Day 1 with the Kids

Despite misleading, or misread, directions, the first day at Overby-Sheppard went productively and energetically, the latter perhaps more so than the former.  Indeed, it was the Overby-Sheppard student’s energy that, while first providing an obstacle to an engagement with the fairy tales, contributed to significant creative contributions. These obstacles, namely, a child’s natural drive to play after a day in classes and, importantly, a readily available gymnasium, inhibited a connection between our groups children, and the text.  Now, I say text with strong purpose, because, and this being a result of a first-try, well guess that didn’t work error, we brought our college purposed, scholar meant, must-look-like-a-tome-to-a child text to the meeting, and in the tumult of that gymnasium there was no way we were getting Perrault’s “Little Red Riding Hood,” into their heads.  To remedy the situation we paraphrased heavily, only reading the absolutely essential pieces, and even through this strategy at story’s end it still seemed the full emotional impact was lost.  Fortunately though, as little as the student’s seemed to get from hearing the text, the inverse seemed to occur when they acted out, or even created, their own versions of Little Red.

When acting out the story, the children showed a competent grasp of the plot, and, if at times, looking lost, they received some prompts from our audience, this seemed to stem more from a nervousness with a new crowd than an actual lapse of memory.  Furthermore, the children, and one girl in particular, when acting out her “Little Red,” included the classic fairy tale plot elements our own class discussed.  For instance, she included the Wolf asking Red Riding Hood if he could walk her home, instead of just having the Wolf eat her on the spot, as, certainly to my mind, one uninitiated to the way fairy tales work imagines a wolf would do upon seeing an object of prey alone in the woods.  Later, when creating her own story, she also included a bigger, stronger friend saving the main character from her peril.  That this girl included such essential fairy tale    elements in her own stories and recountings certainly suggests fairy tale “essentials” make strong impressions with children, perhaps connections children look for, as much as find.

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