our kites. Took pictures for stories.
    6) My partner teacher took a gingerbread man and ran it across the window from the outside so it looked like a gingerbread man was really running around outside. We went on a hunt looking for the gingerbread man. When we couldn't find him, we returned to the classroom to find a plate of gingerbread cookies. We ate them and wrote stories about our adventure.

    ... and there's more, but I'll stop here. :)

    Fifth grade:
    1) every three months we held a book award ceremony. Afterwards, we celebrated with icecream. :)
    2) In December our reading program theme was on cultures. So, right before Christmas break, we celebrated culture day. Each child had to bring in a dish that represented their culture. They had such a blast learning about their cultures with their families and bringing in a special dish. :) That was my favorite day when I taught fifth.
    3) Once a month I would do a special art project with my kids. Since we didn't have real art teachers anymore, I felt that my kids still deserved to learn about the different types of arts and artists.
    4) Homeworkopoly made homework a bit more fun for my kids. They LOVED landing on one of those chance spaces.


    Now, that I am a math resource teacher, my kids enjoy:
    1) all of the hands on math things that we do
    2) love the small group atmosphere
    3) love zip strips
    4) BEG to do mental math
     
  31. Momma C

    Momma C Comrade

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    Yea, we have things at our school - pep rallies, etc. The kids are "so-so" about this :dunno: Kids like coming to my class because it isn't boring. I have fun with my kids, and before anyone says anything, my kids do tons of work/learning in my room. But they also never know what to expect with me. Example: I had a problem with tardies last year. When I reported them to the office (as per policy), I was told tardies fall under "classroom management" and I should call the parent each time :dizzy:. I had 6 large classes -- too many calls, but I did find a way to "manage" my classroom. I had only enough desks for my kids, no extras. So, on a whim I took one desk out, which meant one kid had to stand or sit on the floor (which they do not like). The next day I took out another desk. By the third day I had NO tardies, and the kids LOVED it. Why? Because it was different.

    I stayed late after school the other day and changed all 26 desktop backgrounds on my computers. I had Freddy, Michael, Exorcist, Chucky, etc. :eek: It was a hoot when the kids turned on the computers!! This past Friday afternoon I changed the background to crazy turkeys. :whistle:

    So, yea, my kids have fun - and it doesn't take away from their learning. I love my job!!!! :D
     
  32. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    I completely agree that learning can be a fun experience. It's up to us to make it that way. :)

     
  33. midwestteacher

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    I think our small school works hard at making things a little more interesting for the kids. They have occasional assemblies and bring in things like Irish folk dancers. They have poster contests for red ribbon week, etc. Students participate in book fairs and other activities. Each teacher can nominate a student from their class for being a star and the stars get to eat with the principal on Friday. While that may not seem like a prize - they get burgers and fries from a place in town instead of school lunch.
     
  34. Muttling

    Muttling Devotee

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    Smoking isn't the only thing we've caught our kids doing in the bathroom.
     
  35. Em_Catz

    Em_Catz Devotee

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    I try hard to make school fun, but our P and the BOE have put some many limitations on us, it's difficult. The kids are NOT supposed to do much coloring or cutting and our P doesn't like for us to show videos, not even educational ones. W

    e also are not allowed to do worksheets, which means no crossword or word search puzzles with our spelling/vocabulary words (at my old school, we were allowed to do this and my kids enjoyed it)

    We also don't go on many field trips because you have to put in the request almost two months in advance and the county charges almost $100 an hour for school busses.

    For some weird reason our P doesn't want two classes on one bus and there's 6 first grade classes at my school, so that's $600 just for one hour (most trips are about 3 hours. you have to get there, park, get the kids in, do the trip, back on the bus and to school).

    A lot of our kids cannot afford to pay more than $3 for a trip and with the budget being so awful, the P can't offer up supplementary money to help them.

    Also we have to have 4 chaperones per class, which is difficult because a lot of our parents cannot afford to take off work.

    EDIT: Whenever we have assemblies they are always at the end of the day during that last 15 minutes, which is really odd to me because it's all so rushed, the kids don't have much fun
     
  36. Muttling

    Muttling Devotee

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    No work sheets, coloring, or cutting???? I teach high school and use all 3 quite a bit. Not as busy activities, but as part of the teaching.
     
  37. Em_Catz

    Em_Catz Devotee

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    Muttling -
    Our principal said absolutely, positively NO worksheets. Which means that when I need the kids to do a worksheet based assignment, I have to remake the worksheet in MSWord and pass it off as a graphic organizer:mad: And that's only acceptable for social studies, science and math.

    In reading and writing NO WORKSHEETS or graphic organizers. So, if I am teaching about Venn Diagrams instead of passing out the circles already drawn, the kids have to draw them on their OWN paper or in their journals then fill them in.

    Do you know how hard it is to get six year olds to draw intersecting circles?! They look at me like this:huh: then this :( then this :mad:

    My girlfriend who teaches at a another school told me that ANY kind of work they give out, from worksheets, to journal assignments to tests, they have to make a blank copy to turn into the office, plus submit a sample of a student who did well on the assignment, a student who did average and a student who did poor :eek:

    SO, I guess I shouldn't complain TOO much (lest my own P get the same, brillant idea. ugh)
     
  38. Bumble

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    I'm the director of the After-School Activities so I make sure there are fun things that happen at our school. We have art, dance, drama, sports, and homework clubs. Also, we have at least 1 assembly a week. Last year I was really upset that we didn't have anything fun happening for the kids. I'm happy I was able to change it this year. I don't know where you teach, but if it is a Title 1 school,then there is money devoted to after school activities. It is called EC Funds. It can ONLY be used for these activities.
     
  39. Miss84

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    My school doesn't have pep-rallies, we don't even have spirit week...so that would be a NO!
    My classroom-yes. I try to keep them out of their seats and engaged as much as possible.
     
  40. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    Nov 3, 2010

    No spirit week? Oh wow. That's sad. I think it is important for schools to make the effort to build school community, and those sort of things certainly help to do that. Research I have read all point to the importance of school and classroom community for students. I was really impressed with the older grades the other week as they did a Korean day (our 2nd largest student population is Korean). They had Korean music and food, and who knows what else out there, but most importantly, I am sure it really helped bring the students and teachers (and parents who were there) closer as a result. It's really sad that a lot of schools are forgetting the importance of this (be it for testing reasons or what not).
     
  41. deedee

    deedee Connoisseur

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    Nov 3, 2010

    I feel like the kids usually have fun in my class. Not everyday is wiz bang WOW but I get to do some cool activities.

    I am also the Student Council Advisor so I plan the "fun" at school after class. They loved the last dance so that was great!
     

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