July 4, 2010


Well, I suppose it is only fitting that I should say, Happy Birthday, America, or perhaps, Happy Independence Day. However you want to say it, it seems that of all the nations’ of the world, America’s birthday seems to stand out. You don’t believe me? Okay, without searching the internet, answer these ‘birthday’ questions!!

When is France’s birthday?
When is England’s birthday?
When is Australia’s birthday?
When is Germany’s birthday?
When is Canada’s birthday?
When is Spain’s birthday?
When is America’s birthday?!

Uh huh. I will wager that most people know two or three of these dates. But the one that everyone knows, is America. So again, Happy Birthday, America!

Giraffe Story-telling Competition, Part II

Okay, so yesterday I started talking about this year’s Giraffe Story-telling competition. I focused my blog on one of the competitors, May. Today, I’ll continue with the other students. They are: May (The Quirky Queen), Wayne (The Truth About Hansel and Gretel), Jonas (Lizzy the Lion), and Nadia (Froggy Gets Dressed).

Wayne (The Truth About Hansel and Gretel)

This is Wayne’s first year at competing. At the bushiban level, in previous years, he didn’t score high enough to get into the competition. However, this year, he wowed the judges. He did a great job at reciting the story. He put in emotion, actions, and generally, did a bang-up job!

Wayne and his little brother, Shawn, have become great little friends this past year. Wayne has started, as far as my English classes are concerned, to have ‘grown up’ a bit. He is still a very active little guy, and has a lot of energy, but he seems to be taking my English classes a little more seriously this year. I’m not sure why, but it is nice to see!

When it came to the competition at the bushiban level, of all the other students, in my opinion, he was really the only one that really told a story. Perhaps in part, it is because he was trying to emulate me! I don’t want to hurt myself patting myself on the back, but that was the impression I got.

Before the competition, Janice and I choose the stories. With a little editing and tweeking here and there, we were able to come up with the four stories. Janice decided which classes or students would do which stories. Fair enough. During one of my class times, I would recite the story to the students. Now, I am by no means, an actor. However, since English is my language, and I understood the story, and had read and edited it several times before the students ever saw it, I knew the stories fairly well.

During the class time, I would read the story, trying to act out as best I could to show the students what the story could be like. I do remember, quite well, watching Wayne in class as he was listening to me. His eyes lit up, he laughed, he listened. After that initial reading, the students were on their own. Sure, their regular teacher would help them with reading during other times, but my bit was finished.

Competition day. I don’t know what the final scores were, but I’m sure Wayne’s score was the highest of all the students doing this story. So it was inevitable, that he would be the finalist. Again, my opinion.

His parents seemed to be just as excited about his winning as he was. I’m not sure who was helping him learn the story, but I’ll have to give a lot of that credit to his teacher, Sabrina. I know that his parents don’t speak English, at least not a lot. I’m sure he does a bit of practicing at home, but not a lot.

He won the school’s competition a couple of weeks ago. Therefore, he has, just like May and the other two students, won the right to tell his story at the regional competition on Sunday, July 11. I think one thing that really put him over the top, were his parents.

They were so excited about his winning, that they built a set for his story. As you will see in the pictures below, this set is incredible. I don’t want to know how much money or time went into building this thing, but it is crazy!

When Wayne came on stage, quite honestly, I didn’t recognize him at first. His story is about Hansel and Gretel, but told by the ‘witch’ after a few years. My original idea was to have him (or her, the witch) at a news conference. However, as with all these stories, ideas are thought of, but not all can be used. Now, I kind of envision this as someone who is being interviewed, but not necessarily at a news conference. Still a great story.

Wayne has a little problem with the long ‘a’ sound. Quite frankly, most students have a problem with the long ‘a’ sound, so it’s not unique to him. I think that, overall, Wayne has a great story, a great set, and a great costume. As long as he keeps the emotion of the story intact, he will win, hands down. Janice and I have probably spent the most amount of time with him.

I think part of the reason for this is, this is his first year competing. I’m sure he’s nervous. I know he doesn’t know what he’s up against. I’ve tried to explain to him that we, Janice, Sabrina, and I, are all behind him 100%. I know he knows the story. I know he has it memorized. I know, he can do a great job with it. As long as he believes in himself, nothing can stop him. Good luck on Sunday, my little friend!

(Part III, continued July 5, 2010)

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