Sunday, January 15, 2017

Pablo Neruda: Poet of the People - Monica Brown

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Today's Creativity Workshop started with Pablo Neruda: Poet of the People.

I absolutely adore the illustrations in this evocative book about the power of words. After we read it we discussed similarities between Pablo Neruda and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. One girl said, "They both had people out to get them," meaning that both men had powerful messages and they were attacked for what they had to say. She explained to me that both men thought things that weren't like how the other people thought. Very true.

Pablo Neruda: Poet of the People

by Monica Brown

The whole group (my students + my daughters) worked together to write partner poems using magical realism... a popular activity this week! Here are some of the poetic images and questions which have come out of this work:

    Is lightning the lemons of God?
    Does the moon drink milk?
    Do flowers like writing poems?
    Can cardboard dance?
    Do cards play Uno?
    Do lotion ever eat?
    Do washers ever swim?
    When do eggs kill?
    When do grapes rip cardboard?
    Are the clouds mist from God's bath?
    When do bananas perform surgery?
    When do rubber bands faint?

    Can a chalkboard talk?
    Can a paper talk?
    Can pictures talk?
    Can cereal play?
    Do leaves have friends?
    Do trees want to be short?
    Are scarves ever cold?
    Can pens dance?
    Do clock hands ever feel embarrassed?

    Do chairs ever rest?
    When do thimbles sing?
    When you put on a headband are you thunder?
    Do books read?
    When does paint live?
    Can a pencil fly?
    Do leaves jump?
    Can sound color?
    Do pumpkins ever count?
    Can type leap?
    When do polka dots swim?
    How do roses break?
    Why can the stars fly?

    Do tulips turn somersaults?
    Does grass want to be green?
    Do clothespins like blueberries?
    Does a paperclip think it's chocolate pudding?
    Do you like apples?
    Apple, do you like me?
    Can a pile talk?
    Do socks ever get hot?
    Where would the button like to go?

    Can water talk?
    Do shoes have a purpose besides footwear?
    Can thunder whisper?
    Do couches like to be sat on?
    Where do the stars sleep?
    When do balls of yarn look like camels?
    What is in between A and B?
    Can A sing to me?

    Does yogurt like to swim?
    How do toadstools run?
    Can a clock talk?
    Can glue talk?
    Do dogs eat bananas?
    Can light eat?
    Do shorts want to be pants?
    Does hair like being long?

    Can a tree talk?
    Do books talk?
    Can water drink?
    Are the stars from yesterday the same as today?
    Does light get tired of shining?
    Do waterfalls want to stop running?
    Can hearts sing?
    Do feathers like to write?
    Can a banana speak to me?
    Can my future self speak to me?

These are all in the brainstorm/rough draft stage of the writing process. But I love how they all dove in and tried it! They sat in a circle and wrote two lines and then passed the clipboards on to the next person. It was lovely to watch. I am really drawn to some of these images and think they're worth taking to the "polish and publish" stage!

We made gluten-free dairy-free brownies next. Then Cosmic Suncatchers. I love projects which don't cost anything. This is a great use for the lids on all those containers of Noosa yogurt you keep eating (okay, maybe that's just me). Pour Elmer's glue into the lid (buy the big refill-size jug of glue), add just a few drops of food coloring in different colors, swirl with a toothpick (bearing in mind that the colors will keep spreading), and set on a LEVEL surface to dry for several days. Then peel out of the lid, punch a hole using a hole puncher, thread a piece of string through, and hang in a sunny spot!

Next up... the Incredible Edible Sludge which is still going strong (just store in fridge and add more water as needed). This is super sticky and sludgy and gross but so super easy to live with as a sensory play activity. Actually the gelatin in this makes it form stable shapes, so you can pick it up off the newspaper in a flash since the clumps stick together. It doesn't smear clammily into the newspaper and soak in. And it rinses off hands extremely quickly. Assuming you have chia seeds, it's not too expensive to make. Just remember that it has to chill overnight. Then spread out some newspaper first and get out some large mixing bowls to hold the sludge as they play.

After washing edible sludge off hands, they went outside to run around.

Once the brownies came out of the oven and cooled a bit, the whole pack of girls came back in for brownies. I asked them to choose an educational board game and they begged for our Early Humans Hunter & Gatherers simulation game again. After two rounds of that, we started on the templates for the Ark for tomorrow's play. The templates are on 1/4 inch graph paper and we enlarged them square by square onto 1 inch graph paper (we have a large pad of paper of this... you need pieces that are at least 36 inches or tape several sheets together). This was a great math lesson secretly tucked into a hands-on artistic activity!

Then we cut the paper patterns out. Next we will need to trace the cutouts onto the corrugated cardboard and cut those pieces out. One of my students took the curvy paper leftover from cutting out the waves, and colored and taped those scrap pieces into crowns for her little stuffed animals.

After my Creativity Workshop kids were picked up by their mom, Becca was then quarantined in her sisters' bedroom with the Ark template and supplies, tracing and cutting while they spent an hour decorating for her party!

Simple Family Birthday Party: We all put on our jammies. The older sisters (age 13 and 14) decorated the chalkboard with a birthday message for Becca, made a display of presents, set up the birthday ring with ornaments and candles, covered the living room and dining room with blankets (including slipcovering the dining room chairs with pillowcases) and pillows, put all the sleeping bags out on the foor, and set out hair products for a hairdo station. They set out her two stuffed animals and made a throne out of the rocking chair, with a pillow at her feet.

We also had a platter of snacks on the table, since my Granddaddy saves all the little pre-packaged snacks from his retirement home meals and sends us a box full every once in a while. So sweet!

She was thrilled with the Sleepover Theme! Happy 12th Birthday, Becca!

  • board games (birthday girl's choice)
  • snacks
  • playing with Zac
  • laying around on sleeping bags
  • pillow fight
  • hair salon - style
  • snacks
  • hair salon - shampoo
  • make dinner (roasted chicken thighs, mac 'n' cheese)

  • help Becca trace the Ark patterns
  • eat dinner (special angel plate for the birthday girl)
  • hair salon - re-style
  • make birthday dessert (tapioca pudding from scratch)
  • work on painting and assembling the Ark pieces
  • eat dessert
  • light candles and sing
  • open birthday presents
  • sleepover on the living room floor!
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