Sunday, January 24, 2010

Monkeys, leaves, and long noses

My 51 year old body is still protesting from endless rounds of "Ten Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed"  during small group time with first graders at the Lutheran School this week.  I tried to teach them the story of Moses (we were on the letter M) with a picture Bible but... (remember, their English is VERY limited, and several of them have various special needs making it difficult for them to concentrate in ANY language)... and so in no time at all, I had Jenny Lo standing on the chair and Jackie Chu shoving Jackie Wu, and Yui Yui dismantling the plastic Christmas tree which was still occupying a corner of our little-used English room.  So I had to give up on Moses for the time being (sorry, Lord) and got them to participate in a very rousing round of "Ten Little Monkeys".  They were particularly good at the jumping part.  And the falling part.  And the shouting part.  All in all, a big success.

Doing crayon leaf rubbings (letter "L") with the second graders was also a pretty big hit.  Many of these children seem to have so little interaction with nature, living as they do in high rises surrounded by concrete covered hills and paved playgrounds.  So it was (I think... I'm never totally sure about these things) a real novelty for them to take real leaves, cover them,  and watch as patterns, shapes and veins emerged as they rubbed their crayons over the surface of the paper.

This almost made up for last week when I was teaching "N is for nose" to the younger, better educated children whose parents can afford to give them special English lessons at the Hoppy Palace.  Suddenly one of my gorgeous little four year olds looked at me in a fit of inspiration and said in a tone of absolute sincerity and wonder, "Your nose is so long.  Why is your nose so long?" And then she burst into a peal of laughter and pleasure at being able to express this new discovery so well.  I could only reply, "Honey, because that's how God made me."

We westerners DO have pretty long noses from an Asian perspective and she was only being honest.

"Be wise my child,
and bring joy to my heart."  -- Proverbs 27:11

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