Sunday, July 6, 2008

Independance week Tuesday

Yes, the ID celebrations here started last Sunday and are ending today. We by no means participated in the 3-5 event per day that went on throughout the city but we did get to a few of them.

As part of the festivities there was a program called "Go fourth and learn" sponsored by the Free Library of Philadelphia. It was educational in nature and at each event they handed out a goodie bag with at least one good story book per kid. On Tuesday we went to the Library and took our seats in the auditorium/movie theater. We got there early so we had time to wave our little flags and get really excited. We watched "What's the Big Idea Ben Franklin?" (great educational movie by the way) and then met Miss Philadelphia. I was beginning to wonder how long this event was going to go on when they brought to the stage a whole bunch of African instruments, an African percussionist and an African story teller.

Now, I have gone to hundreds of "story times" at our local library and I have to say this lady was great! She didn't tell a single story, she sang every single one and had the kids participate by teaching them various refrains, responses and rhythm patterns. She was lively and funny and wonderful. I'm still trying to figure out how I can use what I observed from her methods in my own story times with the kids.

I really enjoyed the coded message songs that we sang about the underground railroad and it was very interesting to me to realize that July 4th is a day when the black community celebrates freedom from slavery (at least around here). It's a perspective I never thought of before but when you think about it, 1776 only meant freedom for the 13 colonies that fought the British, it would have meant no new liberties to their slaves. All in all it was a great day. If Phillip and I had been able to find a babysitter we would have gone and watched "the Shawshank Redemption" that was screened for free at the Eastern State Penitentiary right up the street from us (it looks like a castle and is open for tours - it isn't used as a prison any more). Oh well, you can't have everything ...

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