This is for Slice of Life.
Ok, so maybe close reading activities are not always fun, but we did our best yesterday as I introduced my sixth graders to the classic poem, Jabberwocky. First, we cold-read the Lewis Carroll poem, and here I had students volunteer to try their hand at reading the nonsense words. Then, I read it, in dramatic fashion. We then talked about the structure, and the story underneath the poem, looking for points of evidence. Finally, we watched the Muppets version of the poem, which is completely wacky and silly, and just the right tone to wrap up our close reading activity.
This is for Slice of Life, although the idea began over at our National Writing Project iAnthology site, we’ve been writing about teachers who made a difference in our lives. I created the following comic to remember three teachers whose philosophies and styles linger with me.
The excitement around using Choose Your Own Ending novels in two of my classes continues (and some complaints from the other classes as to when they will get a chance to read them, too). Yesterday, many students began their second (or third) book, and I had them working in small groups to begin mapping out the storylines in one of their books. It was an interesting process, with lots of discussions and page-flipping. This lesson is to geared towards having them get a real sense of how the books were written, so that when they start writing their own next week, it will be easier to jump into.
This is for Slice of Life. My drummer came into practice recently with some high-quality wireless microphones, and I have been practicing with one on my saxophone. This Friday, at our gig, I’ll give it a shot. I’ll no longer be tethered to the PA system. I can dance.
Here is my band — Duke Rushmore – in action as part of our video archives:
Peace (in the sound),
PS — if you live in Western Massachusetts, we’re at the Holyoke Paper City Brewery on Friday night, 6-8 p.m. Entry at the door gives you free beer from the brewery and live music.
When my youngest son started his recent fascination with baseball cards, I figured there must be some cool apps for the iPad that could give him some more information about collecting and information on players. I haven’t found that App yet, but I did stumble upon this pretty nifty App from Topps called Pennant. It allows you to choose a team, and with a very interesting visual, infographic-style interface, you can see all the stats from every game from 1952 to 2012.
There are a couple of ways to look at the data. A timeline view allows you toggle through the years. A spinning wheel for each game allows you to view every inning, and every play. Other elements take you into a view of the entire season of a team, and even the winners and losers of divisions over the years. A map of the country allows you to find team to examine, and there are more features here than we have explored.
This Topps Pennant App really is what they say it is: “…the modern box score” document. It costs 99 cents, but it was worth it for our family of baseball fanatics.
Our house is gearing up for baseball, with all three boys playing in three different leagues (the oldest just made his high school team last week and the other two had Little League evaluations on Saturday). So, at the library, we’ve been bringing home all sorts of baseball-themed books. Brothers at Bat: The Story of an Amazing All-Brother Baseball Teamby Audrey Vernick is a perfect companion to all the stats books and baseball cards, and resonated in our house of three athletic boys. The book centers on the Acerra family from New Jersey, and the boatload of kids they had (12 brothers and four sisters).
They not only literally had enough kids to field a team. They did. In the 1930s, there were more opportunities to create your own semi-pro baseball teams and hit the circuit, and the Acerra boys did that. This true story of the band of brothers playing baseball — with interruptions for military service and other factors of life — is nicely done, and Vernick did her own research by interviewing one of the surviving brothers. She really captures the spirit of family and the spirit of sports. And the illustrations by Steven Salerno were spot on, too.
Brothers at Bat is a book I would highly recommend for the start of Spring Training.
Peace (on the plate),
PS — Vernick shared some silent footage of the brothers on her YouTube account. Interesting.
This is for Slice of Life. I was thinking about the ways I write and share my daily slices of life, and I decided to create this “napkin graphic” to show what goes on under the hood, so to speak.
Peace (in the steps),
Given our boys’ interest in baseball, I am not sure why it has taken me so long to discover Dan Gutman’s Baseball Card Adventureseries of books (which begins with Honus & Me). You’d think this series would have been a natural read-aloud fit for me over the years. My middle son has read a few, but it with my youngest son (8) that we have really dove into the series with great gusto and interest. In less than three weeks, we have devoured Honus & Me, Jackie & Me, Babe & Me,Shoeless Joe & Me, and Mickey & Me. Next up: Abner & Me.
The stories revolve around a boy, Joe Shoshack, who discovers that he can use baseball cards to travel back in time, and begins a series of adventures to meet famous players and/or attempt to change history. The structure of the books is fairly consistent throughout the series, which is great for discussing writing a novel with my youngest, and Gutman does a nice job of bringing those old ballplayers to life for us. I really have appreciated the Reader’s Note that Gutman leaves at the end of the books, where he talks about his research and about the lines he has drawn between fiction and non-fiction.
I am also enjoying how YouTube is part of our reading experience. When we were reading about Honus Wagner’s famous baseball card, we gathered up some information about the auction that brought in so much money for the rare piece of baseball memorabilia history. When we read about Jackie Robinson and racism, we watched a short documentary about the legendary ball player who changed history. When we were thinking about Babe Ruth’s “called shot,” we pulled up television footage to actually watch Babe in action at the plate as he hit that homerun (the results were inconclusive, we agreed.) And I now have Ken Burns’ Baseball documentary in our Netflix streamining account, ready to go.
I might soon tire of Gutman’s Baseball Card Adventure series, but my son is fully intrigued. And he is considering entering a local writing contest, where the prompt has them imagine going back in time 50 years. He has this idea now to use the Gutman books for the model for his story, finding a famous ballplayer from 1963 and writing about using one of his baseball cards to travel back to meet him. I love that.
Peace (on the ball),
PS — here is a cool video of Gutman being interviewed by a kid.