Thursday, October 31, 2013

Poems Related to The Absolute Value of Mike (Math Conference)

1. A Homeless Man Francis Duggan

When compared to mine his dreams are very humble he does not seek much out of life at all
A small flat he could call his home to live in compared to most his wishes seem quite small
At sixty seven years he's on the street and homeless a Winter dawn is breaking cold and gray
With long gray beard and looking thin and shabby he walks uptown as he does every day.

Some may say at his age he should not be homeless that life's many chances he left them go by
But they don't know him or his circumstances he is a person just like you and I
So many of us lacking in compassion beyond our own selves we can't seem to see
We applaud the wealthy see them as successful and condemn all of those in poverty.

Where did he sleep last night? the thought just chills me
perhaps on park bench in the park nearby
I feel so lucky I've a warm home to go to and a comfortable bed on which to lie
Save for circumstance his lot in life might have been my lot

A wintery dawn above the city breaking and the nip of winter in the morning air
And a homeless man uptown is slowly walking a gray bearded man with long gray straggly hair
There's many more like him around this city people like him nowadays no longer rare
And when compared to him I feel I have been lucky and by circumstance I have been treated fair.

2. An Experience with a Crazy Old Woman...
at the first glance
an old woman
well dressed
does not appear to
be what she really is:

perhaps because of too much sorrow
over land
or perhaps she cannot accept
the reality
of children leaving finally
old mothers

she talked a lot
and we all compromised out of respect
for old age
wisdom is obviously

she had become a pestering parrot
a hissing snake
a shouting monkey

we called the police to throw her out
we all look at ourselves
freed from all guilt

we no longer wonder
what children are for...

3. Crazy Uncle Pete by Jaimey Perham

He plays his banjo and chews on raw wheat
Winks at pretty women and dances to his own beat
Never goes hungry because he hunts for his own meat
Ladies & gentlemen let me introduce you to crazy old Uncle Pete

Down in quiet Newville near Big Spring Creek
He works at the factory wielding steel in the summer heat
Not much of a worker, but stands all day on his two sore feet
Wears jean overalls & at the end of day enjoys his leather seat

One weekend evening he went to where local folks meet
Played a hand of poker at the stranger’s table and got badly beat
Promised the big bad man money at the end of next week
The weighty pressure was on heavy for crazy old Uncle Pete

He went to his family and begged for some money to pay that sheik
All they gave him was a few torn bills wrapped in a dirty white sheet
He hurried home & washed himself truly clean & dressed real neat
Went to the big bank for a loan, but was thrown back on the street

Time seemed to slip very quickly into the end of next week
Small town soon knew of his problem because of a whispered leak
He knew he was in great danger and stuck in the mud way too deep
The days were numbered straight down for crazy old Uncle Pete

Moonless due night came so he left with the bag wrapped in a sheet
Everyone in small town followed him to the summit with the sheik
He arrived at the crossroads meeting place late & noticed the creep
Handed his sidekick the heavy bag and tried, but could not leave

To great surprise you might say the bag was empty, just the sheet
Pete promised the money if he was granted just another short week
The sheik said no and shot the poor man right where the heart beat
Crazy old Uncle Pete got cremated, ashes flung in Big Spring Creek

4. Parallel Lines by Annabelle Chane

We will never meet, intersect, or cross,
And I'm afraid the space betwixt us is too much across.
I know we can spend our lives together, side by side,
Yet again, I fear the space that divides us is far too wide.

When I try to bridge the gap, there is nothing but resistance.
As I look then between us, there is nothing but distance.
We are so much like two north magnetic poles, it's strange-
Try as you might to close the distance, nothing will change.

Going the same direction, going the same speed,
You would think that by being together, we would only succeed.
While this might be true, what is not is far more.
I will never be closer to you than I am now, or was before.

We will never see eye to eye, and to you that's fine.
I suppose we are nothing more than parallel lines

5. Skew Lines
Skew lines – (n.) two lines that are not on the same plane; do not intersect and are not parallel

Sometimes I'm pretty darn sure I float.
Heck, maybe I even sink.
All I know is that we're not on the same plane,
And I can't believe how bad it hurts.
I know I can make it on my own.
I also know I just don't want to.
I’m stronger then I want to be,
At times.
Yet, sometimes I'm weaker
Then I ever thought I could be.
Am I really asking that much?
Understanding isn't all that
Expensive is it?
Sometimes I wish
I could take my skull
And crack it open
On my bedpost,
And let all my heavy
Weighing thoughts
Pour out,
Spill out,
Like never-ending rain.
(Or like pixie dust.
I'll just fly away now,
Get out of your hair.)
That night you made me realize,
No matter how close we get,
It’ll never be close enough.
We’re standing side by side,
My hand in yours.
So, why do I feel so alone?
The peace and security I always found
With you,
Seems to have taken a vacation.
I hope it comes back soon.
We belong in a geometry book.
We run in opposite directions,
And despite all the tears, we never seem to meet.
I don't want to have to accept
That no matter what,
You’ll never be close enough.

Common Warning Signs of Dyscalculia in Children in Grades 3-8 (Math Conference)

Common Warning Signs of Dyscalculia in Children in Grades 3-8
By NCLD Editorial Team

Dyscalculia refers to a range of learning disabilities involving math. Dyscalculia affects people in different ways and may even vary over a person’s lifetime. Are you concerned that your child is struggling with math and math concepts? If so, the following list of common warning signs of dyscalculia in children in Grades 3-8 may help clarify your concerns.
Everyone struggles with learning at times. Learning disabilities such as dyscalculia, however, persist over time. If your child has displayed any of the signs below for at least the past six months, it may be time to seek help from your child’s school or other professionals.
The "symptoms" listed below also apply to other types of LD’s and/or to Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (AD/HD) -- which often co-exist -- so you may want to review our more comprehensive Interactive Learning Disabilities Checklist to take a broader approach to your child’s challenges.
For at least the past six months, my child has had trouble:

·         Understanding the one-to-one correspondence between number symbols (4) and objects (4 horses, 4 cars)
·         Counting and calculating rapidly
·         Learning/memorizing basic math facts (addition, subtraction)
·         Learning counting strategies (such as by 2, by 10, by 100, etc.)
·         Developing math problem-solving skills
·         Learning multiplication tables, formulas, and rules
·         Learning math vocabulary
·         Making comparisons such as more than/less than
·         Estimating numbers and quantities
·         Measuring things Telling time

Visual-Spatial Sense:
·         Understanding spatial directions (such as left and right)
·         Navigating in unfamiliar surroundings
·         Accurately judging speed and distance
·         Reading and interpreting charts and maps
·         Mastering number knowledge (recognizing the number of dots on dice without counting) Accurately perceiving the passage of time

·         Feeling motivated and confident about learning
·         Joining peers to play games that require counting and math strategies
·         Responding appropriately to teasing or criticism by peers and adults who don’t understand his academic and practical struggles

Don’t hesitate to seek help from a professional if your child displays several of these warning signs. Print out this article, mark the warning signs that apply to your child, and share the list with educators or other professionals who you consult. Because dyscalculia is less common and not as well-understood as dyslexia, you may need to be patient but persistent during the assessment process. The good news is that with proper identification and support, your child will be better able to succeed in school, the workplace, and in life.

RL 6.10 - RI 6.10 Station Information (Math Conference)

Essential Skills/Concepts Related to RL 6.10

Drama is one of those neat words that can be used in several different ways. It can be used to describe a certain type of play or movie where lots of stuff happens.

The word drama comes from a Greek word that means “action”. When there is action, something happens! For example, someone breaks their leg, two people get married or a baby is born. This action creates tension and excitement over what will happen next and help to make the story (and life!) dramatic or full of drama.
Drama is intended to reflect human behavior and action in the midst of crisis and everyday life. Several genres exist within drama, each with their own storytelling methods, character types and dramatic approach. There are four main genres of drama: the tragedy, comedy, melodrama and tragicomedy. Understanding the characteristics of these genres creates a basic understanding of the influences and types of theater being produced today.

The tragedy deals with a serious action in which the consequences are of great magnitude to the characters involved. This genre tells the story through action instead of through narrative. It often deals with profound problems that are universal to the human experience. The tragic hero, or protagonist, of the drama often has one tragic flaw that causes his undoing, usually hubris, or too much pride. The protagonist realizes the severity of the flaw too late, which leads to inevitable downfall. A tragedy's action is meant to fill the audience with fear and pity while the action takes place; however, at the conclusion of the action the audience is meant to leave the theater uplifted and enlightened about the drama's unfolded events.

Comedy represents the sense of renewal and rebirth, which is why this genre traditionally ends in a wedding and the expectation of a future generation. The pain and pity projected by a tragedy is replaced with absurdity and mass intellect in comedy. Characters behave in comic and absurd ways, serving as a mirror for society that encourages corrective behaviors. Romantic comedies point out the absurdities people perform when in love, which usually lead to unsuspecting unions. Dark comedies, on the other hand, leave the audience with a grim truth that's presented in humorous, playful seriousness.

In a melodrama the tragedy or problem is caused by external forces outside of the protagonist's control. It sets itself apart from tragedy because the protagonist does not take responsibility for the action, nor does she feel guilty. In fact, the protagonist is often the victim of circumstance. The melodrama has clearly distinguished good and evil characters. These plays end with a strict moral judgment that rewards the good and punishes evil in a fitting way.

The tragicomedy attempts to portray characters and life in the most realistic way. Action, characters and plot are not absolute, but nonjudgmental. A character changes his mind and acts out of character, and the plot ends unpredictably. Tragicomedies are meant to show complex dynamics of human relationships and that society is in a constantly changing flux. As the name suggests, these plays present a thorough mix of tragedy and comedy.
 Example of Drama/Play

Based on a story by Aesop

SCENE 1 [forest area; enter Mouse]
MOUSE: I’m famished! I’ll just look for some tasty seeds to eat. [exit]
LION: [enter] Umm! That was a gr-r-reat breakfast! [yawn] But now I’m exhausted. I think I’ll take a nap. [lies down and snores softly]

Elements of Dramas/Plays include the following:
·         Stage Directions
·         Multiple Characters
·         Dialogue
·         Narration
·         Movement
·         Stage Performance

Essential Skills/Concepts Related to RI 6.10
Literary Nonfiction

A type of prose that employs the literary techniques usually associated with fiction or poetry to report on persons, places, and events in the real world.

The genre of literary nonfiction (also known as creative nonfiction) is broad enough to include travel writing, nature writing, science writing, sports writing, biography, autobiography, memoir, the interview, and both the familiar and personal essay.

Practical Nonfiction vs. Literary Nonfiction
"Practical nonfiction is designed to communicate information in circumstances where the quality of the writing is not considered as important as the content. Practical nonfiction appears mainly in popular magazines, newspaper Sunday supplements, feature articles, and in self-help and how-to books. . . .

"Literary nonfiction puts emphasis on the precise and skilled use of words and tone, and the assumption that the reader is as intelligent as the writer. While information is included, insight about that information, presented with some originality, may predominate. Sometimes the subject of literary nonfiction may not at the onset be of great interest to the reader, but the character of the writing may lure the reader into that subject.

"Literary nonfiction appears in books, in some general magazines such as The New Yorker, Harper's, the Atlantic, Commentary, the New York Review of Books, in many so-called little or small-circulation magazines, in a few newspapers regularly and in some other newspapers from time to time, occasionally in a Sunday supplement, and in book review media."

 Extension Activity for RL 6.10

·         Turn one of the scenes from The Absolute Value of Mike into a Drama/Play. 
o   Be sure to include: stage directions, dialogue, movement, multiple characters

·         Complete the Reading Strategies Checklist (in the folder)
 Extension Activity for RI 6.10

·         Complete the Three-Column Notes Graphic Organizer after reading the article (in your folder).

RL 6.9 - RI 6.9 Station Information (Math Conference)

Essential Skills/Concepts Related to RL/RI 6.9
Genres: Fiction or Nonfiction?

FICTION IS A story an author makes up.

Nonfiction is information based on facts about the real world.

Here are some ways you can tell the difference.

has at least one character
may or may not have characters
characters may or may not be real and may or may not be human
any character is or was alive
often uses dates and statistics
has a story: a plot or series of events
may or may not have a story
may be about real or imaginary places and events
always about real places or events, tells dates when events happened

Sometimes, fiction may seem like nonfiction because the author writes about people, places, or events that you know are real.

The astronaut left the life capsule and followed the slimy tracks across the surface of Mars.

Did you ever wonder if there really could be life on Mars? Yesterday, scientists at NASA sent a space probe to find out.

Genre is a word that means “kind” or “variety.” There are many different genres of fiction and nonfiction.

Here’s how to identify a few.

Identifying Elements
Story about a person’s life written by that person
Story about a person’s life written by someone else
Personal journal on the Internet
Facts and statistics about people, places, and things
Old story that teaches a moral, or lesson
Story about make-believe beings and events
Story passed from generation to generation
Personal stories about events in real life
Larger-than-life story told as if it were true
Articles, stories, and other features
Story about unexplained happenings
Very old story that “explains” something in nature
Facts about what’s happening in the world
Long story, usually in chapters
Dialogue and directions for actors, scenes, and acts
Has rhythm, may rhyme, may have stanzas (sections)
Science Fiction
Story about effects of science on society
Short Story
Can be read in one session
Information about a school subject

Essential Skills/Concepts Related to RL/RI 6.9
Compare and Contrast

SOME AUTHORS USE a compare-and-contrast text structure to organize ideas. To compare, they tell how things are alike; to contrast, they tell how things are different. Words like same, different, some, all, every, also, but, both, or many signal to readers that the author is using a compare-and-contrast structure.

Compare: Every student in the school wore the same blue uniform.
Contrast: They may have to wear uniforms, but we don’t!

Authors don’t always use signal words. Then, readers must figure out what’s being compared or contrasted.

The DJ played classic rock and everyone agreed the music was cool . . . or as some put it, “fierce!” How could I tell my new friends that I preferred country-western?

Many times things can be alike in one or more ways but still be different. In the preceding example, rock and country-western are alike because both are kinds of music, but they are different in style and rhythm. A Venn diagram can help you keep track of likenesses and differences as you read.

Marissa and Matthew are twins, but she has dark hair and he’s a blond. Everyone in their family has brown eyes. Matthew plays drums and Marissa plays guitar in the school band. They both sing and want to start a rock group.

dark hair
plays guitar

brown eyes
in band
want rock group
plays drum

Extension Activity for RL 6.9

·         In a paragraph, describe how The Absolute Value of Mike would differ if changed from a novel to another fictional genre.  In your paragraph, name the genre that you would switch to instead of the novel.  Your paragraph should be 5-6 sentences.


The Absolute Value of Mike would differ if the genre was changed from the novel to _________ because _________.                                                                                                        (new genre)

  Extension Activity for RI 6.9

·         Compare and Contrast Graphic Organizer