Even if you would miss the large Advent wreath in the hall or all the Christmas projects in the classrooms, you would certainly know that Christmas is coming soon just from the current of excitement running throughout the school. My normally frizzy hair is even frizzier from all the energy and excitement radiated by my class. I suppose it doesn’t help that as part of our math lesson we count the days until Christmas!
Each Monday we gather in the hall for an Advent prayer service. Fr. White leads us in prayer. There are Advent wreaths in the classrooms. In my classroom, the children watched as I assembled our wreath. We talked about the symbolism contained in the wreath. Our wreath is a little different from most Advent wreaths. My candles are construction paper tubes. I used to have real candles. However for safety reasons, I always put a paper flame on each wick. Unfortunately my “Bible area” is next to the windows and by the heater. So by the end of Advent my candles were bent over and semi-melted. Who knew paper fire was so hot?
St. Nicholas visited the school on Dec. 6. The students in preschool through fourth grade placed their shoes outside the classroom doors and while they were busy working, good St. Nick came through and left goodies in the shoes. Later that day, he paid a surprise visit to the students. Escorted by Mr. Rosenbeck, he stopped and talked to the students in each class. You just never know who might come by at St. Mary’s!
This week the third through eighth graders have had the opportunity to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation in preparation for Christmas. Since the second graders just received First Reconciliation on Nov. 28, they will join the students in the spring to receive Reconciliation before Easter.
All the grades have been rehearsing for the Christmas program which will be held this Tuesday, December 18 at 7:00 in the church. The preschoolers will open the program with Christmas songs. The rest of the program will include a skit, a performance from the sixth grade band members and more singing. After the program all will go over to the school to decorate cookies and enjoy refreshments. I have heard from a very reliable source that a certain gentleman from ‘way up north will stop for a visit. I understand he has some sort of list, something about “naughty and nice”. We would be very happy if you would join us for some holiday cheer and some tasty treats. We hope to see you this Tuesday.
The next day, Dec. 19, the first through fourth graders will travel to Heartland and the Village Green retirement communities to carol for the residents. They will sing the songs
from the Christmas program and other carols in addition. This is one of the service projects undertaken by the younger students.
With next week being the last week before Christmas break, the students will have some special activities. The children will meet with their buddies and make Christmas ornaments together. The last day of school is this Friday, December 21. The student council has planned a movie day for the students on that day. They will provide popcorn and bottled water for the students to enjoy while watching the movie. After lunch, the students will go downtown and carol on Broadway. After caroling, they will return to have their Christmas parties. The students will exchange gifts with their buddies. Christmas break begins at 2:35 pm. Classes resume on Jan. 3.
My class has been working on the “world’s longest” paper chain since last week. Every December, my children work together to make green and red paper chains. Now I could give you some really good educational objectives for why we make the chain, such as “working on patterning (red-green-red-green…)” or “building cooperative skills’. A really good teacher can find an acceptable objective for just about any activity. However the truth is paper chains are kind of a first/second grade thing. Also the likelihood of getting a room full of excited children to concentrate on phonics and math the week before Christmas is about the same as me becoming twenty-five and skinny again. I just don’t see it happening! (An aside- My class has worked extremely hard all year and I always plan to give them a little down time in December. I’ll go back to tyrant taskmaster mode in January!) Our goal this year, weather permitting, is to take our chain outside and see how many times we can go around the school.
On behalf of the staff and students of St. Mary’s School I would like to extend our wish that you have a Blessed Christmas and Happy New Year.
Kathy Ayette is a teacher at St. Mary’s Catholic School. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Viewpoints expressed in these opinion pieces are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.