Thursday, November 20, 2014

I Love a Parade!!

I'm linking up with Speech is Sweet for her weekly "Wild About Books Wednesday Linky Party!" Naturally, I'm a day late, but why not keep it going a little longer? I came upon this book by chance when I was purchasing a Thanksgiving book. You know how Amazon makes recommendations based on your purchases in the hopes of suckering you into buying more! I'm an easy sell! The book is titled "Balloons Over Broadway: The True Story of the Puppeteer of Macy's Parade." This year marks the 90th Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and it is truly fascinating to read about how it all came to be. The creative genius behind the parade balloons is Tony Sarg, an immigrant marionette maker with remarkable vision.  The story chronicles how he transformed the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade into the beloved annual extravaganza it has become.
Available here
I love this book! It has a lexile of 1000 which is appropriate for grade 6 and beyond. The plot is extremely engaging and the illustrations are amazing. The author/illustrator creates mixed media collage illustrations that are interesting and captivating!

This is how I am using "Balloons Over Broadway" in our speech room:
  1. The tier 2 vocabulary is rich and robust.  You'll find words like jostle, articulate, marionette, shimmy, sallied, flounce, rigged.
  2. Making predictions: as the subject of the story tinkers with how to offer a parade for the generations my students offered their suggestions.
  3. Problem solving: creative geniuses often run into problems or potential problems.  Balloons Over Broadway allowed my students to help Mr. Sarg solve his problems.
  4. Executive functions: After reading the book together, I asked students to work together to design and create their own rod puppets.  They aren't finished yet, but I will post a picture on Instagram when they are complete!
  5. Balloons Over Broadway fits nicely with Social Studies as the impetus for the parade was to help Macy's employees, many of whom were immigrants, feel more at home in America, as they were longing for their traditions.
  6. Comparisons:  We watched a video on YouTube of the 2013 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and compared with the original parade from 1924.
  7. Science:  I never thought about where helium comes from and recently learned in a science class that it is found in underground rock formations. Helium is also a by-product of drilling and processing natural gas. The United States even has a Federal Helium Reserve! Who knew?
  8. Writing: Using the Expanding Expression Tool by Sara L. Smith, students can summarize the book.  I have a poster with descriptions of the beads on Teacher Pay Teachers.  You can grab it for free by clicking HERE
I hope you check this book out and let me know if you love it as much as I do!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Lest We Forget

In 1979, at the ripe, old age of 18, I chose speech-language pathology as my area of study in college. I drove my brown 1973 Pontiac Ventura to classes everyday (three on the tree, by the way). I was a generally happy kid, gracefully shifting between studious young woman, drug store cashier, and quarters playing, weekend party animal. I graduated in 1983, and began my career at 22 years old as a speech-language pathologist. My first jobs were as an itinerant and part-time SLP in three or four different towns while also working as a cashier in both Food Town and Thrift Drug. That first year out of school I had nine W-2 forms at tax time! I was able to choose a career and make my dream a reality with ease. I was free to go to college as a woman. I was not denied employment because of religious discrimination. I was not prohibited from driving a car or hanging out with my friends on the weekends. Why? Because brave men and women acted, so that my freedoms were protected.

While Veterans' Day is a wonderful day off in the middle of November it is also an opportunity to remember the courageous and selfless actions of those who preserve the American dream. This week I don't have a cute craftivity, fancy packet, or amazing book companion. I don't have anything "speechie" at all. All I have is a short post paying tribute to the individuals who have sacrificed for the common good, so that I can live as fully as I choose. Let's remember on November 11, 2014 the men and women who have willingly served to protect our freedoms.

"To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations…" President Woodrow Wilson, November 1919.
Thanks Dad, Pops, Pop, Ted and Doug!
Theodore Ruehl, my Pops

James Doyle, Jim's Pop

August Polizzi my Dad

Doug, a hero

Sunday, November 2, 2014

A Turkey for Thanksgiving

I've always felt that as one who works in a school, the days pass so quickly because I always have my eye on the next season or big holiday to theme my activities around. With Halloween a thing of the past, I've now set my sights on Thanksgiving. There are only fifteen (yes, fifteen) school days in the month of November. That doesn't give me much time to use all the amazing materials and activities I have in my collection. I do have some tried and true activities that are my go to's for the season and one book in particular I have been using for at least twenty years: A Turkey for Thanksgiving by Eve Bunting. It lends itself to some pretty amazing speech therapy. The illustrations, by Diane de Groat are so expressive and allow for considerable social pragmatic conversations. The text is rich with figurative language and tier two vocabulary. The dialogue between the characters incorporates many opportunities for abstract thinking. The story itself is a surprise for those who haven't heard it before.

Since it's evident this is one of my faves, I thought I would venture into some new territory and create a book companion ("Do one thing everyday that scares you"). I now realize why I buy book companions and don't create them! Whew, it took me hours!!!!  Nevertheless, I'm satisfied with the result and I will be using it my own speech room.

I'm giving away a copy (another first that's scary! Just love living on the edge...NOT!) Let's hope it works :-) a Rafflecopter giveaway