Friday, December 30, 2005

Paper Clips

In the spring the 6th graders will be studying the Holcaust. Here's a good resource for that study. From a review of the DVD: "Whitwell Middle School in rural Tennessee is the setting for this documentary about an extraordinary experiment in Holocaust education. Struggling to grasp the concept of six-million Holocaust victims, the students decide to collect six-million paper clips to better understand the extent of this crime against humanity. The film details how the students met Holocaust survivors from around the world and how the experience transformed them and their community." There's also a book version entitled, " Six Million Paper Clips: The Making Of A Children's Holocaust Memorial (Paperback) by Peter W. Schroeder, Dagmar Schroeder-Hildebrand. Here's part one of a slide show from the book

Harlem On My Mind: The Great Migration, Maps

Yesterday I spoke to Nancy Bayer (Bueller), the former Most Beautiful Girl in Knickerbocker Village, so I won't be having Harlem On My mInd now. Here's a slide show of maps from the Schomburg Collection

Harlem On My Mind: The Great Migration II

Here's the migration, in slide show form, with historical images instead of Jacob Lawrence's paintings. The more accurate soundtrack is entitled "Back Water Blues," by Bessie Smith. The source of the images is the great Schomburg Collection at the NYPL Digital site.

Harlem On My Mind: The Great Migration

After painstainkingly scanning this book (I have a document feeder scanner, but still...) since it had great value for its art as well as portrayal of the era's history, I found it was online already, The Great Migration Columbia University. Yikes! Anyway, here's a slide show of it with a midi soundtrack entitled Promised Land. It's not entirely accurate as a track, since its own history comes from the westward migration of mid 19th Century pioneers. Don't tell Ken Jackson.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

New Recommended Links

It's been a while since I've changed my recommended links. I added three: Some terrific, ballsy stuff on the state of public education in New York from "The Wake Up Call;" good all around, comprehensive, progressive stuff ranking with daily kos, etc from "The News Blog" and finally, "A Penny's Worth," original takes on a wide range of topics from the mad genius Josh Chasin, aka the luckiest guy in the world. Here's a sample of The Wake Up Call's work from 10/26/05, entitled "Dangerous Liaisons:" Michael Bloomberg is likely to be re-elected on a platform of having been the “education mayor.” Educators almost unanimously feel that he has fallen off that platform, and students have been run over by “reforms” that are reforms in name only.__From top down, starting with Chancellor Klein, the Mayor has relied almost exclusively on non-educators to set policy about matters in which they have no expertise, but impose with raw and unmonitored power. They have abolished curriculum and replaced it with a single, mandated teaching style and methodology that has been discredited and despised by almost all educators, except those whose careers tend to prosper and wallets fatten by its advocacy. Here's the rest of the article along with another entitled, "Sniper's Handbook."

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Harlem On My Mind: Music

From an Amazon review of "From Flappers To Rappers," by Tom Dalzell: "Few things remain constant from generation to generation, but one propensity that's always in vogue is the youthful joy of inventing slang (or as Gustavo Arriolo's spider said to the dog in "Gordo," "Cool expressions change with each generation, dog, dig?"). It's always entertaining to read up on slang, but Tom Dalzell heightens the interest by organizing the youth talk chronologically. Starting with college slang in the 1850s, where "to gorm" was to eat voraciously, Dalzell proceeds to the slang of the 1920s flappers, then devotes a chapter to each succeeding decade, right up to the "circle of death" (bad pizza) of the 1990s. With scholarly derivations and social history, Dalzell has put together a totally cuspy lexicon that's slammin' cool beans. Perhaps Cab Calloway was the most famous of the musicians who popularized the slang of "Renaissance" music. Here's his famous Jumping Jive. Next here's the lyrics for the song. Finally here's a slide show of the informative liner notes from one of my favorite CD's, "Cab Calloway, Are You Hep To The Jive," purchased at one of NYC's musical treasures, Academy Music on West 18th Street.

Harlem On My Mind: Maps

This a portion of a larger map I made of Harlem, downloadable here (2.6MB). I used google maps to create the base map and I used pictures from the sites mentioned on the 12/25 Harlem post to indicate where the pictures were taken. If you wanted to print it out and then assemble it from letter size paper then open the image in Photoshop Image Ready and make 6 vertical slices and 5 horizontal ones.

Harlem On My Mind: Documents

It's taken me a while- a lot of learning through lesson's learned in REAL settings- but I've figured out a pretty organized way of supporting project based learning with digital resources. I'll create a distinct folder with resources for viewing (film, archived websites, music, recorded speech or oral history, and primary documents). The folder can be transferred through the school's server (if possible) or to individual computer via firewire or my latest technique, via DVD's. The DVD technique preserves the original documents by forcing the kids to rename files. It also doesn't require the clean up mess and hard drive space maintenance problems. The only drawback is the time in reproducing the DVD's and the cost. I recently bought a DVD duplicator that helps with the time and DVDs can be bought for as little as $.25 now. Back to technique: Inside of that original transferred folder, in a subfolder, will also be microsoft word, powerpoint and quicktime and imovie templates for use as teacher assigments for assessments and start off points for independent research and project building. I might also provide photoshop documents, with printable "slices" for classroom or library poster construction (the halls can be used as well). This provides a visual for the students to use as a baseline for understanding. Projects can also be suggested from such posters. On this post I'll supply some documents in pdf formats. Here's a first hand account of Harlem History from famed San Francisco editor, Thomas Fleming. Here is one history tour of Harlem done by the great folks at forgotten-ny. Here's a second forgotten-ny tour.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

The New World

This movie recently premiered and it looks really good. Once and a while something of value sneaks through the Hollywood cracks and hopefully enough money can made from such ventures in historical revisionism so that more can me made. The web site for the movie has a lot of valuable stuff. There's a great poster you can download that was made in conjunction with Scholastic. I'll try to push it for the 4th graders studying colonial times, but it will be competing with test prep madness. I can't figure out why the rocket scientists in the department don't leverage stuff like this and the excellent, "Into the West" from this past summer. A guided viewing of such films sure beats the crapload out of useless, boring curriculum guides replete with matrices, rubrics, charts and standards. Here's an example of such. Sarcasm aside, there are obviously smart people working on them, but don't they realize that the average teacher can't get their hands on the materials suggested in sufficient quantities to make an attempt at these units. After all, leveling doesn't permit classroom sets of any books. You have to depend on kids reading different books and then coming together to teach other by sharing. Not bad in theory, but where you have a body of data and information that can be overwhelming to a kid, like in science and social studies, don't you need a teacher to impart some of that? Here's a slide show showing the timeline of events. Here's another showing scenes featuring Native Americans I used the soundtrack from the web site as music.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Wyckoff House: Colonial Coloring Book

I often use the www.contemplator.com site for historical midi files. Midis are small in size and when combined with a slide show it permits ease in transferability. In this case I combined the tune, The Farmer's Curst Wife (The Devil and the Farmer), with scanned pics from a Dover Coloring Book on colonial people. The lyrics, and no smirking please, "A farmer was ploughing his field one day, Riteful, riteful, titty fie day, A farmer was ploughing his field one day When the devil came up, and to him did say, With a riteful la, titty fie day, Riteful, riteful, titty fie day. See here, my good man, I have come for your wife, Riteful, riteful, titty fie day, See here, my good man I have come for your wife, For she's the bane and torment of your life, With a riteful la, titty fie day, Riteful, riteful, titty fie day. So the Devil he hoisted her up on his hump, Riteful, riteful, titty fie day, So the Devil he hoisted her up on his hump, And down to Hell with her he did jump, With a riteful la, titty fie day, Riteful, riteful, titty fie day." This was about 350 years before the Black Eyed Peas and their version of My Hump! I also posterized the coloring book characters for displays in three of the fourth grade classes studying colonial life. Here's the slide show.

Mythology II

Mythweb is an incredible resource on mythology for kids. Combine that with the easily accessible audio from the beautifully illustrated D'aulaire's Book of Greek Myths and you have quite a one-two punch. Here's a slide show from mythweb with the segment on Theseus. Next, here's a slide show with the first few pages of D'aulaire's book with the matching audio. If you want to replay the audio for the page, click on the audio icon. (Note, on pages without text there is no sound, regardless of icon)

Harlem On My Mind: A 4 slide show feature

Last year Isabel wanted resources on the Harlem Renaissance. This was a topic out of the norm for elementary school social studies, it's more middle school. I think her Urban Academy student teacher was doing a project with her kids on it. Before I rounded up a critical mass of material, she was on to something else. Anyway in organizing some of my files I revisited the topic, just in case someone else wants to do it. There's a lot to "mine" (the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture site for one) and It gives me a chance to use my jazz collection. Here's a sampling: This slide show (be patient 5.2MB) features Sid Grossman's late 1930's photos of Harlem from the New Deal Collection at the Library of Congress. Music by Fletcher Henderson. Here's another that features famous people of the Harlem Renaissance. Sound track by Jimmy Lunceford ("Tain't What You Do"). A third slide show features images from Columbia University's Harlem History site. Music, Jumpin at the Woodside-not the original but a great recreation for the film "Swing Kids." A fourth slide show features postcard images of Harlem found on Gotham's York Library. This was combined with James P. Johnson's version of the Charleston. There's a lot of resources from feature films and documentaries as well: A Walk Through Harlem, I Remember Harlem, Murder on Lenox Avenue, Cotton Comes To Halem, etc. Here's a small clip, (but still 6MB) from the American Century Collection.

Clash Of The Titans

If the 6th graders have time to fit in Ancient Greece this year I have a lot of interesting material available. It would be really fortuitous to combine a literacy unit on mythology with the study Ancient Greek History. How simple and logical does that sound-not these days however-unless you're lucky to work in an alternative school. Part of the stash that I have is the Clash of the Titans movie digitized and an old Clash of the Titans comic that I scanned. Here' a slide show of part 1 of the clash of the titans comic. (It's painstaking work, because after the scan I have to enlarge the text in order to make it visible in the screen size that the slide show demands. the alternative, delivering it as an acrobat file makes the size too large.).

Wyckoff House

Ok, here's an antidote for the bitter Scrooge. Marta's 4th graders recently went to the Wyckoff House in East Flatbush for part of their Colonial NY unit. To prepare for the trip we watched video of Sam's 2003 visit along with the slide show they made for the learning fair. They also made an incredible model, with Mr. Stern's guidance, that now is part of The Wyckoff House's permanent collection. Here is the slide show which featured a writing unit that stressed varied opening paragraphs. Here's a portion of Sam's video. Marta always teaches the concentrated ELL group and does a great job.

A Visit From Scrooge

How do you make it look like you are doing something of value with millions of dollars of history grant money? Easy, re-design your web site to make it seem like it has good stuff to share. But a look behind the curtain reveals......Hmmm,
after 3 years they still have "coming soon" and I would say at least 250-300 posts on this blog can easily be applied to school use. No justice, no peace and btw my hat is off to Roger Touissaint for having the kahones to stand up to the ruling class bullies. The "man on the street" wants to crucify transit workers, but it's ok that Bush and Co. (including Bloomie) crucify all of us.

The History of Avenue A

In the picture to the left we see remnants of an Avenue A on the side of PS158 on York Avenue, between 77th and 78th Street (BTW, PS158 has an extremely attractive assistant principal). From the wonderful forgotten-ny site: "One block east of 1st Avenue is a north-south thoroughfare that goes by different names depending on what part of town you are in. Between East Houston and 14th Street, it's called Avenue A, but further uptown it's York Avenue and other names. As originally laid out on the Randall plan of 1811, it was Avenue A all the way uptown. Obviously, though, things have changed. A stretch of Avenue A, between East 23rd and East 25th Street, was cut off from the rest when Stuyvesant Town and Cooper Village were constructed in 1947. It was renamed Asser Levy Place, for one of NYC's first Jewish settlers. Governor Peter Stuyvesant tried to bar him from the city militia, but Dutch West India Company directors in Amsterdam upheld Levy. The city renamed Avenue A for him in 1954. Between about East 26th Street and East 53rd Street the Manhattan riverside bends inward and there is no room for Avenue A, but it once again appeared at East 53rd and runs north to another inward turn of the East River at East 92nd Street. It is known as Sutton Place, for dry goods merchant Effingham Sutton, north to East 59th Street. Avenue A kept its name from East 59th to East 92nd Streets, until 1928, when it was named for World War I hero Sergeant Alvin C. York, who refused to capitalize on his winning the Medal of Honor, saying "this uniform ain't for sale." He used profits from the 1941 biographical movie starring Gary Cooper to open a school for children of his native Tennessee. One more brief stretch of Avenue A remained to be renamed, east of Avenue A in East Harlem. It was renamed Pleasant Avenue in 1879." Here's another Avenue A slide show from Mrs. Santa Claus.

Mrs. Santa Claus

This 1996 made for TV Hallmark film is terrific. Great music and dance routines combined with Angela Lansbury and Lower East Side History. It just came out in DVD. I was showing it to Ms. Rabbe's 4th graders in anticipation of their spring 2006 study of immigration. The song, "Welcome To The World Of Avenue A" has you humming the tune for days. There's talk that a revival of it might come to Broadway in the future (Oh Oh, I'm sounding pretty gay, aren't I?-not that there's anything wrong with that) Here's part of the synopsis of the film: "If ever a movie had Christmas written all over it, it is Mrs. Santa Claus. After a long dry spell for musical fans, Hallmark debuted a truly old-fashioned confection complete with hum able songs by Jerry Herman, sparkling choreography by Rob Marshall, stylish costumes by Bob Mackie and sprightly performances by a cast of talented newcomers as well as movie veterans. The film is filled with snow-covered streets, evergreen-draped mantels and enough Christmas spirit to choke Scrooge. Even the names during the opening title sequence have sprigs of holly underneath. Angela Lansbury stars as the title character, a feisty Mrs. Claus who's a little down in the dumps because Santa (Charles Durning) is so preoccupied with the fast approaching Christmas Eve. She wants to help read the mail, but Santa refuses saying it is addressed to him. She lovingly wraps a scarf around his neck and says, "Well, if you don't need me..." Since Santa barely hears her when she tells him she has worked out a faster route, she decides to try it herself. Mrs. Claus has head elf Arvo (Michael Jeter) hitch up the reindeer and with eager anticipation takes off. Unfortunately bad weather grounds them in 1910 New York and Cupid hurts his leg on the landing. She finds a stable and with the help of Marcello (David Norona) boards the deer so Cupid can rest. Like Dorothy opening the door of her house into the colorful land of Oz, Marcello throws open the large stable doors and allows Mrs. Claus (or Mrs. North as she introduces herself) to enter the bustling world of Avenue A." Here's the entire article and here's a slide show I made with part of the Avenue song combined with selected clips from the movie.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Seward Park High School History

Mickey did in fact go to Seward Park HS. So did Joe E. Ross who played Sgt. Rupert Ridzik on "Bilko" and Officer Gunther Toody on "Car 54, Where Are You." From The Seward Park HS history site:"The story of Seward Park High School began with P.S. 62 Intermediate which was located at Essex, Hester, and Norfolk Streets. When P.S. 62 opened its doors in 1905, the Lower East Side was purported to be the most densely populated spot in the world. People of more nationalities lived here than anywhere else in the United States. Residents were eager to utilize the opportunities of public education as the city schools represented a gateway from the life of toil to which their parents had been confined in the “old country.” To the parents of these children the schools were almost sacred institutions. The students of P.S. 62 immediately began to excel academically. They also had a keen interest in athletics and PS. 62’s champion basketball and soccer teams were the pride of the neighborhood for many years. The original student body of P.S. 62 were exclusively seventh and eighth graders. In 1916 a ninth grade was added making this one of the city’s first junior high schools. Robert Brodie became principal of the school at this time and the school became known as Seward Park Junior High School. The school began a successful experiment with “rapid advancement” and pre-vocational courses. In 1923 Seward Park Junior High became the first experimental junior-senior high school. This experiment lasted only a few years as the junior high school students were transferred to P.S. 65 (Charles Sumner Junior High School). The high school remained and the name was modified to Seward Park High School with Robert Brodie as principal. When plans were made for the construction of the Sixth Avenue Subway, it became necessary to take down Seward Park High School’s building. The site for the new school was chosen as the block bounded by Essex, Grand, Brooms and Ludlow Streets. On this site stood six tenements, P.S. 137, a street running from Essex to Ludlow Street called Essex Market Place, a Court House and the Alimony Jail of which Al Smith had at one time been the sheriff in charge. The former school site became Seward Park Oval on Essex Street which today is used for tennis, running and basketball. Seward Park High School’s new building was completed in 1929 and a new era began. Graduates include:
Walter Matthau, Tony Curtis (Bernie Schwartz), Sammy Cahn, Jerry Stiller, Zero Mostel, Keenan Ivory Wayans, Estelle Getty, Mickey Freeman, Joe E. Ross, Sol Bellel, ex-Knick Tom "Satch" Sanders, Steven Pelly, Marvin Kuperstein and Nancy Bueller.

Painted Signs and Hieroglyphs: Young and Schmuck

I never realized the connection between these old painted building signs and Egyptian hieroglyps until I read this recent Times' piece. Here's a portion: "They are hieroglyphics of a bygone New York; writings on walls redolent of a time when women wore corsets, nearly every parlor seemed to have a piano and buggies could be hired for a genteel ride up the avenue once a blacksmith shod the horses. Signs painted on the sides of humdrum brick buildings advertised such wares and services, in bold block letters accompanied occasionally by an evocative sketch. Amateur archaeologists can still unearth them, faded and weathered as they are, by walking the streets of the five boroughs and simply looking up." Here's the rest of the article combined with a slide show. The best source for these signs are found on frankjump's great site. BTW, do you old Brookyn College folks remember Professor Schmuckler?

Mickey Freeman

If you listened to the audio of Max Weintraub you would have heard mention of Mickey Freeman and Sergeant Bilko.
I got confused when Max mentioned Anemona's husband's name. It sounded like Barbella from Sergeant Bilko. Barbella was Corporal Barbella played by Harvey Lembeck. Mickey Freeman played Zimmerman. I believe my father telling me that Mickey went to Seward Park High School at about the same time as he did. Here's an article about the Phil Silver's Bilko show, one of the funniest ever.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Marv Albert, Without A Dress-Part 2

The next day I decided to do a post game analysis with some of the Silver Stars. I modeled my interview schtick and then let the amiable Chris take charge. I get verklempt hearing these average and ELL kids have a chance to shine. What a relief from the deadening scourge of the mini lesson. There was a lot more, but here's a piece that's download manageable.

Marv Albert, Without a Dress-Part 1

I brought the full arsenal of digital equipment to the first basketball game of the year for the Silver Stars. We lost in a hard fought game and came back to within a point after behind down by 12 with about 7 minutes to go. Lots of missed layups, but otherwise the kids under Carla's coaching know the fundamentals and should have a good year. Here's an interview with the victor's, the Gang Green from 137. A shout out to one of my favorite people, Pam Watts. I mixed still shots with images extracted from the video. Here's the accompanying slide show

Monday, December 12, 2005

Rafael Explains

Rafael and his sister came here from of all places, Camden, New Jersey. Two really nice kids. I used Rafael to explain some of the animation tricks in Imagination Express, Time Traveler to the sweater vest man, David Louie, and his lovely class. One of the advantages of a Mac-the older software can run on a Mac, it just resorts to OS9. You can't do that on a Windows machine. There's a lot of old software out there that is still really good. No one is making content software anymore, the majority of products are tool based. Here's an abbreviated slide show of Rafael teaching. I'll have to redo this, but I think you get the point.

Stuyvesant Pear Tree

From an article in the Villager: The plaque commerating the Stuyvesant Pear Tree on 13th Steet was reinstalled in its rightful place with the assistance of Stuyvesant direct descendant, Nicholas Stuyvesant Fish. Here's the full article.

Max Weintraub: December Synchronicity

I made a conscious effort to boost myself out the doldrums by reconnecting with the lively odd couple of Max Weintraub and Miguel Figueroa. Miguel, one of the best, strongest, and most unconventional teachers who I have ever seen, finally succumbed to Calkinitis and retired in October. Max, a youthful 84 year old retiree, had been volunteering his time and money in Max's classroom for almost the last 10 years. An article in the NYTimes was written about the wonderful work they have done together by Anemona Hartocollis. There have also been articles written about Max's latest venture as a co-owner of Pont Street Stables. Several years ago Max took Miguel, myself and my father out to the Broadway show "Swing." Through Max's theater connections we had front row seats. During the evening Max and my father relived old LES memories. Max grew up on Monroe Steet and struggled as a kid when his father died early in his life (as did my father's father). Max's mother supported the family selling goods from a horse drawn pushcart. Anyway, Miguel was a no-show for our lunch at Noah's Ark Deli on Grand Street. His own father is very ill. During lunch, In typical Max fashion, he charmed and befriended the waitress, a young San Antonian Jewish girl who was converting to Orthodoxy and living in Crown Heights. Arrangements were made to treat her and some friends to a future showing of Fiddler. Synchronicity? Max's daughter, Aviva is an expert in Jewish films. She is a "big macha" curator at The Jewish Museum. She has worked together with Suzanne Wasserman of the Gotham Center on several projects. Sometimes synchronicity is not so great. Here's the audio of some of our conversation.I later downloaded several articles about Max. Here's one and here's one about Pont Stret Stables Finally here's a portion of a January 2005 interview with Aviva Weintraub concerning the then upcoming Jewish Film Festival. There will be a 2006 version as well.

Elizabeth Jennings, New York's Rosa Parks

Actually, it should be titled, "Alabama's Elizabeth Jennings." In my blog hiatus I missed this article in the Times' by LES journalist Katharine Greider. I guess that's one advantage of having a Times' subscription is that I can access the archives now through the premium upgrade. Here's the excellent article.

Dover In Action

The work with Mr. Louie's 5th graders is proceeding nicely. My introduction to Photoshop with them was through the Revolutionary War pages from a scanned coloring book. Their objective was to color in one of the pages using the paint bucket and brush tools. We encountered problems when color leeched from one area to another when I didn't properly enclose gaps. The kids became proficient on "touch ups." They learned to zoom in and out, change colors, use the undo tools and how to go backward several steps to correct flaws. The team of Kao and Kim produced a really nice page. Here it is displayed with two other word assignments I created to compliment the Revolutionary pages. One had to do with sorting by kind, using a graphic organizer and the other using a table to sequence events.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

See The Pyramids Along The Nile

While searching for "Egyptian" music to compliment some of the print resources I was gathering on Egypt, I stumbled on this old Jo Stafford favorite. I created one of my karaoke type slide shows (no easy task, there must be an easier way) and stuck it in an Egypt folder for the 6th graders to use for project research. To my great surprise the kids loved it and even had some familiarity with the song. So did a much to my junior, Ms. Diaz. I guess it's been covered by some more modern vocalists. Here's the slide show.

Seaport Sam


If you are a long time Sam fan then you heard his les stories back in the early days of the blog in July and August. Here he is in action with some fourth graders on his famous seaport tour. Set to the music of my old University settlement camp favorite, Aweigh Santy Ano. Here's the slide show. Here's the lyrics: From Boston Town we're bound away, Heave aweigh (Heave aweigh!) Santy Ano. Around Cape Horn to Frisco Bay, We're bound for Californi-o. So Heave her up and away we'll go, Heave aweigh (Heave aweigh!) Santy Ano. Heave her up and away we'll go, We're bound for Californi-o. She's a fast clipper ship and a bully crew, Heave aweigh (Heave aweigh!) Santy Ano. A down-east Yankee for her captain, too. We're bound for Californi-o. So Heave her up and away we'll go, Heave aweigh (Heave aweigh!) Santy Ano. Heave her up and away we'll go, We're bound for Californi-o. Back in the days of Forty-nine, Heave aweigh (Heave aweigh!) Santy Ano. Those were the days of the good old times, Way out in Californi-o. So Heave her up and away we'll go, Heave aweigh (Heave aweigh!) Santy Ano. Heave her up and away we'll go, We're bound for Californi-o. When I leave ship I'll settle down Heave aweigh (Heave aweigh!) Santy Ano I'll marry a girl named Sally Brown Way out in Californi-o So Heave her up and away we'll go, Heave aweigh (Heave aweigh!) Santy Ano. Heave her up and away we'll go, We're bound for Californi-o. There's plenty of gold, so I've been told, Heave aweigh (Heave aweigh!) Santy Ano. Plenty of gold so I've been told Way out in Californi-o So Heave her up and away we'll go, Heave aweigh (Heave aweigh!) Santy Ano. Heave her up and away we'll go, We're bound for Californi-o.

Guess Who

"Eli Trachtenberg had grown up in the hurly-burly of left-wing debate in New York City where socialism and union theory were constantly discussed. He was skilled in Marxist dialectic yet had a pragmatic attitude toward the Guild's problems." Tractenberg would need all of his considerable powers of persuasion." Guess which one of these award winners gleefully disparages union members behind their backs, consistently lies, brown noses like a dog in heat, negotiates for personal favors, witholds crucial information for selfish reasons and uses the union database to gather dirt on people. Our award winner couldn't understand that this simple, basic C-30 regulation: "The constituent groups on the School Leadership Team shall select their representatives for the Level I Committee," implied some form of democractic selection and not a one man secret flunkie task. Guess some review of inference skills should be required. Poor Eli would roll over in his grave.

Film Noir 2

One of the stars of "Where The Sidewalk Ends" was the beautiful Gene Tierney. I remember reading about how JFK was madly in love with her. Doing some internet research led me to discover that Tierney was born in Brooklyn in 1920. Tierney sounded like a possible Windsor Terrace resident. Her dad, Howard, was a pretty well to do insurance agent. Using ancestry.com I found the Tierney's living in Prospect Heights, at 155 St. Marks Avenue. They had a French speaking nurse from Montreal. Gene wasn't listed in the census, she she was born after the census was taken that year on November 19th. In 1930 the family was in a fancy house in Connecticut. The image collage shows the census record, the location via google maps and a glimpse of the beautuiful Tierney.

Danny Robledo

It's been a long break from blogging. The dropping of my laptop and the loss of data and a non-warrantied charge of $790 sent me into a bit of a funk. Add that to a depressing work environment where leadership is floundering, literacy bullies rule, flunkies scramble for favor and the joy that technology can bring doesn't matter. Anyway something happened out of the ordinary that warranted a post, a rare encounter with the legendary tech guru and LES legend, Danny Robledo. Here he is above and here is part one of a podcast with him.WARNING: CONTENT MAY BE DEEMED POLITICALLY INCORRECT

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

The Men Who Would Be (Education) Kings

What's the difference? Beats me, although one of them may be considered a better connoisseur of women. I prefer the movie version with Sean Connery and Michael Caine. Here are articles about the two. The one on Klein is from the current New York Magazine. Another on Alvarado is from a San Diego publication of 2003.

Rosa Parks: Something Inside So Strong

This has always been one of my favorite songs. It was a theme song for one of WBAI's shows. I tried unsuccessfully to use it as one of last year's graduation song. It's by Labi Siffre. Here's the lyrics: The higher you build your barriers. The taller I become The further you take my rights away. The faster I will run. You can deny me. You can decide to turn your face away. No matter 'cause there's, Something inside so strong. I know that I can make it. Though you're doing me wrong, so wrong. You thought that my pride was gone... oh no. There's something inside so strong. Something inside so strong. The more you refuse to hear my voice. The louder I will sing. You hide behind walls of Jericho. Your lies will come tumbling. Deny my place in time. You squander wealth that's mine. My light will shine so brightly it will blind you. Because there's, Something inside so strong. I know that I can make it. Though you're doing me wrong, so wrong. You thought that my pride was gone... oh no. There's something inside so strong. Something inside so strong. Brothers and sisters. When they insist we're just not good enough. Well, we know better. Just look 'em in the eyes and say. We're gonna do it anyway. We're gonna do it anyway because there's, Something inside so strong. I know that I can make it. Though you're doing me wrong, so wrong. You thought that my pride was gone... oh no. There's something inside so strong. Something inside so strong Here's a slide show of Rosa Parks' images set to the sound track. It's 5Mb, a longer download than the usual, be patient.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Comic Life

I love using comics to help deliver content to kids. Here's a great new Mac OSX App called Comic Life. Like my favorite app, LiveSlideShow, it's built on the backbone of quicktime. It's $20 for educators. No better endorsement than from another teacher from the savvytechnologist blog:"Comic Life: A talk with Robert Grant and Cris Pearson I discovered Comic Life last April and blogged about it. Since then we’ve installed Comic Life on over 1,000 computers in my school district, and our teachers are finding new uses for it every week. Robert Grant, head coder, and Cris Pearson, UI designer, were good enough to chat with me about Comic Life via Skype recently. We talked a bit about how Comic Life came to be, tossed around some interesting ideas about educational uses, and even heard a bit about some upcoming features. On a technical note, I think the recording turned out pretty well considering that I’m in Minnesota, Robert lives in Charleston, SC, and Cris is in Australia." Here's the address where you can download the podcast of the interview. Here's a slide show I made with comic life using pics from Andy DeSimone's retirement party.

Thank You Cindy Gale

From Cindy Gale, a 3rd grade teacher at the Bates Elementary School in Acton, Massachusetts. Like the newly married and lovely Noelle O'Reilly at Children's Workshop, but unlike many teachers, she knows how to use Kid Pix to integrate curriculum. Here's a slide show I put together of her students' work on colonial history leading up to the Revolutionary War. I'll definitely try to put it to use with the 4th graders I work with. There's nothing more valuable than good students' work to communicate effectively with other kids and to help motivate them. I was curious to find out where Acton was and used Google Maps to locate it.

Joseph Bruchac: Squanto's Journey

I'd like to thank Aurora Olivieri for turning me onto Bruchac's writings. From Amazon: "Most American children know the story of the Pilgrims and the first Thanksgiving, but the Native American side of the tale is far less familiar. Joseph Bruchac, a prolific and award-winning author of Native American descent (The First Strawberries, A Boy Called Slow) describes life in 1620 for a man who was destined to save the Pilgrims even as he was losing his family and tribe. Told from Squanto's point of view, this historically accurate and detailed story brings to life one of the most important moments in America's past. Demonstrating how much his people (the Patuxet, the People of the Falls) value honor, Squanto befriends English traders, even after being kidnapped and taken to Spain. After much hard work, Squanto manages to sail back to his homeland, where, in spite of his discovery that many of his people have died from disease brought by white people, he acts as envoy between the English and his own people, and helps the pilgrims survive in their new world.Throughout this moving tale, Squanto's belief that "these men can share our land as friends" poignantly shines through. Greg Shed's gouache illustrations capture the warmth and dignity of Squanto and his friends. Young readers will be fascinated by this lesser-known perspective on the Thanksgiving tradition that remains strong today." Here's a slide show I created from the book-a big effort to combine text with images to conserve size.

The Belelis' of Ioannina

The KKJ website (see previous post) has obtained from the Bundarchives in Koblenz, Germany, the records of the 1960 Greek Jews deported (1850 eventually killed) from Ioannina on March 25, 1944. 24 of those people were named Belelis, all probably related to me, since that is my real surname. What fastidious record keepers those Nazis were! Of course they also received help from those lovely folks at IBM. Here's a link to a book written on the subject. The Bundarchives also provides the images for this slide show of those that were deported that day in March. Here is an excerpt from the KKJ site written about the deportation.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

The House My Ancestors Lived In: Ioannina, Greece

About my Uncle Hy, from The Kehila Kedosha Janina Newsletter, Nov. 2005:"Hy was born April 27, 1922 on the Lower East Side of New York (54 Orchard Street) to Bechorak (Morris) Genee and Firo (Fani) Genee, both born in Ioannina. The youngest in the family, Hy celebrated his first Bar Mitzvah in Kehila Kedosha Janina Synagogue in 1935 and, just recently, on June 11, 2005, celebrated his second Bar Mitzvah to a packed house who braved the early summer heat to applaud his accomplishments. A graduate of Seward Park High School (class of 1939), Hy went on to serve his country in World War II in the U.S. Army from 1943 to 1945 and was in the Signal Corps in the European Theatre. Hy, like many of the Yanniotes who founded and worshipped in the Kehila, worked in textiles. He was the sole proprietor of Hi-Mart Pants for 40 years, making and selling men’s trousers. For the past 59 years, Hy has been married to his lovely wife, Lil, the mother of his two children, Lois and Marty, both of whom now also serve on the Kehila Kedosha Janina Board. He is also the proud grandfather of four.
Hy has always been active in community affairs and has served as an executive board member of the B’nai B’rith and was a president of the United Brotherhood of Janina, among other positions. Always dedicated to Kehila Kedosha Janina, Hy has served as the President of the synagogue for the past 30 years. Without Hy Genee, none of what we have been able to do would have been possible. Thank you, Hy! We are eternally grateful." For more information on Janina go to the Kehila Kedosha Janina website.

I Actually Shook The Hand Of Neil Bush


Last year a Neil Bush came to our school to sell us some Curriculum On Wheels science program. The clever doc wasn't going to buy it, but use it as a free trial. It actually seemed ok and the salesmen wasn't as sleezy as the usual salesman. When he shook my hand and gave me his Neil Bush card I just assumed it was another Neil Bush. Did the doc know? I'll have to ask. Here's an article I came across (a warning, from an anti zionist site, for those that care) about Neil and his Ignite business and some questionable partners of his.

The Baseball House I Live In: Washington Heights

From 10/23/05 NYTimes:"It is morning in Washington Heights, and the baseball field beckons.
Robelis FontaƱez, an 18-year-old catcher, prepares for the day in the kitchen of his family's apartment on West 174th Street, boiling plantains for mangu, a dish that could be called the Dominican-American's Wheaties. His mother, Claribelkis, has already left for her job as a home care attendant. Before Robelis finishes cooking, his best friend, Santiago Molina, a right-handed pitcher with a wicked 92-mile-an-hour fastball, has arrived at the apartment. He is wearing red shorts and a long-sleeved red shirt, his warm-weather practice uniform, and carrying his spikes and his glove." Here is the rest of the article.the article has an audio slide with images, here is a part of it. Previously there was series' article about Santiago Molinas and his homeland roots. This links to a blog entry about it.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Indian Nations

An excellent, accessible, native american web resource from the Arlington, Illinois school system. There are puzzles, quizzes and an online coloring book. Here's a slide show of the coloring pages. You can capture each slide from the movie as an image. From the QuickTime tool bar choose edit, copy. With the image in the clipboard open a photo-editing program and choose a new image. Then simply paste the image from the clipboard.

Guiseppe Nacca

Here's Andy DeSimone's grandfather, Guiseppe Nacca from the 1920 census. The family lived in Carroll Gardens at 27 Cheever Place. The whole block was Italian except for the Fitzgerald's. Guiseppe was a longshoreman and just about everyone
on the block depended on the neighboring docks (about 6 blocks away) for employment. Here's a link to a previous post about Eli Wallach, a Jew who grew up just a short walk away at 166 Union Street.

Across The Universe 2

This was set for Wednesday night's shoot. I like the juxtaposition of the old Spanish guys with the psychedlic background. According to neighborhood "homey" source Norm Whitlow, during the filming they used a Joe Cocker soundtrack. Here's a second slide show. Notice the detail and accuracy to recreate the time down to the book titles and graffiti!

Andy DeSimone's Retirement

Andy's retirement party was yesterday. He was truly a great guy to work with and a great "hard" lindy hopper. Building good morale at the work place, a lost art. Here's a slide show capturing some of the highlights (with a couple of old photos from CSD1's "Last Supper"). He spoke from the heart, but he'd have trouble if he couldn't use his hands.

Bangles

A big Mickey Mantle fan requested a picture of the group that sang, "Walk Like An Egyptian." Here they are, the Bangles

Thursday, October 20, 2005

From One Extreme To The Other: Mickmas....

A picture is worth a thousand words

Mickmas Day

Today is Mickmas Day, Mickey Mantle would have been 74 today. Here's Bob Costas' famous eulogy, courtesy of that famous Mickey swing impersonator, Mr. Energy Star, Richard Karney.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Publishing Party

The fat guy with the beard is saying, "So Felix, is this good for the Jews?" Here's the slide show starring Milagros.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Across The Universe

For a shoot on Oct. 19th, Rivington Street, between Attorney and Suffolk, has been transformed to the 60's for a scene of Julie Taymor's new movie, "Across The Universe." Starring in it are Rachel Wood, Bono and Eddie Izzard. Janie would have loved it. Here's a slide show with some pics I took today to the tune of "Truckin". The actual date setting is 1967. Clue, the movies "A Deadly Affair" and "Luv."