Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Nursery Rhymes for Learning Times Part I

This month I was part of program:  “Heart and Soul for Reading” that is being done at 3 schools in Porstmouth, VA, who were having low scores on reading comprehension on the 3rd grade benchmark tests.  I presented my program, “Ole Skool Classics” Storytelling, which focuses on older, classical stories without the Disney twist, along with nursery rhymes and other poetry, and encourages kids to want to read old stories, and create their new versions.  One of the poems I did was “Old Mother Hubbard”.  Who woulda thunk that poem would have so much to offer?  I decided to invite 2 boys and 2 girls to come and act out the things the “dog” does at the end of the verses, and I, along with the 3rd graders, learned a lot about words along the way.  I thought you’d enjoy a time with me and the 3rd graders at Douglass Park Elementary, as we explored this poem.

Old Mother Hubbard went to the cupboard,
To give the poor dog a bone;
When she came there, The cupboard was

      [I asked them to complete the sentence.  Their answers:  “full of dog bones”, “closed”.  Finally, “empty”.  Yes, and another word for that is…]
And so the poor dog had none.

 She went to the baker's to buy him some bread;
When she came back the dog was dead!
      [The children loved playing a death scene]
She went to the undertaker's
     [Q from me:  What’s an undertaker?  Every hand goes up and their answer, emphatically and with smiles of knowing:  A Wrestler with WWE.  Teachers laugh.  I chuckle and then absolutely agree with them and ask:  Why is he called the undertaker?  Answers:  Uh, because he’s big.  My Answer:  Undertaker is a funeral director, he buries people.  They call him the undertaker because……and they all scream out:  He buries people!  They are super excited and one kid remarks, “I’m gonna tell my brother.”]

To buy him a coffin;
When she came back the dog was laughing.

She took a clean dish to get him some tripe;

      [Yeah, that’s some food, you can still get it in the store, I don’t like it.]
When she came back he was smoking his pipe.
      [This was going to interesting territory.  The kids acted like they were smoking cigarettes and I had to tell them no.  Then Teachers and I tried to explain pipe.  One kid said yeah, I know a pipe and started to talk about the pipe used with drugs…..uh, moving on to the next verse.]

She went to the alehouse to get him some beer
     [lots of laughter  they are 3rd graders];
When she came back the dog sat in a chair.

She went to the tavern for white wine and red;
When she came back the dog stood on his head.
     [no child stood on their head; but we all had fun imaging it]

She went to the fruiterer's to buy him some fruit;
When she came back he was playing the flute.
     [Each child held the flute like a trumpet or trombone.  I showed them how a flute was played, and EVERY STUDENT played a flute.  It was a wonderful sight.]

 Afterwards the kids were talking about all the new words and new interpretations of words they had.  They particularly were pleased by “undertaker” and “flute”  Who knows what they’ll tell their parents, but for right now, they are excited about learning.  Gotta love nursery rhymes and how much learning there is to done through them.

See Part II next week

1 comment:

  1. Elaborate on the pipe part please...I'm still trying to get a handle on that visual! Wow, what a wonderful new take on the old. The performing artist in you always amazes me.