Observations from the book club

Last week was the fourth meeting of the Book Club. And so it's been a month I'm still at it, that makes me pretty happy. The children had been asking when they would get to act out a sequence and so I thought it would be a good idea to do a bit from Swami and Friends during the Book Club Meeting. Since it was the first time and I didn't want to disappoint any of the kids, I made up 7 speaking parts. Don't even ask how difficult that was. However, as I was to find out, that turned out to be the easy bit.

Chaos reigned..

...as none of the kids, except the one playing Swami, were happy with their parts. They argued and argued and argued. The most unhappy were H and N. N couldn't fathom why, when it was her mum giving out the parts, she couldn't have the lead. H wanted to be the sole narrator. Uff... it was crazy. Finally, after much changing and exchanging, a whole lot of appeasement and a few tears too we had our cast in place. And then the fun began.

They really are an acting, dancing, singing bunch. The bits where they had to raise 'Quit India' slogans were the most fun. It still puzzles me why kids revel in so much noise! They sang 'Sare jahan se achchha' with gusto and refused to stop after one stanza each time we practised. Despite the tears and the disagreement it turned out to be a fun meeting.

Learnings for next time:

- A chat with H and N on not expecting special treatment (Promises to be a tough one since I still have no clue how to go about it. Suggestions are so welcome!)
- Ask for volunteers for each part and draw chits.
- Since I'm no playwrite I'd hardly done a good job with the dialogues. They need to be shorter and simpler. I could let the kids go extempore with a few guidelines and leave them to improvise.

An observation

What I thought was a personal problem with H and N seems to be a pretty universal phenomenon - most kids lack listening skills. They are too impatient, too excited, too curious about too many things to give their total attention to one thing.

And so this week...

... we started off with a game that would encourage listening as well as creativity - a story spinning game. I started off a story and each child took turns taking it forward. Since we didn't follow an order and any child could be asked to take up the story, they paid attention. Happily enough, they also questioned the improbable bits and built up the characters pretty well.

Also, the two boys in the club had asked for adventurous stories so the poor Happy Prince was put on hold (yet again) and I picked a Russian folk tale for this week - Ivan Tsarevich and the Grey Wolf with a firebird thrown in for good measure. It was a personal childhood favourite and the kids seemed to like it too.

We also practiced saying 'Thank You' in various languages including Russian. That was super fun. For a change I didn't have to remind the kids to say a 'thank you' to me, which I always have to otherwise, but that's another post.

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