UP IN THE SKY

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March is a transition month from wintertime to spring, and the weather is often unpredictable. From cold temperatures, gusty winds, and snow showers to warm temperatures, gentle breezes, and sunshine, the wild swings can make for some interesting sights in the sky. Discover a few of them as you engage your group in the activities suggested below.

  • SPRING SKY SIGHTS: Listen to the song “It’s a Wonderful World,” sung by Louis Armstrong. Ask participants to name some possible early spring sights in the day and night skies (be specific): double rainbow, cumulus clouds, the Sun, a flock of wild geese, jumbo jets, the Big Dipper, commercial drone, full moon, shamrock banner flag or Erin-Go-Bragh flag, bald eagles, lightning bolt, diamond-shaped kite, Jupiter and Venus, shooting stars, hot air balloon, American flag, droplets of rain, weather satellite, International Space Station.
  • DISCUSSION: Talk about the meaning of the following quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson: “The sky is the daily bread of the eyes.”
  • SKY SONGS: Songs for listening – “Blue Skies,” “Get Off My Cloud,” “Singin’ in the Rain,” “You Are My Sunshine,” “Blowin’ in the Wind,” “Here Comes the Sun,” “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” “Good Morning, Star Shine,” “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star,” “Swinging on a Star,” “I Got the Sun in the Morning,” “Catch a Falling Star,” “When You Wish Upon a Star.”
  • IDIOMS: Use these idioms to describe a particular situation: came out of the clear blue sky, go sky-high, the sky’s the limit, reach for the sky, pie in the sky, eye to the sky. (Example: Gas prices are set to go sky-high.)
  • SKYLINES: Show a picture of the skyline in a large city, like New York. Talk about the history of skyscrapers and find out the names of some of the tallest buildings in the U.S. (Examples: One World Trade Center, Empire State Building, Sears Tower, Chrysler Building) Ask: What is the tallest building you’ve ever been in? How high was it? Did you go to the top floor? Describe the view.
  • SHORT STORY: Listen to the short story titled “Hot Air Balloon” on the CD Five Minute Memories (a featured product for the month). Share memories of airborne adventures such as sky diving, hang gliding, hot air balloons, glider rides, bungee jumping. Ask: Have you ever gone up in a hot air balloon? Describe the experience. Do you enjoy flying? What was the longest flight you ever took? What do you like about being in the sky?
  • OUTER SPACE: Watch the1999 film October Sky – about the 1957 space race. Share memories of missions to the moon, the space shuttle, and the space station. Ask group members if they would like to travel in outer space and why.
  • THE MOON: Invite a local farmer/gardener to talk about using the phases of the moon (according to the old Farmers’ Almanac) to plant gardens and crops. Share other weather folklore related to the planting season.
  • EAGLES: Show photos of eagles soaring high in the sky (see National Geographic’s web site). Find out why the eagle flies alone and how high it can go. Talk about the meaning of “eagle eye.”
  • NIGHT SKY: Invite an astronomer to talk about night sky events during the month of March or early spring. (Examples: stars, visible planets, meteor showers, eclipses, moon phases) Show tools that an astronomer uses, including binoculars, telescopes, and cameras.
  • FLYING FLAGS: Get ready for baseball’s Opening Day by displaying a photo of the American flag flying against a clear blue sky. Sing our national anthem, “The Star-Spangled Banner,” and talk about the lyrics. Research the connection between the 200-year-old tune and sports games like baseball.
  • BIRD’S-EYE VIEW: Imagine you are taking a helicopter tour over New York City or another large city. Describe the changing landscape below. What would you see? (Examples: Central Park, Empire State Building and other tall buildings/offices, Hudson River, LaGuardia Airport, New York Harbor)
  • ST. PATRICK’S DAY: Sing the first couple of words or hum a few bars of some well-known Irish songs. Talk about the legend of a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow (guarded by a leprechaun). Challenge your group to a leprechaun lore quiz. Read old Irish blessings and sayings that mention the sun, sky, or rainbows.
  • DRONES: Show photos of drones and talk about their commercial and private uses. Ask participants how they feel about small, unmanned aircraft flying over the U.S. skies to collect data and information. How about a drone package delivery program?
  • IN THE AIR: Invite a private citizen who has a pilot’s license to talk about flying small aircraft. What sparked his or her interest in flying and how did s/he get licensed? Ask participants: Did you ever fly in a small plane or helicopter? Tell about the experience. If you could fly your own plane, where would you go?
  • MOVIE TIME:Watch the animated movie Up, about the friendship between an older adult and a young boy who go to South America aboard a flying house, lifted up by helium balloons.

More activities can be found in the resources highlighted below.

Continue to look for upcoming editions of this newsletter the first day of the month. (Themes focus on the following month.) Our newsletter contains useful information to make your job of working with older adults more fulfilling. In this issue, you’ll find the following:

  • Up in the Sky Resources
  • Sky Trivia Quiz
  • Featured Products for February
  • Thought for the Month


UP IN THE SKY RESOURCES

Do you like to watch airplanes soar through the sky? Do you remember the first airplane you ever saw? Spend some time rekindling memories with the ElderSong product I Hear Memories, Volume 2. The CD offers one-minute sound scenes for reminiscing. Vintage sounds include Beauty Parlor, Fireworks, Clocks, Wedding, Baby, Washday, Camping, Automobile, Office, Spring Cleaning, and more! The companion book features a description of each sound scene, prop suggestions, discussion questions, and songs for singing or listening. Here are some discussion questions from “Airport,” featuring these sounds: crowd sounds in airport terminal, flight arrival announcement, flight leaving announcement, engine starting, turnstile, car horns, airplane taking off.

  • Have you ever flown in an airplane? What do you remember about your first airplane ride?
  • Do you like to fly? What do you like about it?
  • Did you or a member of your family serve in the Air Force? What was your assignment while in the Air Force? Did you learn to parachute out of airplanes? What was the experience like?
  • To what places have you flown in an airplane or jet? Do you like to ride first class or coach?

Are you waiting for spring to arrive and usher in some warmer temperatures? Catch “spring fever” with scenes of the great outdoors. The soothing DVD Ambient Calm: Scenes of Serenity features 14 vistas of passing clouds, fluttering butterflies, waterfalls, sand dunes, quiet ponds, beach sunrises, and rainfall – with natural sound effects. Or simply listen to music as you view the relaxing scenes. Choose classical piano or guitar. Build your custom playlist of scenes and music. There is a loop mode for continuous play.

Spring will soon arrive – with kites, sunshine, daffodils, rainbows, robins, and more. Add some seasonal decorations with Crafts Through the Year, a book of crafts “specially adapted for older adults.” You’ll find

36 projects in the resource, with varying levels of difficulty: very simple, simple, or intermediate. There are three craft projects for each month of the year with a list of

supplies, leader preparation tips, and directions. Photos of the finished projects are included in the book.

For the spring season, your group can choose from the following craft projects: Spring Kites, Felt Shamrock Necklace, Tissue Paper Shamrock, Bunny Basket, Calico Bunny, Decoupage Bunny, Clothespin Butterfly, or Felt Flower Mobile.

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to ride in a hot air balloon in a clear blue sky? Hear about a father’s balloon adventure on Five Minute Memories: Heartwarming Stories to Comfort and Connect. There are nine short stories read aloud on CD, to provide comfort to those who may need encouragement from isolation or feelings of loneliness. Use the CD for a small or large group activity or for a bedside activity. Generate lots of conversation with some of the following topics: Front Porch Sittin’, Dad’s Car Air Conditioner, Granny’s Aprons, Summer Fun in the Neighborhood, Camp Tanalo, Pop, The County Fair, Hot Air Balloon, The Art of Fruit Pies. Each five-minute story starts with a short question or comment to cue the listener on the subject.

Do you remember a particularly wet spring when the sky seemed to open up and pour out buckets of rain showers? Uncover some weather memories with Everyday Life Trivia, Volume 3. The resource features hundreds of questions about the everyday life of Americans in the mid-20th century. Choose from 20 topics, including Bread and Other Carbs, Family, Feet, Great Outdoors, Hats, Left and Right, Life Everyday, Money and Things, Social Life, Sleepytime, Weather, and more! The trivia quizzes are engaging, and many of the questions will rekindle memories of favorite people, places, and events. The quiz format provides valuable mental stimulation for your group. Here are some sample questions related to the topic of the sky/weather:

  • Which month is noteworthy for its winds?
  • What does it mean if it’s raining cats and dogs?
  • What does a weather vane tell you?
  • How do you make hay while the sun shines?
  • Finish this saying: April showers bring…


SKY TRIVIA QUIZ

1.What is the brightest planet visible from Earth with the naked eye? Jupiter
2.How is a rainbow formed in the sky? Sun and raindrops
3.Finish the saying: “Red sky at night, sailor’s delight/ Red sky in the morning…. Sailor’s warning
4.According to Greek mythology, who is god of the sky? Zeus
5.Which fictional children’s character was hit on the head with an acorn and believed the sky was falling? Chicken Little
6.What is a skylark? Bird
7.Finish the famous line: “Look, up in the sky! It’s a bird. It’s a plane. It’s….” Superman
8.What do we call it when little balls of ice fall from the sky? Hail
9.On the TV show Sky King, what was the name of Schuyler “Sky” King’s twin-Cessna plane? Songbird
10.What type of cloud produces showers and thunderstorms? Cumulonimbus


FEATURED PRODUCTS FOR FEBRUARY – 10-30% off

I Hear Memories! Volume 2 – Item #P530; CD & 23-page book. Regularly $17.95. Online sale price $14.35.

Ambient Calm: Scenes of Serenity – Item #W5704; 120-minute DVD. Regularly $15.95. Online sale price $13.50.

Crafts Through the Year – Item #P219; 92-page book. Regularly $16.95. Online sale price $13.50.

Five Minute Memories – Item #W6201; 45-minute CD. Regularly $19.95. Online sale price $16.95. New in 2015!

Everyday Life Trivia, Volume 3 – Item #P120; 47-page book. Regularly $9.95. Online sale price – 30% off for ElderSong’s 30th anniversary: $6.95.


THOUGHT FOR THE MONTH

“A cloudy day is no match for a sunny disposition.” ~ William Arthur Ward

“Up in the Sky” was written by Sue Hansen. Copyright 2015 ElderSong Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.

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