Monday, June 27, 2005


Okay, before I get to the exciting stuff, let's chat about the last week.

The field trip was a success. We went to our nation's capital! It got off to a very slow start due to money and paperwork, but eventually we got to the city. The bus/tour operator took us on a "rolling tour", where our first stop was to see the White House. We took lots of pictures of the kids. They were interested in the woman who's been camping out across the street for 24 years, protesting nuclear arms. They were shocked at the pictures of nuclear fallout and effect. This one girl, one of my kids in Class B, was like, "I wish I could tell the president to stop all of that! But I'm just a kid." I said, "But you can tell him. You still have a voice, even if you're a kid. Find a cause and a project and make yourself heard!" She nodded thoughtfully. Let's hope we see some political awareness and activism from these kids!

Our next stop was the group of memorials--Lincoln, Vietnam, Korea, nurses--in the central part of the city. The tour lady did the briefest of brief skimmings about the wars, never mentioning WHEN they happened, or WHERE these places are. At one point I asked her to mention it, and she brushed me off (!), saying, 'Oh I don't need to get into all that.' BS--these kids couldn't point to Korea on a map, let alone identify when and why the "peace conflict" occurred. So that bothered me--here is this big field trip for the kids and they are given NO context or background information. They can't make sense of it if they just walk through it, and they won't learn anything from the experience.

Anyway. Eventually we went to "dinner" at a restaurant across from the Pentagon--but no one mentioned ANYTHING about that building, what it means, nothing. The dinner was dumb, but afterwards the kids got to play. There was some frisbee throwing, and some volleyball playing, officiated by me and Mr CT. (Hee!) The kids needed some help with serving and staying in "formation", but they had fun. I think the boys won by one point.

After dinner, we visited the FDR memorial. I'd never been there before, and enjoyed it. It was rather large, with a big square for each of his four terms.

There were also many of his quotes etched in the stonework of the memorial. I really liked this one, because it rang so true for me.

"I propse to create a civilian conservation corps to be used in simple work...more important, however, than the material gains will be the moral and spiritual value of such work."

As some of you may know, AmeriCorps NCCC (National Civilian Community Corps, the program I did in 2002) was based on FDR's CCC. And this quote captures perfectly the whole point of national service. It's not about the money--it's about what gets done, and how it affects the entire community. Awesome. Good job, Frankie!

The hotel was our next adventure. It was way out of the city; I swear we were practically in Baltimore. We hustled the kids into their rooms and then finally got to take a breath.

The kids all stayed up late having fun, but we were all up and out by 7 for breakfast. We did pretty well staying on schedule at first, but then we hit a snag at the stupid Capita! bldg. Though there were a lot of cute college interns, the line was too bloody long. So we left, in order to make it to the Sm!thson!ian A!r and Space. At first the kids loved it, all the hands-on exhibits and activities. It was great to see the girls so interested in math and science stuff.

But of course, soon enough, we all got tired and hungry. I love museums, but I always get tired quickly. We took a rest and as soon as the boys were done, we got out of there.

It took a really long time to get back to New York. Traffic galore. Ugh. At least we stopped for a whole hour for late lunch/early dinner. But it was full night when arrived home, and my awesome friend N gave me a ride home.

Like I said, it was a successful trip. Our group got lots of compliments on behavior and comportment while out and about. I'm proud of our kids and proud of all us adults, too. We all did well.


Fred said...

Sounds like a great trip. Congrats on pulling it off. I loved the picture of FDR.

Isn't it a great feeling when your students handle themselves in such a professional manner?

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