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[personal profile] ceebeegee
So I've been having fun lately coming up with all sorts of awesome and exciting exercises for my kids. I have been so, so upset about the murder of Cecil the Lion and it occurred to me that I actually have a kind of platform with my classes so I came up with a lesson involving various exotic animals from Africa. At first they were going to be in the zoo but I was talking with a fellow coach about the lesson and he is a very passionate and committed animal rights activist. I am not where he is and perhaps never will be as far as veganism and vegetarianism but I have great respect for his views. At any rate he took me out for vegan ice cream cones a couple of weeks ago and I was telling him about this lesson--originally it was going to be a zoo theme but he gently suggested that zoos were exploitative. I'm not sure I agree entirely with that--I think there's a conservation purpose with zoos--but at any rate he suggested sanctuaries as an alternative to zoos. At the same time my lessons are for very young kids--2, 3, 4-5 years old. Eventually I decided I could talk to the kids about the African veldt--they wouldn't get the whole idea but they would pick up the salient points--the grassy fields, all the different kinds of beautiful animals, it's far away and awesome, etc.. So that's what I did--a lesson where I separated the four nets and they would feed various foods to the animals--the lions were fed "lion cookies" (the small cones), the rhinoceri (and I taught them that word, along with veldt) "rhinoceros ice cream cones," the zebras "zebra scones" (the small black-and-white squishy balls) and the elephants "elephant cakes (the regular-size silver soccer balls). For our main drill, we have to add pressure of some kind--either through obstacles or by shortening the time somehow and I said "the poacher is trying to steal the elephant cakes from the elephants!" and I had the assistant stand in front of the nets so the kids would "feed" the elephants by kicking their balls between his legs. It's a small thing but maybe that will contribute to some good in the world.

But I also came up with a fun warm-up exercise for this. Warm-up exercises are supposed to be free and easy for the kids, just something to get them on their feet. So I told them: you are gazelles--gazelles are kind of like deer--and you are hanging out on the veldt. So you're walking around with your soccer ball and you're going to the watering hole and you're high-hooving each other with your big thick hooves but here's the deal– the lion is in the middle of you guys and the lion is sleeping because that's what lions do it sometime. (Which is true--lions sleep a ridiculous amount of the day. I actually did a lot of research for this lesson!) Lions and gazelles are not exactly friends (I left out that lions actually eat gazelles!) so when the lion starts to wake up and ROAR you have to be absolutely still. (I also went over with them how to stop the ball--put your foot on top.)   So then I, as the lion, pretended to sleep as my kids dribbled the ball around me...and then I'd stir and say "oh, the lion is waking up now" and then I'd ROAR. And then I'd walk around as my kids would freeze, with the most hilarious expressions--I'd get right up in their face and say "man, I can't see any gazelles here today. Guess I'll go back to sleep." The kids LOVED it. I actually had kids this week requesting to play that again. 3-4 year olds LOVE to be scared. So much fun!
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ceebeegee

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