Salty Sunday

Originally posted on my blog:

I grew up listening to U2.  I am a big fan of Bono and all of his fabulousness.  Today, the song Sunday, Bloody Sunday was on my XM Classic Rock station.  Not sure when U2’s Joshua Tree songs became classic rock, but I guess they did.  Bummer.

But this is not what this post is about.  It is about salt, 4th grade and work.  These three things have no connection at all, you think? Well, they do.

String Bean’s 4th grade class was required to create a salt map of the great state of Ohio.  What is a salt map, you ask?  I didn’t know what it was until a thousand page long rubric came home stating all of the specifics.  Essentially, it is mixing a special salt mixture, putting it on a pizza box in the shape of Ohio, creating all of the hills, valleys, rivers and lakes in the state and picking a theme to label the map with.  Whew.  That made me tired just typing it!

Master Chef Tom began saying each day after school, “This weekend we are working on the salt map.”  Basically he would say it to whomever was around, as if he was working up the courage to start Bean’s project.  I would sit and roll my eyes and continue reading my Kindle or messing around with the iPad.

The weekend (two weeks later) finally came and Tom and Bean started to diligently work on the salt mixture.  They spread it over the state layout on the pizza box and put it in the laundry room to dry.  Apparently salt mixtures need a full week to dry.  Who knew?

By the next week, Tom began his after school statement again.  “This weekend we are working on the salt map.”

Finally, we were pressed to deadline.  Salt maps were due on Tuesday and it was the Sunday prior.  They take this cardboard pizza box with this crazy salty state and set it on the kitchen table and they look at it. (Insert cricket sounds here.)

I swoop in and begin helping by painting the box and the salty Ohio.  Then, Tom and Noah cut out and glued the million cities, lakes, rivers and surrounding states that were required on the rubric (I did mention the rubric was a thousand pages long, didn’t I?!)

Next for the theme.  Tom and Bean picked this out long ago.  First, they were going to put the state parks in Ohio on the map until they realized there are MANY state parks (almost as many as the number of pages of the rubric.)  So they narrowed it down to the Underground Railroad stops in Ohio.  There were 13 of them.  How do I know?  Because I printed them off, cut them out, labeled them and helped Beanie with the key.  I am smarter now.

My question is:  How do children who do not have parents who take an active role in their education complete a project of this magnitude?

Here is the finished project:

The Masterpiece

Ring my bell

Made you look!  Nothing too crazy in this post, I can guarantee.  I just can’t get the 1979 disco song out of my head.  It makes me want to sing it REALLY loudly and annoy all of those around me.  So, just three short hours ago, I busted into this song as we all were working Squishy’s homework.  Ring my bell, my bell, ring my bell.

The more I think about it, the more I realize that bells rule my life.  As a student, it was the bell that beckons one from class to class.  As a teacher, it begins again, although chatting with friends in between bells (or classes) is rarer and more precious.

I feel ruled by the bell, not saved by the bell.  A bell/alarm wakes me up, a bell signals me that I should be at school – which is ironic because students are not even in the building at that shiny morning time of 7 a.m.  A bell lets me know that is is OK to make copies, try to go potty and even just sit down at my desk.  The bell rules my life.  This year, there is not a bell after lunch.  In fact, there is only a late bell.  It kills me.  Why?  Because I am so conditioned by the bell to be in my classroom on time.  Ring me Pavlov, please.

This afternoon, before breaking into song and really making my husband crazy, I figured out that my iPhone has a bell-like signal when I receive a text (duh) AND, here is the important thing, when I SEND one.  The receiving texts signal is a no brainer, but the sending one, now that is new.  Sad thing is that I have had this phone for over six weeks and just now heard it.  Maybe the bell is not loud enough. Who knows.  Maybe I just need a mind-piercing school bell.  Ha.

When I was in the corporate world, many moons ago, I remember reading an article in the paper (the real one, not the online one – lol!) that business people were so distracted by bells and whistles such as alerts, email notifications, and the like that they were off task after they heard the sounds.  The article stated to try and NOT be ruled by the sounds of modern technology. This was 1996.  I wonder what the article would have said if it knew of the future that held thousands of bell tones, text notifications alerts and email zip sounds and the fact that I just noticed I had a sending text sound on my super dee duper iPhone.

Maybe I need a bell at night to signal me that it is time to go to bed or stop writing this silly post.  Ring my bell.