Saturday, October 30, 2010

Opposites: Freeze & Jump




Get those funny faces ready. We're ready to see what-you've-got, in the funny face race. Always a crowd pleaser. Always a good way to get the crowd up & moving..... in preparation for some focused sitting to follow. In my experience, it's the balance of movement and then focused sitting that make for a good performance. In a crowd this size, I am certain to pick several team captains to lead the fun. It's easy to put the classroom teachers on the spot to make the selection process fast & easy. I ask each classroom teacher to choose one boy & one girl to join me on stage. Voila. We're ready to jump.
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Diva Mic & Speaker System!




Back to Ohio. It's always fun to get a 'return' invitation. The last time I was at Beavercreek it was in the midst of a monsoon of a downpour of rain, the kind that makes an impression. This time my visit was during a wind-warning advisory, the kind that can blow a small dog down the block. A lot has happened since my last visit. For one thing I have a blog!! For another I am now the author of THREE picture books. It's awesome to arrive and be led back to the gym that is wired for sound AND has a DIVA mic!! The kind that seamlessly wraps around your ear and allows the last child in the last row to hear me whisper from the stage. I just LOVE that type of setting. It's fun to return to friends.

Next, Marcia-the-director, tells me about all the times they've used my first book, "You're Wonderful" in the interim of my visits. What a joy to hear that it has become their standard performance number for their annual kindergarten graduation -- complete with sign language. Seriously a joy to have this year's kindergarten class sing it with strength and commitment.

First though we fill the gym with enthusiastic kindergartners and some eager PreK kiddos and turn on our imaginations for a "Lion Prowl." Having that sort of microphone allows for all sort of antics from the stage, engaging the children is as easy as breathing.
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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Farewell thee Northern Door




Of the several hundred shots of golden glimmering trees against the pines, all amidst the crystal clear blue skies and numerous bright pumpkins making smiles because of their wise choice of orange...... I choose these few images to say a fond good-by to Door County. Our first, all-to-brief fall hiatus was breath-taking in it's perfection. Graced this year with perfect days, it was so hard to drive away. Other opportunities present themselves and already we begin the anticipation of next season with all the wealth and treasure that beckon on such an amazing peninsula.

[It only took me approximately 16 years to make it to "The Clearing." Now that I know the treasured hollows I will be back...... Maybe one day I could take a week's class. Maybe ONE day I could teach a week's class!!]

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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Costumes Galore!!



You know you've walked into a special program when the goldfish are as big as the children. This brilliant teacher takes the koi from her summer pond and brings them into the classroom (yes, in a MIGHTY big tank.) We posed that little gremlin face so that you could see that I wasn't exaggerating. Goldie the goldfish is a whopper!! Welcome to Ephraim's Peninsula Preschool, hosted by Leslie Leline and lots of princess-people, some ninjas and a stray Spider Man. I got to be the special guest for the day. Just because!! They were tickled to see me in my "Tall Giraffe" costume and then spiffie-changeo I turned into a fierce lion and took them on a "Lion Prowl." Thanks, Mrs. L for opening the door to all sorts of fun & imaginations running wild.
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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Fall Fest: Sister Bay




What started 65 years ago as a celebration for the conclusion of the summer season, a time for the seasonal workers to declare "all-done-till-next year" and exhale, has turned into THE place to be!! The only place to be!! This was our very first fall fest. The weather was beyond perfect. It was glorious: a sweatshirt or a sweater and you were good to go. It's MEGA huge, truly the grand-daddy of 'em all. That doesn't even begin to describe the fun! Three days of craft fairs, a mongo-parade with marching bands & fire trucks & real floats and Miss WI riding a convertible, and brats riding bikes (actually) & bagpipes & clowns, were then followed by pancakes, brats (the kind you actually eat), a corn roast, Greek gyros, chicken pot pie soup, spaghetti & meat balls on a stick (just how does that work?) traditional carmel corn and roasted almonds, 600 pumpkin pies sliced & served in a cup, pumpkin soup, pumpkin ice cream and beer served in every possible conveyance...... everything you can think to eat, you name it: FUN! They close down the highway. You gotta seriously wanna come, 'cuz there's no road to get there. Tens of thousands figured it out and we had a cat-bird seat, one block from all of the rock bands & polka bands & jazz bands & garage bands & & & old-time wanna be bands and inflatable castles & bungee jumping & antique cars................ well maybe you get a glimmer.

The three days of small village jocularity & personalized hats, concluded with a variation on the tradition ping-pong ball drop. For decades a helicopter buzzed over head and dropped thousands of ping-pong balls. After years of happy ping-pong nonsense, some well-meaning 'local' turned the village into the FAA for wayward ping-ponging. So for the last couple of years, the three days have had to conclude with a make-shift alternative: an open air rescue truck driving slowly thru the throngs with several air-launched vacuum tubes, launching continuous streams of ping-pong balls. The truly trained had blankets, or buckets or boxes to scoop up oodles of the little white orbs. Some earned the finder a free t-shirt, others got a meal, some got discount spending...... You haven't really seen a small town festival, until you've seen the scrambling over ping-pong balls. Wow. Postcard picture to be sure.

My favorite image of the whole weekend was the pack of Cub Scouts leading the parade, with the banner prompt to stand tall, respect the flags and appreciate what can blossom in a small village with goats on the roof. So glad to get to be there for the festivities!!

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Sunday, October 24, 2010

Top to Bottom March





Crowd pleasers are just that, they please the crowd.
Getting teachers up and marching: big smiles.
"Crayon to the sky, start out way out high........
Letters start up at the top, at the top."

My favorite song from my first Zaner-Bloser commission
is ALWAYS a winning ticket,
with teachers and kiddos alike.

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Elgin Library: Teachers




What fun I have traveling, seeing outstanding programs as I gad about here & there. Superlative in every way were all the stops on my windy-city, 2010 Chicago-land Tour. Rounding out all the excellence was the response at the Elgin Public Library, who threw open the doors to their early childhood patrons for an evening of music, movement & motivation!! Primarily preschool in attendance, I was tickled to have several kindergarten teachers in our midst, joining in on our fun.
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Saturday, October 23, 2010

TA-Daaaaaaaaaaaaa


The big ending. Every afternoon deserves a big ending. Documentation. Brilliant Brenda. Bubbling till the final snap!! What an awesome visit. What an awesome reception. What an amazing program. What fun. Big ending indeed!!!!!
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Afternoon: More Fun!!




What is it about me that absolutely adores asking young children to close their eyes, cover them up.......... here comes the next surprise? I honestly LOVE watching them with their covered/closed eyes. Makes me giggle every time, imagining what they are imagining will happen next. Of course, usually, I, too, am wondering what comes next -- but that's a whole different post, now isn't it?
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Friday, October 22, 2010

Expressive Faces




Singing songs. Waving flags. Smiling smiles. What a great morning of fun together. Preschool at it's finest!! It is my extreme joy and profound professional pleasure to sing across the country with enthusiastic children taught by amazing teachers in awesome settings. Small Miracles, indeed! Delight. Contagious laughter. Giggles. There's something about a whole room full of energy that puts the zip in my doo dah day, right from the start.
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Chicago Book Premiere





At the end of the summer I presented at Concordia University's annual summer teacher's conference.
There in my workshop I met the staff from "Small Miracles".
They were already fans in my extended fan-club.
We had a big hug-mania-hug-fest.
There was a lot of jumping up & down.
They were so excited about the up coming release of
"Red, White and Blue" in picture book format,
because their children had performed that very song, at their concluding spring song-fest just months earlier.

Then I had the brilliant idea to tell them about my then, upcoming Chicago tour.
One thing led to another.
We got all the details orchestrated thru a series of emails.
Here's the opening series of pictures from our visit together.
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