Check out this amazing video of CJ#1 doing a backflip — make that two backflips. It is awesome !!
CJ#1 is one talented guy. He says his brother showed him how to do this fancy footwork. Bravo !
Today was fake and real fact day at the library. I read the kids real (if strange) facts like, Leonardo Da Vinci could write with one hand and draw with the other–at the same time, and even better, a blue whale’s fart bubble is big enough to enclose a horse–I bet that’s the one that sticks with them.
Then everybody buddied up and began making lists of a dozen facts, only eleven of which were true. The unfactual fact was made up to fool the other teams. Kyleigh, Hope and Kaydence worked on animals. Their facts were so obscure it was hard to doubt any of them.
Klark, Augie and Nick ranged around a bit, hitting a lot of subjects. Olivia and I did too. We went in for igneous rocks, global weather, botany–you know, facts. Our bad fact was that the human body replaces all its cells every three days. Clearly no one considered teeth or bones because everyone was fooled.
The twins roared in, late but in time for Ms Kary’s masterpiece project. She had two beautiful picture frames and had each kid hold a frame up as if they were the work of art and then talk about what they wanted to do in the future.
CJ1 returned after a couple of week’s absence–I was so happy to see him. He’s moved away from the neighborhood, but he biked back.
The kids come and go and I never get used to it. A couple of days ago Zion and DeeDee showed up at my door to announce that Zion was moving. DeeDee could tell I was sad. He put an arm around me. “Don’t feel bad Miss Adrian…and can we have a Popsicle?” I felt so bad they each got one, plus a cookie.
Today the library served one of its unadvertised functions, providing a place for some of the kids to get out of a domestic fight. Mr. John was the hero, driving the group to a safer place. Some library we have!
Kary has put up a very nice post of pickle art on our site, Check it out.
We had a fine day at the Front Porch Library–just five kids and six volunteers–boy did those kids get attention. We looked at some mythological creatures like the Minotaur and Pegasus, then each kid created their own imaginary beast. They did murals, wrote and illustrated stories, even built new creatures using Legos. By the time they were done they could explain the natural history of the beast, how it would interact with any human it met, what its legend was.
Corrin had one of the most interesting. Her creature only aged if it got injured. An injury would bump it along as if it had had a birthday. She said that if it was careful it could live forever.
Vivienne had a stuffed snake that wore a very fancy Lego necklace–Vivienne is our resident princess so the necklace made sense–she just felt that a pink plush snake needed one, there was no connection to the project. When she got down to business, the drawing of her creature had a stately Pegasus look about it.
The kids who did murals went home with their work rolled up like a scroll and tied with gold ribbon. We are a real class act at the FPL.
Meg brought sandwich materials so our healthy snack was more like a healthy meal, no one minded an extra meal. Who would? We also had watermelon that was delivered to our door by an unknown woman who told my husband it was for us or the kids at the library.
Mr. John and I shelved newly cataloged books. We had a torrential downpour–then remembered we had some crates of books on the steps outside. It was a typical summer day at the FPL. And a good time was had by all.
It was insect day at the library. We began with the serious stuff. Me. Talking. It is always in this portion of library that I wish I had taken that education class “classroom management.” The kids were LOUD today. Miss Kary took a shot at it. She did better. After discussing the attributes of insects we settled in for our 15 minutes of reading.
After that we cranked up the BUG FACTORY. We made bugs out of everything from colored paper to marshmallows and spaghetti noodles. We also hunted for insects in the yard with our trusty plastic bug-collecting box.
Corrin and Chloe returned from a road trip with their mom that took them up to New York. I spoke to them on Skype while they were away and told them they could choose the cake for their return to the FPL. The request was red velvet with chocolate icing–and sprinkles, so that is what we had.
I went back to double-check things at the library at dusk and as I crossed the street to go home a car pulled up. In it was one of the families that was there on day one–and whose daughter, Kelsey, was the reason we started the library in the first place.
As she so famously said when I asked her if she liked to read, “Oh no Miss Adrian, I don’t like to read. I love to read.” Children who love to read are rare, but we keep trying to cultivate them.
PRESS RELEASE | July 7, 2015
The Front Porch Library Named Among National Finalists
The Front Porch Library is a finalist for a 2015 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award. The award – given by the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities and its partner agencies — recognizes top arts and humanities-based programs which operate afterschool and out-of-school.
The Front Porch Library is one of 50 programs to achieve Certificate of Excellence status from hundreds of nominations from across the country. If chosen in the top ten, the library will receive $10,000 and an invitation to Washington, DC for the award conference in August. The announcement is expected next week.
Today the Front Porch Library continues to thrive as a book-and-project gathering spot for the children of Seminole Manor Neighborhood. Co-founded by neighbors Adrian Fogelin and Dr. Kary Kublin, the initial vision was to give ready access to books and educational materials to youth in this low income neighborhood.
“The library began with my father’s house, and kids who needed books,” says Adrian Fogelin. Not wanting to give up his house when her father died, she decided to establish a library on the porch—a library which quickly took over the whole house.
The collection now numbers over 3,000 cataloged books, all donated. But the library is more than just books. Every Sunday, a volunteer staff gathers to run programs that bring the wider world to kids who arrive on foot and by bicycle. Library volunteers come from the neighborhood and the community. Many are students from SAIL High School and Leon High’s Key Club. These high-achieving teen volunteers act as mentors and role models.
The library just celebrated its sixth birthday, and there were many past programs and shared memories to draw on: building a Rube Goldberg machine, jousting on the lawn with the Society for Creative Anachronism, quilting, cooking, studying Greek mythology, learning about modern China, conducting explosive science experiments and funding summer camp experiences from one generous donation.
“We’ve seen a lot of kids come to the library, growing up right before our eyes Sunday to Sunday,” says Co-Director Kary Kublin. “If we want kids to read, we’ve got to read with them. If we want them to ask questions and solve problems, we have to make sure the opportunities are there and that they are accessible.”
The Front Porch Library is proof that it takes a village. With this national recognition, the village continues to grow.
More information about The Front Porch Library as well as weekly updates and photographs can be found at http://thefrontporchlibrary.com. Monetary donations are vital and can be made online by using the “MAKE A DONATION” link.
National Arts & Humanities Youth Program Awards is an initiative of the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities (PCAH). The President’s Committee partners with the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) to administer the program.
Even though the national birthday celebration was yesterday we held it over for another day and discussed the American flag in its many forms at the FPL–we covered flags made from soldiers shirts and ladies’ petticoats to the flag we now salute designed by a 17 year old student who got a B- on the project. (I sure hope that story was not apocryphal).
We considered the original 13 colonies. It was a little disconcerting to have Russia and Canada among the suggestions when we were trying to nail those original 13 down. We did our 15 minutes of independent reading from US history-themed book including one about the Mayflower and a book about Ellis Island. I showed off the immigration papers from my dad’s family. They came from Sweden and were processed through Ellis Island. We looked at their names, one of which had been conveniently Americanized.
Then everyone made a flag in answer to the question, if you had your own country, what would the flag look like. They all got into the symbolism of choosing colors. Tyler chose yellow for sunlight and blue for calm. Many of the flags bore an uncanny resemblance to the Stars and Stripes–although our flags had great captions (what can I say, we had letter stencils so we had to use them).
Maggie went birthday shopping in our back room (it is her mother’s birthday). She found a stuffed animal, a little notebook and a gift box shaped like a house. Heather and Hanna and Kary sorted and cataloged books. Mr. John controlled the chaos that is what we call cake decoration.
A very fine day at the library.
Maggie showed up first for Library so she and I made the blueberry muffins–sometimes I just get tired of cake. We had the muffins in the oven even before the official start of library, and plenty of other kids and volunteers as well. If the early bird getting the worm were true worms would be in trouble.
I ambitiously decided that today we would focus on HISTORY in our reading time. To that end I read (or approximately read–given the roving attention in the room) a book about the schoolchildren’s blizzard of 1888. First Tyler did the math on how long ago that was–I have rarely seen such magnificent borrowing. Then we divided into teams and as I read the story the teams wrote down the things they saw in the story that didn’t square with today, things like carrying lunch to school in a bucket and wearing long dresses. Team Jorge won with…I want to say eighteen differences.
Then everyone read for fifteen minutes from a book that was connected to history. Around the room kids were reading about everything from Matthew Henson, the black explorer who reached the pole with Admiral Peary to how to embalm a mummy to Franklin Rosevelt’s dog, Fala.
Meg–who makes the most gourmet healthy snacks imaginable made us falafel which was eaten while painting in the driveway. We rigged up three easels and everyone tried their hand at painting a flower or a dinosaur or an insane chipmunk-like creature that probably inhabits a game on the days it is not at the library. I got a chance to draw a color wheel and teach painters how to make grey and brown–anyone can make green.
We picked up a new jump rope at Goodwill. It saw some double-dutch action. We met Olivia and Klark’s new dog, Story and gave away tomatoes from the community garden. Another fine day at the library.
I can usually gauge the potential turnout for the library by the number of kids I see before opening, and how many knocks I have on the door asking if it is time for library. I thought today would be light–I’d seen no kids. And then I opened the door and they came and came.
With the first four through the door (they come in waves) we discussed fathers but one had a father who had passed away and the other three had dads in jail.The twins roared in and we moved on.
Last summer we had a 15 minute silent reading period and I re-instituted it today. The silence was a thing of beauty. Harper was reading about mosquitoes, Joe about dinosaurs. Jackie found a spot in a back room and stretched out on a bed to read (not exactly part of the plan, but to get kids reading we loosen up considerably). My husband, Ray’s, old darkroom timer counted off the minutes and buzzed when the time was up.
After that Joe built a very large, non-rectilinear structure he claimed was an apartment building surrounding a pool (residents jumped out of their windows to get in the pool). Harper sewed buttons on fabric, Danny did melty beads, Hope and CJ 1 researched the name of the Egyptian god of the dead. Hoops were shot, a little residual reading went on.
We had cupcakes left from the party (frozen) but the icing was looking sad. It was fortuitous that Mr. John got some squirt icing at Walmart for cheap. CJ 1 and I reupholstered them with gobs of icing.
We had a confrontation with one of the boys who refused to pick up the mess he’d made. Hopefully he was having a bad day. It was tough though, and everyone got in on the act of trying to reason with him. I just have to say that there are no future diplomats among us. Still, it was a fine day at the FPL.
Today we celebrated the 6th birthday of the Front Porch Library. As my partner in crime, Kary says, “It seems like longer than that, doesn’t it?” Indeed it does–so many kids have come through the FPL, so much glue, craft paper, sidewalk chalk, reading aloud, shooting hoops, learning Greek mythology–and while cleaning for the party I came across the flash cards I’d made to teach Latin root words. We’ve covered a lot of territory and eaten a heck of a lot of cake in those six years.
This year we served dinner for 35, including two teachers who drove all the way from Jacksonville to be part of the festivities. I can’t thank the volunteers enough–and the spontaneous acts of generosity, like Craig performing his famous Ydon the pirate magic trick and organizing a group poem. Meg, who had just catered a wedding brought all the leftover flowers and put flowers anywhere that would hold a stem, like the door frame and the driveway umbrellas. Kary did a photo booth. Mr. John supervised the kitchen. Tina and Maya helped get the library ready yesterday. Donna, Meg, Penny, Heather and others did a heroic clean-up.
Between the arrival of the twins, screeching into the driveway and the last kid trailing off down the street we ate, did Play-Doh, shot hoops, tossed water balloons, built cities in the living room. It was a class-A celebration and if I was not so tired I’d elaborate. It was a fine, fine celebration.
Goodness! That was one whirlwind of a gathering at the Front Porch Library. We are getting ready for our 6th birthday party next Sunday and thought, wouldn’t place mats be nice? I strung a line across the driveway and as we finished these wildly assorted place mats we clothes-pinned them to the line.
They include everything from a portrait of our beloved volunteer Jorge, to some impressive dragons, and a very convincing cross-section of an ant colony. We hope that everyone who comes to share our birthday dinner will eat carefully (no spaghetti sauce on the dragons please) and take one home.
In the kitchen the aforementioned spaghetti sauce was adjusted and giant chocolate chip cookies were baked for the traditional homemade ice cream sandwiches.
Miss Heather, CJ #1 and Tyler worked on cataloging and shelving our latest book donations so we will look good for the gathering. It sure will be fun!
I don’t let the kids go in the house when I am not there but the front porch of the Front Porch Library is always open for them–so we have come up with a new routine. “Miss Adrian, can you unlock the house so we can get the Legos?” So we get the Legos. “And, oh yeah, how about some board games. And that magnetic block set.” We had just done that, and they’d barely begun to build on the porch when the storm hit. I drove Jackie, CJ#1, and Zion to CJ#1’s house.
The storm died by library time and everyone was back. Everyone. While we made “save the date” invitations (thanks to Cole and Meg) for the library birthday party Mr. John slaved over the evolving spaghetti sauces in the kitchen with chopping help from Jorge and Makayla.
Miss Heather, Hanna and CJ#1 sorted donated books.
CJ#1 had asked if a basketball tournament was possible, and if so would I put it up on the sandwich board to announce the contest to the world. I said, okay, as long as any kid, no matter how little could play. The storm washed the glad tidings off the board, and CJ #1 got too busy with the book sorting to compete. The tournament went on, looking like almost any afternoon at the library hoop–man we have got to get a new pump, our basketballs barely bounce.
Vivienne spent her library time torturing Jorge with a lethal plastic spider, then arranging plastic animals with Miss Meg. Cut-throat checkers occupied the living room folding table. The cake was triple chocolate. Another fine afternoon at the FPL.