13. Greenday And The Piano Man

Greenday II

New Visitor’s Greeting…Welcome to Let’s Talk, a freewheeling column on movies, theater, television, books, educational practices, current events, and the Internet. If you are a first time visitor to the column, I recommend that you start with the About topic in the Index Bar at the top of the page. Follow About with the Let’s Talk column in archives. It was the first column of the New Year. Proceed to Let’s Talk II and then work your way up to today’s column. These columns will introduce a plethora (a better word choice than myriad) of new ideas and old delights you may have missed. It will give you a foundation for some of the issues we are introducing and following up in newer columns.


New visitor’s comments are welcome, too. They are immediately placed on this page in the contributor’s comment section or are shared with the column’s readers on Sunday. You are welcome, also, to suggest topics for discussion or enlist help from the site’s family of readers. I am a compendium of useless information. Challenge me, please, with great theater, travel, history, books, movies, and educational issues that would interest a wide audience of readers. The “compendium comment” was stolen from Orson Bean. Bean used the quote many times on television talk show interviews. Please recommend my column to your friends and other lovers of discussion.

Greenday On Broadway…This is a Philadelphia shout-out to Greenday fans. The Merriam Theater on Broad Street is featuring Greenday’s American Idiot a play about teenage angst after 9/11. The play features songs from Greenday’s two best selling and award winning rock albums. Critics, that I have read, are calling it the Hair of this generation. Listen to Wake Me Up Before September Ends and 21 Guns on YouTube before seeing the play, if you are not familiar with their music. They will help set the stage for American Idiot. Attending this play will be a nice bonding experience with your teenager. My University, the University of the Arts, owns the Merriam. I am receiving no commission for plugging Greenday. The plays run on Broadway seemed to be well received.

Greenday I

Music…Steve, the piano player at our local watering hole, can play anything from Beyonce to Alicia Keys to Billy Joel to Sinatra to The Beatles. His iPad system even allows him to sing duets when a female vocalist is not present. He is formally from the Ambler Inn, where we hold a number of our school eating and drinking events. Neal the owner of the Ambler Inn is providing no free drinks or meals for this mention. On Wednesday night Steve had this set called Broadway Love. The set featured, in his mind, the eight best Broadway love songs featured in a Broadway play. Maybe in a future column, we will do love songs by present day artists. The conversation around the Broadway topic still continues three days later with a hot exchange of Emails and phone calls. Each of us at the table had to pick our top three Broadway love songs___and then the war began.

Piano I

Revisit your favorites in your record and tape collection. In Sunday’s column we are going to ask you to vote for one out of our ten picks. We will also ask you to share your favorite that is not on the list. On Monday will compile your favorites for another vote. We will, then, pit the winner in round one (your choice of our choices) and the winner of round two (your choice of our column follower’s choices) against each other. Sounds complicated in writing, but not in my mind. YouTube has hundreds of selections from the original plays as well as covers by present day artists for your listening enjoyment and voting recall.

Black History Month…As the discussion of Black History Month approaches, there are a large number of children’s books that are great adult reads and food for thought for everyone that I would like to recommend in the upcoming weeks in my column. The books I selected in my library’s program and classroom were always great stories for sit down reading or read alouds. The stories were, also, outstanding vehicles for discussion and project starters in a multi-racial, multi-cultural setting.

Penny I

The Hundred Penny BoxThe Hundred Penny Box by Sharon Bell Mathis is a story of a hundred year-old woman (Aunt Dewbert) sitting in her rocking chair and telling a young boy (Michael) about her life through the items contained in a box. The items were pennies she collected for each year of her life. Michael selected a penny from the box and his great, great, aunt would tell him the story or nod off. Each penny in this story was/jogged a memory of something that happened to her in the year dated on the penny. The Hundred Penny Box a Newbery Honor Book is certainly about aging and history because Aunt Dewbert was born in 1874. This book is a great project starter. Each member of your class can bring in a real or make believe coin with the story of something in their life for that year. Compile the children’s stories into ‘Room 205’s One Hundred Coin Story Book’. Hang the large coin props your students have made on mobiles around your room.


Millicent Min Girl GeniusMillicent Min Girl Genius by Lisa Yee introduces the reader to a young thirteen year-old girl that just doesn’t fit anywhere. Millicent isn’t your ordinary thirteen year-old-girl. That is, unless your thirteen year-old is a senior in high school and taking college courses on campus in poetry. Even with her intelligence, Millicent can’t find a peer group her age, in high school, or in college. When she does find a friend her own age, she thinks hiding her love of math, books, and learning will be the answer to keeping this friend. This book is a great, higher-level follow-up to Roald Dahl’s Matilda. Like Matilda, it is one of the few books in children’s literature that shows a girl excelling in math, science, or technology.


Her StoriesHer Stories by Virginia Hamilton is a beautifully illustrated book depicting the strengths and dreams of nineteen African-American women. The stories of each of these women in the form of folk-tales, fairy tales, and real tales will catch the imagination of young and old readers alike. The collaboration with Caldecott Medalists Leo and Diane Lane helps Ms. Hamilton combine vibrant paintings with the legends and folklore that bring women into the forefront of school art, literature, and storytelling programs. Her Mermaid and Cinderella tales will soon become your students’ favorites. This book makes a great gift.


The Way A Door ClosesThe Way A Door Closes by Hope Anita Smith is the story of an Afro-American boy expressing his life’s visions through poetry. The book is a poetry introspective of a thirteen year-old boy’s description of the events in his life and in the world around him. Topics about family and absent dads, among others, will encourage all students to use poetry to describe their private and not so private ideas. High school writers in Bronx Masquerade by Nikki Grimes (a great follow-up) discover poetry (vs rap) as another outlet for difficult expression just like the lead character in this book. The book won the Claudia Lewis Award for best poetry book of the year. This award is presented by the Bank Street College in New York and past winners are worth investigating, also.

Penny II

Night On Neighborhood StreetNight On Neighborhood Street By Eloise Greenfield is a poetic and visual portrait of one inner city neighborhood. The author of another reading classic Honey, I Love paints the stories of family, friends, and neighbors with her poetry. Topics include babies, trips, coming home, bedtimes, fatherhood, walking away from the drug seller, being out of work, wanting a hug, staying up late, and a host of other topics we can all embrace and share with our friends, classmates, and students. This an ideal book to use with model writing programs. Honey, I Love contains the great poem about Harriett Tubman by Eloise Greenfield. We use it for memory work every year.

Harriet Tubman didn’t take no stuff
Wasn’t scared of nothing neither
Didn’t come in this world to be no slave
And wasn’t going to stay one either.

“Farewell!” she sang to her friends one night
She was mighty sad to leave ’em
But she ran away that dark, hot night
Ran looking for her freedom.

She ran to woods and she ran through the woods
With the slave catchers right behind her
And she kept on going til she got to the North
Where those mean men couldn’t find her.

Nineteen times she went back South
To get three hundred others
She ran for her freedom nineteen times
To save black sisters and brothers.

Harriet Tubman didn’t take no stuff
Wasn’t scared of nothing neither
Didn’t come in this world to be no slave
And didn’t stay one either

And didn’t stay one either


About tjpalumbo

Tom Palumbo is a nationally known and award winning author, teacher, technology designer, administrator, and grant writer. He has taught for thirty-five years in preschool through 12th grade classrooms throughout the quad state area. His ideas have made a difference in the way thousands of teachers, parents, and children read, write, do mathematics, use technology, and think creatively and critically. Tom’s twenty books on reading, writing, critical thinking, and mathematics have won four national book awards. 5,000 teachers and home schooling parents have matriculated through his graduate courses/lectures. 12,000 have signed up for his website. As Director of Pennsylvania’s Parent Information Center and New Jersey’s Citizen’s For Better Schools Resource Center, Tom received over two hundred commendations for his presentations to thousands of teachers, parents, and administrators throughout the Florida, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Maryland area. Workshop participants receive idea loaded CD’s, access to hundreds of videos, PowerPoints, curriculum links, games, and lessons on his website, and an activity booklet filled with common core curriculum in line with local, state, and national standards. Instruction, on each of these resources, is presented during his presentation. Mr. Palumbo has over two hundred learning centers, bulletin boards, and project developers in reading, writing, poetry, literature, and math in make-it/take it item format that can, also, be part of any workshop program. Call or email Tom to set up a workshop for your organization. Tom Palumbo tjpalumbo@aol.com 215-262-9986 aimtjp.wikispaces.com
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