Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Checking In: Storytime Gigs and What-Not

Friends, please know that while I have a big backlog of posts and books to read, I am at least reading your most recent posts on my RSS reader. My posts here as of late have not had a lot of juice to them, and I'm really just posting placeholder pieces so you know I've not dropped away from blogging.

Today, I had two gigs at a day-camp that functions as a preschool during the year. They went well, although I'll tell you, those 4 and 5 year olds really made me earn my pay today. I think I did fairly well considering that they were so wild and woolly I knew inviting them to stand up and dance was not going to happen. Here was my first clue that I would have to work my crowd-control skills to their limits: I told them that "Fooba Wooba John" was a funny song, and began to play it. They laughed, but not in a "ho ho, that's amusing" kind of way. No, it was the "BWA HA HA THIS IS THE FUNNIEST THING I'VE EVER HEARD AND I'M GOING TO DROWN YOU OUT" kind of laughter. The teacher tried to shush them, but to no avail. I stopped the song, said,"Friends, I know I'm a little bit funny, but I'm not that funny," and then continued after they'd settled down slightly. Soon after, they started to say "Ewwww!" in loud voices every time I took a sip from my water-bottle, until I said, "It's just water." I was curious as to what was going through their minds, but I knew better than to ask.

In a reversal of my usual storytime experience, the group was restless and wiggly during the songs, but (relatively) quiet and attentive during the stories. Joseph the Tailor and Phyllis Gershator's Zzzng! Zzzng! Zzzng! went over particularly well. When it came time to do "Jenny Jenkins," I simply picked the dress colors out of the bag while they yelled the colors because I knew that there would be chaos if I invited them to choose the colors themselves.

The 2 and 3 year old group was mellow and laid-back. They got to pick the dress colors out of the bag and stand up to dance to "There Ain't No Bugs On Me" (with the instructions to jump up and down, not side to side). One-third of the way through the program, a little girl asked, "Are you going to drink coffee now?" One of the teachers explained that the kids were used to the teachers drinking coffee throughout the day. Afterward, when I invited questions and comments, I heard from half the class about how much they loved to go swimming. I get that. It's part of the oral tradition. Even though there were no stories or songs about swimming, one child told about her swimming experience, which reminded another child of his swimming experience, and so on. It's the same way with jokes and dreams.

In other news, Bede is back from his five-day trip to Indianapolis, Indiana, where he took part in GenCon. and revealed his game, How to Host a Dungeon. This website is still in progress, and you can't see the nifty little graphics that Bede drew for the game. Here's one:


adrienne said...

I find those day camp places are really unpredictable and the kids often don't wind up behaving in ways I expect. I tend to bring a big bag full of stuff so I can go with the flow.

HOW COOL THAT BED WENT TO GENCON!!! And that he designed a game of his own. GenCon's on my List of Conferences to Attend Next Year (along with BEA 2009 and Kidlit 2009, assuming we have one). Indianapolis is within driving distance, and everyone says that conference is way cool. I love games, although I don't wind up playing them nearly as much these days as I did when my husband was alive. Alas.

Lone Star Ma said...

You and Bede both rock.

Jules at 7-Imp said...

That little girl has a special place in my heart.

Jules, coffee-drinker

Alkelda the Gleeful said...

Adrienne: That would be pretty cool if you could go to Gen Con. By the way, here is One Cool Thing I Saw at Gen Con 2008:

Bede is in there toward the end (at the 7:42 mark), a bit chagrined, because he was caught off guard), BUT someone is holding up his game at the end as the "One Cool Thing" (at 9:47).

LSM: Thank you.

Jules: Mine too.