102. Brie Larson, Julie Christie, And Paul Laurence Dunbar

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Movies…Short Term 12…Brie Larson Glows

There are things in life that you see that make you want to run home and hug your children.

There are things in life that you see that make you want to call your parents, grandparents, or foster parents to say thank you.

There are things in life that you see that that make you say before the grace of God go I.


Short Term 12 is ‘that thing’ this week. Short Term 12 is a way station and home for mentally and physically abused children. Brie Larson, John Gallagher Jr., Keith Stanfield, and Kaitlyn Dever star. Brie and John are counselors and have this short time to repair unspeakable damage done to the children placed in their center. Kaitlyn, a wild teenager and new center resident, now lives at this home but still visits with her father on weekends. Keith Stanfield is an eighteen-year-old African American boy who is being let go by the center. He knows he has no outside life skills and fears leaving the center. His traumatic poem frames the story!

Many of the counselors have suffered the same damage as the children they are now trying to save. Their past traumas and memories help them in their work. However, this is a sword of two colors. Repairing wounds like yours, no matter how hard you fight, often cause your wounds to resurface.


Children do not have any coping mechanisms. Sometimes adults even with coping mechanisms can’t function either. Brie’s wounds are complicated by her pregnancy and sharing issues. It is a movie of heavy burdens and heavy topics. Some of the solutions were uplifting. The failures were great lessons in life, too.


Short Term 12 is the story of lost kids and saved kids. It is not a story that attacks the overburdened, understaffed, and underfunded foster system.


Books…The Great Gilly Hopkins…Revisited

Everyone’s library should contain multiple Newbery winner Katherine Paterson’s book, The Great Gilly Hopkins. Gilly is an eleven-year-old foster child yanked from home to home. She will not let anyone love her or befriend her because she is on this mission to find her mother and the reason she was abandoned.

The last family that takes her in has a special needs’ child who is tormented in school the same as Gilly. She takes the child under wing and seems to be finally adjusting to a family that truly loves her. Still, in the back of the reader’s mind, is the notion that she is soon to take off, once again on her mother quest. Picturing what you would do in this situation drives the story.


Books… Pictures Of Hollis Woods

Hollis Woods, a twelve-year-old orphan, is a pistol. No one is going to tame her in the foster care system. Her life started in the woods where she was dumped not even wrapped in a baby blanket. Hollis Woods was the location. This Newbery Honor Book by Patricia Reilly Giff is told through Hollis’s voice and is a great overcoming adversity story and writing example for any class.

The person that really loves Hollis and is her new foster parent is suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. She and Hollis need to escape before the authorities take Hollis back into the system. How a child can escape and go anywhere with someone suffering from Alzheimer’s is a monumental mystery. Figuring the end of the story before the final chapter is a rewarding challenge for the discerning young reader.


Authors And Poets…Paul Lawrence Dunbar

Paul Laurence Dunbar was an African-American poet, novelist, and playwright. In thirty-three short years he framed the African and American experience for millions. His themes ranged from dreams to religion to everyday life. Here are few stanzas from our poem favorites:



Few are the years since that notable blessing,
Raised you from slaves to the powers of men.
Each year has seen you my brothers progressing,
Never to sink to that level again.



The wind is soft above,
The shadows umber.
(There is a dream called Love.)
Take thou the fullest slumber.



Ring out, ye bells!
All Nature swells
With gladness at the wondrous story, —
The world was at lorn,
But Christ is born
To change our sadness into glory.

Dunbar was born in Dayton, Ohio. It is a fitting tribute to Dunbar’s legacy that the University of Dayton manages his (www.dunbarsite.org) homepage.


Emoji Symbols…Embrace The Great Void…Join The Crowd!

Emoji were originally ideograms and drawn expressions used in Japanese culture. They are now the run-away symbols used in everyone’s telephone and computer messages. There are tens of thousands of characters that dot everyone’s email. They are a free application and like most free applications, the site offers you a chance to buy a sub-level of more fantastic symbols for 99 cents. You will never use all the free symbols in a lifetime.

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Classes of graphic design students are now designing scenes using multiple emoji shapes just like the artists who experiment with concrete poetry to draw their poems in the shape of the poems subject.

If you like cute smiley, crying, and questioning faces, this is the program that will enliven your text. The new symbols are far beyond 100 yellow faces in contortion mode. Finding the correct symbol that represents each of your emails is a challenge. The Halloween monsters are a hoot, as are the animals, and buildings for you city slickers!


Speaking of Halloween…The month long, one billion dollar celebration has been canceled this year! Now children can do their homework and not run around in circles for a week after Halloween due to the sugar rush they received from collected candy piles.

Halloween Poetry To Lose Your Head Over…Beheadment Poetry!

Here is a morbid idea to throw into your writing curriculum for Halloween while making a cemetery of gravestones depicting the descriptive life and death of a favorite comic book or literature hero. This activity parallels Monday night’s Headless Horseman scare fright for the next thirteen weeks….not to mention Coven and The Witches that are opening in October.

Beheadment Poetry

Beheadments were an art form taught in classrooms throughout the 1800’s. It involved finding a word which when its first letter was removed would still leave a word.  The clues to a Beheadment were often given in rhyme form to peek the imagination of all students.

I ride on tracks,
From here to St. Lou.
When I come down,
An umbrella will do.                 (Train – rain)

The clues below will generate Beheadments.  Write the two words on the blanks to the right. Record whether you arrived at each answer from the first or second clue.


Ex.  Tree activity / arm or leg                      Climb/Limb (2)

1.  Measure of weight / opposite of off          _________  _________
2.  Polite word / type of rental                     _________  _________

3.  A people spanker / a mouse catcher         __________ _________
4.  A farmer’s tool / not high                       __________ _________

5.  An animal / part of the head                    __________ _________
6.  Ice Cream holder / small number             __________ _________

7.  Body measure / two fours                       __________ _________
8.  Precipitation / at present                         __________ _________

9.  A clothes pattern / to put down               __________ _________
10. Food server / not early                          __________ _________

11. Small rock/ music term                          __________ _________
12. An aircraft/ highway isle                        __________ _________
13. Wide/ turnpike                                      __________ _________


Challenge your classmates with a Beheadment clue on the line below.

______________________________       __________     __________

Write and illustrate a mini-poem similar to the example at the start of this activity. Place your Beheadment poem on a clean sheet of paper for display on our daily work bulletin board.

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Classroom Teacher To Child

A LinkedIn friend sent this to the column without his name.
This message should be posted on every classroom door this week for Back To School Night.
My apologies to the author….

“I want for each of you what I want for my own children. I want to help you be happy. I want you to be healthy. I want you to be successful. I want you to be confident, strong, resilient, and optimistic. BUT I also want you to be the best person you can be. I want you to be a good person. I want you to be kind, honest, fair, and responsible. I want you to be generous and forgiving. And I want you to know that you can change the world.


Surfnetkids and Barbara Feldman Are Great Resources…Revisited

Surfnet Kids is a weekly newsletter with great topics for parents, teachers, and readers looking for that unique discussion piece. Barbara Feldman, one of America’s leading educators, has ten years of topics archived those members that have subscribed to her FREE site with a drop of their email in her sign-up box.

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If there has been a topic in the last ten years that would interest anyone, she has reviewed it with massive files and links on the subject. This week’s “kick-off  topic” on banned books was an eye-opener. Here are her three up-dates on the topic. It makes you want to grab Fahrenheit 451 and read it again…though Julie Christie is our favorite “book vessel” in the movie. It is scary to read about the resurgence of banned books.


ALA: Banned Books
The American Library Association is the main sponsor of Banned Books Week. Their website provides ideas on how to celebrate the annual event in your community or school, lists of frequently banned books, and resources for fighting a local challenge “A challenge is an attempt to remove or restrict materials, based upon the objections of a person or group. A banning is the removal of those materials. Challenges do not simply involve a person expressing a point of view; rather, they are an attempt to remove material from the curriculum or library, thereby restricting the access of others. As such, they are a threat to freedom of speech and choice.”


Banned Books’ Week
“Banned Books’ Week was launched in 1982 in response to a sudden surge in the number of challenges to books in schools, bookstores and libraries. More than 11,300 books have been challenged since 1982.” With separate sections of resources for kids, librarians, teachers, parents, students, writers, booksellers and artists, this is another American Library Association website, created in association with about a dozen other official sponsors. Be sure to visit their YouTube page to view videos of readers reading from their favorite banned or challenged book.


Comic Book Legal Defense Fund
Comic books are also frequently challenged, but I was surprised to learn about the existence of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund. It is a non-profit “dedicated to the protection of the First Amendment rights of the comics art form.” Jump to Resources for articles on why comic books are banned, which comics are frequently challenged, and the history of comic book bans. “Comic books have been the object of legal controversy since the 1950s when the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee to Investigate Juvenile Delinquency investigated the medium in response to public pressure about its content.”

Saluting Local Businesses, Artists, Photographers, And Writers
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Esskay LLC

Scott Kaplan always has good business advice to share. Please check his website out at: www.esskayllc.com. Scott’s business consulting formulas are perfectly suited for small and large business success. His ideas on the importance of face-to-face marketing are very useful in designing your business. Here is what Scott shared in a recent email:

There is little doubt regarding in-person networking being an effective medium for business growth for your small business. Here are three reasons why face to face interaction is so important:

  1. The human touch seems to be absent from online marketing. For centuries now, small businesses have relied on building relationships with their clients. After all, it is easier to get to know a person face-to-face than over the Internet. Try as you may, a 10-minute interaction at a conference will be more beneficial than pursuing that lead online for 3 months.
  2. It is easier to gauge the interests of your target audience when you know them personally. Finding common ground is important for a small business to pursue leads. This is more likely through in-person networking when even a slight mention of a movie or a book can become a point of reference for future discussions and meeting the needs of your client.
  3. In-person networking allows you to make decisions on the go. Rather than having to send or wait for an email confirmation, you can just dial the phone and seal the deal. Not only does this save time, but you can answer queries and address complaints in a better way.


Don’t forget to review aimtjp.wikispaces.com and catapultintopoetry.wikispaces.com for all your back to school creative ideas. These sites are filled with word for word lessons, creative PowerPoints, book talk videos, and links to the best sites to help students in the classroom or those home schooled with their research and Internet investigations.

100 more of this year’s best book and movie reviews appear at thomasjpalumbo.wordpress.com. Drop your email in the follow box and join the discussion.


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 strong 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.

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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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