Monday, June 29, 2009

Too soon?

Initial estimates indicate 38 states, roughly 10,000 miles, and just shy of 7 weeks. I'm planning next summer's road trip spectacular across the country. It's gonna be huge.

Usually when I get crazy ideas like this they sound fun for a while, but never amount to much. Stuff like moving to France for a year - just because, or graduating college and working for Disney for the rest of my magical days. This idea, however, is something I really want to make happen. So, here's the deal:

(Imagine me putting on my teacher hat.) One of the best ways to increase comprehension in the young ones is to build and activate background knowledge i.e. if we're going to read a story about farming we see what the kids already know about farming, then we talk about what a farm is and what farming entails. Then, when we read the story, the kids have a better concept of what's going on, and thus their comprehension is increased.

So, here's my idea - I want to drive across the country interviewing the authors of the stories we'll be reading in class. Get their point of view, their inspirations for the stories etc. etc. etc. I'd also like the authors to read the stories on camera, and then I can show that to my kids. I think it would be cool for them to actually hear the story from the person who wrote it, rather than just reading a story written by some person they'll never meet. I also wanna get some stellar background footage like Cape Canaveral and the Moon Landing exhibit for our unit on the sun and the moon. Or The Baseball Hall of Fame and a shot or two of Dodger's stadium for our story about baseball.

I'd also like to try and contact some famous people that the kids can connect with to maybe read one or two of the stories. I think that might motivate the kids to read more and really get excited about what we're doing in class. I don't know anyone famous, but I know people who do, or know people who know people who do. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

The authors live everywhere from St. Petersburg, FL to Seattle WA, so it's going to be a rather epic journey. But I'm pretty stoked about it.

I realize it's still early for a lot of this to happen, but I'd also like to not have to pay for the trip myself. I'm looking at getting some grants and/or sponsors to help me out. If any of you know of any grants that I might look into, or any companies that might be willing to sponsor this expedition extraordinaire, please let me know!

Here's to cock-eyed optimism!