109. God, Family, Football, And Tears

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Movies…The Best Man Holiday

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About Time and The Best Man Holiday are two new movies that salute the celebration of life, love, family, and friendship. About Time, featured in last week’s column, uses time travel to introduce love and family. The Best Man Holiday uses a Christmas reunion to tell the story of friendship, family, God, and a small smattering of football. Years have flown by in all the relationships introduced in this movie, but this does not make the battles over past wrongs any less epic. The make-ups are just as grand, though.

Holiday stars Morris Chestnut, Taye Diggs, Monica Calhoun, Nia Long, Terrance Howard, Sanaa Lathan, Harold Perrineau, Regina Hall, and Melissa De Sousa as nine friends who are brought together to celebrate Christmas and Morris Chestnut’s record breaking football yardage attempt. New York and its suburbs are the movie’s backdrop. A second backdrop is a great soundtrack. Best Man’s ‘after movie’ album purchase will make your car and home playlist zing.

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Like other reunion stories, you are fascinated by present and past relationships and you are challenged to predict how the author will end the stories brought to the reunion by each actor. There is the story of the movie star, an author without a second book, the football star, the college professor, the workaholic, the sex-aholic, being there for your kids, a mom’s fight to hold a family together, and the lost soul. You might see your story in the movie, too.

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The questions of do I love you and can I love, supported by a great soundtrack and movie dance routine, may or may not be answered in the movie. A good deal of your movie enjoyment genes and tear ducts will be re-activated and energized by these two movies, especially The Best Man Holiday.

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Kids And Their Computers…The Apple eTrade Model

Stefan Weeks is our choice for the new Apple iPad commercials. You will remember how much the eTrade ‘baby in a crib’ spurred stock market sales. We feel Stefan will make Apple’s sales zoom in a similar fashion. Stefan is the son of Mick and Julie Weeks.

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Movies II…Mickey Mouse In Steamboat Willie

He doesn’t look that old, but Mickey Mouse turned 85 this week. Mickey’s first feature was Steamboat Willie. He appeared in the cartoon in November of 1928. Mickey appeared without gloves in his first go at acting. He would get his white trademark gloves years later.

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Ub Iwerks and Walt Disney designed the world’s most recognizable cartoon character for a test screening in Plane Crazy. Steamboat Willie was the first talking cartoon and Mickey has appeared in over 130 movies including Fantasia (1940), our column’s favorite. The fighting scene with a broom and a bucket against rushing water is hysterical and well acted by a mouse. Hollywood! Please, please bring back the movie cartoon along with the feature! How about a double feature every once and awhile?

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History…The Gettysburg Address

November 17th to November 19th is the 150th anniversary of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. President Barack O’Bama will commemorate the event by reading the speech at the Lincoln Memorial. O’Bama’s start for a national day of reflection will be duplicated by politicos, community leaders, teachers, students, movie, television, and music stars across the United States. Join the celebration by reading the speech again or sharing it with a child or friend.

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There are five different copies of this speech. It was not created on the train ride to Gettysburg. Lincoln’s speeches were crafted and refined again and again before they were delivered. The speech most often present is called The Bliss Copy. It is copied below for your reflection.

The Bliss Text Of The Speech

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate — we can not consecrate — we can not hallow — this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

Abraham Lincoln
November 19, 1863

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Television…The Sound Of Music

aasoundchildren  aandrews

Carrie Underwood will be headlining the new The Sound of Music for NBC. December 5th is the live remake of the family classic. That word live is somewhat scary! Many of the stars of the three-hour stage production will be featured in the television show. Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer were not mentioned in the previews. Hopefully they will be surprise guests. Maybe an after show duet between Julie Andrews and Carrie Underwood will be the surprise. Here’s hoping!
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Christopher Plummer, the original head of the Von Trapp family and great co-star with Julie Andrews, will be played by Stephan Moyer. Stephan is a British actor known for his role on the cable series True Blood. Moyer and Underwood should present a ‘have to see‘ duo in this ‘sure to be‘ tantalizing and pleasing remake. The stars and cast have big, big, big shoes to fill.
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Books…Mary Shelley, Frankenstein’s Creator

More and more schools and colleges are looking for non-fiction works to align with the new Core Curriculum National Standards. The Barnard College “Women Who Made A Difference” Biography Series has six great volumes of featured women. The book series offers an inside look at women from Elizabeth Blackwell, the first women to receive a medical degree in the United States to Mary Shelley, the first science fiction writer.
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Aaron Eckhardt’s I, Frankenstein movie will soon be on your doorstep. This is an excellent opportunity to research Mary Shelley and share her stories, novels, and poems with an unsuspecting audience. Her tumultuous life will attract the hard core and the uncaring reader. The Frankenstein hook will help you to help students investigate the sophistication of her poetry even at age ten.  Her quest to preserve the legacy of her husband’s contribution to literature will also be evident as a major goal after her husband’s death.


aablackwell   aablackwellstudent

Elizabeth Blackwell, an American and British doctor, pushed for women in medicine. Like Amelia Earhart in aviation, she realized her actions at her job were not enough. Both she and Earhart toured the world speaking on their particular causes and women’s issues. Elizabeth Blackwell is the ideal topic for Dress Up For History Day or Women’s History Month. She’d look good standing next to Amelia!

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Wordle Word Clouds For The Creative Writer
Creative Writing and Reading Development Using Wordle

Wordle found at (www.wordle.net) is a free ‘word art’ tool that takes creative portions of text and produces a visual representation of the text’s content. The resulting picture or Wordle very similar to a creative word wall emphasizes the most common words by magnifying their size based on a mathematical ratio. This site was originally designed to give artistic pleasure and convey messages in interesting ways.

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Now Wordle is being used to enrich every area of the English language arts’ curriculum. Those areas include summaries of articles, stories, poems, and speeches and also include a myriad of education ideas presented below. The ideas can be used in a graphic or cut-out program if access to the Wordle site is difficult.
 Microsoft has a word art tool that can be substituted for Wordle. The national newspaper USA Today uses the Wordle technique in many of their cover page stories.

1. Write a haiku or short poem

2. Highlight the main idea or a story, lecture, or speech

3. Create a student interest survey

4. Highlight and archive vocabulary from books, stories, and word lists

5. Create a word collage for the book be presented in the classroom

6. Develop character traits of minor and major characters and represent their characteristics in various size form

7. Design a movie, rock star, or product poster

8. Develop a school motto or slogan and its creative graphic

9. Use word art and Wordle in combination to create journal articles

10. Create lists of attached homonyms, antonyms, and synonyms



11. Connect descriptive adverbs and adjectives to their noun

12. Place the words that would appear on a dictionary page between its much larger guide words

13. Record three, four, or five letter words that start with the same letter but meet the criteria for the category where they will be placed

14. Design decals and logos for mugs, t-shirts, and hats

15. Write words that begin and end with a blend or similar word challenges that you have devised to correspond to your curriculum

16. Create the refrain for a song or a product promo

17. Place the different types of dogs, birds, reptiles, or mammals throughout the graphic

18. Depict family members and their likes and dislikes

19. Make a table of contents or chapters for a book you are reading that has neither

20. Send/create a western union cable from a time in history like the Titanic sinking or WW I starting or from some famous discovery.

It is always great to feature new business ideas on this column.
The variety of products, entrepreneurs, and resources is a column constant.


Take a look at Yun Wang’s creative business card ideas. They should take you to the customers you need for your business while taking your work to the next level, also.

Business…Yun’s Business Card

Here is what Yun shared:

It’s not what you know, it’s who you know. This old adage rings particularly true in the ultra-connected world we live in today. However, at times, the influx of new faces is so overwhelming, they start blending together into an indistinguishable mass. In fact, studies have shown that even though 10 billion business cards are printed every year and that there’s an average sales increase of 2.5% per 2000 business cards exchanged, 88% of these cards are thrown out within 7 days.
So, as a business professional, how do you prepare to beat the odds? One particular service, Infoduce (www.infoduce.com), transforms traditional business cards into dynamic mobile engagement platforms that are fully customizable. Leveraging this type of service, not only can you guide the interactions of your networking, but you can also cater business cards for different situations, all without having to reorder cards.

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As you may recall from my presentation, Infoduce is building a better and more interactive business card. I’ve linked a couple articles written about us in the media as well as small business blogs in the DC area. Please let me know if you may still be interested and what I can do to help.


Bookshelf Favorites:

My Mother’s Secret
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Amelia Earhart, Once Again
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The Book Thief

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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One Response to 109. God, Family, Football, And Tears

  1. Jenny Witterick says:

    This does sound pretty good Tom…looks like the same cast as the Butler!
    You’re my go to guy for movie suggestions.

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