As much as I enjoy working with these kids, I’m having trouble keeping them in focus during the afterschool sessions. I don’t have teacher support during my work, so it’s a constant battle with some of the kids to keep them in line. Today, it was a bug under one of the desks, writing stuff on the white board and the inevitable running around. Still, we had some fun and made some progress on one of the songs. I borrowed from Woody Guthrie’s Zoo song and the chorus gives the song some staying power.

I’m Working at the Zoo, Zoo, Zoo

Maryalice, Gabriella, Jaidale and Kilianys, Leeann and Tito

I’m working at the zoo, zoo, zoo,             G

I’m working at the zoo, zoo, zoo,             C

I’m working at the zoo, zoo, zoo,             D

Wanna come along, too, too, too?          G


I love animals; I like to care for my pet,                          D C G

I’ll think I’ll be a zoo doctor, a cool zoo vet.                   D C G


Bamboo to the pandas, to clean their teeth,

Rub sunscreen on the zebras, to beat the heat.


Medicine for the giraffe’s throat, it’s really sore.

Put an ice pack on the lion’s foot, so she won’t roar.


I’ll wake up the sloth with a cup of coffee,

The tiger’s tummy was upset, the meat too salty.


I’ve got pills for the elephant’s stuffed up trunk,

It seems the monkeys are in a strange funk.

I hoped to have the kids edit it, and start to sing and add movements to the song, but the grade level and cultural learning lag keeps it from sinking in. They didn’t even remember the title at the end of the session. We did talk about where we would sing this song and they offered it to the K – 3rd grades. I offered that we sing it for the principal, video, etc., hoping to expand their horizons for how a song is put in public.

I brought out Bear Hunt for the first time, and, again, they kept interjecting their thoughts (which is actually a sign of their curiosity and interest). I finally got around to asking what they would put in and they came up with: haunted house (with creaky floors), haunted corn maze (looking lost), waterfall (really, really, really, really, really cold) and volcano (with lava). We spend some time in performing it, in spite of the bug in the corner.

The kids are engaged if not focused, and I guess that’s the main take-away from this whole residency.