Wednesday, November 30, 2005
Cousins, Rice, Sea Legs, and Multiplication
Multiplying People, Rice and Readers
My sister wrote about a rice tale on her blog. (The Median Sib- scroll down near the bottom of the page.) I've read the rice tale. It's in one of our reading books, but that version is called "The Rajah's Rice", I think. It teaches the power of multiplication.
When we start talking about multiplication each year, I greet my fourth grade students with: "Hello, Cousin Jenny, Cousin Joe," ... etc. They ask why I'm calling them cousins. I say, "Well all of us are cousins aren't we?" Eventually I say I can prove it's true. And I start doubling parents, grandparents, great-grandparents and going back 25 years per generation. By the time we get to 1492 or so we're past a million ancestors apiece. A few generations more and we each have more ancestors than the earth had people at the time. We are all cousins.
I have enjoyed The Median Sib's discussions of kids' books. (She also tackles that subject on her other blog: The Reading Teacher.) I love children's literature. I would have thought that I had read most of the Newbery Award winners during 25 years of teaching elementary school, but when I counted them up, I'd only read about twenty out of 84. I've been trying to better that record since early this year. I've now read over half of them.
They are all good so far, but some are definitely not really the best of their year of publication. And a couple are just strange.
And some books that make my all-time favorites list didn't make the Newbery commmittee's cut for the best children's book for eht year of its publication. Charlotte's Web, Hatchet, The Lion's Paw, The Little House books, Bristle Face, and Jim Kjelgaard's books are beloved but un-Award-ed. (Several received other awards or the "runner-up" Newbery Honor.)
I’ve recently read a new silly book called Sea Legs by a British author, Alex Shearer. I laughed out loud several times. Nothing deep. Just a good kids’ book. It’s about a set of twins who stow away on a cruise ship. My student twins were eagar to read it when I told my class about it. Since they were in the middle of other big books I loaned my copy to another student first. It is now being read by one of my twins though he had to wait through three students before he got a turn. Each reader has speculated about which fictional twin is most like each of our real twins.
And today we finished The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. That gives us time to read The Best Christmas Pageant Ever before the Christmas break. I have Imogene Herdman in my class this year. I wonder if my students will notice.