I thought it would be fun to research a different aspect of 1920, or August 1920, or August 22nd 1920 and share them here.
The world that ushered in Ray Bradbury.
A popular film that year was D.W. Griffith's "Way Down East."
You can read about it at the following site.
I confess to some computer illiteracy here in not knowing how to create links so you will have to type it in yourself. Apologies.
(can anyone help me with this?)
Just watched the Ken Burns film "Unforgivable Blackness," on the life of boxer Jack Johnson, who returned to the U. S. just a month before Ray was born.
Johnson surrendered himself to authorities for having violated a law which didn't exist at the time he committed the acts which he denied having done to which the law didn't really apply anyway, BUT, he wanted back in the U. S., so he spent some time in prison. The play "The Great White Hope" is based on his life.
Ken Burns captures the feel and facts of the time periods better than any other film maker has ever done before. (Civil War, Baseball, Jazz, Lewis and Clark, to name a few. The Jack Johnson bio was another excellent historical slice of Americana.)
As for RB's yr. of birth, a twist on this with teaching Dandelion Wine. In the past, I have had students get into groups of 3-4 and then sent them out for a trip back in time. The Year 1928 is their destination!
After a class period of setting up an outline for getting their research done, they have a couple of days in the library and media center to gather all the information they find most intriguing from Jan-Dec of '28. (The internet is such a tremendous tool, but books references are required in the project)
Each group has one, maybe two, topics to dig into. (Ie, entertainment, sports, music, literature, politics, education, fashions, military, transportation, teenage activities, media, science, foods, etc.)
Once the students have gathered details and organized their materials, a written report is due from each group. They present their findings via posters, art work, music samples, pictures....or any other visual to bring the people and era to life.
The work of each group is posted after they have given an oral presentation of what they have uncovered. At the end of the unit, there is an impressive display of images, people, and themes on the classroom wall.
All of which was inspired by the narration centered around that wonderful summer of '28 in Green Town, Il.
That sounds like a fun, rewarding project. Great teaching!!
What a neat idea! I miss teaching now that I am full time in advertising. Basically I was only substitute teaching, but it was still fun, especially when I got to teach a unit in eighth grade English and Ray's The DRummer Boy of Shiloh where I interviewed him on the speakerphone and then played the tape for the students before we read the story in class.
I am glad that you included book references as I am afraid the lost science of exploration in a library among the "stacks" is being lost. And remember that it where Ray got his education, in the "stacks."
Another thought Frank.
The assignment you give your students will prepare them in so many ways for the real world,i.e., (I love i.e.)preparing reports for a someday job, being able to research the steps to purchase a house, car, or whatever. Working together with others, being to conceptionalize thoughts and put them together logically and undertandably into a report.
With PCs students have it so easy today, Frank, as compared to when we went to school. I think we are about the same age (I am 60), perhaps you are a little younger, but I remmeber my Smith-Corona manual, typing paper erasers, brushes, "White-Out" in later years.
Now they have "Spell Check" and laser printers and come out with a perfect paper
biplane--They absolutely do not come out with perfect papers!!!!!! Students today do not proofread at all; they rely totally on Spellcheck, which only does half the job. So many errors get by Spellcheck, but the students still think that is all they need to use. It's mind-boggling how bad some of their papers are. (Forgive me if I sound negative, but I speak the truth.) It's not uncommon for me to grade a one or two page essay that contains over twenty writing errors. I cringe and I procrastinate when I have a big stack of essays to grade.
Lana: I hear your pain. I teach at two community colleges, and I see some abysmal work. On the other hand, I do see some excellent work put out and many students who reach a point where they really do want to learn. I look at the work load my daughter (Jr in HS / Just ranked #1 in her class!)has to do and I have to admit it exceeds anything I ever had to learn. While these kids and young people have PCs, they are also growing up in a very competetive world with far more uncertainty than I had to deal with. Helping some of them find their way, and connecting with students who are excited about learning and personal development is really very rewarding. While you have to help those not as good, don't neglect the sheer joy of working closely with those who are excited about learning. They are out there.
Nice assignment Frank. I remember "doing the stacks" at a large university library, and being very excited to run into an actual copy of Thoreau's college transcripts!
[This message has been edited by Mr. Dark (edited 01-22-2005).]
Alas, I erred! I was really trying to be facetious as there is not ever, perhaps, going to be a "perfect" paper. And yes, you do bring out a very important point--Spellcheck is only as good as the writer trying to use it.
What appalled me in my substitute teaching days is the atrocious handwriting of the students. Also I did some part-time work grading tests. But I would always require a typed list of the student's names because I couldn't read half of them and accuracy as to which student did what was imperative.
Ray's handwriting would not win any contests, but there I know his handwriting was such due to the speed at which he wrote to reply to the voluminous fan mail he received and answering almost each and every one.
[This message has been edited by biplane1 (edited 01-22-2005).]
My mother (born in 1907) had beautiful handwriting, and won school awards for it. When I was in elementary school in the 40's and 50's I had poor handwriting, and my parents were overly concerned about it and made me do daily drills using the penmanship books of the time. I grew to hate the exercises. All of this took a great deal of time, the practicing etc.
Today, kids just don't have that time any longer, they have too much other information to acquire. They spend most of their free time watching TV. Some have inate talents and good penmanship, others just never will, like me. There is a well known correlation between bad penmanship and the years of formal education that one aquries (doctors are notorious for having lousy handwriting, so with most PhDs.)
I use the PC for all of my communications and that eliminates the handwriting problem. For that, I will be eternally greatful. It is faster, more accurate, once mastered, and yes, spellcheck does not catch all, but sure gets most of my little mistakes. The need to pack more and more information into their heads allows for less and less time do do other things once thought to be a sign of a truly educated person. Those standards will not hold up against the need to continually acquire knowledge at an exponential rate, as each generation must do. I say embrace the technology, and fix the things that are still not working the best, (spellcheck). That may require completely changing the way words are to be spelled in the future. What does it matter if we write through or thru or some other abriviated form, as long as the person reading the message can translate it correctly? Simplification of the many conficting spellings for similar sounding words in the current lexicon would allow making a spellcheck program easier to create and be more accurate. That may have to be the price of faster, more accurate communiations skills in the future.
OK all U SciFi riters out ther, get going on storees with this theem! Phonetics rules, eh?
Ray grew up a poor child of the '20s and '30 and did not have the opportunity that the current generation has to learn to use computers. Had he grown up with the technology, I feel that he would have used it as any other tool to further his drive to create good liturature. Just think of the posibilities for storing ideas in files and then having them come to hand when needed simply by pressing a key on a keyboard and pasting the previously generated snipit in to a currently evolving story. I am glad to be alive at this time, or at any time in the future, where things are available to make work less of a chore and more of a game.
[This message has been edited by patrask (edited 01-22-2005).]
Spellcheckers are just tools, and like all tools they have limitations that must be learned. I'm sure there's scope to improve them. My spellchecker seems to always assume that I have the initial letter of a word correct, as all the alternatives it offers start with the same initial letter. Unfortunately, my two fingered typing makes my most common mistake the transposition of pairs of leters, because the right finger sometimes gets to the keyboard before the left and vice versa!
The biggest problem with students' written work is not the spellings or mis-spellings, it's that they do not read back what they have written. I find this deeply ironic, as the benefit of a word processor over a typewriter is precisely that you get the opportunity to correct mistakes before the final document is printed.
There is a term for what you refer to and since I am in advertising I am very familiar with it. It is called PROOF-READING. And it is so simple to do. Do you recall proof-reader's marks? Perhaps this is something teachers should incorporate into their teaching plan, not only in English class, but others as well.
P.S. I sure am glad that I proof-read this post before submitting it.
[This message has been edited by biplane1 (edited 01-24-2005).]
[This message has been edited by biplane1 (edited 01-25-2005).]
Having just concluded a nearly three year writing project(at 12:48 pm EST, 1/19/05 - to be exact!), I can say that proof-reading is a labor of labors. It is the seeking out and finding of flaws within your best effort. It is a thankless chore that you would like to ignore, put off again and again, if only you could. Then when you go back into the mode, you realize each time you pick up your text (or as RB so oft called his "child"), you will surely find yet another blemish, an error, an oversight...yes that is all it was! No doubt it will be the last one. The rest were polished out and flawlessly painted over. But wait....
I wonder if "The Fruit at the Bottom of the Bowl" is a metaphor for the editor gone over the edge?
However, once done (if ever, for I find errors in text books more frequently now that my mind has become acute to such faux pax) and pages are sent out of hand to be printed for others to read, there comes a strange feeling of nervous energy.
What?? No need to sit for an hour or two, writing, researching, cross-referencing, reorganizing, correcting. How come? How did this happen? You think, I must have overlooked some task that still needs immediate attention.
What it must be like to live by the pen and starve by the pen. RB's 60yrs.+ become so much more unbelievable after my meager effort. My last reading of Zen in the Art of Writing helped greatly. New doors had opened and the views within better understood. So now, on to some new topics that brewed up along the way. They await like a lawn uncut, a call in need of being made, that wall longing for a coat of fresh paint..."Getting to it is the only way."
This semester (actually I am in my last hour with current students) I had 3 classes of frosh/sophs write fifty original poems (from couplets to sonnet in form) and 8 topical major essays (300 word ave.) - all required to be collected and typed into a final "published quality." Had my own search for that last evasive fingerprint became infectious, unwittingly spreading to unsuspecting teenagers? Many of their pieces were, I must admit, moving and memorable. Maybe a bit of inspiration will carry over. One never knows!
But, for the proof-reading? I'd rather walk out into the garden, pick the tomatoes for a fresh salad, add a slice or two of buttered Italian bread and feast simply. Pulling weeds is a duty no one could ever love! Oh, excuse me for a moment, "theirs another one!"
Proof-reading should only be done by those with a good eye for it. Unfortunately I have a reputation for being able to spot a typo at a thousand yards, so people often use me as a proof-reader.
Actually, biplane1, it's not proof-reading that students (my students, anyway) need to be prepared to do. It's re-drafting, the willingness to recognise that the first thing you put down on paper is probably not the best way of presenting your ideas. Remember what Mr B says? Throw up in the morning, clean up at night.
My students are good at throwing up, but have no interest in cleaning up!
[This message has been edited by philnic (edited 01-25-2005).]
August 16, 1920
Baseball's first fatality
Cleveland Indians pitcher Ray Chapman threw a high fastball to Giants hitter Carl Mays. The ball struck Mays in the temple crushing his skull. Mays died the next morning. In response to the incident, the commissioner required balls be replaced as soon as they are scuffed.
Several famous baseball players were also born or died within days of Ray's birthdate. Strange to say, Ray's first fame as a writer came with the short story "The Big Black-and-White Game," dealing with a 1920s baseball game. One story (I guess we'll know when the biography comes out) has it that Ray's father and brother were at a baseball game when Ray was born.
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