Thursday, March 19th, I and 21 of my 4th graders, plus their Thai teacher, plus Grade 5 went to Dream World. It's a theme park that's some sort of mix between Disney World, Carowinds, and the fair.
I put the kids in groups, made sure they had at least one cell phone in their group and set them loose! That's right. Twenty-one 9- and 10- year olds set loose at an amusement park! They were required to call me every two hours and meet for lunch at noon. One girl went home sick after the first hour, and the Thai teacher took her to meet her mom. I never saw the Thai teacher again until the end of the day. I didn't have any major problems with the groups. One group failed to check in at the first call-in time, but it was because their cell phones had lost service. They found Miss Shaela (Grade 5 teacher) and asked her to call me for them. Everyone came to lunch on time, if not early. And the same group failed to call in during the second check-in, but after I called around, I found out they were actually with their Thai teacher. I was VERY proud of their behavior overall.The park was really, really fun! There was a good variety of rides, and it was small enough that I frequently ran into GES students or the other teachers, which was nice. It was really fun being able to be silly and goofy with my kids.
My favorite part of the park was probably Snow World. You walk into this big warehouse, and they provide you with a big jacket and some boots. Then, you walk around in the snow for awhile, have snowball fights, then go sledding. You pick up a sled, walk up the icy, frozen stairs, put your sled down, get in, then the guys push you down. Weeeeeeee! Then, you do it again. So much fun!
I also enjoyed riding the Viking, which is the big pirate ship ride thing that swings really high and fast. The haunted house was amusing because my poor 4th graders were fooled into thinking that I would protect them during the walk. (This is a bit ironic because the last time I went into one of those things, I walked out having peed my pants from being so scared.) But, there comes a time for all grown ups to act their age, so I bravely walked through the haunted house with 3 4th graders attached to me the entire time, screaming at the appropriate places (of course only for the effects) and holding tightly to their hands, saying 'it's okay' at all the right places (for them, of course), and even running with them through the parts that were extra scary (also for their sake).
We also did water rides at the very end which was really fun because it had gotten pretty hot by then. Unfortunately, the pants I wore that day were of the see-through-when-wet variety, so I found a solution by adjusting a parka to fit from my chest down. That way, it protected my pants from becoming see-through, but it allowed me to get wet and cooled off a bit. My kids laughed at me for awhile, and I'm pretty sure I embarrassed them during the 30 minutes I wore it. But it served it's purpose.
The last call-in time was at 2 pm, and I told everyone at that point to meet me at the front gate at 3:30. But I got a call around 2:45 from the Thai teacher saying we needed to, in fact, meet at 3. So, it was a bit crazy for awhile calling around to everyone (while waiting in line for one last ride!) to change the meeting time. After our last ride, we made a mad dash through the park (because, of course, we were at the furthest end from the entrance), grabbed some snacks for the bus ride home, and made it to the meeting point at 3:02. Whew.
At that point, I started taking small bites of a snack I had purchased--a pancake on a stick! Pure genius.
The day was amazing! The students were so fun and well-behaved, and I think we got our money's worth of the park.
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