Sunday, October 29, 2006

Software Seduction

On Friday my kindergartener had her Fall festival at school. That is what they call Halloween parties now. My third grader had Oktoberfest. Nope, no beer, but as it turns out I could have used it! I signed up to serve brauts (they were really hot dogs) and sauerkraut to the third graders, read to them in German, then run down to the kindergarten room and make candy corn necklaces with the kindergarteners from kits I bought. It was a beautiful plan. Until I was seduced by software!

I settled down to my computer to work after the kids were on the bus that morning. I would have a few hours to work before heading to the school. I’ll upload pictures from the kindergarten pumpkin farm trip on Tuesday. Target has new photo coupons out (you can pick them up at the photo counter) and I could get 10 for free. Then inspiration struck! I could use the same pictures to try out a new piece of software I heard about. Microsoft Photo Story is free software from Bill Gates that turns your still digital images into an engaging multimedia presentation. I downloaded the software and plopped the pictures in. And WOW! It automatically put in the transitions – fades, zooms and pans. It looked awesome and it was only 11:00. 11:00!!! I had to get going - but this was looking so great I wanted to share it with the kindergarten class right away. I had a few more minutes - I could just download a song to add a music track, pack up the laptop and the data projector, schlep it out to the car, load up my supplies for Oktoberfest and Fall festival, drive to the school, pick up the English version of my German book in the school library and start tossing out the brauts by 11:30. Yeah, I know it sounds insane now, but it really sounded doable at the time.

Got the song, packed up my stuff, drove to the school, found the book and arrived out of breath and slightly wet from the drizzle just as the third graders were packing up their morning work to have lunch ala Deutchland. I served 26 brauts, stumbled through Ein Kleine Raupe Nimmersat (that’s The Hungry Little Caterpillar) by Eric Carle. Off to kindergarten and the fall festival with my big surprise.
I took my station at center #2 and started making necklaces. The kids loved it and I was having a great time until I looked in the bag of supplies and was horrified to discover that I only had HALF of the necklace kits. My heart sunk. I really wanted to cry. I sheepishly approached the teacher and told her. “Oh. Well . . . it will be okay,” she said. “Some of the kids can just make them next week,” she said. Yeah right! Tell ten five year olds that while the rest of their class made cute necklaces, they would be punished for nothing they did by getting nothing! Please shoot me now before the crying starts.

I stumbled out into the drizzle to see if by some miracle the extra kits were in my car. No. They were at home. I knew it. Why? Why? Why did I have to rush out of the house without double checking my supplies?! I held my breath and dialed my best friend’s cell phone number. I told her of my desperate situation and she agreed to go to my house and check for the missing necklace parts. I couldn’t believe my good fortune when she arrived just as I was trying to explain to my next group of kids why they didn’t all have the big candy corn like the sample necklace. I was saved!! There were 12 more kits. BIG HUG for my friend!!

The rest of the afternoon went pretty well. The kids loved their necklaces and everyone got one. I showed the multimedia show of the pictures to the class and they were enthralled. I went back to Oktoberfest and served black forest cupcakes and took my kids home. Oh yeah, we stopped at Target on the way home to pick up the prints. If only I had left it at getting the 10 free pictures printed. I could have shown the kids the printed pictures. . Ahh, but the allure of a new software toy to show off in a classroom was too much for me to resist.

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wesleyjeanne said...

Sounds like you were moreover seduced by the "I can do it all" syndrome. I know this one well.

How wonderful to have such helpful friends close by to save the day!

Laura B. Fogle said...

Yes, you are exactly right. I suffer from that regularly and have to learn that doing it all means that I do a crappy job of a lot of things and nothing well.