Monday, February 27, 2017

Alice in Wonderland : Poetry teatime

You can do a poetry tea time ANY way you want!  You could do a picnic poetry time, or go to starbucks, or not have tea but have some other favorite snacks instead.

Today I chose to go with an Alice in Wonderland theme because my 5 year old happens to be really interested in all things Alice in Wonderland.  She wanted me to read her the book and we have watched many movie versions of it as well.

When coming up with ideas I go with the ones that will be the easiest (in my opinion) and that will have the biggest impact.  So, the "eat me" and "Drink me" and letting them come up with a costume if they wanted was basically the full plan, but a I will talk about a few other details as well for people to see how this rolls out in real life.

I made a quick cream cheese frosting to go on the brownies for the "Eat me" cakes (if we didn't have to be gluten free I probably would buy this sort of thing and go with that.) There was left over frosting so each girl got her own color in a plastic bag for a frosting pastry bag of sorts to draw on her pancakes!  The pancakes served as the "mushrooms" in the story.

The "drink me" was lemonade.  We had tea as well and I read some poems from the Alice in Wonderland book while they ate their pancakes.

I wrote this in different fonts just for interest and let each girl pick the one she liked the best.

Drawing on their pancakes with frosting was their favorite!

Cheshire cat smile.
"Eat me" - I did!  It was soooo yummy.  The frosting didn't really taste like anything so it didn't effect the amazing gluten free fudge brownies that I'd made for this the night before.  I cooked the brownies in muffin tins for the shape.

The girls named the hamster the "Door Mouse" for the day of course.
The Cat (Fluffy) was called "Dinah" all during our teatime.
And of course the new rabbit (Pepper) was named the White Rabbit.

As I read a few poems from the book, the girls told me which ones they wanted to do for their copy work time.  We also read the original poem that the Gryphon asked Alice to recite "Tis the voice of the sluggard" by Isaac Watts  and then read what Alice really did recite in the book "Tis the voice of the Lobster" which is so much more interesting to do it that way right?  I mean, most of the poems they reference in the book (And they reference a LOT) were all ones that everyone at the time would have instantly recognized, but now we tend to recognize Alice's version more quickly than the other.

My 5 year old wanted to do the Jabberwocky poem, and because she is so young and not reading yet, I wrote the first stanza of the poem in her "Funschool" book in pencil so she could change the color and trace over the words!

Sometimes we write original poems after our teatime, and there are some fun ideas on writing silly poems that could go with an Alice in Wonderland theme, but usually we only write poems if everyone just sort of spontaneously feels like writing poetry after reading a bunch.  I didn't get that sense this time and we haven't done much copy work (brave writer style) yet, so this was a good opportunity to work on that.
My 11 year old chose the "Queen of Hearts she made some tarts.." poem and drew a picture to go with it.  I did the Brave Writer copy work thing of talking about the punctuation and such before she copied so that she would be more aware of what these things meant.  Then she was her own editor by checking her own work.  If they miss seeing something you can point out that there is something in a certain line or even a certain word that doesn't match the original.

The idea of doing copy work to practice grammar and spelling (rather than original writing) is that it isn't an emotional experience.  These aren't the thoughts of a child expressing their feelings or creative story.  If you try to correct the words they write that comes FROM THEM it is much more painful.  When it is copy work and you look for punctuation errors and such, it can be like a game!  It's not emotional and painful then.  I talk to my girls about the difference between free writing and editing and how professional writers all need editors to check their work because we use a different part of our brain to write creatively from the side that can edit.

  When I asked my daughter to check her work I said, "Now you get to play editor and check if everything you wrote matches the original."  Highly recommend brave writer methods for language arts!  I shared in my previous post how Brave Writer ideas have been helping her this past year and we are moving into more and more of the practices (like copy work!)
I took a video of the actual MOMENT of poetry tea time (minus my reading aloud and such) and they were having fun shrinking and growing as they ate and drank.  It always sounds so sweet and quiet in a blog post right, but in reality the pets were pulled out and played with and the table was messy and as soon as everyone was done eating, I ran around copying the poems they had chosen so they could get to work copying them before we had to run to the Chiropractor.  The dishes stayed dirty on the table till dinner and I was trying to do laundry all day today as well.

Little dose of real life.  It's messy and a bit crazy, but it's also fun and learning did happen this day!
 I can look back over it and see how we could have done more, or we could have started our day earlier than we did, but I can ask myself "Was our day mostly happy?" .. yes, mostly happy and tiny steps of progress and growth.  And that is enough.

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