Monday, March 17, 2014

SoL Story Challenge Day 17: Failed Attempt at a Puppet Show

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I often use video clips in my workshops with teachers. Sometimes I'll use just a short clip of a student doing some work--perhaps reading aloud, or working on her writing, or two kids talking about the books they are reading. We might pause the video to talk about what the students are doing really well, and discuss what the their next steps might be. Other times I might use a clip that shows myself or another colleague teaching. We might watch a writing conference, one step at a time to analyze ways that conferring might go, or to discuss all the teaching moves the teacher decided to make.

One thing I know I can't stand when it comes to videos in staff development is when the video is TOO perfect. Like there's a second grader reading at Level R, or a kindergartner who's written an entire ten page thesis on her baby brother (with perfect spelling to boot). I like my video clips to show the real deal -- they need to be in a real classroom (when at all possible) and kids need to be making noise in the background.  The kids chosen for the video taping shouldn't be coached ahead of time into saying or doing certain things--otherwise the whole thing feels staged and when I try to use the clip in staff development the teachers I work with will call me out on it (as they should).

So the same thing holds true for the blogs I like. There are some blogs out there where it seems like every post is about a perfect project that a super duper person did with an amazing group of kids who totally, completely, loved it and it came out perfect… every. single. time. Every post. When I read these blogs I think to myself first,  "That looks really complicated for a four year old."  Second, I think, "Those children clearly did not really do those reindeer/pumpkin/leprechaun/whatever projects independently. The grown-up totally had to do it for them."

Well, I am not that sort of blogger. Not every post is going to show you something wonderful that came out perfectly.  Just because something isn't perfect doesn't mean it's not worth trying. If you've been following this blog, then you know that every day this month I have tried to find ways to storytell with my four year old daughter, for the Slice of Life Story Challenge. Little L. has shared true stories, fantasy stories, jokes, songs, even her own Lego Movie. Today, I share with you one failed attempt at a puppet show. Yes, check it out. It's actually pretty funny.

It's a little hard to hear, but L. is making snoring sounds throughout. The dragon won't wake up.

I'm kidding when I say it "failed." Actually, Little L. and I had been playing with the puppets, "rehearsing" our story for quite a while before we asked my husband to come down to the basement to watch our show. Little L. and I did our show for my husband, who was holding Baby J.  Then, Little L. wanted to do a show that Baby J. and I could watch, so my husband took my place behind the curtain. That's when Little L. decided that her dragon should just sleep through the whole story.

We did try to videotape our original version, but that also was a fail. Baby J. started crying loudly just a minute into it.

Oh well. Nobody's perfect!


  1. This was so charming! I loved the sense of play that your husband conveyed with his voice and the way he let L. "direct" the story. Loved that she wore her crown, too!

    1. Oh, yes, she had a whole costume on… not really understanding that the people can't actually see you behind the curtain… : )

  2. In the play I love the line, "I guess it's a sleeping dragon..."

    And I agree with you in distrust and dislike of over-produced videos and blogs that don't show real time, real world classroom.

    1. Thanks! When L was playing with me, the dragon was very much awake and breathing fire and then becoming friendly. For some reason, the dragon only wanted to sleep when the video camera came out.