Mississippi Moments

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Cookies not chicken!
Jaderrious wanted cookies and I thought he wanted chicken and we weren't even having chicken for lunch! We were having tuna salad Jonestown-style which means made with something called sandwich spread, hard-boiled eggs, onion, cheese, and relish all mixed together...on crackers. With cookies, more cheese, apples, and milk. And once again, I had to pull over one of the regular staff to translate. This is happening a LOT this week and I was prepared for it. But it is annoying and wastes time.
The Learning Center is providing a morning snack and lunch each day for the children and stafff. I'm still living on my daily peanut butter and pickle sandwiches which I love down here.
Today was a challenge with the children, esp. the little ones. They were snipping at each other. I was able to observe Miz Lady hold a Jonestwon Therapy session 101 with the little ones. It was hilarious. And she went around the table asking each child if he or she had a problem and if they were in denial, she said "Oh No...you gots a problem an' I'm here to hep you git yoursef a suhluSHUN. And that there solution is my hand-this empty one, and if you keeps having this problem, you come to find Mama Lady and my hand or we will come and find you. But if you decide to jump in the Mississippi River because you too busy yelling at someone or calling them names (we're are going to the River tomorrow over in Helena, Arkansas to show them the levees and wildlife there), then you can just float on down that river and send me a postcard from the Gulf of Mexico. Cause I am keeping my hand wi'me." End of therapy. Only one problem had no solution. Someone said she wanted to go back to sleep. Nothing to say about that.
I'm learning how to play two-square Jonestown style. They play by their own rules and they call them out before each game. Today, there were no less that 8 rules when I was playing with the 6-year old crowd-piggybacks, dirty 1, dirty 2, clean, lowball, cherry bombs, holdsies, pittypat, lineball. They were laughing that I was making my list to study during dance today. They said they would help me learn so that I wouldn't be losing all the time. They're all about giving me more chances 'cause "she be new around here and she don't know how to play".
A couple of other observations--saw attitude for the first time from the Girls to WOmen. Soccer was challenging and long. We just kept at it and I had made careful notes of the things Julie had told me last year when I wanted to quit because of the "tude"...it still works. Will go that route again.
The children here have not been exposed to teachers who use overheads much. Sr. T scared one up for me and I have been using it for the diagrams and vocabulary work we've been doing each day..the kids are more fascinated by the machine than by what we are learning...so I don't use it as much as I would like. They are also so used to doing worksheets and paper/pencil drills that you can tell when they have had enough of the multisensory stuff. It is like too much dessert. We go back to plain catfish and grits instruction with our math sheets and copies of manuscript letters, and they settle right down.
We have soccer, basketball, dance, and aerobics tonight. I'm almost finished with this book on Medgar Evers. I will pick out another book on the South, of the South, and hopefully from the African American perspective for my next one.
We also received a lovely shipment of basketballs and beanbags today. The children were elated and I now have the "magi syndrome"--bringer of great gifts. I assure everyone that it is not me, but the many generous folks from the Northwest who love and care for the children and folks of Jonestown!


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