“Can it be four minutes? ‘Cause I just can’t get it below four minutes and everything in there is so important.”
“No, it can only be two minutes”
“But that’s impossible!”
The directive is to make sure their presentation for the Science Fair is two minutes in speaking duration. Some have planned it just right. Others need to shave off time. They pull out their note cards trying to figure what could possibly be shortened or discarded. There seems to be an emotional attachment to all information written on those cards.
“Can you help me?” I flip through the cards and easily find lines and ideas to edit out. I’m surprised at how easily they take my advice. No one argues. Resignation? Respect? Or are they just sick and tired of this and want to get it over with?
Students practice on their own, two times with a peer, and then before the class. We work through some nervousness. Encouragement abounds. I love these kids and I’m touched by their effort, their desire to do a good job, their seriousness. My heart is warmed by each imperfection in the posters: the bent corner, the misplaced letter, the glue smudge. I rejoice with them in their enthusiasm for what they perceive is a job well done. I see they’ve worked hard and they’ve sincerely done the best they can.
My colleague and I touch base at the end of the day. We survey the posters and acknowledge that there is simply nothing more to do. We go through our checklist and send off a reminder email to parents. Our “Science Fair in a Box” is ready to go. It is teeming with Science Fair paraphernalia: the judges’ clipboards, certificates for the students, programs, student nametags, student numbers for position, a tally sheet, poster size welcome signs and schedule of events, eco-friendly items for the raffle, eco-friendly chocolate prizes for the winners, wine bags for the judges’ wine bottles (don’t get me started on that one), judges’ rubrics, sticky tack, pins, pens, and tape.
Everything has been scheduled including dinner for the students, which will provide nourishment to get them through the evening.
Now, it’s up to the students. Tomorrow night is their night and they get to show what they know. Personally, I enjoy watching the development and growth that takes place in getting to this point. There have been growing pains and it's been tough. But the students have learned a lot, gained academic skills, and have become advocates of "Going Green". Hats off to our little global warming experts!