Two for Tuesday: Martin’s Big Words & Divergent

Martin’s Big Words: If I could pick one book to read every year on MLK Day, it would be, “Martin’s Big Words” text by Doreen Rappaport and illustrations by Bryan Collier. It’s a picture book, but the illustrations and selected quotes to truly touch my heart in a way that has continued to resonate 17 years after I first read it to a class of students.


Maybe a few pages of Martin’s Big Words will speak to you as they spoke to my students.














Which quote of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s means the most to you? Why? Share that with someone today and keep his dream alive through his big words!


Divergent: I am the teacher who relishes the students others might say are “divergent.” I love the fact that they are quadrilaterals who aren’t fitting into the round holes of traditional instruction. I also love playing the saxophone—even if I’m still improving after initially learning how to play the tenor and baritone saxophones in 7th grade.

What? Divergent and saxophone???

Listen to Derek Brown and his BeatBox Sax play, “Ain’t No Sunshine” and you’ll understand. As you listen, remember that everything you hear is created by him as he is playing the saxophone.


Derek was previously the director of jazz studies at Abilene Christian University for six years. Now, he travels the world to share his music. He achieves this unique BeatBoX Sax sound by utilizing slap-tonguing, circular breathing, a wide interest in musical styles, and dazzling coordination.

In a world of dubbing, real-time audio correction, and smart phone text corrections, it’s nice to hear a sax player who’s stepped out of the box to create his own divergent sound.

Many researchers have said that divergent thinking (looking for ideas from outside your discipline, considering a problem from a new angle) is critical for tackling problems that have no easy or clear solution. [put this paragraph into a colored text box]

I hope Martin’s Big Words and Derek Brown’s divergent sax playing encourage you to “follow your dreams” and maybe even “see them from a new angle!”

Resources for Martin’s Big Words:

*Read Aloud Lesson Plan for “Martin’s Big Words”

*Discussion Guide for Martin’s Big Words

*Video Read Aloud of Martin’s Big Words

More about Derek Brown:

*Derek Brown’s Home Page

*NPR Interview with Derek Brown

*Sax and the City: A Day in the Life of Derek Brown

I can’t talk about angles and not mention one of the best manipulatives you can get for teaching students about geometry—ANGLEGS! Visit my blog post,”Super Secondary Manipulatives- Anglegs to learn more. Order a few sets for your classroom, too!