Monday, May 6, 2013

Miss Spitfire (book review)

*Post by Pam Bullock at McAdory High School

I thoroughly enjoyed this historical fiction book. Obviously it is based on a true story, but Miss Spitfire is actually Anne Sullivan not Helen Keller. The story inspired me to learn more about Miss Sullivan. It begins when Anne, desperate for work, arrives in Alabama from Massachusetts to a seemingly impossible task - to teach Helen to communicate. Sarah Miller's debut novel is a wonderful tribute to Anne Sullivan's determination to "tame" Helen, whose frustration at trying to communicate has made her as wild as an animal. No one has been able to be persistent and patient enough to help Helen until Anne arrived. I highly recommend this novel and it is a quick read. Great for Upper Elementary and Middle.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

McAdory Jacket Slam!

*Very special thanks to Pam Bullock at McAdory High for this post.

We held our first ever Jacket Slam the last Wednesday in April in honor of Poetry Month. This event began with a student who saw the promo for the Word Up event held in Bham. She decided that we needed to put together our own event and started a sign up sheet to see if there was enough interest from the student body.

Planning began in late February and she and a small committee of students promoted it by making posters. They created a form for students who wanted to participate and share their own original work. We included poems, short stories, rap/song, and skits. In the end we had 10 students perfom their work and each area was represented. We held the event in the library and had it set up like a cafe.

After each person performed the audience snapped their fingers to show their support (much like a beatnik). The library sold snacks to the audience during intermission as a small fundraiser, and the students who performed were able to have snacks after the event was over (for free of course).

I was very pleased with the poems performed and proud of the students who were willing to stand in front of their peers and share their personal work. The senior English teacher and I were the faculty sponsors and she was the MC while I videoed. One of our principals commended us on having the first McAdory Poetry event and has asked that we continue it next year in the fall and spring (hoping that it will empower other students to participate).

I truly loved seeing the students take control and plan and manage everything. We liked the intimacy of the library setting but would love for more students to be able to attend, so we may have to expand to the auditorium in the future.