Thursday, October 28, 2010

Random - Class Parties

We got one of "those" emails at school yesterday....the one that tells us we can't have a Halloween party. No problem....we've been getting those for years. Most teachers plan a party but don't make any reference to Halloween thus being able to say, "We aren't having a Halloween party." (I love that teachers can find the loop holes in just about anything! We are like miniature lawyers in the classroom when wording is vague :)

In our school district we are about to go on a week fall break and it is the end of the quarter so our parties are called an "End of Quarter" party (and we have four of them a year). Other teachers are calling their "party" a Fun Friday.

This email was a little different and seemed to indicate that ALL parties were not allowed. Whoa!!!!!! That caused a little stir in our world (mostly because notices have gone out to parents, children are excited about it, etc.). The emails started flying back and forth.

The second email was an allowance of this Friday's non-Halloween parties but with a caveat about "no junk food" and "no hard candy" (even if given out and told to eat later....DARN...our loop holes are closing :) and a promise of "discussions at the next staff meeting in conjunction with the districts health and wellness plan." Ugh!!!!!!

Now I am fan of less junk not get me wrong...and I often request health snacks in my letter home (fruit, veggie, cheese tray) but lets face it....I teach elementary school and I also get chips, cupcakes, etc. I don't stress out about. We are talking about one day out of nine weeks, on a Friday, usually outside, involves parents, at the end of the day (last 30-45 minutes)... which I think is all very reasonable and is in no means excessive or puts anyone out...but it looks like I will have to defend my position at the staff meeting...which means reading the district's health and wellness plan this weekend in order to argue intelligently...which I always tell students they should do.

But lets go back to parties....

As stated before, we (by which I mean my team) have four "End of Quarter" parties a year. Last year the first two were sort of "pot luck" (everyone brings whatever snacky and we eat at the end of the day). The third (just before spring break) we had an ice cream party where we (the teachers) provided the vanilla ice cream and the students provided the toppings (which was a lot of fun and the kids loved it). The last party was a hot dog and fixin' party where we provided the hot dogs and they provided everything else from cole slaw to shredded cheese to condiments (also a lot of fun and replaced our lunch for the day). We set up two crockpots in each classroom and students went down an assembly line making their hot dogs.

I loved loved loved the last two theme parties and have been thinking that all our parties need to be themed now. With talk about healthier eating, particularly around Halloween, I was thinking that next year we could have a "salad party". Teachers provide the lettuce and the students provide the toppings (tomato, ham, cheese, croutons, dressing, etc.). Students could opt out and provide their own lunch if they don't like salads. Another theme I was thinking would be fun would be a "Color Group" party where you would assign a specific color to a group of students and they would have to bring in food that matches that color. You could assign points for the groups and they could earn extra points for their color group if they bring in something healthy. The color group with the most points would win something cheesy (like front of the line privileges, etc.).

Sorry for the rambling....I had the party thing on the brain and I thought I would share. I would love to hear any other themed ideas that teachers have done in their class or other experiences with party rules.

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