We teachers love snow. We can’t drive in it very well since we generally don’t have to, but it gives us the occasional, glorious day off. Usually by the time it snows we’re ready for one of those. So being a big fan of snow, it seemed a natural topic for GG Sprinkles to do.
To prepare for this one, I learned how to cut snowflakes out of white paper and then went a step further and found a recipe for making a reasonable facsimile of snow using baking soda and hair conditioner. And believe it or not, it really does feel like snow. And it smells wonderful. My experiments with cutting out snowflakes didn’t go quite as well, but they sufficed. My grandson Charlie has been generating them in great numbers and at the young age of five is way better than his GG at making them. I gathered up just some of my snowflake ornaments to show the kids along with my stuffed snowmen and snow globes. And I was ready to share my love of snow and all things winter.
I wrote a poem called “Snowflake Joy” and read that. I showed some pictures I’ve taken of actual snowflakes and talked about the fact that they are, of course, all different. And I showed a few pictures of the little ones in my life on sleds, catching snowflakes on their tongues and making snow angels. I had a brief artificial snowball fight with my trusty videographer. And I laughed. Just the thought of snow makes me happy. My goal was to share some of that joy with my young audience. Who knows what the winter will bring, with many kids doing school virtually or on modified schedules. But whether they get snow days or not, there’s always the hours after school to be the children that they are and play in the snow. And I’ll be right there with them in spirit. And probably taking my inner child sledding in the park.
I’m a huge believer in two things: the wisdom and potential of our children and the importance of poetry and imagination in their lives and development. My teaching background is at the high school level, but my methods in the classroom ran high in interaction and whimsy, at least as much whimsy as preparation for state testing allowed. I have four young grandchildren, and I nannied a little boy for over four years from infancy, so I like to think I know children pretty well. And I used poetry to teach and inspire no matter what ages I was called to teach. Poetry takes very big ideas and boils them down to nuggets of wisdom more easily understood. And then there’s the rhyme, such a valuable asset to pre-reading and a great hook to pull the little ones into the poetry itself. The rhythm, cadence, and yes, the rhyme, all have value for kids. Even if the full meaning of the words eludes them a little, there is value in what they do process.
I have written and published two books of essays and poetry for teachers, but my greater joy came in writing poetry for children. I began a book of children’s poetry the day my first grandchild Samantha was born and fourteen years later I continue to add to it. I entitled it A Duck in the Sky, which comes from a discussion we had with Sam when she was just a toddler. We were talking about the meaning of life and Sam assured us that the meaning of life was, in fact, a duck in the sky. Fair enough, and a very good title. I never published my children’s book, although that will happen. But in the meantime came Covid and quarantine. I wanted to contribute something, to help entertain young children stuck at home, even if for only a few minutes at a time. So GG Sprinkles was born, someone who reads poetry and entertains with props, demonstrations, etc. Our videos began on a GG Sprinkles Facebook page, and shortly after that became a GG Sprinkles YouTube channel.
So we now have quite a few videos available and I continue to write poetry. I have learned a great deal about a lot of topics: fairies, zebras, angels, octopuses, birds, superheroes, blanket forts, dragons, space, buried treasure, planets, burping, puppets, trains, unicorns, kites, magic wands, and so much more. It has been a pure joy to do this for the kids. And, of course, I’m learning so much along the way. We intend to keep the videos coming as long as the poetry comes and the kids and parents are interested. We’d be delighted to have you come along with us as we explore new topics poetically and just have some fun. GG Sprinkles welcomes you to any of the videos you’d like to watch and further thoughts here on my blog. Enjoy!
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