28 Dec 2010, 2:09pm
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Multi-Media Writing Workshop

Multi-media Writing Workshop

Picture two little chipmunks tumbling over each other in their enthusiasm and excitement in playing and learning about life. That sums up how 6-year old Zak and his best buddy 8 year old Jared reacted as they waited for their families to arrive for their presentation of our Multi-Media Writing Workshop’s culminating activity: a dinner theater.
I based the writing phase on Nancy Atwell’s Writing Workshop as written about in the book :”In The Middle” and THE Elliot Wigginton’s “Sometimes A Shining Moment: The FOXFIRE EXPERIENCE”. The multi-media phase was my own blend based on my many years as an elementary teacher and what the students would like to do.
When the boys arrived at my home after school, 8-weeks ago, we started out with milk and cookies and brain-stormed about what we’d be doing in the weeks ahead. They were full of questions, ideas, and couldn’t wait to begin. So, begin we did.
Our first task was researching a variety of topics and ideas by walking around my home. Each had a clipboard to note things that caught his eye, jotting down questions, and basically gathering information. They were learning to observe with a critical eye and to query what was in their environment.
We listened to several dramatized stories from old radio programs, such as Orson Welles’ “War of the Worlds: and Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Tell Tale Heart” to get the feel of what could be done.
The boys discussed and decided on several characters that they would both use in their own story. They created a story from their long-hand notes using the agreed upon characters. They dictated their stories as I typed it on a word processor. Then they learned and used computer skills to check the Capitalization, Organization, Punctuation, and Spelling (COPS) of their manuscript; as well as making sure there was a beginning, middle, and end to each story.
In turning the manuscript into a play script, Sack’s story became Scene One and Jared’s story became Scene Two. Scene Three was a collaborative effort. They learned the importance of dialogue, action, and setting as they worked together.
The characters began to take shape as the boys fashioned papier-mâché puppet heads; learned how to thread a needle, use a sewing machine, and design fabric bodies to fit their hands.
Making a puppet stage from a chest freezer packing box proved to encompass measuring thrice/cutting once; painting, decorating, and figuring out how to hang scenery backdrops. The actual back-drops were designed to reflect the scene, reducing the number of words needed to explain the setting. The boys composed music to fit the action of their play and taped it. In the process of composing and taping music to coordinate with the play’s action, they learned how to synchronize action and music, use of the recording and play-back machine, adjusting volume, bass/treble, and placement of the machine so it would be in easy reach during the performance. We made a video tape of the dress rehearsal to put in their evidence books, and as a review/re-work/evaluation tool.
During each phase and task, photographs were taken to chronicle their progress. The photos were entered into an evidence book.
The video tape could have been the end activity, but the boys chose to put on an evening dinner theater. They designed and produced invitation to their families and mailed them. Remembering where to put the address, return address and stamp was important to be sure the invitation got to the right people.
Our dinner consisted of one of the Dad’s bringing in subs and sodas, then, we went into our “theater”.
The lights dimmed and the spot-light shone on the completed puppet stage. The prelude music swelled to announce the beginning of the play. The curtain opened. The action began.
The audience showed their appreciation with waves of applause and curtain calls. It was a wonderful way to spend time during the winter months learning, playing, and bonding, while honing skills that will be used for a life-time.
NOTE: more information on resources, activities, and guidelines can be found at www.katechamberlin.com.
Copyright © 2010 by Kate Chamberlin. All Rights Reserved.

19 Dec 2010, 4:52pm
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People In Our Neighborhood – Bill Youngman

Classic Cornucopia: People In Our Neighborhood

William J. Youngman is one of the people in our neighborhood. He was actually born in Walworth; (on February 20th) right in the house at the east end of sherburne Road. His folks rented the house until he was about one year old.
Bill has lived in Walworth his entire life. He can remember visiting the site of the original Walworth Academy with his father before they built the “new”Walworth High School. (Which, we all know, is now the Academy Apartments._
“When I went to school,” he recalled. “There wasn’t any Kindergarten. There was one teacher for the First and Second Grades, one for the Third and Fourth Grades, another the Fifth and Sixth, and another for the Seventh and Eighth Grades. Then we switched teachers for our classes in high school.”
Bill attended twelve years of school, but lacked enough English credits to actually graduate. He went into the Armed Services, instead.
He was in the Infantry (boot camp) and trained with the Air Born Glider Troops. He finished out his two-year military stint in Ordinance (distributing parts and pieces).
After the war, he worked for several months with his father doing carpentry work.
He was then hired by Todd Printers. They printed checks and business forms.
During Bill’s 40 year tenure, he saw Todd’s be bought by Burroughs; who then merged with Sperry Rand. Unisys own the company when it was sold to Standard Register. Bill retired two weeks before the sale was final.
Bill and his wife, Arlene, have lived on Center Street for 45 years. Although Arlene grew-up in Lincoln, she attended the Walworth High School. They knew of each other during school, but he didn’t REALLY meet her until she was a Senior. She was working in the Senior’s Booth at the Fireman’s Fair in Palmyra
They were married on January 4, 1947. They have four grown children: Richard, is an attorney, Karen is an Assistant Vice-President for a Rochester insurance firm, Lori is an accountant and mother of Amanda and Jennifer. Lisa is a Speech Pathologist with BOCES #1 and the mother of Holly.
One of their fun get-away activities is to go to a cabin in Canada with his brother, Gordon, and his family. The next time you see Bill, ask him about the time they got the chipmunks drunk!
Along with raising his family and being employed, Bill is active in the Walworth Lodge, a Past Commander of the American Legion Post #1710, served on the committee for the Boy Scouts of America for 5 years, bowled with the Thursday Night Mixed League for 36 years and is presently President of the Walworth Cemetery Association.
“I have a lot of information on the cemetery,” he said, dieing to talk about it. “It was established in 1852, but there are head stones in there dated 1826. It must have been a family burial place well before it was formally established as a cemetery.”
The Walworth Cemetery is located off Sherburne Road and commands quite a lovely view of the hamlet.
Funds for the maintenance of the cemetery come from a 10% fee on each purchase of a grave site. That money is put into an endowment fund. Only the interest from the endowment fund is used for up-keep.
Donations toward this end are also gratefully accepted.
I assured Bill I would dig into this issue at a later date.
In the meantime, Thanks, Bill, you are a Walworthian with the accent on WORTH.
Copyright © 1995, 2010 by Kate Chamberlin, All rights reserved.
A version of this interview first appeared June15, 1995 WCS