Light and Dark
Tonight’s read-aloud at the shelter was all about light and dark. The children ranged in age from 5 to 11, which probably explains some of the behavior problems.
We started out as always by reading the “Promises” -- Listen, Respect, Cooperate, and Have fun. Even though we talked about what these words mean, they seemed to conveniently forget about listen and respect.
We struggled through 4 books, with a lot of jostling for position and an undercurrent of noise. A couple of kids who usually behave were acting out. A 5-year-old who seems to have some learning disabilities was particularly disruptive.
But then things suddenly shifted as we moved on to the activity. I had found some books intended for teaching drawing. The children could choose from photocopied and enlarged pages of monsters, dinosaurs, creepy crawlies, and things with motors like cars, motorcycles, etc. They suddenly began to focus as they colored and cut out their various images. Even the troublemakers shared the crayons and tried hard to produce something worthy of being mounted on a popsicle stick.
By the time everyone had one or two puppets in hand, we turned out the lights and got out the big flashlight. The show was supposed to be accompanied by music from my iPad, but instead the children provided the sound effects as their puppets danced across the walls.
Each child went home with a finger light that he or she could use to continue the puppet show on his or her bedroom wall.
Many thanks to Gary and Terry for their helpful ideas in planning this evening, to my friend Deborah for supplying the popsicle sticks, and to Kristin who helped pull it off.