Friday, November 13, 2009

Field Trip!

Today I accompanied my 10 year old on a fourth grade field trip. His class had the opportunity go travel by light rail downtown, (of course, we had to walk to the light rail station) to the Center for Performing Arts. I was assigned 6 boys and I have to say, they did an excellent job listening to me and behaving well. My son was also in my group and this gave me a chance to see how he interacts with is classmates. He's a confident, happy, leader-type person. He helped them all stay together with me, rallied them to quicken their pace, gathered them together, and his peers seemed to listen to him. He seemed to have a group he enjoyed more than others, and they were a more intellectual group but he interacted with all. I was proud of his confidence and helpfulness. He also doesn't seem to be affected by his peers; when he wanted to jump in and play tag he did so; when he was tired he opted out of tag and sat down to read a book. Except for the wiggles, he behaved very well.

We caught the train just a minute after we arrived at the train platform and boarded, I have to say, I was paranoid I'd "lose" a child but things went smoothly. We arrived at our destination, let the kids eat their snack and waited for the doors to open. We were over an hour early. That's tough on kids.

We were led into the theatre to wait again for over 30 minutes. Again, my small group did well, just quietly talking amongst themselves.. I was disappointed to realize that my iPhone was almost out of power so I turned it off. Since we were right across the street from my husband's work, I called him to see if he could charge my phone up for me. He must've been in a meeting because he did not answer. I had brought my camera and a book with me so I began reading until the house lights went down. The theatre erupted in screaming and clapping, as a lone figure stepped to the right of the stage, welcoming us and introducing what was to be shown. It was an Asian performance troupe that was going to do demonstrations in Kung Fu fighting, drums, and then a dragon at the end.

The Kung Fu fighting started it off, and the kids were immediately drawn in. After each person's demonstration, the kids really showed their delight and appreciation. A bit too much; my first thought was: "that's not what you do in a theatre!" Theatres are for polite applause, not catcalls and shrill screams. But then I thought it was good; a pure expression and response of their enjoyment. I wondered if the performers liked it and were energized by it.

The 2nd part of the Kung Fu fighting was a segment that the speaker warned us not to try this at home. This part basically showed a lone person, preparing mentally for what was to come. What was to come was not what I expected. To show that one's mental ability controlled one's physical self, the guy had another person strike him with a stick on his head and later kicked him in the crotch several times before hitting him with a stick in the same area, while doing a handstand and splitting his legs apart. All this to show his superior strength. Later, there were further demonstrations of this mental/physical strength, but it wasn't quite as violent as what I described. Later the drummers came onstage, then the drummers with the dragon and it was over. We filed out, walked over to a field to eat lunch at and I turned on my phone, tweeted, checked my email and called my husband to see if he'd like to meet us in the field for lunch. He happily did. It was a beautiful day out and just really fun watching all the kids play and interact.

After a bit of all this, we threw away our garbage, boarded the light rail train and headed home. I had a great time, very thankful that my group listened as well as they did and were just a very pleasant group of kids. I had fun chatting with Conor's teacher; we discovered we were the same age and discussed my very precocious, but disorganized, unique child. If I may say, she mentioned that his reading comprehension is incredibly high; he understands math and science concepts that are way advanced for fourth grade, but has a problem staying focused and organized. He's a bit of a daydreamer. Knows his stuff but she's working with him to fulfill his obligations. I agree with her 100%. Still, as frustrating as Conor can be, I'm thrilled with who he is and his strengths and intellect.

All in all, a good day. I survived a fourth grade field trip!

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