Of course in a classroom that combination-- fun, children, party -- can distract students from the main purpose of class work, i.e. learning. For that reason some teachers just seem to tolerate short and sweet classroom parties. Too many teachers fail to use the full potential of such a party.
Traditionally, each teacher in an elementary school has had a “room mother.” The “room mother” supplies goodies for the occasional party. The person who came up with the idea for a “room mother” probably had no plans for the incorporation of partying and learning.
Still, the person who came up with the idea for a room mother had certainly never heard the term “resource specialist.” The “resource specialist” teaches small, classes of children with learning differences. The students attend those classes whenever the planned material exceeds their grasp.
Suppose, for example, that a child has great trouble learning to comprehend what he or she reads. That child would “drown” in the sea of information presented in a typical reading selection. That child would need to with a resource specialist whenever his or her class was reading and discussing varied texts.
Now in a larger school, a resource specialist might meet with six or more students at a time. Those meetings would probably take place three to four times per week. A good resource specialist strives to help all of his or her children. “Fun, party” is usually not a phrase that is on the mind of the resource specialist.
Now in the early to mid 1990s, one mother wanted to help her son’s resource specialist. Being more of a mother than an educator, she had little trouble thinking of ways to explore the potential of this combination: children, fun, party. She decided that she would be the “room mother” for her son’s resource class.
Whenever a holiday approached, she would look for some related material that might help to spur learning in that class. She understood that the students in that class needed extra help with reading. One February she set out to find the perfect valentine for a child who was learning the basic reading skills.
That mother finally found a valentine that was more than just a simple card. She found valentines that were in the shape of a square. Each face of the square had a different valentine message. The mother realized that use of those squares would give each child six, not one or two, different phrases to read.
The same mother had introduced an different resource class to a new game during “red ribbon week.” She had the students find the word “red” in a list of words beginning with the letter “r.” By playing that game, the students could practice what they had recently learned about combining the letter “r” with a long vowel sound.
That mother had clearly demonstrated that learning can be fun. Children party.