We’re out of school today in observance of Oaks Day here in our area. This morning, Anita Silvey, children’s literature expert and resource, reminded us on Facebook that Pete Seeger celebrates a birthday today. 100 years. I might not have known that without her post. How many of us would? How many of us would have known that Anita Silvey has written one of the best nonfiction looks at Seeger’s life and work?
And, as you will see, as luck might have it, I had Adam’s project to share with you out in the van. Here is that project. As you will see in the photos below, Adam’s installation is built like a stage that displays a broken-down banjo Adam found at the Peddler’s Mall right before the project.
Adam had no awareness of Seeger or his music or his influence on many of the artists Adam did know. When Adam was stuck in his subject choice, we had just finished watching clips of Bruce Springsteen’s Broadway show to inspire some writing in Room 407. I thought that Pete Seeger would be a great subject to tie into the idea of the theme of an American Creed and how music can be the language we use to express our personal creed as Americans.
This is a moment that we might stop and remind ourselves that our students do not read 100% of the books and they do not write 100% of the pieces they might if we don’t know about them, shelve and share them, and work these with students while they are in our buildings. I had Silvey’s book in the room as well as other resources you see in Adam’s Annotated Bibliography. I had Seeger CDs at the ready or I would not have made a recommendation to him to pursue the project.
Watch as Adam lists his Table of Contents right after the original tracks on this album set (and that his project is tucked inside of a vintage boxed record set). His review of Silvey’s book (posted to Amazon) is also included within the project. A little booklet is tucked inside of the project that serves like “Liner Notes” for the project.
I simply love the earnestness of this project as it is presented. Adam narrates the “turns” in the project as well as how it all comes together in the end. Adam has (and he will not mind or push back against this) been a little late on some of the pieces along the way. All I wanted for him this spring is that a project could come in that reflected his love for music. All I wanted for Adam was to take a deeper look at the roots of the music he listens to today. That’s what I wanted. And Adam delivers here.
As a side note, Adam’s project caught the eye of senior, Calvin, and he wanted to know more about the banjo Adam had found (Calvin is a picker). This led to an IRP (study hall) conversation between two students who might not otherwise had an opportunity to share an interest in the instrument and the music.
It is a joy to share Adam’s project with you today on Seeger’s birthday.