Posts tagged ‘ballet’

66. Amazing Grace by Mary Hoffman

amazing graceRetell: Grace loves to act.  When her school puts on a production of Peter Pan she is eager to audition.  Her classmates tell her that she can’t be Peter Pan because she is a girl and she’s black.   After an inspiring visit to the ballet Grace finds confidence to audition.

Topics: reading, stories, acting, school, gender issues, racism, role models, theater, ballet

Units of Study: Social Issues, Realistic Fiction, Character

Tribes: Personal Best

Habits of Mind: persistence, striving for accuracy, thinking interdependently

Reading Skills: inference, interpretation

My Thoughts: Amazing Grace has been a favorite read aloud of mine for introducing the Social Issues unit.  However, I’m thinking of reading it earlier this year when introducing the Habit of Mind–‘persistence’.  Grace is a good example of how one persists when they have a dream.  Grace’s dream is to play Peter Pan.  Despite the discouragement she receives from a few of her classmates, Grace practices over the weekend and ends up getting the part.  However, it’s interesting to note that this persistence didn’t just come from herself–she had to be encouraged by her family.  I wonder if Grace would have succeeded if her Nana hadn’t taken her to the ballet.

August 31, 2009 at 9:20 am Leave a comment

37. Tallchief: America’s Prima Ballerina by Maria Tallchief with Rosemary Wells

tallchief america's prima ballerinaRetell: This is an autobiographical story of Maria Tallchief, one of the greatest American-born ballerinas of her time.

Topics: native americans, Osage, Oklahoma, ballet, Westward Expansion, music, interests, biographies, narrative nonfiction

Units of Study: Social Issues, Nonfiction

Tribes: personal best

Reading Skills: inference, determining importance, envisionment

Writing Skills: seeing the world as a writer, using interesting transitional phrases

My Thoughts: This story is great to read when discussing what it means to put your all into something.  Maria Tallchief lived, breathed, and ate music and dance.  She writes about how her teacher told her to live like a dancer “When you sleep, you must sleep like a dancer.  When you stand and wait for the bus, you must wait for the bus like a dancer.”  This particular scene reminds me how we often challenge our students to live like writers.  Perhaps now we can tell students, “When you wait for the bus, you must wait for the bus like a writer–notebook in hand, waiting to collect stories.”

August 2, 2009 at 9:00 am Leave a comment


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