Twenty-one paper turkeys (looking suspiciously like twenty-one first grade hands) flocked together on the window at the entrance of Mrs. Dodd's classroom. The finger-feathers on each glistened in colors never intended by nature but ever so vivid in the giant 64 crayon box with the sharpener on back - colors like "magenta," "Caribbean green," "periwinkle," "salmon," "carnation pink," and "robin egg blue." Each bird’s thumb-head was complete with wattle, giant smile and soulful human-like eyes. Some were even adorned with necklaces and baseball caps.
As I entered the classroom, I was immediately surrounded by my adoring six-year-old fans each clamoring to give me a hug, each eager to share his or her work with me. Mrs. Dodd, accustomed to my daily walk-throughs, endured this interruption with immense grace. I love first graders, but I certainly do not have the courage to spend six hours a day locked in a room with a flock of them.
This particular group of kids was one of my favorites to visit during my morning tour of campus. The students beamed as I listened to them read their journals aloud to me. They delighted in “teaching” me how to add problems on their little white boards. And they laughed as I sat on the floor with them in their reading circle and waved my hand impatiently when Mrs. Dodd asked a question. They even composed a "stop in your tracks - just relax" song especially for me which they willingly sang upon request on days when I needed it most.
Thanksgiving week marks the beginning of the holiday season, the beginning of "hyper-energy mode" for children of all ages who can barely contain their excitement. The three day school week helps to ease teachers and students alike into this stressful time and provides a little motivation for getting the work at hand accomplished.