The alarm clock stunned many of us this morning as we burrowed under comforters and blankets, praying it wasn’t so….it was still dark out and it was so nice sleeping past 5:00 am…..but visions of happy children all rushing in with tales to tell of their holiday break caused me to rouse myself, get that first cup of coffee (always the best) and plot out my first day back from Christmas break in my classroom.  Now when I was in 3rd grade, the most exciting toy we may have had were new ice skates, or an Easy Bake Oven……and who can forget the Incredible Edible machine?! While my sister made miniature cakes, I was making edible centipedes and spiders which found their way under my parents pillows as a “surprise” or any other unsuspecting place I thought would cause some excitement!  Today as we all shared what was our best present from Santa, it seems that video games, DSL games, and Kindles were among the top prizes from the big red sack.  Now the Kindles made me smile, being an English teacher, but when the conversation went to the actual games that kids got, there were oohs and aahs from the crowd…….honestly it is a language I do not understand.  What happened to sleds, skis, new board games and the like?  The games themselves, from what I could gather, were all about battles and wars and enemies, killing and winning.  The hours spent absorbed in battles transfers over to their writing I find where bad guys are everywhere, aliens abound, and there is a considerable amount of gruesome bloodshed.  I know we have a short week but I still thought that a short list of twelve words, interesting words, words that would add color and depth to their writing would be in order for homework this week.  Oh the moans, the groans, the tortured look on their faces were so profound you would have thought I had just asked them to write a three page essay with no spelling errors and proper punctuation by Friday.  They shook their heads in disbelief when I suggested they haul back on video games and spend some time practicing the words or, better yet, reading for 30 minutes each night.  I do believe, at that moment, I suddenly became the “Teacher from the Black Lagoon” whose intent is to torture small children by saying they cannot play.  Perhaps, just perhaps if I teach them well enough, they might one day be part of the change the world needs………..and I don’t believe they will ever learn that from a video game.