Monday, September 08, 2008

Guardian Angels by the Seaside

Spent the morning in the company of Angels today - Prep and Year One students at Guardian Angels Primary in Bay Terrace at Wynnum. They had opted for this week as their Book Week and the library was full of Book Fair so I got to perform in their class rooms.

There was a good energy at the school so we had some fun with stories. Generally I told two and improvised one and usually tried to keep these to stories about the bay and the area and to make sure they were lots of fun. This is when knowing a local area comes in handy. You can easily add specific detail to a setting or, perhaps even better, ask a question that allows your audience to add good detail.

An example of this is the story about year 1 students going on excursion down to the bay. As they walked down the hill they saw a pelican come skidding in across the water to land. Twice the pelican plunged its beak into the water, caught a fish and swallowed it. The third time though it caught a sand shoe full of old bones and a map, a treasure map. Of course the children had to follow the map and when they did the pelican followed them. They went along the foreshore to the old wading pool a favorite spot for all local children. It was nice to be able to ask, "Is there a slippery slide in the middle of the pool now?" and have them show off their local knowledge, "Yes, they built a new one."

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(Here's the wading pool in the middle of its refurbishment.)

They found the treasure at the bottom of the wading pool but when they opened up the treasure chest, it was the pelican that filled its beak and flew off with it.

Another of the local interest points is the mangrove board walk so that had to be in a story as well. Because we were talking about pets (I'd told one of my pet stories 'Socks the Kitten'), the leash free dog exercise area was offered by the children as an important detail.

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I did wonder momentarily whether or not the idea of a T-rex's eyeball hanging in a spider web was a good idea or not, after all, I'd never seen either a Trex or one of its eyes anywhere near the board walk, but who am I to get in the way of a good story idea? Needless to say, Jack was saved from the T-rex and his favourite dog Rover helped. The children did think it was a good idea to tell the story at other schools so I think I might just do that.

From angels by the seaside come very salty stories. So thank you Guardian Angels for asking me to perform as part of your book week celebrations.

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