Saturday, February 11, 2012

Poetry: Whoa, Dude!

Romantic poet looking pensive

Would be a 'whoa, dude!' experience

That's awesome! Not exactly what Wordsworth said, but almost. This is a very famous poem with lots of mixed metaphors, but still great for this time of year with all the tulips and daffodils popping up
The theme of feeling a part of nature and having joy in reflecting back on a beautiful experience is worth reading this poem with kids. Plus, they will meet 'I Wandered Lonely As A Cloud'  many times in English literature class. I do like the daffodils dancing spritely. Personification does it for me every time.

in Just
by e e cumming
Springtime is an excellent time for teaching poetry because it seems poets get very inspired during this season. e. e. cummings even made up new words for spring--mudluscious (You can hear your galoshes go schluppp as you try to extract them out of the newly melted snow/mud. Like hot fudge being pulled out of a sundae. That's mudluscious.) And everyone knows what puddlewonderful is; none of us resist splashing in a puddle. Of course, we in SoCal can't fully appreciate the ecstacy that the folks Back East experience having a puddle to splash after everything freezes for half the year--but we sort of empathize.
That's not eddieandbill or bettyandisbel. Maybe its bettyandeddie or isbelandbill; or bettyandbill or isbelandeddie.

 Kids also love music. So it is no surprise that Spring from Vivaldi would really tickle them with the marvelous sounds of a  spring day--that they can identify on their walk to and from school. The music even sounds like flowers burst-blooming in the sun.
Performed by the Budapest Strings.






Tweets of the Week

Lots going on in Tweetland this week.

News! Good news!
 As a nation we are using the information highway together!

This article references the many questions about the source(s) of autism.,0,5744660.htmlstory

This article describes a teaching technique for the autistic that sounds like 'Gentle Teaching' and would be appropriate for everyone, I think.,0,544346.story

We all hope to find teaching techniques or therapies to solve learning hindrances. We will keep at it!,0,3438178.htmlstory
Living your life is the best educational therapy.

Are there more students with autism, or are we more aware of the problem and therefore identify them?,0,1218038.htmlstory

Parents can make a positive difference in procuring help for their kids in school--all kids.,0,3900437.htmlstory

There are different levels of autism, and sometimes it goes undiagnosed.,0,2311211.htmlstory

Don't panic, parents! But it is a good idea to know what developmental milestones your baby should be near.,0,7724152.story

Writing phobia---let's wipe it out! Teachers project confidence!

Good question, teachers. Do kids see you write?

Let's go national with those pencils!

Love this quote from the National Writing Project. But then several wonderful somebodies taught me to write.

Writing is Essential

Writing is essential to communication, learning, and citizenship. It is the currency of the new workplace and global economy. Writing helps us convey ideas, solve problems, and understand our changing world. Writing is a bridge to the future.

Thank you, Sister Mary Patricia, CSJ. You were so kind and persistent. Still appreciate how you used to pencil in 'Try again, M,' in my journal next to really awful freshman poetry. I did try again.

Previews and Movie Review: Journey 2

Reading the book is always better. Period. But sometimes films get the kids curious about the real books and authors, and this film does that. Its a quick romp with references to Jules Verne, Robert Louis Stevenson, Jonathan Swift and various Greek myths, with some charm and humor. Dwayne Johnson and Michael Caine enliven the story, though one should see better graphics from Disney. The younger actors (Josh Hutcherson and Vanessa Hutchens) aren't given much to work with. Luis Guzman does wonders in his role. There are some clever interludes.
 For those of us who rode the old Nautilus at Disneyland, reminicse.  Here are some trailers.

Best adventure ever. Aaaarrr.
Parents may wish to read the extraordinary books referenced in the film with children as an adventure in itself. The description of Jim Hawkins climbing the rigging in Treasure Island, I won't say why, but it is alone worth reading the book together.

This would also be a good opportunity to get Greek myths straight in kids' heads. Fables and myths are always part of standardized testing, beside those Greeks invented the horror genre, so kids actually like them. Find a simplified version of the famous heroes--Perseus is coming along big again soon. And it is also excellent to see the film after you are acquainted with the characters.
This is some horrible stuff: kids love it.
Lots of paperbacks if you can't find what you want at the library.
There is another Greek myth film coming out soon, Perseus in the forefront.
This is without Kraken. You can check out the preview. The Wrath of the Titans!

The trailer should entice you to read the book.
Please don't miss this wonderful opportunity to travel to Middle Earth with your child or class before December 12, 2012, when the Hobbit comes out. Most everyone has seen Frodo's films, but this is a headsup, obvious chance to share an extraordinary experience prior to seeing what is actually, amusingly, a prequel. It's Bilbo's turn. I am going to nag you about this. J.R.R. Tolkien writes settings so fantastically that you will always be thrilled that you and your 10 to 32 year old read this book out loud together.
Just the spider scenes are worth it. You just have to read this before what appears to be the best of Peter Jackson's Middle Earth films is out. It is a most endearing experience to share, my Precious. 

Sunday, February 5, 2012

NFL Coaches With 'Super' Advice To Teachers

Pats' coach Bill Belichick
Well, I'm willing to listen. Here's what the NFL is telling teachers on Super Bowl Sunday.,8599,2045812,00.html?xid=fblike
And Tiquan had his Pats' hair cut.
This is really interesting. The NFL folks give reasonable advice about evaluating data to create a more effective game plan (lesson.) Good idea, but hardly news.  But then the 'Widget Effect' comes up in the conversation, basically stating that weak coaches/players, teachers/administrators should be identified and eliminated. I guess like Tiquan Underwood who was fired the day before the Super Bowl. We'll see if the Pats win. (It's 3:52 pm PST)

Bill Walsh, one of the best ever coaches
Now, Bill Walsh, that's the coach of coaches. He wrote some very positive advice for teachers and everyone who works with kids.

"Kids who take part in any sport get to feel the euphoria of victory, but they also learn how to deal with loss."

"Having to play a role determined by coaches, whether it is exactly what a player hopes for or not, teaches the acceptance of authority -- but not an automatic, robotic acceptance."

"Athletes have to also understand that anxiety is not a flaw, and that overcoming it is possible -- and sometimes a lot easier than they thought."

"The social elements of team sports have far-reaching effects. Team members develop the ability to communicate under stress. They learn to respect others whether they like them or not, and if a team is ethically coached, its members also are taught to respect their opponents no matter how fierce the rivalry."

Thanks, Coach.

And for all of us underdogs:
Inspirational and cheesy both--just what kids love.
I couldn't choose between 'Gonna Fly Now' and 'The Eye of the Tiger.'
I always wished Mr. T was my Big Bro.