Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Impromptu Parties

Yesterday my 3-year-old granddaughter gave a special party for her dolls (she calls them her “babies”), and I enjoyed it so much I started thinking – and I’m quite serious – about giving similar parties in English class this year. When I asked Ava why she was having a party for the babies, she simply said, “Because they are good”, which seemed to me, as I thought about it later, a perfect reason for organizing a bit of revelry. Simple goodness goes uncelebrated too often, but not in my granddaughter’s world – not for this little girl who gets joy from just jumping up and down in the driveway or seeing her daddy do strange stunts. For her, more or less any aspect of life could be a cause for rejoicing, which is why she set her babies on the table and sang to them as we ate cupcakes to mark the occasion. To be honest, I can picture my teenage students and I occasionally making a similar kind of merriment in the coming year. If the class comprehends Rules 1-7 for comma usage in only seventeen minutes, why not break out Hershey’s kisses and a selection of smiley stickers? When several kids crack open a Keats’ poem like professionals, how about some little lollipops for one and all? Even just the fact that the students show a fair amount of respect for each other day after day deserves an occasional salute, perhaps in the form of five minutes of free time. I’ll keep Ava and her impromptu parties in mind when school opens in September. She showed us the importance of thanks and happiness yesterday, and I’d like to do the same for my students.

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