At least once a week I tutor at the Intergenerational Literacy Program in Chelsea, MA, which I referenced in my previous post. The past couple of weeks, we’ve been reading Seedfolks by Paul Fleischman with the learners. The book covers the personal stories of several characters who each decide to plant their own garden in an abandoned lot in their neighborhood. In concluding our reading of the book this morning, the learners were assigned to present their favorite character through a skit.
My group decided on Leona, a woman who wanted to plant goldenrods in memory of her grandmother. Unfortunately, the lot was filled with trash, so she took the initiative to pester City Hall to take care of the problem. After not receiving any responses, she decided to make herself heard by confronting government officials at City Hall in person, along with a garbage bag containing a sample of trash from the lot.
The learner I selected to play Leona in our group skit was flawless in her performance. She captured so much emotion and fierceness in her expression as she approached our “lot,” which was our group table cluttered with books and notebooks, and when attempting to stuff a garbage bag with some of the objects from the table to carry over to the learners playing officials from City Hall. We had a great response from the rest of the class. The learner has a loud and entertaining personality, but I had not expected her to pull off such a great act.
My mornings in working in the ILP are usually a struggle, as my learners have the lowest proficiency level in the entire class. I enjoy these small breaks from our usual reading and writing activities because it allows the learners to get a little creative, use other talents, and get a good laugh.