Friday, January 29, 2010

Winter Wallop

Hello, Everyone. It has been a long time since I have written. I have been busy on the road since Jan. 13. Now here it is Jan. 29 and I am ensconced warmly in the Rice household in Tulsa, OK, watching out of the breakfast nook window as the "Winter Wallop" (consisting of ice, sleet and snow) takes place in front of my eyes.

Yesterday I had my 5th performance at Jenks East Intermediate. The day before I conducted my first Professional Development at the school. Both went great. However, yesterday was a particular high for me because of the connection made with some of the special needs students. Last year I had learned through some inadvertent events that when I met special needs students before the program they were able to be a part of my program longer, be participatory and I had the mindset to include them more, purposefully. So, I had requested this to happen yesterday. It was marvelous! I met the students and their paraprofessionals. We learned courtesies, introduced ourselves, talked about clothing and then sat up front.

I watched how God led me to think and include these students throughout the program. I usually call one student forward to help me with an activity and I called one young man, who is nonverbal. This activity usually requires the verbal, but I led the verbal part and held the item. (Great smile on his face.) During the Q&A portion of the program - OH, I was doing my Ol' Bess HIstoric Character Presentation - 2 of the students also asked questions. Afterwards, one student came to me and informed me that I did not answer the question she was asking and we talked again and I listened better, and I answered the right question. :) Also, another student had a picture with me and signed to me "thank you." I will tell you, I fairly floated throughout the day. It was my learning moment - how can I make sure all students are included, and encourage them, and make their experience as they participate positive for themselves and for other students. I will add this to my "talk" (which I haven't developed yet) about presenting to students (for professionals).

Also, had an opportunity to present in Christa Rice's classroom (amazing teacher, who works with amazing teachers - thank you all at JEI), while a parent was present. The parent, part of the PTAG, was so engaged she actively asked her own questions!! It was fun to teach to students again as well.

Thanks again, JEI, for a great day. Oh, I spent time sharing my pictures with Christa and Syd Rice last night and think I might have a title for CD - "Hands Wide Open" (Hands Wide Open: Written-from-the-Heart Stories of Ms. Sheila). I'm still working on it. Love ya'll.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Happy New Year! 2010

Hello, Everyone. Happy New Year. I had a wonderful holiday season and am thrilled to see another year and, as the old folks would say, "I'm still in my right mind. :)

I had a great time yesterday in Williamsburg. First, I told stories at Mauna Community Church, a Korean Methodist Church, in Williamsburg. I had friends, Young and Claudia Kim, who I had not intersected with for almost 3 years, invite me to their new church. When I arrived I saw Lydia, their daughter, and their nephew, Samuel. It was great to see them again. I told 3 stories: "Toad is Called Uncle", Vietnamese folktale; "Anansi and the Quail", African folktale; and, a 21st century version of "The Good Samaritan" (Biblical parable). The stories were well-received by the kids (and the parents who stayed).

What was neat to see how each of the folktales had a biblical lesson or insight as well. In "Toad" I was able to compare THE king of heaven (God) to the story's "king of heaven" - God cares about us and we never have to worry about him not wanting to hear our requests and it doesn't take so long to talk to him - all opposites of the story's "king of heaven." And the kids got that point. In "Anansi" we talked about controlling our anger, how to deal with people when we are angry, and learning to love people even when they are working hard to trick you. I also shared with the kids about my mission trips to Vietnam and Malawi. (In prayer to go back to Malawi this July.)

Then I met with Darci and we reveiwed items for this weekend, and she told her story. It's interesting that as I'm learning from my Producer (Thanks, Buck) about my stories, he is right that I hear others' stories so differently. I know Darci will do great and I can see the differences in the way I hear and give feedback with stories. Well, the day needs to continue. Have a great week everyone. Peace and belief,