Tangram Tales Residency @ Strehle Elementary – Day 8 – Friday, January 23, 2009


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Ms. Jones' Kindergarten class listens intently to Ms. Dianne - 1-23-09

Ms. Jones' Kindergarten class listens intently to Ms. Dianne - 1-23-09

Friends:

Friday was a rough day at school mostly because I was working through a very hoarse voice. My cold turned into bronchitis and the drip caused terrible laryngitis. Talking to 7 classes a day doesn’t help recovery either. Still, I had fantastic classes who really understood and cooperated. My first two classes were spent in Kindergarten. They were marvelous. I sipped my herbal tea throughout my visits, which seemed to give my voice some momentum. Ms. Jones’ kindergarten class was exceptionally wonderful.

Kindergarteners in Ms. Jones' class creates bunny Tangram - 1-23-09

Kindergarteners in Ms. Jones' class creates bunny Tangram - 1-23-09

After kindergarten, I headed to Ms. Giroir’s pre-K class. The kids loved my story and I made it through the storytelling, allowing the students to help me carry the story. One of the students yelled out, “Ms. Dianne is a good visitor!” So cute. They worked very well with the Tangrams, including the special ed students that joined us. With guidance from the teachers, the students did great work with the Tangrams. A couple had such good spacial reasoning that they were able to form some of the Tangrams on their own, remarkable for Pre-K.

PK student in Ms. Giroir's class creates candle Tangram - 1-23-09

PK student in Ms. Giroir's class creates candle Tangram - 1-23-09

It was on to Ms. Guidry’s third grade class. What a delightful group of students. We had so much fun creating the story chorus. Ms. Guidry is such a fantastic involved teacher. She chimed right in, leading the chorus. I cannot wait until this class performs. They were so awesome that we finished early and I had time to tell “The Ghost of Mabel Gable,” one of my most popular spooky stories with rip-roaring humor at the end.

Storyteller and Tangram Artist work together in rehearsal of "Tiger's Tale, Anansi's Stories" - 1-23-09

Storyteller and Tangram Artist in Ms. Guidry's 3rd grade class work together in rehearsal of "Tiger's Tale, Anansi's Stories" - 1-23-09

After lunch, I went to Ms. Avist’s first grade class. On my way there, a second grade student from Ms. Dorsey’s class, Justin, gave me a gift – an orange from his grandfather’s backyard. Strehle really has some delightful students. Ms. Avist’s class is a sweet bunch of students who really enjoyed my telling of “Tiger’s Tale, Anansi’s Stories.” They worked intently on their Tangrams, eager to share their creations with me.

First grader in Ms. Avist's class creates house Tangram - 1-23-09

First grader in Ms. Avist's class creates house Tangram - 1-23-09

This class made me a pile of love notes – like I said they are a sweet bunch of students! Thank you, Ms. Avist’s class!

Piles of love notes from Ms. Avist's first graders - 1-23-09

Piles of love notes from Ms. Avist's first graders - 1-23-09

From first grade, I moved into Ms. Dorsey’s second grade class. I tell you, these students are fabulous. They cheer when I walk into the class. Of couse, Ms. Dorsey has a lot to do with it! She is such an enthusiastic teacher who shares my stories with the class all the time. They are such big fans. The class loved the story of “Tiger’s Tale, Anansi’s Stories” and invented some creative Tangrams. One of the students, a Hispanic boy named Axell, sang my story chorus in Spanish as I sang in English. It was so awesome. Then, another Vietnamese student sang the chorus in his native tongue. Soon it was a multi-lingual story and song fest. What an absolute delight! They inspired a book idea… Thank you, Ms. Dorsey’s class!

Ms. Dorsey's multi-lingual second grade class poses with Ms. Dianne - Thank you for your songs! 1-23-09

Ms. Dorsey's multi-lingual second grade class poses with Ms. Dianne - Thank you for your songs! 1-23-09

My final class of the day was Ms. Johnson’s 4th grade class. Unfortunately, this class did not go so well. Ms. Johnson forgot that I was coming to her class and had the kids lined up to play outside. The students had their balls in hand and their jackets on as I walked into the classroom. When they found out that they had to rehearse instead of play, they were like a buzzing, bouncing hornet’s nest. They were agitated and would not focus. Between Ms. Johnson, the Special Ed teacher and me – we could not get the class to settle down. I tried to talk to them and work with them but they just did not want to cooperate. Ms. Johnson was upset with the class and severely admonished them for behaving in this manner in front of a guest. Unfortunately, she suspended them from performing in the Tangram Tales Story Fest on Tuesday. I hope she reconsiders and that her class is able to perform. It was my final visit with the class and they will not have the opportunity to work with me again before Tuesday’s performance day.

Fourth Grader in Ms. Johnson's class creates horse Tangram - 1-23-09

Fourth Grader in Ms. Johnson's class creates horse Tangram - 1-23-09

It was hard to end the day on a less than stellar note, especially since the rest of my day had been spectacular despite my health issues. By the end of the day, I was whooped and ready to go home and relax.

Then another disaster struck. My car would not start. Fortunately, another teacher, Ms. Giroior, who was parked next to me, stayed late and was able to give me a jump. I made it home where my car died in the drive way. The good news is that it was a faulty connection to the battery causing my battery to drain. The battery is still good and my car is now in working order.

Update on my health: On Saturday, I woke up with absolutely no voice and terrible asthma. I went to the doctor (Urgent Care). I received 2 shots – antibiotics and steroids. I had a dangerous asthma flare-up that caused me difficulty breathing. I knew I needed medical attention. The doctor prescribed me antiobiotics, a steroid dose pack, and asthma meds. My voice is slowly returning but still weak and hoarse. My breathing is much better. I hope to continue to get better as I leave for New York City on Wednesday!

Gotta get to bed now!

Until next time…

Warmly, Dianne