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TuesdayOctober 2010

October 8 started Field Trip Season around here at 826michigan. It’s way better than most of the other seasons, in my humble opinion. It’s also: Funnier, more clever, and comes with better thank-you cards.

Case in point. On October 8, we opened our doors to Mr. Klein’s third grade class from Haisley Elementary. We hosted Mr. Klein’s class a couple of years ago and could remember him being very tall. When he arrived Friday morning, he was still very tall. Kati Shanks, former Volunteer of the Month (twice!) and all-around awesome lady, actually had Mr. Klein as a third-grade teacher. She helped out with the field trip, and she said she remembered him being MUCH taller. Perhaps in the nineties he was taller. (We met him in the aughts.)

In addition to Mr. Klein’s height, there were three very notable things about the field trip itself:

  1. The students knew quite a bit about what makes a good story, especially for how early in the school year it was.
  2. We had several new volunteers who were really very awesome, just right off the bat, and jumped right in and started helping students write their story endings.
  3. A student said something that made everyone gasp. I can’t write it on our website. It was shocking, and kind of funny, and Rich, the man who leads the field trips, turned it very quickly into something to do with pecans.

Our Storytelling & Bookmaking field trip entails a classroom of students working with a storyteller and a typist and an artist to create a book. Each student writes his or her own ending. At the end of the field trip, the students turn the stories into our crotchety editor, who is Skyped in from “somewhere in the world,” Dr. Blotch, or sometimes, his wife, Dr. Mrs. Blotch, Esq. the Third. I can’t tell you what happens next, but I CAN tell you what the students know: Which is that the Blotches NEVER accept anything because they are weird and mean and eat their own boogers and they think elementary school kids smell like diapers and, on top of all of that, they hate everything.

That said, I suppose I can tell you that we’ve never had a class leave a field trip in a bad mood, disappointed, or depressed. More often, they are giddy and wild, and I find myself apologizing to the teacher about the energy level that is back on their watch as I wave to the students when they board the bus.

Mr. Klein’s class wrote an amazing story about a boy who lived on Jupiter. (Turns out Jupiter is actually a tiny planet, but the horizontal stripes make it look bigger from a distance.) This boy was in love with a queen who lived on the sun. An ill-fated love story and dramatic premise if ever there was one!

On his evaluation form, Mr. Klein wrote that the entire field trip was great, but that it should be noted that “Rich was outstanding.” Rich plays the difficult and unenviable role of the Storyteller. And we are in agreement with Mr. Klein. He is outstanding at it. Even better than that, are the thank-you cards the class sent in. We have a whole stack, but here are three of them, which I have titled for you:

1. I Had That Great Time Also.

2. This One Has a Really Great Drawing of the Characters from the Story.

3. I Like How You Got Us Hipper (Although I Think He Means “Hyper”)

This week, we are hosting Ms. Phelps’s class from Carpenter Elementary! And then Ms. Spiess from Mitchell! And then Ms. O’Malley from Haisley! And THEN, we are doing the first test run of our new field trip for fifth-graders, entitled Edible Awesome. It has to do with the editor of a British food magazine who wants to determine, once and for all, what the best EVER dessert is. There will be persuasive essays. And the latest copy of the magazine. And that’s all I’ll say for now, more soon!

Liberty Street Robot
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115 East Liberty Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48104
(734) 761-3463
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Detroit, MI 48207
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