Thursday, October 20, 2011

Chatfield Elementary at Belle Plaine, Mn

My nephew's son Jake, or Mr. Malz as he is called at Chatfield Elementary where he is student-teaching, arranged for me to visit the school and perform three shows for first-grade students and three shows for second-grade students on Tuesday, October 18, 2011.

I did my story If I Were a Farmer: Nancy's Adventure for all six groups of children. Students in the first group (shown above) are in the first grade and they followed every detail in the the introduction and the story.

They held up two fingers when I showed them how to use them to teach a newborn calf how to drink out of a pail.
They turned to wave to say "Hello" to my wife Nancy as she snapped a photo of them.
And (below) they lined up to feel the oats in the coffee can.

The second group of first grade students was my grand nephew's class, who is seating on the chair to the right on the left side of the picture above. Sitting to his his right is Mr. Carlson, his supervising teacher.

The students eagerly hold up two fingers to learn how to teach a calf to drink.

And then (below) await to see the outcome of Nancy's adventure.

The third group of first grade students listen as I explain a few details about the farm on which I grew up.

Above they greet Nancy as I project a picture of her in the dedication of the book,
and below they courteously line up to feel the oats in the coffee can.

Programs for groups 4, 5, and 6 were in the afternoon and children in these groups were in the second grade.
Group 4 listened intently through the show, but they were especially focused when I explained how Santa delivers gifts to farm kids in my book A Farm Country Christmas Eve, below.

Children wait their turns to feel the oats.

Group 5 listens to me explain some details of the farm on which I was raised.
And they laugh at the picture of my dad using the cow's tail for a mustache.
They wave to say "Hi" to my wife Nancy.

And after the program, they raise their hands to ask questions.

Students in the last group of the day (above) were ready for the show.

They held up two fingers for teaching the calf to drink.

They paid close attention.
They said "Hi" to Nancy.

And then they lined up to feel the oats.

I need to thank Mrs. Merenes (pictured below) for graciously allowing us to use the media center all day.

I also thank my grand nephew Jake for his effort. I'm sure he learned that it is no small task to introduce something into the hectic schedule of teachers and students in a public school.

And I also thank the staff for being open-minded and listening to a student-teacher who suggested bringing in a relative to perform a "free" show for the kids.
I can only imagine that there may have been a bit of skepticism, just as there should be whenever we allow someone from outside into classrooms, decreasing the time allotted for planned curriculum.

Class time needs to be guarded carefully. Programs that take time away from regular lessons need to have value. I hope the staff and students found value in my program.

I believe that Farm Heritage also needs to be guarded carefully and passed on accurately with fun stories. I hope my books serve to do just that because a story not told is lost forever.

Nancy and I had fun and we hope the students and staff did too.

Photographs by Nancy A. Fredrickson

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