Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Change.

A few notes on today's inauguration... (I had planned on a longer post, but a head cold has my brain a bit addled and I'm heading to bed early tonight.)

~ I had actual lesson plans for today, but as soon as I pulled up Inauguration Day coverage on cnn.com, my kids were flocking to the laptop, hoping for a glimpse of our soon-to-be 44th president. I let them drift over to my desk during centers and writers' workshop, but by snack time I could see that we weren't going to get any book-learning done. I moved the laptop to a desk in the back of the room, hooked up the external speakers, and we sat to watch history unfold.

~ When the motorcade drove past, one of my girls asked, "Why are the cops chasing him?" Cue impromptu lesson on Secret Service Men...

~ During the introduction of former presidents, one student asked if Teddy Roosevelt would be there. Not sure how he knows that name, but I think I confused him even more when I tried to explain why Teddy wouldn't be in attendance.

~ Around 11:30, the whole school went down to the cafetorium to watch the ceremony on the projection screen. I expected the kids to get antsy or bored, but the majority of them sat and watched the whole thing with nary a peep. Impressive.

~ I was pretty sure I was gonna cry... and I did. But not during the oath or the speech (which is when I figured it would happen). No, the two moments that moved me to tears were completely unexpected ones. As Biden was being introduced, the cameras got a shot of Obama walking down the corridor, held held high... as soon as he appeared on the screen, the entire school erupted in applause. It was powerful. The second thing that made me cry was during the invocation prayer delivered by Rev. Rick Warren. At the end of the invocation, he began the Lord's Prayer ("Our Father, who art in heaven..."). Every single one of my students joined him in the prayer. I didn't expect that to happen (and, quite frankly, I was surprised that they were still paying attention!), and hearing their voices got me choked up while I was praying.

So even though our entire schedule for the morning was thrown out the window, I like to think my kids learned a lot today.