Friday, November 4, 2011
My annual Halloween tradition doesn't involve pumpkins or cookies or costumes. But it DOES involve complete darkness, kids sitting on the floor, and a spooky audiorecording of Ray Bradbury's "The Ravine" taken out of my favorite book of his Dandelion Wine. This year I went in search of THE darkest room in the school which I found underneath the auditorium, just right of the boiler room, down a long dark cement passage with a few unexpected steps, past two foot thick doors, and be sure to duck your head because the pipes are low-hanging AND keep on the lookout for spiders who have NEVER seen the light of day!!! On the board where I write the day's agenda and learning outcomes, I wrote merely: ?????
You can imagine this if you try. We've all been there--wanting to be scared, begging for it, not wanting to lose face with our peers, so we settle into our terror and just wait it out. When we got into the room, we turned off the lights. Complete pitch blackness. I threatened them all with "project abortion" if heart-stopping silence wasn't maintained. Three minutes into the audio someone alerted me to the emotional state of a boy up against the wall. On come the lights and the invitation to go back to the classroom. Five kids clung to each other and made their way back down the cement alley and back to the real world and their reading books. I said a silent prayer to the patron saint who protects teachers against lawsuits and cowboyed on. It was ever so spine-tingling and fun. I repeated this with over 60 students. Multiply that by 10 years or so and we're talking some serious Halloween anxiety. Mwaaaaahhhh...