Expectations and sore muscles

Today was “Step Up Day” at school, which means students spend the last hour of the day in the classroom they will move up to next year. Teachers spoke to their soon-to-be students about expectations and answered questions to help students feel more comfortable with the move.

The first graders were excited about the desk configuration in second grade, where they will each have a free-standing desk instead of being grouped together on a table. The fourth graders learned they will get an assignment book – and have to take responsibility for writing down their homework instead of the primary teachers handing it to the houseparents. Fifth graders physically move up, going from the middle to the top floor. They also get their own locker in the hall. Eighth graders – instead of stepping up – stepped out and got to spend an extra hour on the playground. Life is full of transitions. In preparing for them we find talking through them helps reduce some of the anxiety.

Another day, another cook out! Tonight the Lakota Homes (6th-8th graders) got together for a pre-game picnic. This was something like a pot luck as each of the homes brought something different as they use up all that’s in their cupboards and freezers as we approach the end of the year. Even if the front of the line emptied a few of the offerings, there were still many scrumptious dishes to satisfy the taste buds.

Fortified with a good meal, we loaded up the school bus and headed up to the local high school softball field for the annual staff vs. 8th grade showdown. The staff had to hit a bigger ball that didn’t travel as far, and the 8th graders got 5 outs per inning to try to even up things a bit. It might have given a talented 8th grade much of an advantage. The students jumped out to an early lead, and never trailed, prevailing 14-11.

I pitched; my earned run average may not be something to be proud of, but my main goal was to throw strikes and give the students – especially the less athletic ones – a good chance to hit the ball. Everyone had fun, though tomorrow I know that after trying to recapture the game of our youth, this veteran player and a few others will have some sore muscles.