Monday, December 23, 2013

December School Report

Naturally, the month of December is dominated by Christmas. This is true even in J and L's school, where the big activities were centered around the big day.

The school hosted its Christmas Fayre early in the month and I volunteered to man one of the booths. My booth was the snowball search, which involved a kiddie swimming pool, ping pong balls, and a ton of shredded paper. Kids paid 20p to find a snowball (ping pong ball) in the pool full of snow (shredded paper). If they found a regular ball, they got a sweetie. If they found one with "hohoho!" on it, they got a special prize. Seems simple and easy to do, right? In the first ten minutes things were fine. Then every student in the school wanted a go. We set up a queue and the kids turned in their balls for candy. The special prizes were soon forgotten and the special balls were given two sweeties instead of one.

The real challenge of the booth was three-fold: (1) keep putting the balls back into the kiddie pool before they ran out; (2) keep the shredded paper from going everywhere in the classroom (and in the rest of the school, too; (3) keep breathing/seeing as the air filled with tiny paper particles. Workers had to cycle in and out. On one of my cycle outs, I took the kids to the Santa's Grotto booth.

Santa's Grotto included a picture with Santa and some sweets. J and L were fairly shy, though L much more so. I had to walk her up to Santa and then race back to get out of the picture.

J, Santa, and L!

It worked out well enough. Other booths were available and popular, including the jarbola and bottlebola (substitute "raffle" for "bola" and you get the idea). Cakes and popcorn and drinks were available for sale, as was a tremendous collection of books. Afterwards, one of the organizers said they would sell the rest of the books at the next big event but not ask for donations beforehand. The Fayre was fun.

Another Christmas tradition is Nativities. J's class combined with the other Key Stage One classes (so that's Years One, Two, and Three) to put on a play about Christ's birth. J was the donkey and he did a good job when he had stuff to do (mostly walking around with Mary and Joseph). On some of the songs he was a little unfocused--staring off into the distance and missing some of the choreography. The production was fun overall.

J as the donkey

L's Reception class had its own Nativity play, "The Whoops-a-Daisy Angel." L played a star. When we saw the performance, she had one line that she said loudly and clearly. Other than that, she mostly stood there, singing the songs and doing the choreography of the songs. She had a great time and was excited to see us. Sadly, I think she was more focused than J was.

L as a star (sorry, it's a scan of a printout of a photo)

The school had a videographer record both shows and sold us a DVD with both performances. I predict it will enter hard rotation for at-home entertainment.

The last day of school was a flurry of activity. We spent the night before writing little Christmas cards for friends (not sure we got them all, whoops-a-daisy!) and packing presents for the teachers. L wasn't sure how to spell one of the assistant teacher's names and we weren't either because L's pronunciation was not the best. We think it was "Mrs. Knareston." But we might have been totally off. L handed out the presents to her teachers and was too shy to give Mrs. K her gift. I walked with her and didn't have the nerve to admit we had no idea what her name really was. She was gracious and didn't even look at the tag, so we dodged a bullet there.

That day, the children walked to the nearby post box to mail letters to Santa. L had a picture taken of her, which made it into her book bag before the day ended!

Mailing a letter to Santa!

It's been a good term for both children. L has settled in and hardly ever protests going to school. She's decide she wants to be an artist and is constantly crafting things at school and home. J loves school and his writing is improving amazingly. Now we have two weeks of vacation for the Christmas holiday!

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