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:
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.
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!
“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 kindly published the story on her Writer’s Drawer website, but the link is no longer available
I’ve made both the story’s text and a common core short story unit for “Joaquin” available on the TPT site:
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!
I’ve written half a dozen stories based on California legends and using Joaquin Murrieta as my protagonist. All of them please me, but this one is my favorite. The Piker Press has just published it again. Please do take a look.
Here is a link to some Common Core literature activities for “Black Maggie’s Secret”