It’s almost Asian/Pacific Islander Heritage Month at our school, which means we’re gearing up for our big celebration in May. For one of our mini project, I showed my students a video of one of the big lantern festivals in Taiwan that happen every year. Then we made mini lanterns on card stock paper that they decorated then cut out. The only bad thing about this project is that since no kindergartner or first grader can be trusted with brass tacks or tying real knots, I ended up tying a billion knots and fitting brass tacks through a million holes. It was all worth it though because their lanterns turned out so cute!

Working hard on the lanterns

Our mini lanterns!

The other day, my school’s art teacher wasn’t in so we had a substitute art teacher. The regular art teacher loves my class though so she actually invited a special guest from the District’s visual art department to teach my class art. This teacher is really something special. She bought all kinds of fruits and taught the students to watercolor them. I was entirely blown away by how detailed some of the fruits came out looking. I really thought they were going to just draw circles (for apples and oranges) and triangles (for strawberries)!

Student 1

Student 2

Student 3

My sister is a fashion design student at Parsons. For one of her current projects, she wanted to take inspiration from children so she Skyped into my class and asked my students to do some drawings for her. She asked them three things and here are some of their best work. I thought they turned out so awesome!

1. How do you feel?

2. Draw a creature that you want to spend time with (a monster friend).

3. Draw a creature that you are scared of (a scary monster).

Working in a public place, I feel like you just never know what’s going to happen. Schools are especially crazy sometimes because as teachers and administrators, we are constantly working to please (and better) our students, who are essentially like our clients (if you were to think about schools in a business model). In this mindset, which is especially true in a city like San Francisco, where I have found that many students and their families feel entitled to perhaps more than we can honestly offer (at a public school level), it has become harder and harder to please these students and their families.

The other day, things blew up quite dramatically at my school to the point where the end result was a parent getting into an alleged altercation (alleged because it’s still under police investigation) with a student (unrelated to the adult) resulting in a student leaving campus in an ambulance. Then at the end of the day, family members of both sides appeared on campus in an attempt to fight it out. I, of course, did not see any of this happen in person. I was with my students (in both situations) in our classroom lights out and door locked hiding in the corner, per typical school lockdown procedure. As you can imagine, my students were a bit confused as to why they were sitting in the corner in the dark with their teacher. Ultimately I don’t think there are going to be any lasting effects on my students, but still … how scary!

Because, ultimately, who’s to say that something like this won’t happen again? No matter how much we try to “please” the students and their families, it’s not really our job to cater to their every want. There are always going to be situations where families and/or students are upset for whatever reason. The question is, how can we really make schools safer for everyone, including those of us who work there?!?

The other day, instead of going to the zoo, the San Francisco Zoo came to our school! A couple of their zoo keepers drove a huge van filled with various animals and holed up in two of our first grade classrooms. A number of classes then rotated through to meet some of these animals, including my class! It was neat to see some of these animals (I honestly don’t remember what all of them were) up close since at the zoo they are generally a bit farther away. We got to see some kind of parrot, some kind of tortoise, some kind of lizard, some kind of scary rodent-like animal that eats mice, and another lizard-like animal. All in all, a neat experience for the students who got to touch 3 out of 5 of the animals!

A school zoo photo adventure: