Friday, July 29, 2011

What Sticks

What fools these mortals be!
A Midsummer Night's Dream Act III, Scene II

It's common practice in elementary school for parents to celebrate their child's birthday by bringing treats for the class to share.

Add it up and that means teachers can expect twenty-five days of sugared-up, salted-up students. And that's not counting other treat-fest occasions like Halloween or Valentine's Day.

I recommend we go back to the recipes of Charles Dickens: gruel on the house!

I was heartened to hear this anecdote from a fourth-grade teacher: as boxes of glazed doughnuts were revealed on a birthday and the kids lined up to partake, Sam, who played Bottom in our production, widened his eyes and quipped:

"What food these morsels be!"

Right on! Off the top of his little head, the boy captured the wit and spirit of William Shakespeare.

I take back the old porridge: Tootsie Pops for everyone!

I ran into Tandi's mother the other day and she also had a story to tell. Tandi, a third-grader who was in Plot People, showed her mom a picture of two cherries hanging from a stem.

Tandi told her mom the sad story of BFFs Helena and Hermia and Shakespeare's comparison of their friendship to a pair of cherries:
So we grew together,
Like to a double cherry—seeming parted
But yet an union in partition—
Two lovely berries molded on one stem....
A Midsummer Night's Dream Act III, Scene II

"I have to show this to Ms. Ryane!" Tandi said.

Indeed, and I best have a bowl of cherries on hand to celebrate.

Peter, who played Francis Flute, fired off the story of "Macbeth" one day to his mom. When she asked how he knew the story, complete with details she'd forgotten from her student days, Peter answered, "Ms. Ryane told us the story and it just stuck with me."

They heard. They remembered. It stuck.

Ice cream all round!

Dear Lysander,

Have a happy Valintines day. I hope that you can attend my party I hope you could come. If you do come please help me decorate my house and help me make cookies for thou guests, I you can't come I will understand. Thank you.

—Bridget, 3rd grade

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