Thursday, January 12, 2012

The History of the Snow Dance

My great-grandmother is 1/4 Native American.  So, snow dancing is in my blood.  Our family is at one with nature.  We really appreciate and respect the beauty....    

Actually, that's all bit of a farce.  Grandma is actually Native American... but that's not where the dancing comes from.  I am actually a teachers child.  Snow = A Day at Home  Granted, we must make it up; so, it is technically not a day off.   But trust me that sweet promise of a morning with no alarm clock is worth it.

And, I am my mother's daughter.  I can remember coming home on bitter cold afternoons. Mom packing up her extra heavy school bag and we headed home. I could feel the excitement in the frigid air.  After we got home we would bounce around from foot to foot.  Jazz fingers, hands held high in the air, looking up at the ceiling (or sky) and we would sing at the top of our lungs in a rhythmic chant, "I want it to snow."  Then head and fingers pointed down to ground mirroring snowflakes "PLEASE, let it snow."  It's one of my favorite memories; not just as a young child, but also as a young adult.  I mean, I taught this dance to my college roommates.  Anytime the weather began to forecast snow Mom would always call and ask, "Are you dancing?"

And at that point.  I thought I'd enjoyed the snow dance to its full extent.  It had brought me many days of  no alarm clocks, all day reading and/or movies, chatting with my friends on AOL, homemade hot cocoa, snow-cream & snow angels galore.

However, I was wrong.  It gets better.   I remember my first year in my own classroom with a window... and it started honest to goodness snowing.  My assistant was trying to get my attention.  Nonchalantly pointing, and for the life of me I had no idea what she was doing.  "What is it?"  I finally asked.  My assistant was a wise woman.  She had children of her own and anticipated what the sight of snow was going to do to 8 year olds.  I had a lot of preparation for teaching but I had no idea what to expect when those kids saw the first snowflakes of the year.  (You'd think it was the first experience of their life.)

It started with a squeal and a "Mrs. B. It's snowing!" in a loud whisper.  Then it spread like wild fire around my room.  "Please everyone.... look its snowing."  I said.

My expectation: kids would turn their faces and look out the window

What actually happened:  children yelped like wild animals, ran over chairs, desks, books, other children, anything that was in their way to press there little faces against the glass.

I had two choices:
1.  Get angry, fuss at the children, and make them sit in their seats.
2.  Join them.

I chose to join them.  That day I really embraced the snow dance with "my" kids.  We actually ran outside (and very quickly) snow danced.  Cold noses, laughing children, wet snowflakes...  It was wonderful!  Reflecting back on moments like that make me miss working with children every day.

But even that, as wonderful as it was, is not the best moment of the snow dance.  

This is.

And the history of the snow dance is passed on... from mother to son.  


  1. I love reading your blog...keep it going!!

  2. I love that story! I would be doing the snow dance too if it kept me from having to go to work tomorrow, but unfortunately I have to go!

    1. Ha! Thanks, Heather. :-) I wish we could snow dance to get you out!

  3. Yes! Snow dancing is an art form! I remember parents in my classroom after many days off from snow asking me to tell the kids the truth and tell them that dancing did not cause the snow... I told them that I would never tell untruths to children! Keep up the tradition! Love you, Mom
    PS-Mrs. Read made up the steps to the dance:-)

    1. Of course, we can't leave Mrs. Read out. There's magic in those steps. :)

  4. Snow dancing, I love it and even though I am retired I eagerly watch the polar report to see who is out! And if I should awake in the night I have to look outside to see if it is still snowing or if the ground is covered. Because I know that there are dancers that are beaming as they see the results of their steps.