1. Trolley Dodging? – It might be fun – and children will be engaged and very curious – if one could work out a way to re-enact the Brooklyn that brought forth the Brooklyn Dodgers. Imagine if you had a series of toy trains or small wheeled vehicles (they could be toy buses or even taxis). Children could be arrayed on their knees around the edge of the stage and they could methodically – not excitedly – roll their vehicles across the stage to counter-parts opposite them. Continuously, not going fast or slow, just continuously. Meanwhile someone – the principal? – could attempt to navigate the stage – merely trying to walk from one end to the other – back to front – or side to side – or even across the diagonal. Along the way he/she would have to “dodge” the vehicles – the very thing that gave the Brooklyn Dodgers baseball team their name. This “assembly” probably couldn’t last very long – but would certainly get them buzzing and talking.
4. Meet the Dodgers – The other aspect of life in 1947 Brooklyn that is central to Shirley’s attraction is the Brooklyn Dodgers. Bette Bao Lord does not spend time explaining much about the Dodgers – they are just there all of a sudden as the backdrop and focus of Shirley’s interest. It might be fun to introduce or “meet” the 1947 Dodgers. Teachers could dress up as famous Dodgers – manager Leo Durocher, shortstop Pee Wee Reese – or even less famous Dodgers who are important in the World Series – pinch hitter Cookie Lavagetto, outfielder Al Gionfriddo – and introduce themselves. Students may not know who these people all anymore – but to have them introduced in an assembly may provide a curious, appetite-whetting introduction to the book. And when their names show up later in the book, student’s “recognition” of the names may help make those moments and details even more compelling and memorable. You cold also show clips of these personalities – and some of the famous plays they made.