When I taught sophomore English, it was inevitable that my students would end up writing an essay about themselves. Those were usually their favorites since we all write best about what we know, and most of us know ourselves pretty well. With the GG Sprinkles episodes, I tend to often think about things that kids can give to caregivers or keep for themselves as a record of their talents, interests, etc. So we decided to do an episode called ‘The Story of You’ encouraging little ones to make books about themselves to either keep or give away.
I began with a poem about writing their own book. I showed some examples of books my daughters wrote about their dad and them that they had given to their dad as gifts. Then I showed a book about me that I wrote just for this episode featuring subjects they could include in their own books, such as pets, hobbies, family, foods they like to eat, things they like to do. Since they may not even be writing yet, I showed how they could do their books with pictures from greeting cards, magazines, or collections of family photos (with mom’s permission, of course). In my book I had painted some pictures to include, and I pointed out that such illustrations would be really good keepsakes to include. And, of course, I pointed out the value such books might have to them someday in the future.
I like to encourage the creative spark kids have while keeping in mind that kids of a range of ages might watch the episodes. This project fits the bill nicely; some kids will want to actually write things in their books, while others may do their ‘writing’ with their illustrations, using things most households have on hand. And, of course, they can get help with simple labels. With families sticking close to home these days, this is something kids can do to pass the time while being creative. And it allows them to design it exactly as they please using a variety of materials and abilities. I plan to keep mine, as a matter of fact. So enjoy, and make a book about you. ❤️
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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