Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Putting on the Power Lipstick

Skip jumped into the van on Monday with a grin on his face.

"Mom, we've got another Extra Credit Assignment in Health Class" he began. "And this one is worth more than bringing in glue sticks, I think."

I should hope so. This "extra credit" was to go to an elementary school, and present a project to a class of 4th or 5th graders, detailing the dangers of tobacco use.

Oh, and it had to be done on Thursday.

Yes. Tomorrow.

But he was so jazzed about it, that I decided to help him do whatever it took to make it happen. He'd already spoken with the teacher and asked if he could present to 3rd graders instead, as he really REALLY wanted to go back to Badger Elementary and give his talk to Kelly's class, which is being taught by the woman who taught him 4th grade.

So when we got home, I helped him draft a letter, and I sent it to Kelly's teacher from my email address (any unknown addresses tend to get flagged by the district, and held in limbo before being punted into spam).


Dear Mrs Hawthorn

Do you remember me? I am Kelly's big brother, and you taught me 4th Grade, three years ago.

Today in Health (my elective this trimester), we were given the option to do an activity where we would go to Elementary Schools and talk to kids about the dangers of tobacco. For my class, it is on Valentine's Day, in the morning, right after school starts, like right after Boot Camp for your class.

If you think you have 45 minutes early that day, could I do it for your class? We are supposed to ask teachers if we can come and talk in the morning, but MiddleSchool gets out at lunch that day, and because I have to walk home past Badger Elementary, I could come in the afternoon, too.

This is optional, and you do not have to say "yes".

This is what I would be doing:

First I would introduce myself, and tell them what I am doing (telling them about the dangers of tobacco), and why I am doing it (because I want them to be healthy as they get older). Then I would ask the class what they already know about tobacco, and I would write it up on the white board. If they have ideas that are not right, I would give them the facts (we have just finished a unit on Tobacco in Health Class). I would tell them other facts about tobacco that they might not know, like what products are made from tobacco, and the chemicals in it, too.

I have some short activities that I would do with the kids. One shows them the chemicals that are in smoke, and one shows what one of the smoking diseases is like (emphysema).

Then I would summarize what we've learned with the kids, and remind them that cigarettes are very addicting, and that you can get hooked on them very quickly. I think Mr. HealthTeacher has some things for me to give away to the kids to remind them to stay away from tobacco, and then I would leave.

I'm not sure if Mr. HealthTeacher has stuff to give away, but I'll have stuff to give away if he doesn't.


Skip Parker


So I sent that off on Monday right after school, and hoped for the best.

But I kind of had misgivings. Mrs. Hawthorn is known for packing a LOT of learning into a TINY amount of time, and Thursday afternoon is scheduled to be a Valentine's party, so I imagined her morning would be pretty packed, too. Also, and I told Skip, giving a teacher less than a week's notice is NEVER a good idea, and even though he'd JUST been given this assignment from Mr. Health, there was a good chance that the timing just wouldn't work.

We heard nothing from Mrs. Hawthorn yesterday, and so when I dropped Skip off at school this morning, I said "Honey, I'm sorry, but you're gonna have to assume that Mrs. Hawthorn just can't fit you in. Maybe she'll let you do it another day..."

Of course, irony being what it is, when I got home from running errands this morning, there was an email from her, saying that she would MAKE IT WORK, to help Skip out.


But Skip would be pleased.

So when I went to get Skip, I gave him the good news. "Honey! I heard from Mrs. Hawthorn. She says you can do it tomorrow morning."

His face fell. "But mom, we needed to get special permission slips from Mr. Health this morning, and the kids that HAD heard from teachers got extra instruction from him. I didn't go with the group, because you said that it wasn't going to work.'


OK, Plan B. We'll go back to Badger Elementary, and tell Mrs. Hawthorn thankyou for making room in the schedule for us, but we needed to know earlier, and now Skip doesn't have to equipment and supplies that he'd need to do a good presentation.

Mrs Hawthorn was pleased to see Skip, but worried when she saw his long face.

Within moments, she had pulled up Mr. Health's email, and was letting him know that even though Skip hadn't been in on the 'inner sanctum' talks this morning, that he was welcome AND EXPECTED in her class.

And now I must put on the Power Lipstick, and go down to Middle School to hunt down Mr. Health and find out what exactly Skip is supposed to be presenting at this big (and hyped in Kelly's class today) show tomorrow morning.

Mr. Health better not give me the hairy run-around, or I'll have to ask for my glue sticks back.

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