Thursday, September 10, 2009

A Beaded Evening

As I put together bowls of beads for the activity at the homeless shelter where I read, I began to think I was crazy to attempt jewelry-making with young children who can hardly sit still. But the night proved me wrong.

Last time I volunteered, an adorable little girl who was just a little sad said she liked my necklace. It was one I had made from a single large wooden bead, purchased at a bead shop on a trip to Takoma Park with my friend Reya. I promised that little girl that the next time I came to volunteer we would explore the world of jewelry.

I came with an armful of books that featured stories about jewelry from around the world. The children stayed about as focused as we can ever hope for, but I could tell they really wanted to know what was in the bag intended for the activity.

I counted them. Yikes! There was one more than I had planned for. It was a good thing I had brought extra supplies.

By the time their interest in reading had fallen off, I had set out the materials for them to use in making a necklace. I gave each one a paper plate, hoping they would arrange their beads before beginning to string them. I also gave each one a piece of elasticized plastic that had a masking tape stopper on one end and was painted with red nail polish on the other so they could easily see it to string their beads.

As the 9 children descended on the bowls of beads, I panicked for fear they would throw them instead of string them, for fear that one would instantly become the bead of choice and there wouldn’t be 9 of them.

But I had two cool-headed volunteers working with me who found solutions to every problem. Ugly words were set aside as the children got into making their jewelry.

Only one little girl, the one who had originally noticed my necklace, planned her necklace. She also made a bracelet that was equally well planned.

We had a particular challenge in making sure the knots in the finished necklaces didn’t come untied. Super Glue to the rescue.

We left with very few beads on the floor and with everyone adorned with their creations. It was a great evening!


Blogger Cyndy said...

That sounds like fun. I'll bet that was one of their favorite visits sessions with you.

11:02 PM  
Blogger Cyndy said...

Oops, pick one, visits or sessions.

11:03 PM  
Blogger Gary said...

Congratulations on a successful evening. It is always wonderful when the students have something to take away with them. Something to show off and be proud of because they did it themselves.

I noticed that Debbie Allen book "Dancing in the Wings" sitting there. I love this book! It got me a little emotional the first time I read it.

11:48 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Cyndy -- They did seem to have fun!

Gary -- I am not very good at restoring order when things start spiraling out of control. I was lucky to be working tonight with a woman who obviously has a teaching background and knows how to get get things back on track. I think of you at times like this.

The book you noticed was one of the giveaways. Each child gets to take home a book to keep every week after the read-aloud. The program has significant support from industry that allows nice things like this to happen.

12:34 AM  
Blogger LiLu said...

Awww. You are a good person. Those kids must've been stoked!

9:27 AM  
Blogger Merle Sneed said...

Barbara, Lilu said it. You are a good person!

10:44 AM  
Blogger bozoette said...

What a wonderful idea! I'm sure those kids will remember it for the rest of their lives.

11:17 AM  
Blogger lacochran said...

Beading is something that anyone can be creative with. What a lovely gift you gave them!

11:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a great activity and lesson in cooperation, sharing, sufficiency, and, oh yeah, creativity! :-) Great idea, Barbara!


1:57 PM  
Blogger Kristin said...

Great theme, Barbara! It's wonderful to read of your success.

9:18 AM  

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