Tag Archives: Star Wars

The Third Annual Star Wars Party and Standardized Tests

The second Death Star under construction in Re...

The second Death Star under construction in Return of the Jedi (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“May the fourth be with you,” stated my eight-year old son.

“And with you,” I replied.

Thus began our STAR WARS day, May 4th, 2013.

A month ago the invitations were mailed. The RSVPs had been given. At noon, my son’s fellow younglings would arrive for light saber duels, Jedi training, and good v. evil challenges. The Jedi were to depart at 3:15. Not 3:00 o’clock. Not 3:30. Three. fifteen.

This was my son’s third annual STAR WARS party. At the first party, someone thought it was a birthday party and brought him a gift. The mom couldn’t understand that our son would plan a party to celebrate STAR WARS! Really? I have seen Oscar parties, Kentucky Derby parties, and Super Bowl parties. Those parties do not even come close to my son’s STAR WARS parties for fun and excitement.

The best part is he does the planning. We ate Death Star grapes, StarWarsberries, and make your own pizzas. Every little Jedi would be happy.

My son informed me that I was not needed in organizing games or activities outside. In fact I was to do nothing except put the pizzas in the oven and take them out of the oven. Part of me was sad that he was growing up, and he didn’t need me. However, I quickly became happy when I realized I would not have to be hit with light sabers, or have those Ewoks jump all over me. I could relax.

Jar Jar Binks, a Gungan

Jar Jar Binks, a Gungan (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Of course, at every STAR WARS party we have a kid cry. Even if I remind them that no one ever cried in STAR WARS. This year, we had one accidental hit on the head with a light saber. A little Jar Jar Binks walked into a light saber being tossed in the air. And, we had a couple of boys try to sneak into the basement to play video games:

“It’s burning up outside,” they whined.

“It’s 73 degrees. There is a breeze. Get a glass of water and go play,” I ordered.

They drank some water, petted our little Chewbacas and ran outside to join the fun. There were no further problems or complaints.

The party was an excellent demonstration of skills my son learned in school and at home:

*Writing invitations

*Using time management

*Planning activities

*Leading small groups

*Creating a menu for kids with food allergies

*Compromising so everyone has fun

I can’t wait to see how the Department of Education will create a standardized test to assess these skills. I hope he does well, or he may not be college and career ready.

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Just Another Normal Day

The final computer-generated Yoda as seen in t...

Image via Wikipedia

“Hey, that is like Star Wars!”  yelled Mo.  Her face lit up brighter than the stars when the Millenium Falcon jumped into hyperspace.

“Wow, correct you are”, I said in my best Yoda voice.  Why?  First of all, I am a Star Wars geek.  Second Mo and several other students saw a connection between an Irish legend and story from a galaxy far, far away.  We English teachers live for these “Aha!” moments.

See, one of the legends I have students read is about Fionn Mac Cumhaill, leader of the Fianna, a band of Irish warriors.  In the story, Fionn studies with Finegas, a Druid and the King’s Poet.    When Finegas finally catches the Salmon of Knowledge, Fionn cooks it for him.  However, one scale of the fish lands on Fionn’s finger causing him to put it in his mouth to relieve the pain of the burn.  Thus, Fionn  gains all of the knowledge in the Salmon and Finegas realizes this fulfills an ancient prophesy.

So, what exactly caused this “Aha!” moment?  I had shared that Fionn is similar to King Arthur and Finegas is similar to Merlin.  Apparently, this comparison ignited Mo’s mind like an exploding Death Star.  She mentioned that it is like Luke Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kanobi.  Other students began to chime in with comparisons.

“There are swords and light sabers!” shouted that normally quiet kid who always wears camouflage.

“And the Fianna are like the Knights of the Round Table and the Jedi,” added Brandon.

‘Wait!” exclaimed Shania, “the stories are like Harry Potter, too!   Harry has a mentor, Dumbledore and he has a wand, which is like a sword.”

“And Finn Mac Cumhaill, Star Wars, King Arthur, and Harry Potter all have the letter A in them!”  shared Andy.  Why do all of my classes have one kid like this?  I refrain from answering, “Take a good look at the letter now because you will never see it on a report card.”

Nonetheless, the discussion continues for a few more minutes about epics, heroes, and what we learn from legends.  The bell rings and the kids move on to their own stories where they are the heroes and advisors.  Except for Andy.  He asks me, “What is the average velocity of an unladen swallow?”

“African or European?” I respond matter-of-factly.

“I don’t know,” Andy replies, then he screams, “Arrrg!” and rushes out the door.

Just another normal day in the freshman experience.

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