Today a group of special needs students from one of the local elementary schools came over for a story program. I don't get to do a lot of the school visits and outreach programs because of when I work. Because we have our drop-in story times on Wednesday and Thursday, we schedule our outreach on Monday and Tuesday. But... I work Monday and Tuesday night, so I'm not here in the morning to do outreach! Sometimes, depending on staffing levels, we can do a Friday morning program, which is what happened today. YAY!
With special needs groups, we try to find out as much information as possible about the class and what their abilities are. We knew this group was at about a K-1st grade level, all were mobile, some were verbal, and they liked singing songs with motions and clapping. I was ready with a range of stories and rhymes and songs so I could tailor the program as I went.
They specifically requested stories about African American History.
Where is Thumbkin
Virgie Goes to School with Us Boys by Elizabeth Fitzgerald Howard, illustrated by E. B. Lewis
This one is a long and I did it first because (a) always start with your longest books and (b) to do a gauge of what their attention span was going to be like. It didn't go over too well. I really like it though. It's about a young girl who demands to go to the new school with her brothers, shortly after the Civil War. She proves she's up to the task of the seven-mile hike to get there.
Hickory Dickory Dock
Five Little Monkeys Swinging from a Tree
There are both rhymes that I do rather dramatically, with lots of actions and clapping. They LOVED them.
Rap a Tap Tap: Here's Bojangles - Think of That! written and illustrated by Leo and Diane Dillon
A great rhyming and repetitive text about Bojangles-- the world's greatest tap dancer. I introduced the story telling them a bit about Bill 'Bojangles' Robinson, which I got from the back matter.
Shake My Sillies Out written and performed by Raffi
To get them settled, I kinda made something up as I went along
We stretch up to the sky
We stretch down to the ground
We stretch to the left
We stretch to the right
We reach up high
And fold our hands
And sit back down
Quiet quiet quiet as mice.
Then, I got myself in trouble
"Are you guys ready to hear another story?"
"No?! What do you want to do instead?"
Dave the Potter: Artist, Poet, Slave written by Laban Carrick Hill, illustrated by Bryan Collier
I introduced this book by telling them that it was true, Dave the Potter was a real person and that the American History Museum downtown had one of his pots. If you haven't read this book about a slave who wrote little poems in his pots, you really should. Great story, great text, great illustrations.
The back matter has photographs of his work, which I also showed them. The teachers were most interested and I think there's a now a field trip in the works. (I did warn them that I'm unsure if the pot is actually on display and they might want to check with the Smithsonian first!)
5 Green and Speckled Frogs
I wish I had thought ahead about this one and grabbed my flannel board set! Ah well.
We March written and illustrated by Shane Evans
Did you guys just love Underground? You'll like We March. Same illustration style (but a lot more light!) same sparse writing style. This one is about the 1963 March on Washington. I introduced it to them by saying a bit about the march and how it took place right downtown and to keep a look out for places they'd recognize in the pictures, like the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial.
Comin' Round the Mountain
I sang most of the first verse as "She'll be comin' round the railroad as she comes!" before I realized why it sounded weird. Ah well. We all had a good laugh and started again.