Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Tropes and Weekly Readers

This week we are reading several books by Jean Fritz. "At the time when Jean Fritz first began writing her biographies of famous Americans, most biographies for young readers were fictionalized. They contained lots of facts but writers often invented conversations and fictitious or imagined situations through which the narrative was propelled. Then Jean Fritz came along and proceeded to tell us fascinating, often funny details about the people and events that brought full dimension to the book without resorting to fictionalization. Her biographies contain no invention or traces of author's license." (Carol Hurst for Teaching K-8 Magazine).

We love Jean Fritz's sense of style and wit. Several years ago I happened upon a garage sale hosted by a teacher that was recently retired and picked up several of Fritz's "Question Books" including: Shh! We're Writing the Constitution, What's the Big Idea Ben Franklin? Where was Patrick Henry on the 29th of May?, George Washington's Breakfast, Why Don't you get a horse, Sam Adams?, Why Don't you make them behave, King George? Each one is chock full of historical information, personal tidbits and the details that make you want to research and find out more. Of course, there are even more books from this prolific author and should be available at your local bibliotecha. Good reads, the lot of them. What I've appreciated especially is how she has captured some of the confusion, hard work, ambiguity, and floundering that went into creating something as unique as the United States. Often times I think about history the way it's written; neat, tidy and figured out. But studying the dates, times and thoughts that went into severing ties with England and creating from the ground up a new nation was anything but neat and tidy. We've been involved in boards and the creation of certain small groups and getting agreement, focus, etc is not a task for the faint at heart. Hats off to the Founders and those that had the vision for a country called Free.
Poetry continues to be too much fun. My new vocab word: Trope - a figure of speech such as a metaphor, simile, pun, etc.

Yesterday friends Cyndi and Amber came over to do poetry with KB and Feche Boy and we probably talked too much and accomplished too little in the way of homework. But I'll tell ya: learning rhyme and meter and foot boundaries- in other words, the limits (of poetry)- has really sparked the kids imaginations. Flower has been going through Feche Boy's old drawings and "copying them" (sometimes kids are just so darn cute!) and we came across a pirate ship. Flower empahtically stated, "Dontcha know that pirates can capture little girls" and it just went from there. The pirates are gonna escape the picture, capture KB, who will then turn them all into civilizers but it's all gonna be written in iambic meter. The cool thing is that I knew what they were talking about (I'm teaching the class so that's a good thing = ) and so did they.

KB's Acrostic Assignment:
Engaging in
Cultural War where
Act as
And citizens work
Independently, yet as
One united

People into
Duties to
National safety &
Citizen leadership for
~ KB

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