Tangram Tales Residency @ Strehle Elementary Day 4 & Dianne’s Birthday! – Thursday, January 15, 2009


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Dianne's Birthday Breakfast - 1-15-09

Dianne's Birthday Breakfast - 1-15-09

Friends:

Today was my birthday and it was a fabulous day! I woke up to a breakfast of banana bread (with a candle), turkey bacon, yogurt, apple juice, two dozen red roses & gifts! Eliana, my 8 year old, gave me an exercise mat, which she knew I wanted. My husband, Antonio, surprised me with bath and body products as well as a gorgeous sparkly piece of jewelry. Thank you, Eliana & Antonio! I love you! Then it was time to head to Strehle Elementary for my Tangram Tales Arts Education Residency.

I began my day in 5th grade in Ms. Walker’s class. Once again, the class was quiet and prepared when I walked in. As rehearsals progressed, they became a little unfocused and chatty. We did, however, manage to run through the whole script, which made me very happy.

5th graders assemble tiger and Brahman for rehearsal of "The Tiger, the Brahman & The Jackal" - 1-15-09

5th graders assemble tiger and Brahman for rehearsal of "The Tiger, the Brahman & The Jackal" - 1-15-09

The students all wished me a Happy Birthday and one of the students even made me a birthday greeting! Thank you, sweet Rachel!

5th Grader Rachel makes Dianne a birthday greeting - 1-15-09

5th Grader Rachel makes Dianne a birthday greeting - 1-15-09

From Ms. Walker’s class, I went into Ms. Barry’s 5th grade class. They worked quickly, creating fun raps with beats for their story choruses in the tale, “It could always be worse.” I loved watching the story come together. I can’t wait to see them on performance day.

Third period saw me in Ms. Landry’s 3rd grade class. The class was a bit rambunctious but they enjoyed their story of “The Three Billy Goats Gruff.” Here I am, with Ms. Landry, who pinned a ribbon on me that said, “It’s my Birthday!”

Dianne takes a picture with cool Ms. Landry, 3rd grade teacher

Dianne takes a picture with cool Ms. Landry, 3rd grade teacher - 1-15-09

Here is a picture of one of Ms. Landry’s students who was a Tangram artist, forming the man in the boat in “The Three Billy Goat’s Gruff.”

3rd grader assembles man in boat Tangram for rehearsal of "The Three Billy Goats Gruff" - 1-15-09

3rd grader assembles man in boat Tangram for rehearsal of "The Three Billy Goats Gruff" - 1-15-09

After being given a “Happy Birthday” serenade, I headed to the teachers’ lounge for a long lunch (a scheduling mix-up gave me a free period – lucky me!). Was I surprised!

Happy Birthday Dianne! - 1-15-09

Happy Birthday Dianne! - 1-15-09

One of the teachers, awesome Carla Short from 1st grade, organized a birthday celebration with a big sign and a king cake. Betty Brodt, the librarian, gave me a pot of gorgeous tulips. It was all so sweet! Strehle Elementary, you have a special place in my heart! I <3 U!

Carla Short gives Dianne a birthday king cake - 1-15-09

Carla Short gives Dianne a birthday king cake - 1-15-09

After lunch, I went to Ms. Quaintance’s 2nd grade class. They really enjoyed the story of “Tiger’s Tale, Anansi’s Stories,” enthusiastically joining in the chorus and guessing the Tangrams in the story.

Dianne made tiger lying down Tangram for Ms. Quaintance's 2nd grade class - 1-15-09

Dianne made tiger lying down Tangram for Ms. Quaintance's 2nd grade class - 1-15-09

They sang me a rousing rendition of “Happy Birthday” before I left the class. It was off to Ms. Till’s 3rd grade class. When I arrived, they were ready, story scripts on their desks. Ms. Till said that I was now part of their “family” and they had to pin my picture on their family bulletin board. I was so touched. We went into rehearsing their story “The Cat and the Rooster.” The class is full of creative students who really embellished the story choruses with fun rap rhythms. They were, however, a bit boisterous at times, requiring several admonishments from both me and Ms. Till. Still, I love their enthusiasm and think that their story could be one of the best stories presented if the students focused their energies.

3rd graders from Ms. Till's class work as a team to create fox Tangrams for "The Cat and the Rooster"

3rd graders from Ms. Till's class work as a team to create fox Tangrams for "The Cat and the Rooster" - 1-15-09

I finished my day in Ms. Runge’s Pre-K class. When I arrived, they were all napping. It took some time to get them up and coherent but once I progressed into the story, they really enjoyed it and participated.

Dianne tells an Anansi story to Ms. Runge's PK class - 1-15-09

Dianne tells an Anansi story to Ms. Runge's PK class - 1-15-09

Ms. Runge gave me a birthday present and let me leave a few minutes early. This was great because it allowed me to beat the buses and cars during dismissal. Thank you, Ms. Runge!

I had such a wonderful, special birthday at Strehle but it didn’t end their. Later that evening, my mom cooked me a special birthday dinner. My whole family was there. Here I am with Eliana and two birthday cakes!

Dianne & Eliana in front of 2 cakes - King Cake & Triple Berry Cream Cake. Yum! - 1-15-09

Dianne & Eliana in front of 2 cakes - King Cake & Triple Berry Cream Cake. Yum! - 1-15-09

Friends also sent me birthday packages (Thank you Fe & Lanie!) and I received over 100 birthday greetings in the form of cards, e-cards, emails, and FaceBook messages. Thank you to all my friends! Thank you to the teachers, staff and students at Strehle Elementary. Lastly, thank you to Antonio, Eliana, my mom, and the rest of my family. Everyone made this a very special, memorable birthday. I love you!

Until next time…

Warmly, Dianne