I have just enough Irish in my background to make St. Patrick’s Day real to me. I wanted to do a fun colorful episode, so St. Pat’s was the way to go. It turns out that I didn’t have a lot of relevant items around the house, so it was fun to shop a bit in preparation for the wearin’ of the green.
I find leprechauns fascinating, so I decided to focus primarily on them. Since I knew little about them, I had to research a bit. I didn’t know, for example, that the word ‘leprechaun’ means small body. I knew they could be grumpy, according to legend, and that they like to play tricks. I didn’t know that they are considered fairies, but that made me happy since I’m a big believer in fairies. I read a few stories about them and their mischievousness and had enough to present. I decided to begin the episode with information on St. Patrick’s Day and who celebrates it around the world. That was another eye-opener for me: I had no idea that upwards of 50 countries actually celebrate the day, including Japan, Russia, Australia, and Korea, or that those on board the International Space Station celebrate as well. I chose to avoid saying much about St. Patrick himself since little is known about him and the concept of sainthood is perhaps a bit over the heads of our young viewers. One curious fact that I wasn’t aware of is that St. Patrick isn’t actually a saint. He’s basically been declared one over the years, but has never officially been canonized by the Church. At any rate, I decided to focus on the celebrations and traditions of the day.
I read my poem about a leprechaun and then demonstrated a leprechaun trap I made last night. And the excitement I project over the thought of successfully catching a leprechaun is very real. Honest. I ended the episode by emphasizing that we remain respectful of the Irish culture in the midst of our fun. I read that the Irish are pretty sensitive about the drunkenness associated with St. Patrick’s Day, and I can understand that. I think it also rankles them a bit that so many people who aren’t Irish at all become Irish every March 17. But I think celebrations are good whenever they can happen. In the days of COVID, there probably won’t be as many parades and parties to celebrate the day, but we can certainly celebrate in our homes in small groups. And in our own Irish bubbles. Happy St. Patrick’s Day, everyone, and wear that green proudly.
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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