Thursday, January 7, 2010

Fifteen Minutes of Fame

Oh my goodness, I'm so excited - and kind of over-the-top scared. A local news station is coming to my school to do a segment on a program that MY CLASS started! Ack! This is so totally cool, and at the same time, absolutely terrifying. Here's the deal:

Some of you might remember my posts from last year about Three Cups of Tea, the book that I read to my kids about Greg Mortenson: climber turned humanitarian in Afghanistan and Pakistan. (Side note: he was up for the Nobel Peace Prize, only to be overshadowed by my students' #2 hero, President Obama. Their little hearts were so torn!) The kids last year absolutely LOVED the book and we participated in "Pennies for Peace," a penny drive to raise money for schools in that part of the world. Last year's penny drive was a raging sucess, and we raised $600 in two weeks. This year I read the book to my kids, who also wanted to organize a penny drive, so I did my best to put this project completely in their hands. Oh heavens, what a hard thing for a teacher to do. All I did was put them in teams and I gave each team some guidelines, then let them work their little tails off for three weeks to prepare for this penny drive. Then, at the end of the day's reading lesson, I'd record what each team did so that everyone knew what the heck was going on in our classroom. Here's a sample of a week's worth of work:

Not too shabby for 22 fourth graders, most of whom are...."underprivileged," if that's what you want to call it. I like to call it "unfamiliar with anything that happens in the real world," or sometimes, "motivationally challenged," or even other times, "the kids with the crappy end of the stick of life." Anyway, they worked hard. And I was very proud. Listening to them work in groups while I got to sit in the middle of the chaos almost brought tears to my eyes. They came up with two slogans from the book: "Pennies can move mountains!" and "Books, not Bombs!" and if you ask any of them why we should help build schools in "Af/Pak" they'll all tell you, "If you educate a boy, you educate an individual; but if you educate a girl, you educate a community." And then they'll explain to you why that's true.
So, this local news station called our principal and said they want to come feature our school on a segment they do every now and then called "School Cribs." They asked her if our school was working on any sort of community project and she said, "Yeah, we're in the middle of a penny drive, let me refer you to Mrs. F." Then she comes to me and says, "By the way, the news is coming to do a segment on Pennies for Peace," and I'm all, "Oh, that's wonderful! Let me know what I have to do," on the outside, while on the inside I'm all, "Whuuuttt???? You mean my kids have to SPEAK PROPERLY to someone they've never MET BEFORE? Oh dear God, how are we going to do THAT?! I'm not a MIRACLE WORKER, LADY!"
Long story short, I have until Jan. 20th to help my kids put some coherent thoughts together. I'm not really "prepping" them (flashbacks of Sarah Palin), so much as "teaching them about public speaking." It will adventure. I'll let you know how it goes! (Cross your fingers.)