Day 8


Tuesday, October 31


After returning to a day of class in the Child Development room, Day 8 was a special day in the classroom—Halloween.


Shay School celebrates Halloween with an annual Halloween parade that occurs outside in front of an audience of parents who come to see their children dressed in their costumes with their class. I come to the parade regularly as well, masked in a George W. Bush mask. This is so I am not recognized by the dozens of families I know from the JCC, the GBN Preschool, and of course, Mrs. Shapiro’s room.


Since the parade is in the afternoon, however, the morning Kindergarten classes are never able to participate. Thus, the morning Kindergarten is given a special parade of its own—it goes throughout the school and parades in every classroom.


This parade was scheduled to start at the beginning of school—at 8:50 p.m. I came early to participate in the parade, and spent the entire day in costume—dressed as Abe Lincoln.


Because of the cold temperatures outside, Mrs. Shapiro and Mrs. Veerman (the other kindergarten teacher) had lined their students up in the main hallway adjacent the school office. Mrs. Shapiro was dressed up as a clown, Mrs. Veerman was dressed up as the Cat in the Hat. When I arrived at the school, parents had come to take pictures of their kids before they went off to start their parade. Dr. Wilkinson was also there to see the lineup as well, and to tell the parents when they could come into the school.


When the parents were admitted into the building I stood with my class in my costume. I had brought a camera as well, as was taking pictures of the class (for the final exam). The commotion, however, proved to be too much for one student in Mrs. Shapiro’s class—Roger. Roger had a temper tantrum and did not want to go with his class as the parade started. Roger was given permission not to participate in the parade, and Dr. Wilkinson let him wait with her while his class participated in the parade. (Roger has been suffering from severe separation anxiety as well as problems with handwriting. He also frequently has tantrums at the start of kindergarten.)


Five minutes later, the kindergarten was off to the classrooms of the school. As Abe Lincoln, I stood in front of Mrs. Veerman. We started with the second grade classrooms—and I picked up an umbrella to carry when I entered Mr. Foster’s classroom, and then proceeded to the first grade classrooms. In every class, I was recognized by at least one student as Abe Lincoln. I was also recognized as James Rosenbloom by the first, second, and third graders who remember me from the JCC.


After passing through the fourth and fifth grade classrooms, the parade was over and the kindergartners returned to their classrooms. Roger, having waited with Dr. Wilkinson during the duration of the parade, joined his class when they got back to the room.


In the classroom, the students were seated down in their rows, and were introduced to an art project in the classroom. Mrs. Shapiro showed them a sheet of paper with a picture of a monster on it, drawn with a black marker, on the blackboard. She then showed them a bottle of what she called “monster spray,” which would cause the monster to disappear. It was harmful to monsters, she pointed out, but okay for kids. She sprayed the “monster spray” onto the monster, and the picture dissolved onto the paper.


After demonstrating the effect to the students, she asked each student to go to their table and draw a monster, and then she would put the monster spray on their monsters to cause them to “disappear.” One student asked if she could take the monster spray home with her; Mrs. Shapiro said no but would tell her parents the recipe. (The “monster spray” was just plain water).


Since Mrs. Shapiro did not need any help spraying the students’ pictures, I began to prepare materials for the Monster Mash game, a Free Time activity.


On the night of Friday, October 27, I had attended the Monster Mash, an annual Halloween party held at Shay School. At the party were the Game Show Gurus, an entertainment group that had created a game show. The game show consisted of calling two groups of kids from various grades to the stage. The grades were paired into three groups: Kindergarten-1st grade, 2nd-3rd grade, 4th-5th grade. Parents were also asked to come and participate in teams as well.   


The groups were placed into two teams, each competing against the other. In the first round of the game show, both teams were given a series of trivia questions in a period of two minutes. The group to answer the most questions correctly in that two-minute period won the round. The second round consisted of being given a series of letters, and having to find them from a pile of paper-size flash cards with letters on them. Example: The game show hosts would announce the letters DFAS, and then each team would try to find the D, F, A, and S flash cards and show them to the audience in the proper order. The first team to show the audience the letters properly would win the round.


Analyzing how the game was played, I began to create a miniature version of it that could be played by students in Mrs. Shapiro’s room, also noticing the similarity between the abilities required to play the game and the skills being evaluated in each student in the classroom (the ability to identify letters in the alphabet, for example). I explained the game to Mrs. Shapiro, who gave me permission to play it in the classroom.


I found a bunch of Post-Its on Mrs. Shapiro’s desk. Mrs. Shapiro gave me permission to use them, and I promptly made 20 flash cards, split into two sets of 10 with 10 letters of the alphabet on them. In my miniature version, there would be at least three players, one on each team, and the “host.” The “host” would look at the cards and say 3 letters in a specific order from those cards, and the two teams would have to look at their cards, locate those letters, and display them. The first team to successfully locate those letters would get a point, and we would play until one team got to 5 points.


I then announced if anyone wanted to play the game played during the Monster Mash party. Three girls, Grace, Brittany, and Ellie, were interested. Each kid got a turn playing the host and on one of the teams until the bell rang, and it was Clean-Up Time.


During Clean-Up Time, I cleaned up the mess I had made by picking up the Post-It cards. Once Clean-Up Time was over, it was time for the students to go to Art. Mrs. Shapiro lined up the students, and we took them to Art.


After Mrs. Shapiro and I returned from Art, the two “room parents”—that is, the two parents who signed up to get involved in the classroom parties—came to help decorate the classroom for their annual Halloween party. After introducing myself to the parents, the four of us went right to work. To prepare the room for the party, we decorated the room with streamers and putting cookies and other candy on each table.


Once we had completed decorating the room, it was time to pick the students up from Art.


Dressed as Abraham Lincoln, I went to one of the tables and sat down, eating cookies with the students. I asked the students whether they were trick-or-treating that night. They said yes. Brittany asked me if I was going to her house to trick-or-treat. I told her that I was not going to, but would try to. (I did not, but was trying to be polite.) That was a mistake. Other students started asking if I would be trick-or-treating at their homes, and one student gave me her address. Brittany told me she lived in Northbrook. I stopped the conversation by saying that they were not supposed to give her address out in class.


When one student gave me her address in the hope I would come to her house to trick-or-treat that night, I told her that she was technically not supposed to give me her address. So I told the students that I would not be coming to their homes, and we continued the party. I continued by talking about their Halloween costumes, and whether or not they liked Halloween.


After the students were done with their snacks, it was time to line up for Music class.


With the students gone for Music, the room parents, Mrs. Shapiro, and I went to work cleaning up the room from the party. When the room was back to normal, the room parents returned home, and it was time to pick the students from Music.


Once the students returned to class, Mrs. Shapiro sat them down in their rows for a story. She told the story “The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything,” a story about a lady who thinks she is not as afraid as she really is.


Once Mrs. Shapiro finished reading her story, Kindergarten was over, and the students were dismissed.



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