Hypergraphia is a condition that causes people to transcribe their thoughts uncontrollably. I don't suffer from it in the clinical sense, but I may be borderline. My blog is the cyber-wall where I spray paint my thoughts for all to see. By the way, if you came here directly through blogger --if your page has no yellow frames and no pretty pic of me in the top left corner -- you may want to visit my main site at www.hypergraffiti.com, where you can read this blog and much much more.


I'm Trudy Morgan-Cole, a writer from St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada. My books include "The Violent Friendship of Esther Johnson," "Esther: A Story of Courage," and "Deborah and Barak." I'm also a married mom of two, a teacher in an adult-ed program, and a Christian of the Seventh-day Adventist kind. I blog about writing, reading, parenting, teaching, spirituality, and shiny things that catch my eye.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Decorating Day

Today was our annual Decorating Day at school, where we suspend classes and decorate the building. It was a very different experience than it's been during the previous two Christmases I've been there. First, we're now decorating a long, institutional-style hallway with classrooms on either side rather than a beautiful but cavernous three-story building -- that requires some changes to decorating style.

The bigger change, though, was in how we promoted it. I don't know how The Murphy Centre has done Decorating Day in past years but during the last two years we sprang it on students as a surprise, only telling them when they arrived that morning that classes were cancelled. Our students' attendance is so bad anyway that we figured advance warning would lead to almost no-one showing up for a non-required extracurricular day.

The "Surprise, it's Decorating Day!" approach led to one of three responses:

1) People arriving who were anxious to get some work done, getting very angry because they'd come "for nothing."

2) People arriving and immediately leaving because, "Hey, we've got the day off!"

3) A handful of eager people -- three or four -- staying to help the staff decorate.

This year we decided to be a little more true to our philosophy of empowerment, dignity and respect, and warn people in advance. But we tried to make it as attractive as possible with a personal hand-delivered invitation for each student and promises of hot chocolate and pizza for lunch for those who came to help.

This year's strategy was a great success. We ended up with a crew of about 15 students who really wanted to help decorate and were enthused and having fun. There was a great spirit and the place looked terrific by lunchtime. And I did my usual Decorating Day routine of wandering vaguely from place to place watching and commenting on what people were doing, trying to vary my movements enough that nobody would notice I was doing no actual decorating. I love the Christmassy mood and team spirit of Decorating Day -- I just don't like the actual work part, with stringing the lights and hanging things up.


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