Tobin Turkey Trot & More

Wednesday, November 26th 2014

We had the great blessing of relatives in town for Thanksgiving, including joining us at the kids’ school to cheer them on for the Tobin Turkey Trot Extravaganza.  Here we are alongside Uncle Chris, Grandma Z, and Grandpa Jack with the pie Gavin won by lucky draw in the post-run raffle:

The Winning Circle of Pie

The Winning Circle of Pie

Here is my nephew MILES in HIS winning circle of Top Three Fastest First Grade Boys in the whole school!

Miles, friend Diego and Mystery Champion

A Beaming Miles, friend Diego and Mystery Champion

Here is the story as retold by my Mom to my Brother in California:

“Miles is third-fastest-running first-grade boy, as determined in this morning’s Tobin Turkey Trot and he proudly brought home the triumphal half-gallon of cider he won and manfully sips it from over his shoulder like moonshine. Gavin’s body parts don’t all go in the same direction at the same time, as you’ve no doubt noticed, but both he and ClaraJane finished their run, which makes them winners.  Gavin won the Pumpkin Pie raffle, which made him very happy. Jenny got great pics and the O clan were out in force praising all 3 children.”

It was a pretty epoch Tobin Day, from; 1) The Turkey Trot, 2) ClaraJane’s Classroom Tour, 3) Cafeteria Lunch with my kids to 4) Gavin’s Math Materials.  (And now you know the outline for the rest of this blog post, and are officially forwarned.)  (o:

1)  TURKEY TROT.   Here is the anatomical breakdown of The First Grade Boys’ Race:

Everybody warms up with Phys Ed Teacher, Ms. "S"

Everybody warms up with Phys Ed Teacher, Ms. “S”

First Grade Boys line up

First Grade Boys line up

Notice Gavin (4th from Left above) waving, while cousin Miles (all the way on Right) is focusing.

Somebody is posing for a fancy, fierce start

Gavin gets in fancy, fierce start position; Miles chills

Gavin with his hand down

Gavin puts his hand down in imaginary sprinters start position while everyone else starts the race

Positions take shape right out of the gate:

Positions take shape right out of the gate

Miles up front left, Gavin far back left

Miles, Gavin, Daddy

Miles out of sight, Gavin holding up the rear, Daddy cracking up

By the time we thought to go greet them at the other side of the building, Miles had already blown by.  We were there in plenty of time to see Gavin though:

"Slow and Steady Wins the Race!"  ~Marge Simpson

“Slow and Steady Wins the Race!” ~Marge Simpson

Hi Five for picking it back up, Buddy

Hi Five for picking it back up, Buddy

After passing us though, Gavin’s motivation again eluded him, and he fell back to a walk and got a teacher convinced he needed to be excused from the rest of the race due to extenuating hardship or something.  So I jogged over and offered to run with him, which we did, nice and steady, mostly hand in hand, to the end.  I say “mostly” because he suddenly had lots of extra energy to practice his nascent parkour skills by jumping off benches and tapping water fountains and fences etc… anything but a strait line.  A little sprint to the finish and voila!  *A* “finish.”

Miles beams; Gavin grimaces

Miles beams,  Gavin not so much

We then gathered for the Awards Ceremony of turkey, pie or cider in the gym.

Three Fastest First Grade Boys in School

The three fastest First Grade Boys receive their prizes

Miles & his Cider; not too shabby Dude!

Miles & his Cider; GREAT JOB BUDDY!!!

GREAT JOB MILES!!!  Congratulations.  (o:

Then although we did not get to see her run, here is ClaraJane and her support crew:

ClaraJane and Her Supporters

The ClaraJane Winners Circle

I hope the kids started to get the message that DOING YOUR BEST and FINISHING WHAT YOU START makes you a winner, whether or not you are the fastest (although that is great too).   Or as Ms. *S* Says:  “If you had FUN, you WON!”


See my cubby, Grandma Z?

“See this is my cubby, Grandma Z!”

Here is the bathroom my mom painted

“Here is our bathroom my mommy painted.”

"Touch, touch, touch... you missed one... touch..."

“Touch, touch, touch… you missed one… touch…”

"Here is where we keep the crayons and scissors, Grandpa Jack"

“Here is where we keep the crayons and scissors, Grandpa Jack”

That is not how Montessori children sit at a table, Grandpa Jack, but we won't tell

That is not how you sit at a Montessori table, Grandpa Jack, but we won’t tell

ClaraJane is thankful for "Mom, Dad and brother"

ClaraJane is thankful for “Mom, Dad and my brother”

"Hi EVERYBODY down there!  I'm up here, in my daddy's arms!"

“Hi EVERYBODY down there! I’m up here, in my daddy’s arms!”

Such a rare treat for family to be and see in the classroom, and on the child’s terms.  Followed by:


After failing to get out of the school in a timely way (per usual), I found my son at lunch already.   (Don’t look now Daddy, but Gavin’s salad bar bowl is full of… [gulp]… black olives!)

Gavin munching a pickle

Gavin munching a pickle

Lets his sister have a bite (GREAT BROTHER!)

Letting his sister have a bite (GREAT BROTHER!)

Entertaining one of his teachers

Entertaining Ms. Lisa

Being a Carrot Bat

Silly Carrot Bat

TWO Silly Carrot Bats

TWO Silly Carrot Bats


Here is an example of Montessori works which are so counter-intuitive to those of us who didn’t have the blessing of this style of education.  Here is a typical work area on a mat for an individual student, or team of students, to work on a subject.  In this case the subject is “Dynamic Addition,” which I think means, yes, some of the columns will add up to more than nine, in which case you will need to “exchange” say, ten *ones* in the “One” column for a “One” in the TENS column.  (What we old-farts know as “carry the one” in adding.)

Gavin’s Math Work

The problem he has copied down here is 4572 + 2549 (the second problem listed on the  assigment).  On his mat you can see:

a cup of “ONES BEADS,”  (that is, each bead represents a single unit, or “1”).

a pile of “TENS BEADS” (i.e.; a line of ten beads strung together, representing “ten” (units)… or a “1” in the Tens column if you are writing the number on paper),

some “HUNDREDS SQUARES”  (i.e.; a square of 10 “Tens Beads” stuck together to represent “100”… aka, a “1” in the hundreds column of a number), and

some “THOUSANDS CUBES” (i.e.; you guessed it, 10 Hundreds Squares… representing a thousand units… or a “one” in the thousands column of a number).

Using these materials, theoretically he can solve the equation, as explained to his grandparents:

Gavin describes Dynamic Addition Work to his Grandparents

Grandma Z, being a former elementary school student, was amazed at what she considers  3rd or 4th grade level math happening in 1st grade.  On the other hand Grandpa Jack had no idea what Gavin was talking about.  (o;

All this being said, you can also see on the paper above exactly how far he had gotten in the problem (not very).  The Executive Functioning required in getting all these materials out and the problem written down seems about as far as Gavin could tarry on this day.  Our Dear Boy. [*sigh*]  I’m hoping to learn how to cultivate focus, follow through and Executive Functioning skills in both myself AND in him.  Not easy for creative dreamers with hyperactive minds.  Please wish us luck. [!]

It’s so wonderful we have all this wonderful family and that they visit us!

Now, on to this year’s Thanksgiving Day…

About circuskitchen

performing artist, mom, wife, daughter, sister, aunt, niece... just a regular extraordinary person
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4 Responses to Tobin Turkey Trot & More

  1. Baba/Bubble Wow says:

    What a wonderful recap of a wonderful family day at school!!! Thank you so much. What a blessing to have so many disparate strengths and talents represented in our family. Precious children, parents, and grandparents. Miles, Gavin, ClaraJane: What wonderful efforts you put forth! That’s how you end up winners! Miles — I loved watching you drink your prize cider! You are SO FAST! Gavin, ClaraJane — Love your bat-carrot faces and the way you persisted to the finish line. Your intellectual math works blow me away. Grandma Kathy, Grandpa Jack, Uncle Christopher — your presence and involvement is so important. So much for which to give thanks!

  2. Kathy Ziegler says:

    What great memories you record. It was a great morning. I am so glad we got to share the Tobin Turkey Trot with two wonderful grandchildren and their parents. Thank you for including us and all your wonderful hospitality.

    Love Kathy, Grandma and Jack

  3. Pingback: Ear Bead Episode | circuskitchen

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