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Wednesday, May 09, 2007

We're walking, we're walking, we're walking... ANNNNNND we're stopping

Yesterday was quite the eventful day, as far as school days go. Any day that involves TAKS scores, a field trip, and a homicidal maniac can only be brought to closure by a margarita (or two). So I was very happy when my girlfriend suggested On the Border for dinner last night. But I'm getting way ahead of myself...

Since our walking field trip was canceled last Friday due to rain and wet weather, I wasn't too optimistic about our chances for yesterday since it was overcast and it had poured for hours on Monday night. But, conditions were deemed acceptable, so we got to proceed as planned.

And so the ragtag fleet set off on their lonely quest, for a shining planet called Earth... Well, roughly 100 kids and 5 teachers set off for a walk to a nearby park (about a mile away).

I always forget just how much I dislike that walk. Kids grumbling about their legs hurting and how they're tired. Kids stopping to touch as many dead animals as they can (seriously -- if you see a dead frog in the middle of a bike trail, don't you have the sense not to pick it up?). Kids moving at approximately the speed that water freezes.

Once we were at the park though, we had a lot of fun. It was indeed very muddy. Not Lollapalooza muddy, but enough so to keep local washing machines busy for the next couple of days. I spent a lot of time throwing a football around with some of the kids, and I would have to wipe the mud and water off onto my shirt before I threw it. So I came back to school looking like I had done an ad for Orbitz gum. But it was fun.

The fun ended rather abruptly, though, when we received a phone call from our principal saying that we had to return to the school immediately. This was about 40 minutes earlier than we would have left otherwise.

So we began the Trail of Tears back to the school. Typically, the walk from school to park takes about 30 minutes, and the walk from park to school takes an hour. This is because kids who were frolicking and playing tag five minutes ago now complain about not being able to feel their legs. The morning walk is paradise compared to the afternoon walk. I swear, I'm going to tell the kids next year to bring cameras so that they can take pictures of dead animals to enjoy forever, rather than having to stop and stare. This isn't the zoo, people!

I actually found myself saying, "Keep moving, there's nothing to see here."

Eventually, we did make it back to school, and we found out that we had been called back because the school had been put into Lockdown. The police department had locked down all of the schools in North Dallas because they had received threats from a guy who claimed he was going to massacre a bunch of kids. What a class act. Thank goodness he didn't stumble onto our group outing!

As for the actual Lockdown, the kids we had left behind (NCLB does NOT apply to field trips) were atrocious. Even though the principal had stated, "This is not a drill," beforehand, my kids were crawling around on the floor, screaming and yelling, and playing around the whole time, according to the teacher we had left them with.

[2 more weeks. 2 more weeks. 2 more weeks. 2 more weeks.]

We also got TAKS scores back yesterday. I was not happy. Seven of my kids did not pass, including three that I had been confident WOULD pass and one who missed a passing score by one question.

Looking online at the answers chosen, I noticed that several kids in my homeroom left questions blank (no answer). Three kids had 4 no answers in a row! This can only mean that they skipped over a page! One of those three did not pass, and he would have had he gotten those four correct.

Once again, I'm aggravated that we are not allowed to test our own kids anymore. I don't know that it would have made a huge difference, but I do know at the very least that I would have kept an eye on who wasn't bubbling properly!

On a high note, I did have 9 kids who got a commended score, so I was very happy for them.

Thankfully, today was not quite as hectic as yesterday. But I may still finish it off with a margarita…


HappyChyck said...

You only have two more weeks? I'm jealous. Sounds like you've had your fill of the 06-07 school year. A day playing ball in the park sounds like a nice diversion--even though it was hell gettin' there! Hang in there!

IMC Guy said...

I've taken my third graders on walking trips before and your experiences are very similar to mine. We always kept a teacher up front and one at the end to keep the little straglers (is that spelled right?) moving along.

As far as the other situation - wouldn't it have been better to take them somewhere else safe? Perhaps a different public building rather than back to school?

I'm jealous as well - we have until June 15th.