Tuesday, February 3
Bookmobile! Epaminondas, & funny books
I'm working on an Early Literacy bookmobile (books and resources for kids ages 0-6 years) as a long-term temp until the end of May. This is totally fun. Except when it's totally sad, such as today, when we visited a poorly run day care, where the teachers yell at the kids and the kids are out of control, and where their language and pre-literacy skills lag far behind their peers.
Yesterday's site also featured mean and crabby teachers. It's not Dickens, but when you see other classrooms where there is enough structure that yelling is not "needed," you know that these kids could be a lot more calm and happy with more skilled teachers.
On the other hand: yesterday after a story-time that went "ok" but not great, one little girl started clapping! She continued solo for 10 awkward seconds, and then the other little Minnesota Nice kids joined her. Then they didn't know how long they should clap, so they just kept on and on. Sweet and hilarious.
The rhythm and rhyme of song is good for pre-literacy skills, so we sing! Today we sang "I got me a cat," the folk song with all the strange and fun animal sounds: ducks quack, cows moo, and horses neigh, but the pig says griffy, gruffy, the goose says swishy, swashy, the hen goes chimmy-chuck, chimmy-chuck, and the cat goes fiddle-i-fee. All this repeats cumulatively, like the House that Jack Built, or the Twelve Days of Christmas, and by the end of the song they were exhausted. Another learning experience for the teacher, and I hope they didn't suffer too much. But when they were putting their coats on to go out to the bookmobile for books, I heard one little guy singing "the hen goes chimmy-chuck, chimmy-chuck." Word fun rules!
Do you remember the story of Epaminondas? He visits his aunt each day, and she gives him something to take home.
The Story of Epaminondas and His Auntie
Epaminondas used to go to see his Auntie 'most every day, and she nearly always gave him something to take home to his Mammy.
One day she gave him a big piece of cake; nice, yellow, rich gold-cake.
Epaminondas took it in his fist and held it all scrunched up tight, like this, and came along home. By the time he got home there wasn't anything left but a fistful of crumbs. His Mammy said,--
"What you got there, Epaminondas?"
"Cake, Mammy," said Epaminondas.
"Cake!" said his Mammy. "Epaminondas, you ain't got the sense you was born with! That's no way to carry cake. The way to carry cake is to wrap it all up nice in some leaves and put it in your hat, and put your hat on your head, and come along home. You hear me, Epaminondas?"
"Yes, Mammy," said Epaminondas.
Next day Epaminondas went to see his Auntie, and she gave him a pound of butter for his Mammy; fine, fresh, sweet butter.
Epaminondas wrapped it up in leaves and put it in his hat, and put his hat on his head, and came along home. It was a very hot day. Pretty soon the butter began to melt. It melted, and melted, and as it melted it ran down Epaminondas' forehead; then it ran over his face, and in his ears, and down his neck. When he got home, all the butter Epaminondas had was ON HIM.
Mamma instructs him that he should cool the butter in the creek; the next day he cools the puppy in the creek and nearly drowns him. Then he puts a string around a loaf of bread and drags it home behind him. On it goes.
That's how I've been feeling as we tour the Bookmobile sites. The site schedule tells the age of the kids in each classroom, but that's only part of the story. I always seem to have the perfect story time for the group I just visited, but not quite right for the group I'm reading to now. Once we come back for second and third visits, I think I'll have an easier time of it, but for now? Epaminondas.
Yesterday there was no heat on the Bookmobile, and we froze. I outwitted the cold and wind predicted for today by wearing boots, two pairs of socks, two sweaters, and even long underwear. Naturally the heat functioned fine and it was 94 degrees in the sun-warmed passenger seat. Epaminondas. When I heard that story as a kid I thought it was hilarious. Now I'm living it. Don't let me kid you, though. This is a good gig.
All through Dear Son #1's school years, I begged teachers to accommodate him and his volatile behavior. When he was finally diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome and got into an appropriate program, things fell into place, but that wasn't until he was 14 years old. Now when I deal with kids who can't sit still, or can't stop talking, or who can't stop crying, or who absolutely must have their way, or can't make transitions, or can't stand the noise of singing and burst into tears, I have a renewed appreciation for all the stellar teachers who gave so much to my boy. Props to you!
Let's end this thing with by making note of two funny books.
No No Yes Yes, by Patricia Patricelli.
On the left page: pulling the cat's tail, hitting another child with a hammer. No! No! On the right page: petting the cat, hitting pegs with a hammer. Yes! Yes! Simple outlined pictures of a baby in a diaper are easy on young eyes, but Patricelli manages to put a world of hilarity in those simple drawings.
Note RE: my ongoing rant about subject heading in cataloging, this is cataloged as
English language -- Synonyms and antonyms -- Juvenile literature.
Conduct of life -- Juvenile literature.
Moral education (Early childhood) -- Juvenile literature.
Doggies, a Counting and Barking Book, by Sandra Boynton.
Boynton has a gift for humor. In this book, kids count to ten with ten dogs and different barks. 1 Dog. Woof!.
2 dogs. Yap yap! Woof!
3 dogs. ...nnn...nnn...nnn . . .Yap yap! Woof!
4 dogs. Ruff ruff! Ruff ruff! ...nnn...nnn...nnn Yap yap! Woof!