It seems that as the weeks go on, our visits with the children at Overby-Sheppard keep getting better. Upon arrival, the kids were very clearly full of energy, so we started off by playing a number of games to calm them down while still incorporating the fairy tale theme. We began with a game that combined the story of Cinderella and the all-time favorite game of freeze tag. Several kids were chosen as taggers, and several were chosen “Fairy Godmothers”. When you were tagged, only the fairy godmothers could unfreeze you. The game ended with Evan eventually getting swarmed and dog-piled (which seems to be a common occurrence with these kids). After we sorted it all out, we played a simple game of Simon Says, and finally, we moved on to a game of Duck Duck Goose before we split into groups to read our stories.
Julianne, Taylor and I agreed to read the story of Beauty and the Beast to our group, using the book that we used last week. We started out with four children, but before we started, one boy immediately decided that he wanted to be in another group. Another girl asked what we were doing, and decided that she “didn’t want to read stories” and very sassily walked away to read stories with another group. To each his own, I suppose. Left with one girl and one boy, we made the most of the situation. Before we started, we asked them if they’ve ever heard the story, and we were able to find out that they already knew some major points of the plot. The kids were slightly antsy at first, but it was a pleasant surprise to see them settle down, stay quiet and pay attention as Julianne read.
We noticed that the little girl became suddenly interested every time Julianne turned the page to reveal a picture. The book we used didn’t really have many pictures, so halfway through the story, I proposed an idea to the kids to make the story more interactive. Every time Julianne mentioned the word “Beauty,” we would put our hand under our chin like a dainty princess and let out a small little sigh. Every time we heard the word “Beast,” we would all make claws with our hands and roar. Both of the kids didn’t really care much about doing the action for Beauty, but the little girl loved doing the action for Beast. For whatever reason, the boy was a little hesitant, but after a while he agreed to “do it just once,” and let out a few roars here and there. For the remainder of the story, we had fun roaring every time we heard the word “Beast,” which seemed to hold their attention until we finished.
After we read, we gave paper and markers to the kids and asked them to draw something from the story. Julianne and I did this activity the week before and it worked really well, so we decided to do it again. We told them that they could draw their favorite character, a scene from the story, or anything related to the story that they wanted to draw. The little boy wanted to look at a picture in the book and tried to draw it verbatim, while the little girl drew…something. I’m not sure if we ever found out what she was trying to draw. We were limited on time so the kids didn’t have a chance to completely finish, but we gave them two Jolly Ranchers each and sent them on their way.
Overall, the visit was very successful. Not only did we get to play multiple games and have fun, but we got the entire way through a story and completed our drawing activity, for the most part. On the way back to campus, we talked about how tough it’s going to be to tell the kids that we won’t be coming back anymore after this coming week. We really wish we could continue going to Overby-Sheppard for the rest of the semester! Although our last visit will be pretty bittersweet, we hope that we can end our time with these amazing kids on a good note.