Because planning a program doesn't just take 5 minutes

How to Save Your Tail

how-to-save-your-tailProgram Plan:

This month, we’ll discuss the book before snack.  Then, as part of the activity, we’ll taste test different brands of chocolate chip cookie.  We’ll also play a fairy tale trivia game.

What Happened:

We had 8 families attend.  There were a few extra people – two kids brought siblings, and one came with a dad and a grandpa – but that worked out fine.

We debuted our new program room projector at this event, so I put everything up on PowerPoint slides.  This worked pretty well, although I think it might be more fun to pull one discussion question at a time from an envelope than to see them all projected at once.

After everyone got a chance to say what they thought about the book, I posted the discussion questions to the tables and let them discuss.  I told them in advance that I had counted 16 different fairy tale / nursery rhyme references in the book, and for one of the questions I handed out paper and pencil and let them write down the references they noticed.  They got pretty involved in that, and didn’t spend a lot of time on the other questions, but they seemed to enjoy it.  It was interesting that none of the adults got the Arabian Nights reference.  One of the kids recognized it when I told them, but none of the adults were familiar with the basic story.

After about 20 minutes of discussion, we did the cookie taste test challenge.  The adults made each kid a plate with three types of chocolate chip cookies (Jewel store brand, Matt’s, and Chips Ahoy chewy) and the kids tried each of them and talked about what they liked about each.  Then they did a blind taste test to see if they could tell them apart with their eyes closed.  They had fun, and some families discovered new cookies, so that’s always a win.  There was milk as well, and no major spills, which is another reason to separate the snack from other activities.

After the cookies, we played a Jeopardy Labs fairy tale jeopardy game I found online.  The questions were pretty easy, so they got almost all of them right, but they had to think a little bit.  If I’d had more energy, I might have created my own trivia questions, but this worked fine.

We finished up a few minutes late, but I had a moment to show them the Charles Perrault google doodle, which happened to be up the day of the program.  Serendipity!  Overall, I liked the use of the projector for most things, but will probably go back to questions-in-an-envelope for next time.

Next month – EllRay Jakes is NOT a Chicken by Sally Warner


Possible questions for discussion:

  1. Which fairy tales did you find references to in this book?  (Could also do this in the “sing-down” competitive version used for Dodger and Me in December.  If we hadn’t just done this in December.)
  2. If you had a goose that could lay something special, what would it be? Why?
  3. If you had a magic spoon that would make one thing perfectly, what would it be?  Why?
  4. When Sherman stole the spoon, the author said “a rat can do amazing things for the right reason.”  What have you accomplished that you didn’t think you could do?
  5. Some of the fairy tales referenced in here were changed – a little or a lot.  What changes did you find the funniest or most surprising?




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