Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Superhero Team

A couple weeks ago, Woodland Park was visited by the superhero "Silver" (party artist and instructor Amy Pille from the children's drama and art magic-makers Moonpaper Tent) who opened her box full of capes and costumes, helped us each develop our own superhero personna and powers, then guided us on an mission that had us flying to an island and rescuing baby raccoons and other animals, a story created in collaboration with the children. It was a ton of fun for the kids and a reminder to all of the adults that often the best part of teaching young children is to play with them. When she flew off to command center at the end of our adventure, she left behind for each of us "communicators" (I don't have a picture, but imagine a small disco ball that hangs around your neck on a string).

A few days later, I was coming off a several day long marathon session of taking storytelling dictation from the kids, one they were jumping on the bandwagon to continue. I, however, really wanted to take a break from being huddled in the corner with kids, as cozy as that is. Fortunately for me, that's when we got a call from Silver via the communicators many of us have continued to wear around our necks.

What's that? Animals need rescuing? We're on it! Before we set out, however, we donned our rescue helmets.

But now what? Where are those animals? As luck would have it, we had a map of the world handy and using the superhero technique of spinning it and pointing, we discovered they were in Russia, being held captive by bears in a cave.

We were off, locating the cave under our loft across the room, being held there by generic bad guys. We consulted with Silver all the while via our communicators, for she, after all, is our leader, super Teacher Tom being only the intermediary between her and the assembled super hero team.

We returned with our rescued animals, but found we needed to build a fortress to further protect them.

It was at this point that several of our fellowship, revealed that they were secretly in league with the bad guys, a concept that started off well . . .

. . . but ultimately resulted in the unfortunate demise of our fortress as well as actual tugging matches over the animals. That's when Silver let us know that bad guys always lose and the good guys always win, causing a mass re-transformation of bad guys into good guys.

At some point we had the idea of all having swords, but then remembered even pretend weapons are against the rules, so opted instead to use the long thin things we'd collected, and our fingers, as wands.

We then found it necessary to write secret messages for awhile, removing our helmets for the purpose as they tended to fall into our eyes.

That's when Peter (who was not super at all this day) arrived on the scene, reporting that there was water in the bathroom that "is not going into the pipes" as it ought to. The hero team was on it.

Indeed, there was water in there, and indeed it was not going into the pipes.

After a great deal of super discussion, and without much ceremony, Benjamin reached a brave and powerful hand into the water and pulled the plug.

It worked! Excellent! And the best part is that everyone got to tell their story while rescuing Teacher Tom from writer's cramp.

Outside, the adventure continued, albeit now on horseback.


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Kate @ An Everyday Story said...

Tom, this is so beautiful. Imagination is such a precious thing. What an honur we have as parents and educators to ensure it blossoms and survives into adulthood. Such a lovely post to read

Saya said...

Ahhhh this is awesome!!! I love every bit of it!

I also LOVE your classroom's ceiling, by the way... I didn't realize there were tree branches growing there! How cute! :)

Mullin Avenue Workshop said...

This was fun to read, and experience secondhand all the imagination at work.

I think the time you have described is early childhood education at it's best!

I just love when children have this much fun as a group!

Brandin Brosh said...

This was such a great post! Imagination can be so empowering! I love this! The classroom ceilings are really cool, by the way. This a great way to teach children the little things, like weapons are "against the rules." How neat! This is why I want to be a future educator. Children are so wonderful and they have the ability to brighten your day so effortlessly.

I love that you have pictures for each part of the story. It really brings things to life!