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Saturday, May 9, 2009

Let's All Go Down to Washington DC...

Wow! What an amazing week! After months of planning, I accompanied my class of 4th-6th graders to a week long DC by foot. It was exhausting, and I loved it. Walking the streets of the city reminded me so much of the mission (as did the sore feet...and the rain :) I was presented with a lot of new challenging situations, that I was able to conquer & enjoy. I love it when people give me the chance to grow, and show the confidance in me that allows me to proove to myself what I'm capable of.

23 kids split into
4 groups. Each accompanied by
1 Chaperone.
5 Days in Washington DC, staying at
4th & E St. N.W., the address of our hostel.

My favorite moment of the whole trip was at the steps of the Supreme Court. After a long boring morning of waiting to leave, and what seemed to the kids of miles and miles of walking (ahem, it was only half a mile), we started up the steps of the Supreme Court. It was their first building to see, and aboslutly...grand. I have no idea how to describe that moment, it was breathtaking to both me AND my 6 little companions. The grandeour of it all, and the awe seen on their faces, and heard in their "oooohhhhh"s will always be cherished memory for me. We even were directed to a side entrance by a police officer because court was in session.

Next we had only a few minutes in the Library of Congress (note to self: next time allow a few hours for this one!!), before walking underground to the Capital Building. They have an awesome intro video that leaves you with the sense that we are still involved in the great experiment of people governing themselves. After sharing a tour with a pretty rambunctious high school group from Indiana, we sat through a session at the House of Representatives. A rousing speech about identifying terrorists prompted enthusiastic clapping from both the house & the audience, when suddenly out of no where the Henry B. Eyering look-a-like Speaker of the House brought down one of the biggest gavel's I've ever seen--it must have been 3 feet long! He slammed it down so hard that our seats shook, and in shocked silence, we learned that clapping is NOT allowed in the House of Reps. I spent the rest of the time there listening to proposals that Cinco de Mayo be made a National Holiday, and trying to stop myself from laughing at the creative sleeping positions my kids were finding in their stiff seats. Later I reminded them that they COULD be at home doing their spelling instead (a much hated activity), they all assured me--they would rather have done spelling!! :) I actually found the whole process fascinating, and am keeping the Senate tickets we got for my next trip. They're good for 2 years, and I've got 6 of them.

After lunch, we went through an exhibit that went through the major American history events, by decade, over the past 100 years. Due to their age, and living in the age of knowledge being presented to them instead of them having to seek it out, they rarely if ever would actually stop to read anything. I was happy to see though that when I started walking them through the pictures, their attention was riveted on the pictures. Their questions and peaked interest made it again a rewarding moment. We ended that first day with a quick trip to the Postal Museum, and exploring Union Station. Their favorite part? Taking the 3 minute ride back to the hostel on the Metro. Figures :)

More to come later for Tuesday....!

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