Friday, July 4, 2008

What good is a chair

When you're at the beach with a toddler?

That's the question I asked myself today after dragging along my folding chair to Figure Eight Island, to spend the afternoon with Ebby, my granddaughter.

If you click on the video below, the answer is obvious.

But, what does that question have to do with teaching language arts? Hang with me, and I hope you'll get the connection.

First, I thought of creating a simile that would have made this event clearer in your mind. What could I compare a folded-up, unused beach chair to? Hmmm… how about a yellow, #2 pencil in a technology-rich classroom? Not bad, but not quite the image of "something that is usually useful, but I didn't get the time to even take it out."

Let's see. What else. How about sprinkles and whip cream at a kid's birthday party that were forgotten until the party-goers had gone home? That conveys the image of a busy fun time with kids, but my beach chair wasn't forgotten, I just didn't have time to use it and wondered why I had bothered toting it along.

How about comparing it to a pile of library books on a backpacking trip across Europe? Perhaps that's closer.

Good similes take work. They don't often come at the first try, at least not for me, anyway.

Right now I'm reading Sylvia Plath's book, The Bell Jar. She rolls similes off the page like Ford trucks off an assembly line. When I read it I'm as jealous as a young dancer who watches a prima ballerina pirouette on stage. In fact, you could say that my envy wells up inside of me like a thundercloud that could burst all over the book, leaving it worn and useless.

Hmmm…. What good is a chair on the beach when you're with your 20-month-old granddaughter?

If nothing else, it's as unusual fount of inspiration for a language arts mini-lesson as well, ….I don't know what. Why don't you tell me?

Let's have a simile contest! Whoever completes the sentence, "A beach chair is as unusual source for a language arts mini-lessons as...." with the best simile will receive a yet-to-be-announced prize. E-mail me and I'll pick a winner by July 20th.


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Joyce Moyer Hostetter said...

Congrats on putting video on the blog. I've got to learn that!

As for the similie - I will have to start thinking...

WordWrangler said...

OOOH! A contest! I love contests. I will SOOO be back and share. How many times can I enter? 'cause you KNOW I can talk on longer than politician at a July 4th picnic. :)

Jean Matthew Hall said...

Hmmm...this one isn't easy. I'm going to have to do some thinking. As unusual as...
eyeteeth on a catfish.

Hmmm. How's that for a starter?
I'll be back.


C.R. Evers said...

Your grand daughter is adorable! I can totally relate to the useless beach chair. As a matter of fact, I don't even bother to take one any more. I bring a bag of snacks and drinks, a few toys and that's about it. If I take a chair, it's only to be used as shelf for the other stuff. ;0)

the contest sounds fun! I'll have to think about it and submit something.

(P.s.) I wrote an answer to your question about writing & blogging w/3 kids under my vacation post.)

Joyce Moyer Hostetter said...

Carol, I'm in KY. Check this link out!

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