We’re writing till our hands ache. Ms. Page said something about using our ‘thinking-and-writing muscle’ every day. Yeeesh, I just don’t like the sound of that. All summer I was sure I had Ms. Page figured out. Here I was ready for a whole year of doing as little work as possible. And now we’re in Marine boot camp, doing exercises first thing in the morning.
I swear it felt like breakfast was an inch from coming back up.
Kind of glad it didn’t, since Mrs. Nix showed up right about then.
I looked over at Ms. Page. Suddenly she was the one who looked like her breakfast was an inch from coming back up.
Mrs. Nix: So, that was interesting. Shouldn’t you have been teaching math at that time?
Joanna Page: Well, actually, we were about to start counting by multiples of six as we did those burpees, but I figured you’d seen enough.
Mrs. Nix: Oh? How could you tell? And…burpees?
Joanna Page: Burpees are just fancy jumping jacks that I make fancier by weaving in a little math. And pretty much any teacher can tell when an administrator isn’t thrilled with things.
Mrs. Nix: What is it? A knitted brow? A frown?
Joanna Page: I’m not sure I can describe it. It’s more of a vibe we pick up on.
Mrs. Nix: So, Joanna, you seem, umm, different this year. What’s going on?
Joanna Page: Different? How so?
Mrs. Nix: You just seem to be in your own little world. Like you’re not ‘with the program’.
Joanna Page: I’m sorry you think that. I guess I’m just adjusting to a new classroom and a new class of kids.
Mrs. Nix: Well, I have another meeting, so see if you can’t fall back in line with our schedule.
Joanna Page: I’ll take a look at changing things up.
My version, which my brothers taught me, is basically a fancy jumping jack, but why not mix things up?
So, for the second round of 10:00 Flex Time, we lined up seamlessly, marched out Marine-like to our designated safe place, and promptly disintegrated into a roiling swarm of nine-year-olds.
Once back in our circles, we learned the art of the burpee–do a jumping jack, then, back at starting position, bend at the knees with hands on the ground, shift to a push-up position, return to knees-bent, and back to standing/starting position. Repeat process.
The kids needed a step-by-step demonstration, followed by a slo-mo demo, and then they partnered up to practice.
[No surprise, they loved the name. Not quite sure how this will be translated at the family dinner table.]
Once they got the hang of it, I had them do a set of three. Still confusion reigned, and I just shrugged and giggled at a group of two dozen kids in various stages of contortion. Hey, they were moving, right? And laughing. And getting fresh air…
All under the gaze of an unexpected visitor.
Double-yikes. [Would she be at all impressed that there is an actual World Burpee Day? I could only hope.]