Red Hot Power Ranger Roses

Until about two weeks ago, I was attending meetings with members of the administration of the Union Territory of Puducherry, including the Lieutenant Governor, the Chief Secretary, the Chief Minister, the Tourism Secretary, the Commissioner of the Local Administration Department, and the Secretary of Town and Country Planning; networking with other NGOs on environmental and regional planning issues; working on an upcoming newsletter for Pondy Citizens Action Network…

Today, I spent an hour as one of three volunteers in Mr. Nagatani’s kinder garden class at the Chabot Elementary School in Oakland, California, supervising a project for the Red Hot Power Ranger Roses Small Group. (Okay, on Tuesday, I attended a talk by Germaine Greer, co-sponsored by Berkeley Arts & Letters and the Hillside Club Book Lust Salon, discussing her new book Shakespeare’s Wife, and yesterday, I considered attending a CITRIS lecture at UC Berkeley on the Climate Navigator: A New Tool for Policy Leaders to Address Environmental Challenges.)

Did Mr. Nagatani have it in for me, or did he believe Betsy (for whom I was subbing) when she told him I was “highly competent”.  (And why did she do that, exactly?)  Here are the assignments as he described them to his class:

Yoo-Mi gets the Red Hot Power Ranger Roses group at the tables with the green tub. They will be working on the life-cycle of the frog, Griffin’s favorite subject. Yoo-Mi – you might want to start reading the instructions in the tub – you will:

  1. Have the kids paint their paper plates with water colors, then let them dry.
  2. While the paper plates are drying, read the book on Frogs.
  3. Have the kids color in the 4 triangles depicting the life-cycle of the frogs.
  4. Have them cut out the 4 triangles.
  5. Have the kids fill out the rectangle with one fact about frogs.
  6. Have them cut out the rectangle.
  7. Have the kids paste the 4 triangles onto the middle of the plate.
  8. Then have them paste the rectangle to the bottom of the plate.

[Are you getting all this?  I should have taken a photo… Maybe I’ll add it later when Zing brings his home.]

The Chocolate Chip Cookies Small Group is with Gigi at the tables with the yellow tub.  She’ll be showing you how to make a flower with a piece of folded paper to resemble a tulip, my favorite flower.  The stem will be a green pipe cleaner, and the leaves will be sparkly pipe cleaners.

Sharon will be with the Ice Cream Cones at the tables with the red tub.  She will be working on metamorphosis.

I’ll be with the Light Sabers at the tables with the purple tub.  I’ll work with my group on lady bugs.

Umm. Does anyone else see an injustice here?  I get to deal with water, paint, scissors, and glue and Gigi is working with a piece of paper and pipe cleaners?  And god knows what Mr. Nagatani did with his ladybugs, because his group was done in about 15 minutes and all his kids got to play with toys – Power Rangers, helicoptors, fishing rods – all the things that distract other little boys (Red Hot Power Ranger Roses) who are told to color and paste.

And who thinks it is a good idea to give five and six year olds scissors?  I spent a lot of my time taking scissors away from noses and fingers and breaking up a clash of scissor blades, as well as preventing one little boy from cutting through the bow on his lace-up shoes.

Somehow, most of the kids finished on time, except for the boy who tried to cut his shoe laces. I was going to let him slide when he insisted that he wanted to color the life-cycle triangles at home, but Mr. Nagatani demanded that he finish right there and then.  He was only 2 minutes late.

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