Monday, January 21, 2008

That One Day

Every Monday Lauren and I introduce a new poem to our class which connects to some event or topic of interest under examination. The topics range from the tooth fairy to birthdays to friendship to numbers and beyond. The repeated readings of these poems support fluent reading, concepts of print, grammatical structures and spelling.

Each week we choose five words from the poem which become our spelling words for the week. This context provides a genuine purpose for the words while grounding the new vocabulary. I must give credit for this idea to my friends Cindy G. and Cindy A. who teach second grade. They introduced me to this concept in June while I was observing their class as part of a study I was conducting. I cannot stress the importance of sharing information through class visits. Fresh ideas are swirling around out there if you are available to catch them.

In addition to sending home copies of these poems each week for the children to read and practice with their families, we have made them available through our class page on our school website.

In December I took a workshop and learned how to include video on our class page. Since that time Lauren and I have discussed the possibility of videotaping ourselves reading the poem in both American Sign Language and English so that parents can see how we interpret the poem.

This past Friday we did just that with for our upcoming poem entitled simply Martin Luther King Jr. poem. I found this poem here as I was searching the Internet but I do not know the author.

Martin Luther King Jr. Poem

Let us dance, let us sing.
In praise of Martin Luther King.
A man of peace who stood up tall.
He worked for fairness for us all.
We must be kind to one another,
Because he said, 'All men are brothers."
So let us try as we dance and sing,
To be like Martin Luther King.

Two excellent children's books that are exceptional in detailing the life of Martin Luther King and his gentle approach to hatred and bigotry are:

Martin's Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (the cover of this book is at the top of the post) by Doreen Rappaport and Bryan Collier.


My Dream of Martin Luther King by Faith Ringgold.
I actually met both Faith Ringgold and Bryan Collier. She presented at the 31st Annual Summer Literacy Institute in the Summer of 2002 at Fordham University and he came the following year. Both have an amazing catalog of children's books. In addition to the two I already listed you might want to check out Uptown by Bryan Collier and Tar Beach by Faith Ringgold.


la bellina mammina said...

That is so beautiful, and so true. And you recited it really well Gary!

Reya Mellicker said...

MLK is one of my heroes. Talk about gentleness as power - wow. He was so brave, so completely faithful to his values, so strong without ever being aggressive.

Thanks for this - and for a glimpse of your animated face and your voice.

lettuce said...

another vid, yay!

(and i recognised "brothers" from your last ASL video lesson :o) she said, smugly)

i've been discussing racism and civil rights etc. with some students, its rather shocking how little some of the know about the history and about slavery. they look like great books - wonderful to encourage them to think and learn about it so early on.

WAT said...

I've said it before and I'll say it again, I like watching her a lot, she's so pleasant.



Gary said...

Bella - I am constantly moved and impressed by MLK's approach. He was simply amazing. And thanks for the support on the reading. I don't think it is my best but the ideas do come across.

Reya - One of my heroes as well. Thanks for the Reyavision.

Lettuce - What a fantastic student! You get the gold star. Well, two gold stars - one for signing and one for teaching about racism and civil rights. Lauren and I read Martin's Big Words in class yesterday and the discussion that followed was quite amazing. Young children are much deeper than most of us think. Well, they always surprise me anyway.

Wat - I am not so sure I am woof worthy in this one but I'll take it when it comes. ;). Woof right back at ya!

kimy said...

wonderful post - poem, interpretation and video. thank you.

ah if only mlk had lived a long life...

I love faith ringgold - she's a fantastic artist (and quilter!) I love how she incorporates history into so much of what she does.... I always come away from one of her children's books knowing something new it seems!

Salty Miss Jill said...

That video is terrific! You and Lauren are a joy to see and hear.
This one is espepcially touching-thank you. :)xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxox

krackman22 said...

Very well dun...peace


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