Tag Archives: gold

A Bear Story for the Ages at Gold Rush Days

The bear comes out of the tent. He’s looking for Bill!

I told “THE BEAR” story and sang campfire songs with 4th grade students at MCARLM’s 2017 Gold Rush Days at San Lorenzo Park. I saw fifteen groups of kids over the two days of the May 24th-25th event. Among other things, they also visited a blacksmith shop, a one-room schoolhouse, a general store and a chuck wagon. Best of all, they panned for gold! My many colleagues did a great job and California history came to life!

Bill scared that old bear!

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My Darling Clementine

Bob & Phoebe

Phoebe Cheney and I before the 4th graders arrived – Photo by Joan Ungs

San Lorenzo County Park near King City is an underappreciated (at least by many) treasure and the Monterey County Agricultural & Rural Life Museum is its crown jewel. The museum took a really big hit on May15th, literally so. A hundred year old, seven feet in diameter eucalyptus tree tried to take the roof off the barn at about six in the evening. It failed – by a little – and nobody was around to be hurt. The folks at MCARLM had scheduled a big, three-day historical event for local kids beginning on the 16th. Everyone pulled up their bootstraps and we went ahead with the presentations. Local 4th graders put their hands (tongues, ears, stomachs, feet and everything else!) on the history of our gold rush. I got to be a 49er and introduce them to Clementine’s boyfriend. You know the guy: “How I missed her! Until I kissed her little sister!”

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Jerboa’s Beautiful Tail

Mansa_Musa_

I wrote “Jerboa” while collaborating with John Miller on a teaching unit for his 7th graders. It reminded editor Beryl Belsky of a Kipling tale and she now has it up on her Writer’s Drawer site.  I’ve included links to both the story and the lesson plans.  I do hope students will have fun with it!

Jeboa’s Beautiful Tail:  http://www.thewritersdrawer.net/jerboa-beautiful-tail.html

Lesson Plans:  http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Jerboas-Beautiful-Tail-a-Minecraft-project-1559678

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According to Adam

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I first wrote Joaquin’s Gold more than thirty years ago.  I used it in my classes and revised it many times.  I later wrote half a dozen other stories featuring Joaquin Murrieta as my protagonist.  Five of these stories have been published in print and on line.  Now, Joaquin’s Gold has found a home in According to Adam, the Writers’ Drawer website’s just published anthology.  I’m most appreciative that editor Beryl Belsky included it in this fine collection.  For you teacher types, I’ll mention that my complete Common Core lesson plans for teaching this story are available on TPT.  Pertinent links are below:

Here’s the Amazon link:

http://www.amazon.com/According-Adam-Stories-Writers-Drawer/dp/1502972204/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1417671295&sr=1-1&keywords=According+to+adam

Here’s the TPT link:

http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Joaquins-Gold-a-common-core-short-story-unit-for-substitutes-1211123

 

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Mansa Musa’s Minecraft

 

mansa-munsa

Mansa Musa is still considered to be one of the wealthiest men in history.  He was a great King, but his accomplishments and times are far from current popular awareness. I wrote “Jerboa’s Beautiful Tail” to introduce Mansa Musa and Western African History to young people. Because folk tales are so central to African cultures, I’ve used one for the structure of my story. Every good folk tale has a lesson and so does mine.

Master teacher John Miller and I have worked together creating teaching units for twenty-five years.  He liked “Jerboa’s Beautiful Tail” and had his students at Chalone Peaks Middle School create a Minecraft movie of the story.  I think they did a great job!  Here’s the movie link:

http://vimeo.com/111953099

All teachers who are interested in Minecraft will want to see how Mr. Miller created his lesson!  Here’s a link to his plan:  http://minecraft.edtecworks.com/2014/11/16/lesson-plan-making-a-movie-in-minecraft/

I posted the actual story and some reading comprehension activities for  it on TPT.  Both story and activities are free. The link is below.

http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Jerboas-Beautiful-Tail-1559678

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Louis found a Home

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I often work for years on a poem before I think it’s ready for sharing with the wide world.  One such is “A Conversation with Louis”.  I think it’s ready now and you can find it on Verse-Virtual along with several other poems.  Please let me know what you think!

http://www.verse-virtual.com/robert-walton-2014-october.html

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Joaquin’s Gold is on The Writer’s Drawer

rattlesnake

“Joaquin’s Gold” is a western adventure set in 19th Century California. Its main character is Joaquin Murrieta, the famous bandit. It’s based on Central California legends and is set in Pinnacles National Park. I wrote it for my 8th grade students thirty years ago and have rewritten it many times since.  Beryl Belsky has kindly published the story on her Writer’s Drawer website:

http://www.thewritersdrawer.net/joaquins-gold.html

I’ve made a common core short story unit for “Joaquin” available on the TPT site:

http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Joaquins-Gold-story-text-for-short-story-unit-1212090

Joaquin has become one of my favorite characters.  I’ve written eight stories for him and for California long before freeways.  I hope to make them all available for teachers in the next few years!

 

 

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