Sunday, December 23, 2007

City Sidewalks

This has been a busy week.

On Friday Lauren and I looked at one another and decided that we needed to take it to the streets. She suggested we gather up the kids and shake things up a bit by heading over to see the festivities at Union Square. I chimed in that we could stop in at the Barnes and Noble there to check out the children's books and a plan was born. We scooped up Miss Cheritha and her first grade students and sang and danced our way downtown.

It was a brilliant move. There really is nothing like doing something unexpected and spontaneous. As I looked at the children smiling I thought once again how blessed I am. I am in the right place, doing the right thing.

We arrived at B&N and headed directly to the large second floor children's book section. I was happy to see that my Curious George obsession had rubbed off on the children as they spent a great deal of time rummaging through the many titles in this book series. They were spread out on the floor and lounging on the chairs with various book titles. Each time they discovered a book we had read in class they felt compelled to run to us, book in hand, to loudly announce their find.

Books were being passed about, children were running from shelf to shelf and some took books from one area and returned it to another. This did not score us any points with the staff. Amidst sour looks and raised eyebrows we invited all of the children to join us in the hundred acre wood for a reading of two holiday favorites.

Lauren and I read How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss. Me doing my best impersonation of the voice over from the TV special and Lauren signing it in the gorgeous way that only she can. As we read we attracted a few children and adults who probably thought it was a scheduled story time. Our students sat and listened so intently, hanging on every word. I was impressed. It is rather neat to see them out and about in NYC, outside the confines of our classroom.

When this story was finished we read a new book called Snowmen at Christmas by Caralyn Buehner and Mark Buehner. If you ever wondered what antics your snowmen get into while you are fast asleep look no further than this book (well you should also check out Snowmen at Night). These books are so much fun - especially at the end of the night when the snowmen are exhausted. Carrots, coal and buttons litter the field. I defy you to read this book and not chuckle.

After the reading we gathered up our belongings and headed towards the escalator. This was when I saw it. A Santa George! I had to have it. Why? I have no idea but every time I see a Curious George dressed up in a different outfit I have to have him. Luckily I am a first grade teacher so no one questions this odd obsession. We all have our weaknesses I suppose.

Back on the street, with Santa George safely secure in my coat pocket, we strolled around Union Square Park. We thought it would be wonderful if we bought all of the kids some hot apple cider and after some drama with the street vendor that is exactly what we did. We sat in the park sipping hot cider as we chatted and gazed.

Unfortunately not all children like hot apple cider. Several of them felt compelled to 'pitch in' and tossed their cups into the nearest trash bin. Oh well. We tried.

With that, our adventure was over. The morning flew by and now we had some rumbling tummies that needed lunch. Oh, New York. It really is a wonderful place to go to school and a wonderful place to teach.


Ladron de Basura (a.k.a. Junk Thief) said...

Sounds like great fun. I loving being in our Union Square as well at this time of year, especially if I've already bought all my gifts and can just enjoy the frantic insanity of others. If you've not already discovered it, I highly recommend "The Invention of Hugo Cabret" as one of the best kids' books that adults can enjoy.

lettuce said...

what a great last day of term - for all of you. and bah humbug to the N&B staff they should know better.

as for the "first grade teacher" excuse - who needs excuses? ;op

wishing you a happy happy christmas Gary, lovely times with the people you love and at least a bit of a rest from work (even though you clearly love it so much)

Dumdad said...

Announcing the publication of a new book:

"Cider with Gary"

What a lovely post. It doesn't get much better than that - out and about and books and sights and sounds of the city and cider and Christmas in the air ... In years to come these kids will look back with great fondness on this trip - even the ones who chucked their cider away!

Merry Christmas and a Happy new Year to you Gary.

Reya Mellicker said...

New York at Christmas is the best. Better still, if you happen to be one of your students! Wow, what a great adventure!

Merriest Christmas to you, dah-ling!! You are what this holiday is all about. Much love to you!!

Dan said...

The Manhattan streets are so alive this time of year, aren't they Gary?

Merry Christmas to you and all your loved ones!

Gary said...

Gregg - I am not familiar with your Union Square so I'll have to do some investigating (online) and check it out. I also checked out Hugo Cabret and it has me curious. I did not know this book - probably because it is for older children. I need to expand my knowledge beyond picture books I suppose.

Letty - It was a nice morning and yes, a great way to end the term. As for the excuses - you are right. Hello, my name is Gary and I like Curious George. :) Have a fantastic holiday. I hope things with LG are settled.

Dumdad - I like this title. Sometimes all it takes is a great title and the story just unfolds. It even has the dramatic tension of should we throw it out or drink it? Merry Christmas to you and your family.

Reya - It is amazing that there is so much to see only a short walk from the front door of our school. The trick is to remember to take advantage of it. Luckily Lauren reminds me of that when I forget. Kisses to you dear.

Dan - NYC is so fantastic. I have not gotten about as much this year as I have in years past but I did my best. And my best to you and your family this holiday season.

kimy said...

what a wonderful outing - the kids are blessed to have you and lauren as their teachers and 'guides' -

have a wonderful holiday. it's been wonderful to get to know you through 'follow your bliss' this year. thank you for bringing your light to the blogosphere. xxx

d. chedwick bryant said...

What a great idea...and the fact that your kids are so into books tells us what a great teacher you are.

I love george too. see you in 2008--
Hope your holiday is verry merry.

Steve said...

It's awesome that you can be so spontaneous with your students and not have to wade through bureaucracy like permission slips, etc! (Or do you have to do that to take a day on the town?)

WAT said...

I hear NYC is so awesome at this time of year; someday perhaps I'll get to experience Xmastime over there, instead of in always sunny California.

Santa George! HA! Grow up will ya? Nah, it's okay, I have my fair share of stuffed animals too. I'll blog about them in time...


Mikey T said...

Such power you have - making me feel like I could leave my warm and sunny California behind just to spend a winter day in NYC with you. And the first mention of cider brings back memories of picking apples and drinking hot cider together. Moments like those I will never forget!!

J. David Zacko-Smith said...

Sounds like you all had GREAT fun. How are YOU Gary? I'm back to blogging. Happy new year, sexy man.

Florecita said...

Happy New Year's!!!!!!!

Blessing to you and all the people in the world!!!!!!

Christopher said...

You are such an incredible human being...I feel so privileged to know you Gary...hope the holidays were good to you!!


Gary said...

Hi all - Sorry I have not posted recently it has been a hectic holiday season. I hope to get back to writing soon and catching up on your lives but in the meanwhile...

Kimy - Thanks! It has been a pleasure to know you as well through the blogosphere.

Ched - Meow! Happy New Year! I hope to see you in 2008 for a little cat nip.

Steve - We actually have a blanket permission slip for all walking trips on file. If we want to use a bus or subway that has to be done on a trip by trip basis. But although we have these permissions we don't take advantage of it that often, so this was an unusual outing - but worthwhile.

Wat - I'd love to see your stuffed animals. Please do post.

Mikey - Memories can either tear at our hearts or make us smile. Life can be such a challenge sometimes and it would be nice to get you back here.

Dr. JDZ-S - Congratulations! It seems like you have a fantastic year ahead of you. Welcome back to cyberspace.

Florecita - Thanks I (we) could use all the blessings I (we) can get. Blessings to you as well.

Christopher - You are sweet but I don't think I'm all that. But, thanks for your thoughts and your writing. Your blog always makes me smile.

Cinn-fully Delicious said...

Wow, it sounds like you had a lot of fun. Glad you were able to make an impromptu trip and brighten everyone's day! Happy New Year!

la bellina mammina said...

Happy New Year Gary! Am back but am a bit under the weather:-(
I love GRINCH storybook! That was a fantastic idea to bring the kids out and it looks like they enjoyed it!


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