Grovetown Elementary School fourth-grade teacher Sylvia Martin hit a grand slam with her pupils by combining the study of language arts with baseball.
The idea began after the class read a story about Lou Gehrig, the New York Yankees player whose single-season mark of 184 RBIs still stands in the American League record books. Gehrig earned his nickname, The Iron Horse, for his streak of 2,130 consecutive games played.
Baseball pennants hang in Martin's classroom, with a bulletin board of famous players. Pupils soon will pick a favorite player to write about. And the baseball theme is being used by other teachers in other subjects, as well.
The baseball theme, Martin said, is a something the children have been enthusiastic about reading and writing about.
To top the unit off, Martin invited Harlem High School baseball coach Jimmie Lewis and players Ben Hill, Chris Day, Rusty James, Mike Morris, Jordan Whitaker and Donny Demore to visit the school recently to answer questions from fourth-grade pupils. The players divided into pairs to make the rounds to each classroom.
Harlem High School pitcher Donny Demore demonstrates his grip for Ryan Biggerstaff
(center) at Grovetown Elementary School.
Photo by Melissa Hall
Jordan and Donny were up at bat in Martins room, answering some basic questions, such as how long a game lasts. But the children also threw them a few curve balls.
Jordan, who has been playing ball since he was 4, encouraged the class to play.
"It's a good thing to be involved in and it keeps you out of trouble," he said.
The following are excerpts from the question and answer session with Donny, a pitcher and third baseman, and Jordan, also a pitcher, and Coach Lewis:
"Is it true pitchers aren't good at hitting?" Ryan Biggerstaff asked.
"It's been true for me this year," Donny said.
"Do bugs ever get on you when you run?" Dautrey Hammack said.
"Yes," both boys answered.
"Have you every had anyone ask you for your autograph?" Enrique Beard asked.
"No," both answered.
Harlem High School coach Jimmie Lewis answers questiona from Grovetown Elementary School fourth grader Dautrey Hammack.
Photo by Melissa Hall
"Have y'all told them the most important thing?," Coach Lewis asked his players as he walked into the room.
"Yes. Keep your grades up," Donny and Jordan answer in unison.
"How long have you been a coach?" Dautrey asked Coach Lewis.
"I've been coaching for 28 years, but I've been a coach since I was a junior in college, so I guess that would be 33 years. I'm going to coach till I drop on the field out there," Coach Lewis said.
"Do you still play baseball?," Ryan asked Coach Lewis.
"No," said Coach Lewis.
"Isn't there a senior series?" Ryan said.
"Do the dressing rooms stink?," Faith Drake asked.
"They might stink to you, but it smells good to me," Coach Lewis said.
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