Sunday, September 22, 2013

5th Grade Research & Paper Maché (Grandma Report)

Two weeks ago, the kids told me they had a big assignment from Sr. Rosanne. They had to create a mini-float representing their assigned state. Last year, they each researched a state as an extra project. They were given a few extra projects in class while other kids received some scholastic support. Bridget kept hers, Stephen had a new one.

On working with kids long term home work project - it's supposed to be an opportunity to research a state and figure out a way to represent it. We talked over their ideas - even allowed them to think about how they would create a float to the scale of one of Stephen's old Tonka trucks. They said some of their class mates might make a cake. I suggested we stick with craft/art ideas - then I blurted out "paper maché."

They're very creative in their ideas; some of them inspired by their excellent Banana Factory classes or summer camp activities (Thank you, Banana Factory, Northampton Community College, and Baum School of Art). But they also had to research how to make paper maché, use hot glue guns, melt crayons, print textural patterns, free draw Mr. Peanut, and texturized painting techniques. Along the way, they learned the states' main industry and capitals.

We got started straight away - even though they had a good three weeks to work on it. Their enthusiasm wasn't going to be squelched by a last minute frenzy. They knew what they wanted to do - and I knew the weekend before it was due was the Celtic Classic and other chaos. I was actually thinking about how to build a proportionally accurate trailer to be pulled by the Tonka truck. When I realized that meant axels and wheels.... never mind.

Last weekend was the paper maché. Steve as out of town, so what the heck? Let's just make the chaos of single parenting that much better. Still had the regular weekend work: course prep, student monitoring, my own assignments and the regular domestic stuff. Additionally, a significant research interview opportunity, and Nutcracker auditions - but what's a little mess?

Walking around town with flour paste all over my pants, is what happened. Only a tad embarrassing when I was trying to hide in the back of the room at the Ballet Nutcracker Parent meeting. Those ladies are styling even on Sunday afternoons. But we got the first part of the project done in time to get to the interview and even enjoy the evening book reading. By golly, they really do look like a volcano and a hot air balloon.

Fast forward to this weekend - Stephen's heading into tech week then opening night on Friday. Tech week means 6:30pm call time and prepare to stay until 11pm each night this week. Bridget still has her ballet/ harp/ Girl Scouts, and I'm still getting that together, too. Also - next weekend is CELTIC CLASSIC, another guest artist at Zoellner AND - Peggy Orenstein on Thursday.

Stephen was kind enough to wake up early on Saturday. He and Bridget painted their paper maché creations. Then I assisted Stephen attach the pebbles with the hot glue gun while Bridget free drew her Mr. Peanut.

I needed to get to Lehigh for the first Saturday Socratic Rounds (M. Ed intellectual dialogue and networking) and then stop by the Celtic Classic grounds to meet with the other Education committee members to sort out craft supplies. (By golly, we're ready to go - except I still need to cut the sheep - later). Steve took the kids around the Historic neighborhood for their annual rummage sale. Bridget got her annual sparkly old lady jewelry (including vintage clip on earrings)
We met up (kind of) at Mayflower diner - me with the committee at a booth. Steve and the kids at the counter. It seemed so...... normal.

When I got home, we were back at the projects in between loads of laundry and races with the vacuum cleaner. Stephen had to shave a lot of crayons, and Bridget started making her basket. In between, each took turns on the computer researching more info on their states. I was still not sure how we were going to get the melted wax onto the volcano by Saturday bed time. I decided to let it go for the night; pulling up a movie Steve and I hadn't seen yet - The Social Network. Microwave popcorn, and a sugar free Butterbeer (see later) - gosh, this almost felt like a date night.

I woke up at the crack of too early on Sunday morning with a creative breakthrough. The way to get the wax onto the volcano was to heat it like heroine.... Breaking Bad style. I've honestly never tried heroine. Stephen woke up a little after me, so he was able to drip the melted wax onto his project, after I handled the fire part.

Other fun things that happened this weekend - we rescued a praying mantis in the Zoellner parking garage. Stephen named him Copper. Apparently, we have a thing for bugs. After "Gripper" the spider stayed in our right side rear view mirror for nearly three weeks; surviving highway speeds to Baltimore, Philadelphia and back - we needed another critter to tend to.

Friday, I had 30 minutes in between picking up Bridget from Ballet and Stephen from his rehearsal. Of course that's enough time to run to Wegmans for Butterbeer ingredients. Came home and whipped out the blender. By golly, these tasted really good. I also have a really old bottle of Butterscotch Schapps for the grown up version.

Sunday after cinnamon rolls, Bridget and I helped out our friend Candi at the Pancreatic Cancer Research walk in Allentown Parkway. Lovely park. Glorious day. Bridget wanted to walk around the park after we finished our duties. I'll not say "no" to my daughter who still wants to hold my hand when we walk. Some folks might think she's a little old for this - but it still makes me feel all warm and loving.

Sunday night, I was able to make a couple of meals ahead for the week; broccoli cheese calzones, banana bread, and red lentil stew.

I guess this was a busy weekend. But we're heading into another great week, full of opportunity and blessings. I get to play with a router to cut a flock of styrofoam sheep at Lehigh, figure out how to realize the idea of green screen technology for the pre-show lobby activity before LEO, escort Peggy Orenstein around campus this Thursday, and volunteer at the Celtic Classic.

There's also a school board meeting, and a City Safety Council meeting I hope to attend - some things I read about in the local newspaper got me a little upset and I intend to get to the bottom of it (more later).

Well, by this time - the food is cool enough to store away for the week. I gotta hit the sack for a 7am MRI on the left shoulder. If I'm more than just old, and am truly broken, I hope the MRI can tell the good doctor that I'm not exaggerating. I only wish I could meet an orthopedic doctor that actually was sympathetic toward overweight moms with life long alignment issues.

Good night, mom. I love you.

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