February 20, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Score!: Lessons on and off the playing field | Listen In

SLJ1204w_FT_LisIn_YoungPele(Original Import)

Young Pelé: Soccer’s First Star (Live Oak Media), Illustration by James Ransome.

April is traditionally the opening of the major league baseball season, turning our thoughts to sports of all kinds and the ways in which they can be integrated with studies in mathematics, history/social studies, biography, science, family life, health, and physical education. Stories about famous players, how sports help young people overcome adversity, and the thrill of a game well played bring listeners a fresh appreciation of the sports world.

Even though research supports the critical role of sports to healthy development, today’s economic climate has had an adverse affect on funding for many educational sports programs. Information about supporting school sports can be found at the National Association for Sports and Physical Education website (www.aahperd.org/naspe).

This month’s essential question focuses on the important link between sports and real life by asking: “How do the rules of sports relate to other aspects of our lives?” Instructional extensions range from national physical fitness programs to applying baseball statistics to mathematics lessons to achieving none-sports goals through teamwork, with web links to get the ball rolling.

Football Hero. Written by Tim Green. Narrated by Tim Green and the Full Cast Family. CD. 5:30 hrs. Full Cast Audio. 2008. ISBN 978-1-934180-86-0. $45. Gr 5-8.

After the death of his parents, 12-year-old Ty is forced to live with his nasty, greedy relatives. When the school football coach selects him to play wide receiver, Ty is thrilled but ultimately disappointed to learn he must work for Uncle Gus every evening. Things start looking better when big brother, Thane ,is drafted by the New York Jets, but once again Uncle Gus stirs up trouble by involving Ty in a gambling ring. Green, a former pro football player, narrates with confidence and the full cast capably plumbs the depths of each character, accenting Ty’s affable vulnerability, Thane’s self-assurance, and Uncle Gus’s malicious cruelty.
Standard: Through physical education programs, students will learn to apply refusal and negotiation skills to potentially harmful situations.
Instructional Extension: Students will research and report on the ways in which good sportsmanship promotes ethical behavior and builds character. One tool students might use is the Alabama 4-H Leading with Character: Sports Ethics website (http://tinyurl.com/4-Hsportsethics) that is based on “the Olympic philosophy that there is no true victory unless it is achieved with honor and The Six Pillars of Character: trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring, and citizenship.”

Heat. Written by Mike Lupica. Narrated by Paolo Andino. 5 CDs. 6:25 hr. Listening Library. 2006. ISBN 978-0-3072-8598-0. $45. Gr 5-7.

Paolo Andino’s narration brings authenticity and excitement to the story of Michael Arroyo who dreams of taking his Little League team to the World Series. Born in Cuba, Michael does not have the necessary papers to prove his age, but his problems are bigger than that—his father has recently died and Michael and his brother are hiding this fact from social services. Help from Michael’s favorite Yankee star provides a happy ending to this fast-paced baseball story.
Standard: Through physical education programs, students will learn to recognize individual strengths, resolve differences, and use teamwork as a necessary tool for working with others.
Instructional Extension: The themes of Little League Baseball and Softball—Courage, Character, and Loyalty—are mirrored in the story of Heat. Little League programs around the world promote baseball and softball and provide a foundation for class discussion on how sports encourage cultural understanding, teamwork, and building physical skills (www.littleleague.org).

Hothead. Written and narrated by Cal Ripken, Jr. 3 CDs. 3 hrs. Listening Library. 2011. ISBN 978-0-3079-1646-4. $27. Gr 4-7.

Connor is the star of his middle school baseball team, but his angry outbursts cause him to stumble from his path to success. Family economic problems, adolescent turmoil, budding romance, bullies, and baseball facts round out this enjoyable story, enhanced by Cal Ripken’s narration. As Connor learns to control his temper, he also discovers the importance of teamwork and staying true to himself.
Standard: Students will be able to describe similarities and differences between fiction and non-fiction narratives.
Instructional Extension: Students will research and describe the relationship between Ripken’s words and actions:
Biographical information (www.ripkenbaseball.com/calripken/bio/ and baseballhall.org/hof/ripken-cal).
Hall of Fame induction speech (http://baseballhall.org/node/11671).
Video of his record-breaking 2130th game (mlb.mlb.com/video/play.jsp?content_id=3251272).

Keeping Score. Written by Linda Sue Park. Narrated by Julie Pearl. 4 CDs. 4:34 hrs. Listening Library. 2008. ISBN 978-0-7393-6508-3. $38. Gr 5-8.

It’s 1951 and Maggie and her family and neighbors are baseball crazy. Some root for the Yankees, some for the Giants, but Maggie is a die-hard Dodgers fan. Jim, a friend from the fire station, teaches her how to score the game and this new skill sustains her when Jim goes off to fight in the Korean War. When Jim’s letters stop coming, Maggie’s research on the war forces her to face issues beyond baseball. Julie Pearl creates distinct voices for each character, placing listeners right in the middle of this Brooklyn neighborhood.
Standard: Students will learn to apply mathematics as a tool in solving practical problems.
Instructional Extension: Keeping baseball statistics, including the box scores of individual games, can be a valuable tool in applying higher-level thinking to math lessons. Additional information can be found at the major league baseball web site: mlb.mlb.com/stats.

Last Shot: A Final Four Mystery. Written and narrated by John Feinstein. 5 CDs. 5:45 hrs. Listening Library. 2005. ISBN 978-0-3072-0671-8. $45. Gr 6-8.

Feinstein’s thorough knowledge of college basketball and the surrounding sports scene makes him an enthusiastic and authoritative narrator for this first book in his mystery series. When eighth graders Stevie and Susan Carol win a sports’ writing contest, they are all set to cover the NCAA Final Four games. Stevie is thrilled at the thought of meeting his idol, Duke University coach Mike Krzyzewski, affectionately known as Coach K, but an overheard comment thrusts the two young reporters into a scandal that threatens to overtake the games.
Standard: Students will gain the knowledge and skills necessary for working on teams to achieve specific objectives and common goals.
Instructional Extension: These two websites offer background information for students to research and report on the link between student athletes, coaching, and academic and workplace success:
NCAA—The National Collegiate Athletic Association (www.ncaa.org/)
Duke University’s Coach Mike Krzyzewski (http://coachk.com/)

Pick-Up Game: A Full Day of Full Court. Edited by Marc Aronson and Charles R. Smith, Jr. Narrated by Dion Graham and Quincy Tyler Bernstine. 4 CDs. 4 hrs. Brilliance Audio. 2011. ISBN 978-1-4558-0080-3. $49.97. Gr 8 Up.

From “Step into the Arena” by Charles R. Smith, Jr., to “The Shoot” by Robert Lipsyte, this sports novel of short stories centers on basketball and features progressive stories by Walter Dean Myers, Bruce Brooks, Adam Rapp, Joseph Bruchac, Sharon G. Flake, and others. Graham’s resonant vocal performance is nicely paired with Bernstine’s authentic tone and pacing.
Standard: Students will be able to identify narrative styles such as free verse, essay, and news story.
Instructional Extension: The format of a progressive story gives students an opportunity to work together to create a story on a topic of their choice. Each student will contribute a portion of the story to make a cohesive narrative and the groups will orally share their stories with the whole class.

Stupid Fast. By Geoff Herbach. Narrated by Fred Berman. CD. 7 CDs. 8 hr. Recorded Books. 2011. ISBN 978-1-4618-1640-9. $77.75. Gr 6 Up.

Felton Reinstein, a 15-year-old high school sophomore, faces bullying and family dysfunction. He also has an important secret—he’s a “stupid fast” runner, and the reason why will surprise listeners. Felton’s complex character and his emotional roller coaster are captured through Berman’s perfect pacing, his well-timed angry outbursts, and his ability to breathe like a winded runner.
Standard: Students will apply the principles of training to health-related fitness goals.
Instructional Extension: The 2012 Summer Olympics are coming soon. Students will research and report on the ways that Olympic runners train and prepare for competition:
Track and Field (www.universalsports.com/track-and-field/index.html).
Usain Bolt (www.usainbolt.com/).
The President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition (http://fitness.gov/).
The First Lady’s Let’s Move program (www.letsmove.gov/).

Summerland. Written and narrated by Michael Chabon. 15 CDs. 15 hrs. HighBridge Audio. 2002. ISBN 978-1-5651-1721-1. $39.95. Gr 6 Up.

The last thing Ethan Feld imagines is that he will be called on to save the world through a game of baseball. His oddball father has been kidnapped by the notorious trickster, Coyote, who plans to use one of his father’s inventions to rule the world. Heading out with team member Jennifer T., Ethan picks up an assortment of human and mythic characters on his journey through parallel worlds to form a team that will thwart Coyote’s plan. Chabon is the perfect guide through his fantastical world, imbuing the complex proceedings with vitality and passion.
Standard: Students will explain the relationships between and among elements of literature: characters, plot, setting, tone, point of view, and theme.
Instructional Extension: Students will explore and demonstrate through their own writing the ways in which sports themes can interweave with mythic and fantasy elements in a story. The following websites offer introductions to the link between sports and mythology:

Young Pelé: Soccer’s First Star. Written by Lisa Cline-Ransome. Illustrated by James Ransome. Narrated by Ibsen Santos. CD. 16:41 min. with paperback book. Live Oak Media. 2011. ISBN 978-1-4301-1010-1. $18.95. k-Gr 3.

Lush illustrations and the sounds of soccer kicks, a referee’s whistle, a soccer announcer, and salsa music bring listeners into the tropical climate and the story of Brazil’s soccer phenomenon, Pelé. The book focuses on his childhood and how, from a very young age, the sport was his consuming passion. A brief author’s note fills in some details about his worldwide career, leading Brazil to three World Cup championships.
Standard: Students will be able to recognize the contributions that sports stars make to their communities and their countries.
Instructional Extension: After listening, students will research and report on what happened to Pelé after his early experiences playing soccer:
International Football Hall of Fame (soccer is called football outside the U.S.) (www.ifhof.com/hof/pele.asp).
FIFA (www.fifa.com/classicfootall/players/player=63869/index.html).
World Sports Humanitarian Hall of Fame (www.sportshumanitarian.com/inductees/pele.html).
The My Hero Project (http://tinyurl.com/MyHeroPele).

Sharon Grover is the Head of Youth Services at the Hedberg Public Library, Janesville, WI,. Lizette (Liz) Hannegan was an elementary and middle school librarian and the district library supervisor for the Arlington (VA) Public Schools before retiring, and was the 2012 Odyssey Award Chair. They are co-authors of the book, Listening to Learn: Audiobooks Supporting Literacy (ALA Editions, 2011).