My Classroom Door

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The theme for this year was based on Javaka Steptoe’s book, Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat.

I got foam like crowns and pieces of foam for the frame from the dollar store. The radiant stars had to write one radiant thing they learned so far in the third grade.

100 Day of School Activity

 

For the 100th day of school, I wanted an activity that would encourage thinking, writing and even some math.

I found two coloring books with African American greats and made 19 different copies (one for each student) of our ancestors. Each sheet had a small paragraph or two about that historical figure along with their birthday and the year of their death (if they died).

My students had to figure out how old their figure was 100 years ago then write about what they thought their character was doing.

There was one student who got Crispus Attucks  (1723-1770) who figured out that he wasn’t alive 100 years ago. He was the only one who had to get another figure.

Candies in Church

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When I was a little girl, the ushers would walk up and down the aisles looking for people sneaking candy in church. Children would be forced to spit it out immediately, if caught in the act. Do it discretely. That’s when we learned how to eat  discretely. Not in class. In church.

I remember all children would enter the sanctuary with mini brown paper bags filled with peppermints, Choward’s Violet Mints, mini gummy hamburgers, mini gummy pizzas, war heads,  tootsie rolls (only chocolate), sour gum, winter-fresh, and the list goes on. The girls would hide the bags in their purse and the boys would place it in their suit jackets.

In those days, you only needed a dollar or two to fill a brown paper bag. Offering money went to the man at the store across the street (we never said corner store because it wasn’t on a corner and we had to stress that it was across the street because only certain children were allowed to cross the street). If you were like my friend Angela who could not go across the street, then you went to Mother Woods who was the alternative. She ran her own candy store inside the temple.Which was where you got more for your money. She supplied everyone with candy for Sunday night service.

We ate so much candy, rules were created. Gum chewing was the greatest sin. Teens would chew gum and place it under the pew. Then, children would scratch the chewed gum off and place it in their mouths. If caught in this act, you were made into a laughing sport and everyone crossed their fingers and whispered cooties. This only lead to someone being escorted out of the service to be spanked.

There were also ways to pop candy into your mouth- act like you are coughing and then put the candy into your hand and place it in your mouth or bend down like the adults would do. And the instructions to how to eat a huge peppermint ball some still follow now.  Find someone with strong teeth (those days my strong person was Patrick ) and ask him to bite the mint. This rule was created because of kids choking on hard candies.

Finally, the demographics of the church changed and the new temple was built and just that fast, the store across the street went out of business.

I remember my last talk with the man across the street. I was now a teen and could go across the street anytime. He said to me, after your pastor died, not many people come anymore. Why?

I don’t remember my answer. But I remember a feeling of sadness being washed over me as I walked back into the temple.

A couple of years I stopped eating candy. This doesn’t stop people from offering or asking me for candy. Every Sunday after church, my purse have 5 more soft peppermints. Which I save Sunday night broadcast, for choir members who ask for candy.