May 3, 2010

Little Bits of Happiness

At some point in my last year of teaching (I can't really remember when, or really why, hey, I was pregnant, my brain was mush) I read my students the legend of 1000 cranes and then proposed that we fold 1000 cranes ourselves, in memory of 911, an event that my fifth and sixth graders were old enough to witness, but not really mature enough to comprehend. All they knew was that everyone was sad that year. The teachers, the parents, the world. And this project seemed to be a good expression of the sadness as well as the hope that they, as kids, offered (I know, how profound of me. I'm not usually deep that way!)

So I know what you're thinking, great project! And it was, except that my class was very small, 9 kids. Which is great in so many ways but also not great if you are trying to fold 1000 cranes while teaching an advanced curriculum and prepping for state tests. It was a little mad.

We folded during reading, we folded during rainy indoor recess days, we folded during announcements and roll and while waiting for pickup. We folded a lot of cranes. In fact, we made it beyond that 1000, miraculously, just before the year ended.

By the time summer came around I could fold a origami crane in about 30 seconds and out of any type of paper you threw at me. Gum wrappers? Check. Workbook pages? Check. Whole sheets of newsprint? Check.

I haven't folded on since. I think I out-craned-myself.

Today I decided to venture back into crane folding for an idea I had. A little spot of happiness for an otherwise kinda boring front door (on the inside at least, the outside is still lipstick red, so I guess it's not that boring) I'd totally forgotten how to go about making an origami crane and had to google some good, visual directions. But once the first one was down, I was back in my groove. Of course, by the third one I was out-craned again. I think my fingers started to remember that distant folding frenzy. But three is all I needed. I strung them together, added a bell at the end (so I can hear my children sneak out the front door, a recent issue - I blame the nice weather!) and hung it from the doorknob. And I love it. It's fun. It's replaceable (maybe next version I'll make Briton fold them. Ha ha ha!) and it's just the little spot of happy I was looking for.

Always a good thing.