Friday, October 26, 2012

"On Halloween Night" OR:Parents Don't Use Puppets or Flannel Boards or....

I could make cute little finger puppets or flannel boards for every rhyme that I do with the kids--but I don't.

When I'm working with a group of children I am performing in a way that I never did at home with my girls. I "razzle dazzle" them, as the saying goes because the dynamics of working with a group are totally different from that one-on-one with your own child.

But the thing is, my goal is not just to entertain that group--though I certainly hope that I do--but to educate their parents and caregivers as to what THEY can do when they're not at story time.

When I have a great time with a group but see them go out of the library without books, I don't feel that successful.

But when I have a parent  or caregiver ask me for the words or tune to a song we've been singing, or report that their child "sings that all the time!" I beam with pleasure.

When I have a parent or caregiver specially request we do a song--last week it was "Zoom,Zoom, Zoom" another time recently, it was "Going to the Zoo", I know that I've made a connection.

So a lot of the time I DON'T use flannels or stick puppets or mitt puppets or any other such.
Because I want to show parents and caregivers that all you need to entertain a child is your hands and your voice and a sense of fun!

I could make a flannel board for this poem by Nancy Carlstrom, but why should I?
It's perfect to act out, just the way it is:

On Halloween Night

Stretch your arms in front of you and "pit-pat" your paws!
This is the way the cat walks, the cat walks, the cat walks,
this is the way the cat walks on Halloween night!
She goes pit-pat,
Pit-pat, on Halloween night

This is the way the kids walk....
"Trip-trap" your hands on your legs

This is the way the wind walks..... 
 "Rip-rap" your arms in big circles

                                               This is the way the trees walk......  

                                     Sway your arms in the air & "scritch-scratch" with your fingers

                                             This is the way the moon walks.....
                                   Reach your arms up and "tip-tap" your fingers in the sky

The moon goes........
The trees go............
The wind goes.........
The kids walk..........
 The cat goes pit-pat..
On Halloween Night!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Halloween Round-Up Or: Kids Like Repeats Or:It's Never The Same Twice

Kids don't mind repeats. When I read a book at a program like, say "The Very Hungry Caterpillar", the cry of "I KNOW this book, Miss L!" is a cry of joyous recognition, not blase boredom.  Even the moms and nannies who come year after year seem to enjoy a re-reading.

This applies even more to telling a story--and if I've said this before, well, it's worth repeating too and perhaps even more applicable.

Even if you follow a script word for word, each time you tell a story--and that applies to any form, flannel board, puppets, etc--it's going to be different. You will have a different audience--or if it's the same one week to week, they will be in a different mood each time you deal with them. You will react differently. You will read/tell differently.

I will tell these stories again this Halloween. I will do most of them 7-8 times. And yet, each time it will be a completely different experience.

Without getting boringly New Agey about it, telling a story is an organic process and each time you bring something new to the story.
And you'd better--otherwise you will get bored quickly. And so will your audience!

I have read/told most of these Halloween stories for years--and I don't mean 2 or 3 years, I mean 20 years--and over time the stories have gotten better because I've had time to play with them. I've found new ways to tell them.

If I read these stories from books, it wouldn't be as much fun for me or for my audience. A reading to a group is a performance that differs completely from reading to that beloved child or two on your lap. I've come a long way from that.

And yet, it's because these are such good stories, so well told by their authors, so well illustrated, that they work year after year after year.

Click on the pictures to go to the links for my Halloween line up. There are slideshows or videos for each.
Enjoy and have a wonderful time this Halloween!

"The Big Pumpkin" by Erica Silverman
Classic flannel board. But it's the telling, with audience participation that makes this so much fun.

"The Ghost's Dinner" by Jacques Duquennoy
Slide out sheets of paper let the ghosts change color

"The Witch's Hat" by Tony Johnson.
Told with props and magnet board pieces

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