Nothing motivates a student more than the possibility of throwing a snowball at your teacher.
Case in point, this future Cy Young Award winner.
During the Covid summer in America, I tried to find a souvenir for my second graders. Well, I stumbled upon the perfect gift at a rummage sale in Whitmore Lake. Between an unused a life cycle and bread machine was a case of indoor snowballs, new, never thrown.
“How much do you want for them?” I asked.
“How about ten bucks?”
Sold, to the woman with the China Visa and extra large suitcase.
I thought it would be a fun gift for my ELD students when I returned to China in August, which then turned into October then was finally delayed until January. There is no snow in Kunming. There are no snow days. Kunming is the Holland of China with flowers blooming all year around. Hey, I am not complaining. I’ll take a bed of blooming poppies over a drift of powder any day.
The snowballs left little room in my suitcase for things like things I actually wanted, like a hunk of New York cheddar and Babe Ruth Bars (both still hard to get, even on Tao Bao, China’s Amazon).
Well, the second graders earned snowballs for reading books. Due to Covid, reading skills have been suffering especially with students who do not hear English in their Chinese speaking homes. But nothing motivates them more than the ability to throw a snowball at their teacher.
My high school students have been helpful in recording stories for the younger students. For them, it was just a fun project. To the parents of the students? It was a life changing gift.
Needless to say, my second graders caught up on their reading. I wasn’t clean up batter, but a clean up teacher. There are a few snowballs still lodged behind that big white thing, the classroom space heater. None flew out the window.
As for me? I’ll be icing my elbow tonight.