This week we opened class by introducing ourselves and trying to make our new students feel welcome. After perusing my book shelves I decided that we will not only read the Jack Tales but also some other books about Appalachian culture. All in story form. The plan is to spend our time each week with a story and taking off from that story, to do an activity or craft that teaches them something about the lifeways of the mountain culture.
The story we read was Georgia Music, by Helen V. Griffith. Georgia Music is not set specifically in the Appalachians but it is a very good opening story about how folks live there. Not one of the children remembered one single thing about the book once I’d read it. We’ll have to work on that this week by changing the seating around.
The Grandpa in Georgia Music lives in a log cabin and when his granddaughter comes to visit, she ends up staying the whole summer with him. They grow a garden and listen to the sounds of nature while napping under a big, old tree in the yard. Grandpa plays a ‘mouth harp’. Part of the reason I chose this particular story is that I thought it would go nicely on the first day for those children who are both in Appalachian Choir and in my class.
Then we got to the active part! The children built log cabins from Lincoln Logs. The boys built a cabin, Meg built a cabin, the other girls built a pasture, barn and named all of the horses. I think girls are just wired to love horses.
Then we learned, or rather I sang (and I’m no singer!) the first two verses of She’ll be Coming ‘Round the Mountain.
Even with all of that, we finished up a little bit early! I will work that out next week and make sure to keep them busy for that extra five or ten minutes. One thing I’m going to do is an opening and closing circle. All of the kids in my previous classes have enjoyed the circle time and it gives a definite opening and closing to our class. I’m looking forward to seeing everyone again next week!