Friday, October 12, 2012

Learn to Fly

Earlier, I told you about how much I was enjoying the children that I see in my daily Inquiry Block.   It's still true.   I witnessed another magical moment yesterday after lunch as everyone read silently until I made them stop and go to the next class.

Okay...every kid but one, but I'll get him going eventually.

This week we've read the ghost story, "The Woman in the Snow," retold by Patricia McKissack.   It's a tale that combines the history of public transportation in Alabama with a little bit of the spirit world. You can find this short story in The Dark-Thirty: Southern Tales of the Supernatural.

Grady, our antagonist, refers to the black domestics that line his bus route as "blackbirds."   Most of us have a lovely image in our heads when we read the word "blackbirds," so it's a good reminder that words can have both positive and negative connotations based on the attitude of the user.  And, yes, connotations are in the curriculum framework for the 8th grade Virginia Standards of Learning.

We're also listening to the following song.   I bet you knew that this was coming.   It's Paul McCartney's tiny, elegant song, "Blackbird."   This time the tone is one of hope and compassion.

I copied the lyrics for the kids.   Next week, we're going to fold the lyrics up and tuck them inside a plastic egg to make a Beatle Bomb.   Are you as concerned as I am about unleashing 25 teens with plastic eggs to toss into THE REAL WORLD?   Hold your breath.

On the other hand, wouldn't it be awesome to spy a lonely plastic egg, open it and find Sir Paul's lovely words?   It's worth the risk.   I think.

Our next art activity was based on a Christmas ornament from The Art-Full Tree.   Knowing one of the authors makes me feel really important, so let me tell you that I know Ms. Jan Gilliam, and this book is one of a kind.   

There are several ornaments that you may choose to make, but we are made the dove.   We are using black card stock to keep in line with our idea of beautiful blackbirds.   I admire the dove that was given to me all year long, so it is not solely for the purpose of hanging on a Christmas tree.   Teens love to decorate their bedrooms, and a few of the boys had already planned where to place their creations.

Card stock, push pins, scissors, clear thread, a light crayon/colored pencil and some cardboard are the only other materials you'll need.   There's a template for you to photocopy in the back of the book.

The finished products looked better than I predicted.   I have to admit that when it came time for the detailed push pin work, I wasn't sure if they'd have the needed patience.   They did.

While I have you here, I also wanted to show off two of the small collages a student made earlier.
If you remember, the subject of the artwork was, "If I had wings..."

Kat's going to fly to concerts all around the world. Check out her bloody handprint wings.   Creative idea.
Those handprints came from a magazine; I promise.

Caroline's going to sprinkle our world with food for hungry animals.
Special thanks to my dear friends and art people:
Rachel Oney for gifting us with card stock and clear thread
Aimee Layton for those deliciously new white Crayola Crayons
Sandy Phillips and Donna Lassiter for regular contributions to my Magazine Mountain.

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