Bissonet Plaza Elementary Louisiana Story Fest Residency – Monday, February 9, 2009


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Telling stories to Ms. Ragusa's First Graders

Telling stories to Ms. Ragusa's First Graders 2-9-09

Friends:

Today was my first day of my Louisiana Story Fest Residency at Bissonet Plaza Elementary School. I have been doing an artist residency at this school for 7 years now. They are one of my favorite schools. For this residency, I am sharing Louisiana culture through its folk stories. For grades PK through 2, I tell a Louisiana tale and then we explore Louisiana music through movement, dance, and colorful scarves. It’s so much fun.

First graders explore Zydeco music with movement and scarves 2-9-09

First graders explore Zydeco music with movement and scarves 2-9-09

My day began in Ms. Ragusa’s first grade class. They were a delightful and enthusiastic group of students. I told my story of The Cajun Cornbread Boy and they loved it. Then we explored Louisiana’s Zydeco and Cajun music through movement, dance and scarves.

Ms. Ragusa's first graders dancing Zydeco 2-9-09

Ms. Ragusa's first graders dancing Zydeco 2-9-09

Then it was off to Ms. Presser’s second grade class. What a phenomenal group of well-behaved students. They had a blast participating in the telling of The Cajun Cornbread Boy. We even had a lesson comparing Cornbread Boy to the Gingerbread Man.

A Cajun Cornbread Boy lesson with Ms. Presser's bright second grade students 2-9-09

A Cajun Cornbread Boy lesson with Ms. Presser's bright second grade students 2-9-09

They loved doing my drama activity, role-playing with scarves and dancing Zydeco. Ms. Presser is the kind of teacher I would have loved – her passion is displayed in the classroom and in her students.

Ms. Presser's second graders dance Zydeco 2-9-09

Ms. Presser's second graders dance Zydeco 2-9-09

After second grade, it was downstairs to see Ms. Johnson’s kindergarten class. We had fun with The Cajun Cornbread Boy, singing the refrain, “Run, cher, run as fast as you can! You can’t catch me – I’m full of cayenne!” Even Ms. Johnson was joining in! The children had a blast with the scarves.

Ms. Johnson's Kindergarteners dance with scarves to Zydeco 2-9-09

Ms. Johnson's Kindergarteners dance with scarves to Zydeco 2-9-09

My last class before lunch was Ms. Frechette’s third grade class. I normally don’t tell stories to the upper grades but Ms. Frechette is special and her class is so well-behaved so I told The Cajun Cornbread Boy to them. Ms. Frechette was kind enough to lend me her microphone, which made my job so much easier! Thank you, Ms. Frechette! The students loved the story. Then we did our scarf role playing activity.

Third grade mother comforting the daughter, the bride who has been jilted 2-9-09

Third grade mother comforting the daughter, the bride who has been jilted 2-9-09

Here I am with one of Ms. Frechette’s fabulous third graders. One of her students told me, “Ms. Dianne, you made my year!” How’s that for a warm fuzzy?! 🙂

Ms. Dianne with a third grader playing a bride 2-9-09

Ms. Dianne with a third grader playing a bride 2-9-09

After lunch, I headed upstairs to Ms. Morales’ 4th grade class. What a blast! I just love Ms. Morales. She is so much fun and her students were awesome! I showed them The Cajun Cornbread Boy book and they were amazed that I wrote it. 🙂 Ms. Morales was excited about exploring Louisiana culture through its folk stories. Their story was “Jean Sotte (Foolish John).” First, we did our role-play exercise with the scarves.Even Ms. Morales got into the action, playing a high society woman walking her dog in Central Park.

4th grade teacher Ms. Morales walks her dog 2-9-09

4th grade teacher Ms. Morales walks her dog 2-9-09

Afterwards, I assigned roles for the parts in our story theater script, which they will perform in a couple of weeks, as a class.

My last class of the day was Mr. Joyce’s 5th grade class. These 5th graders were quite a challenge because they were so chatty. They had a difficult time following instructions because they simply didn’t listen. Once we moved into the drama activity, they had fun but they still had a hard time focusing because they socialize so much.

Mr. Joyce's 5th graders play a mother comforting her daughter, the jilted bride 2-9-09

Mr. Joyce's 5th graders play a mother comforting her daughter, the jilted bride 2-9-09

We didn’t even have time to assign roles for their story. All in all, it was a wonderful day. Bissonet Plaza has a special place in my heart. Thank you, Ellen Miller (librarian), for always bringing me back!

Until next time…

Warmly, Dianne