Thursday, February 4, 2010


I have just decided - an imperative - a vote from one - and I hear others join me in this campaign.  HA! What is Art exactly?!?: Somewhere in there must be Joy - and Joy includes laughter.

Yesterday I finished loading all the computers in my lab with a new word processor:  OOo4Kids.  Its got a lot of cool features which will just work better with kids than Word, such as: the ability to use the mouse to move objects around on the page. Cool!  Well, I never really had the time to give it much of a test run so I decided to introduce the application to the third grade classes and then just let them explore.  That teaching method worked so well with Stykz - I was astonished and pleased that the children surpassed me in their skills. Even the little ones - so being the lazy teacher that I am  . . .

The kids were wonderful with OOo4Kids. They asked me how to use it and I shrugged my shoulders, "Click around, read the Help section, see what happens and then share with each other."
The resulting activities were fantastic to hear and watch. The kids discovered so many unique features, such as draw, stamp, shapes and other items. They were able to change the backgrounds and headers, fonts and other cool things appeared as if by magic. The favorite was the music feature, where you could add sounds, music and your own voice. Children were running around the room helping and encouraging and I mostly just sat back and watched and enjoyed.

BUT - I live in a universe run by time. Time rules - clocks are Hellish - plus they are never correct but that's another story. I realized I had another class on my schedule. I needed these students to stop doing whatever they were doing and go through the closing procedures I have structured for my classes. "Apple-Q; close your folders and log out of 'Students'." Unfortunately, the sound volume of children's voices is usually pretty high and although my voice can carry across a playground and quite possibly the city I just couldn't get their attention. So I blew my whistle.

Just a couple of light breaths through my whistle and I thought all would be calm - so I took a sip of tea. The children quieted down for a second and then I heard someone say, "What was that?"

And another little girl said, "I don't know but it sounded like a Dollar Tree whistle." Which made me start laughing so hard that I snorted tea out of my nose, and I knew I was going to choke to death in front of these beautiful people. I haven't laughed so hard in years and I would have enjoyed it more without the mouthful of tea - but I was quickly surrounded by a mass of concerned little people, all hugging me and laughing also. A good time was had by all . . . since I lived, and procedures were followed  . . . and although it sounded like a riot in my room and the other teachers were peering through the door (a little fearfully) . . . I think my class was very successful.

So what did I learn from all this? Not to be insulted when someone says that my very expensive whistle sounds like a "dollar store" item? How about, not drinking tea around eight and nine year old people?  Its OK to be lazy? Keep my eye on the clock always? I think maybe I learned that I am right when I say - Kids are born to learn and they learn best when they play.


Grownups play too:


My review:
Bringing me back to the day - what fun we had in those golden California days - what a blur they were - but fun. Riding around in our convertibles, with the radio up loud - LOUD - and singing, and rocking, bouncing down the freeways totally oblivious to everything else but each other and our exhilaration at living such a free and easy existence.

Yes - smashed would be a great word to call that existence. I just love this album for bringing back that free wheeling life-style and giving us the great guitar work - the outstanding singing - the lyrics - the adventure, the SUPER music. Although this album is not entirely like those golden-olden days - it is close enough to that groovy spirit that it makes me visualize - ah - my younger days. You guys are the best!

Warning: Sadness Here Below!

So now I have a sad poem - which flew into my mind when I was thinking about Jamendo and the issues applied therein - and dealing with my strong "rescuer" self-image and how truly frustrated I become when I can't fix things - so if you are looking for laughter please don't read this poem unless you are easily amused.

When bodies began to fall

when there were bodies falling
while the fire raged
and the wings did not appear
as promised by our dreams
who was there to catch
the burning bodies . . .
our hearts turned in despair
and our eyes glazed over
as if not to see. . .
that the bodies were falling
into a tempestuous sea


This little poem is about 9-11 and how I felt at not being superman.  I was traumatized for two years and unable to sleep without dreaming that I was one of those people who had to jump from the heights of those burning buildings and I would waken in the middle of the night with my heart flying out of my chest.  Every single night the very same dream of reaching out a hand to someone else, standing by a broken window, and leaping together as the flames stormed up around us. . . . every single night.


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