Last week on my way to work – with a basket full of carefully wrapped presents resting in the passenger seat next to me – I pulled the car over fully intending to commit a crime. I did it for the children, honest.
Last year, while living in an apartment complex and having to walk the dogs a lot, I discovered a fern-like plant that, when dipped in white paint and gently pressed upon light blue construction paper, makes lovely snowflake-like shapes. These are the things that elementary school teachers discover during the holiday season as they try to come up with creative, artistic projects for their classes to engage in. This fern-like plant happens to grow in the landscaping around the apartment complex we used to live in but now no longer do.
And so, on my way to work last week, I pulled over the car, looked furtively around before hopping out and absconding with several plant pieces. The business complex directly across the street from the apartment complex where I was committing both trespassing and theft, was being landscaped, several men were busy mowing and leaf blowing.
I did not make eye contact.
I arrived at school with my basket of gifts, one for each child in my class (books, roughly at their independent reading level, with a snoopy eraser). Inside the basket, my stolen goods.
That day we started the project they would finish in time to wrap and take home for their special someone. We made snowflake poems:
If I was a snowflake
I would be cold as a…
Soft as a…
Small as a…
Beautiful as a…
And as special as me.
After brainstorming as a whole class and making an anchor chart, each student created a tree map listing their top three choices for each descriptive category, including any additional ideas they came up with on their own.
This means that each child’s poem was unique to them. They wrote it on large unlined index cards in their best second grade handwriting and then glued it onto the bottom of a large light blue piece of construction paper. On the remaining paper, they used the stolen plant pieces and/or Q-tips dipped in white paint to create a snowscape. Each student also glued a die cut snowflake onto their paper and in the center of this, I attached a small copy of their fall school picture (the school provides these to me, I adore them).
The next day, three at a time, I called them over to the reading group table to pick out tissue paper and a gift tag. Most of my students had never wrapped a present before. They were beyond excited to have a gift to give. They were more excited about the gift they had created and got to give to someone than they were about the gifts I gave to them. I loved this about them.
The poems turned out super cute.
And totally worth my almost brush with the law.