what I do at workshops (long and rambling)

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Posted by Anne in CT on February 10, 2002 at 12:26:04:


I actually tried to post this the other day - had it all type out and
everything, then hit the reset key instead of the post message one.
It had been a very long three days at work - long, unpleasant story
that no one wants to hear. Tomorrow, I teach kindergarten, which is
always fun.


Anyway, I've done two types of workshops so far: ones at the school
where I work and ones at the Groton Library (I get paid for the
latter; the former I do 'cause I love the kids, but would probably
not do it for free for any other school). Both deal with middle
school aged kids (11-16 or so) and both are limited to about 20
participants per workshop. Permission slips are sent out and I give
the kids the option of using washable body paint to make designs if
their parents don't want anything semi-permanent on the kids.
Permission slips are very important and tricky, especially when kids
have two sets of parents, or divorcing parents or any other bad
family situation. I'll send a copy of the most recent version of my
permission slip to anyone who's interested. This one went through
some revising between myself, the school nurse and the principal over
the language used to describe any potential allergic reactions. Of
late, I've been offering patch tests a few days before the actual

The kids at school already know a fair deal about henna from just
being around me and asking questions, so I give them a general
overview of its history - how long it's been around, who's used it
and why - and some info on what it will do to them - how long it will
stain, why it won't be black, the black henna rant. Like that. If I
know they're studying a specific country, I'll go into henna use in
that country. At the library, I don't assume the kids know anything
about henna and so go a little deeper into what I do at school.
Because both situations never leave me enough time to go into massive
detail, I will float and answer questions while the kids henna.

I give each child his/her own cone of henna and demonstrate either on
myself or a volunteer how to use it. I have pattern books and
handouts for them to look at. Sometimes I bring stencils, but not so
much of late - I want the kids to explore their creativitity, though
this may take some prodding ("Sure, you can draw a flower. Just go
one step at a time.") I usually end up with a few kids volunteering
to draw on their friends and help me wrap everyone at the end.

I only use henna and lemon juice in my paste and lemon juice and
sugar in my lemon juice and sugar (though kids have brought in New
Skin on their own), just in case of allergies (and there are people
out there who may be allergic to lemon juice . . .).

Overall, since I'm one of those random/chaotic type teachers, I work
with the moment and go where the interest is rather than stick to a
schedule of Topics to be Discussed. Most of the information I give
out come when I'm talking to the kids as they're playing with the
henna - the informal atmosphere gives seems to encourage questions.

That's all I can think of right now. Let me know if you have any
questions or if you do things differently. I'm pretty sure Catherine
approaches things from a different angle. ;-)

Anne in CT, who can't wait to introduce the letter "L" tomorrow in


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