The final week with the kids at Overby-Sheppard Elementary was by far the most successful so far. After playing a few games to use up some of their energy, we split up into our separate groups. This week, my group had two little boys and one little girl. The one boy had been in our group for the last three visits and every time we had opened the large book of fairytales, he had pointed to the table of contents and asked us to read Firebird. We had no idea what exactly Firebird was going to be about, but he had been very patient so we started to read it.
After swapping a few words to make the story easier for the kids to handle (replacing “tsar” for “king”), Tracy began reading what soon revealed itself to be a very long story. Interestingly, while the little girl on my lap soon lost interest in the story, the two boys lasted much longer. While I tried to keep her from distracting the boys, the book passed from Tracy to Julianne and then to James. The books was supposed to come to me next but, being slightly occupied with the little girl, James and the two little boys started reading instead. Their level of interest changed while they were participating in the reading, increasing as they got to become a part of the storytelling instead of a listener. It reminded me of how much more excited the children had become the week before when we had them roar when we read the word “Beast”. As soon as they could become active, whether through their listening or reading, they became much more involved with the story.
Unfortunately, in order to get to the drawing we had promised, Firebird had to be cut short. Even though the book had a few pictures, the boys had fun making their own interpretations of what a Firebird would look like while the little girl wrote James a valentine. The experience with the boys with Firebird was really different from the previous week with Beauty and the Beast. None of us knew what to expect from Firebird, so no one was complaining that it was a “girly story” which is why I think they paid more attention.
All in all, I’ve had a great time working with these kids every Tuesday. From the games to the fairy tales to one little girl always referring to me as “grandma’s house” from a game we played back on the first day, I always had a great time with them, and it was really intriguing to see what types of stories and activities related to fairy tales kept their attention and which types didn’t.