The end of this school year can't come fast enough. I am not wishing the rest of my time with these kids away - it's nothing to do with them. I'm just so exhausted and tired of spinning the plates. You know, the Chinese acrobat act with the long table of spinning plates, which you constantly have to stir with a pair of chopsticks in order to keep going. In general, I take on too much. One reason is because I don't like the word no. I don't like to give or be on the receiving end of disappointment. And so I yes it all and end up with days like today.

An impromptu afternoon art assignment proved therapeutic for the kids and for me. We sat down and sculpted our hands out of school-grade modeling clay - no small task, I discovered. But we needed to do something other than math and reading, so I borrowed a hunk of clay from a friend and we all left, at least for a little while, the formulaic writing assignments and place-value woes that have been aggravating us for weeks.

Nine kids finished, one discovered she'd painstakingly attached six fingers instead of five, one added so much water that his hand pretty much melted into itself. Some wanted to quit after being sent back many times to re-work fingers that I know would not survive a week's air-drying, let alone the preliminary firing. Finishing up tomorrow. At the end of it all we'll have 23 hands. Have still not decided what the hands will be holding. I wanted it to be a gift to their parents - like, a thank you for all their support, you know? And the hands would be holding mini-me's. But I don't know if we have the time to make it that elaborate.

It may not have been the smartest thing to start an art project at the Beginning of the End but oh well. Sometimes an opportunity to create something arises, and you just run with it.

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