Treasure Island: Rum or Gum?

I recently had the privilege to watch a video of a school group in New Jersey perform my Treasure Island for Kids, and of course, it was AWESOME! That being said, one thing I kept noticing…. they were saying “Rum” incorrectly… but wait! No, they weren’t, they were saying “Gum”!

When re-writing classics tales like I do, I do my best to stick to the original plotline as much as possible.  However, there are several times where that’s not possible. Sometimes with the length of the story or around specific content covered in the stories.  And Treasure Island is no different, because, when it comes to pirates, they drink rum! And there are no mixing words when Robert Louis Stevenson wrote Treasure Island, those pirates drank their rum!

I specifically remember wavering around this point when writing, if I should talk about rum or not. In the end, I stayed to the storyline and hoped that schools and directors would make modifications as they felt necessary.  Well, good for this school… as those pirates were constantly searching for their GUM!

So, if you are performing Treasure Island, and don’t feel comfortable using the word rum, you are MORE THAN WELCOME to substitute GUM in there!

Until next time, have fun on the stage!

Treasure Island: Rum or Gum? was originally published on Shakespeare for Kids Books


Shakespeare as a stoner? All smoke & no substance

Shakespeare a stoner? What’s your opinion? I’m good with most anything that helps you be creative… I’m no one to judge!

The View From Sari's World

Were herbs to blame for this play? Were herbs to blame for this play?

By now you’ve undoubtedly have heard the news: Pipes from Shakespeare’s property have been found to contain cannabis! Shakespeare was a stoner! If you haven’t heard, here’s a snippet from the Telegraph:

South African scientists have discovered that 400-year-old tobacco pipes excavated from the garden of William Shakespeare contained cannabis, suggesting the playwright might have written some of his famous works while high. Residue from early 17th century clay pipes found in the playwright’s garden, and elsewhere in Stratford-Upon-Avon, were analyzed in Pretoria using a sophisticated technique called gas chromatography mass spectrometry, the Independent reports. Of the 24 fragments of pipe loaned from the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust to University of the Witwatersrand, cannabis was found in eight samples, four of which came from Shakespeare’s property.

The author of the piece goes on to suggest Shakespeare must have smoked weed while writing his plays…

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The Astor Place riot, or why we don’t say Macbeth

Some insight to why Macbeth is the “cursed” play… Great for classroom discussions.

The View From Sari's World


I’ve always wondered why it’s considered bad luck to say “Macbeth” in a theater, or why production companies often refer to the play as, “that Scottish play”. Actors and directors will tell you the play is cursed; yet oddly this doesn’t stop them from producing it.

Why do we think the play is cursed? I’ve tried in vain to find the origin of this myth. My research led me to several stories that are purported to be examples of this curse, yet no one can say where theses stories originally come from. Even Harvard Professor Marjorie Garber, a well-respected Shakespeare scholar, adds to the myth without bothering to cite any sources. If she is to be taken at her word, the three witches use an actual spell in the opening scene. This supposedly has cursed the play right from the start.

And again if she is to be believed, the…

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Introduce your kids to Shakespeare insults

Ahhh, More insults the better!!!

The View From Sari's World

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could get our kids hooked on Shakespeare at an early age? You know, so they don’t gasp or panic when their high school literary teacher pulls out a play and announces, “Today we will start reading Shakespeare!”.

Anyone who has been around children understands they love performing. There is something about childhood that compels kids to “act”. Maybe it is a way of mimicking and understanding the world around them. Perhaps it is a early chance at self-expression in a way that is none threatening to adults. Who hasn’t watched a child perform a puppet play (usually with stuffed animals) and wondered, “where did that thought come from?” Toys are great stand-ins for children, as the toys say what the child cannot.

What if we could turn the love of performance towards Shakespeare? Is it possible to foster a love of classic theater in…

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Green leprechaun pees in the toilet

The Story of the Rainbow Leprechauns

Green leprechaun pees in the toiletSo everybody knows about the green leprechaun, but do you know about the history of the other colored leprechauns? Every year we go through this story with my son, it is so much fun leading up to St. Patrick’s Day, since this is one of our favorite holidays.  The legend of the rainbow leprechauns goes a little something like this (spoken in your best Irish accent):

Everybody knows about the lore of the green leprechaun. But what people don’t really know, is the history of the rainbow leprechauns. The little brothers and sisters of the green leprechaun.
The rainbow leprechauns check in every day before St. Patrick’s Day and can leave little gifts if you’re being a good boy or girl before their big brother, the green leprechaun, the most mischievous of them all, comes by for a visit.  They are getting your house ready for their big green brother, to make sure everything is in order so he can cause the most trouble!  Lots of different troubles, that you have always thought were caused by the green leprechauns, were really the work of his rainbow gang, but blue leprechaun on fridgeGreen takes all the credit, because, he is the oldest and the wisest!
The reason nobody knows about the other colors is they are not allowed to be seen.  I try to catch one every year, but all that is ever left behind are little colored footprints!  As they prove their worth through mischievous deeds, they can, over time, change colors to become green one day.
All of the different leprechauns are mischievous, it’s just part of their nature. They typically come at night, one day after another, each day before St. Patrick’s Day, when the Green Guy finally shows up. However, they have been known to show up two or three on a given night, just to try to cause more mayhem.  Every once in a while, although rare, they have even been known to show up during the day!
To get an idea of what these other leprechauns are like, let’s start with the blue leprechaun. He is a messy leprechaun. Just figuring out how to be a leprechaun and he leaves his blue marks everywhere. On the cupboards, on the floor, even in the toilet.  His intentions are good, but he just purple leprechaun in bathroomdoesn’t know how to control his blue yet.
The purple leprechaun is a risk taker. He is not shy, but is always doing something a bit extreme to get the attention of anybody that will watch. His footsteps are bold, and prominent and sometimes things get broken, not on purpose, of course, but by accident. And when he leaves a gift, sometimes, it’s a bit edgy and risky. And yes, it’s not uncommon to see purple sink and toilet water!
The red leprechaun is just curious. Always poking his nose, fingers, hands, or feet in places they probably shouldn’t belong. He typically leaves his little red gifts in these places as well. He is definitely in trouble from time to time.
The orange leprechaun is always is running late, typically missing the night time visits.  He is the king of procrastination.  Some feel he just likes to visit during the day and risk being caught, where others feel he likes to watch the kids behaviors during the day to make sure they are doing everything juuuust right!
red leprechaun on tileThe yellow leprechaun is shy. You can barely see his footprints at times, and doesn’t want to come out in the middle of the room. He is always a bit hidden and difficult to find.  He always leaves gifts, yellow in nature, and they are difficult to find as well.
The green one, well… he is a combination of them all, the best definition for him is: mischievous. He is the craftiest, the wisest, the eldest, a risk taker, and definitely the biggest troublemaker of them all.  He typically leaves his footprints everywhere around the house. The toilet water is always green, the milk and other such foods are green, and he even seems to dance on the little kids faces from time to time leaving green dots all over their faces when they wake up.  Green is also the most fun!
So, that is the story of the rainbow leprechaun gang.  I hope to hear about their shenanigans around your house next year!
As you can see in the photos, they stopped by our house again this year!
purple leprechaun letter

green leprechaun on mirror

Things you may not know about Charles Dickens

Since I just launched Dickens’ Oliver Twist for Kids, I thought this blog post was quite appropriate!

The View From Sari's World

I’ve updated an older post in honor of Dickens’ Birthday.


Charles Dickens was born on this day in 1812. Though his work is still highly praised, his personal life is ignored. While we shouldn’t judge a man’s work by his personal life, we must admit biography does sometimes bleed into writing. Let’s look at the complex man who shaped our modern view of Victorian England.

As with many beloved men in history, Dickens had a dark side. He was a very strict father, and left his wife because she had lost all “warmth and tenderness”. Yeah, Chuck, you try being witty and sexy after having 10 children and being left home with them. Dickens left his wife for a young actress who in turn left him when he was too old to be much fun. Karma baby!

I offer you:

“Things may not know about Charles Dickens”

The name “Dickens”…

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Dice for Vision Convergence

Dice Stacking for vision convergenceThe Skinny: This is a quick, easy, and fun activity that works vision convergence simply because you need two eyes to focus or you can’t do the challenge.  It’s balancing dice on the end of a tongue depressor or popsicle stick that you are holding in your mouth. (see photos) If someone didn’t tell me, I would have thought it was a birthday party game!  (oh wait, I think it is!)

What it is: Dice balancing on the end of a popsicle stick or tongue depressor

What it’s used for: Vision convergence

Ways to use it:

  • Dice Stacking for vision convergenceVision Convergence:
    • First, just start with holding the popsicle stick or tongue depressor in your mouth. The tongue depressor is wider and easier to work with, or, to make it more challenging,  use the popsicle stick.  Place one die on it, then two, and so on.  We were working with five.
    • Once your kid has figured out how to balance all 5 (or more!) then ask them to count the dots that they see.  It forces longer convergence and more attention to detail.
    • Once your kid has mastered that piece, raise the challenge, give them an order to put the dice in. 1-5 or five random numbers to work on their short term memory as well.  They have to then look at the die they are grabbing next and then to the dies that are on their stick.  Forcing some natural convergence and divergence!

Dice Stacking for vision convergenceWhere to find it: Typically, you can find this around the house.  But, you can get the dice and tongue depressors or popsicle sticks (more challenging) on Amazon.  Please remember, if you buy it through me you don’t pay any difference, and I get a small percentage. Thank you.

The Source: Dr. Major – Central Coast Vision and Learning – 805.431.1050




Dice for Vision Convergence was originally published on KidConnectionZ

autism and stimming

Autism and Depression, is there a link?

I have spent a lot of time with autism, and what I know for sure is that I don’t know autism. I mean, I know the stereotype, but ALL the kids that I have seen on the spectrum, are so uniquely different, that I can clearly say that nobody really “knows” autism. When I talk to teachers of “typical” kids, they always say that no two kids are alike in their class. Then why are people so quick to judge an autistic kid and drop them all in the same bucket? The fact is, you can’t.

What we do know about autism, is that we don’t know what causes it. But, we also know that it’s a “multi-faceted disease”, or some fancy term like that. In other words, there’s a LOT of different things converging at one time, which manifest themselves into “autistic behaviors”.

The fact is, we all have what I call “red flags”: challenges we face when we are a kid or even all throughout our adult lives. Typically we have 2 or 3 and the doctor tells our parents, “don’t worry, they’ll grow through it…” Whether this be dyslexia, hearing issues, bi-polar, ADHD, OCD, sensory, eating issues, etc., the list goes on and on. Our bodies, being amazing machinautism and depressiones at adaptation, adjust and find coping mechanisms that allow us to grow through or work with these red flags. Many of us use our own little quirks as a strength, once we understand and except our challenges (I’m clearly ADHD). But, autistic kids, they are just slightly different, they happen to have a few more “red flags”, and when their body can’t easily adapt to all these challenges, they combine to exhibit “autistic behaviors”.

What now becomes the new challenge is for the parents to find out what these “red flags” are and start working on them. It’s very hard at first, but once you start to identify and conquer these challenges, things start snowballing back together for your kid. This doesn’t just happen overnight, it takes years, but it can happen and may take ALOT of research, hard work, dedication, and deduction.

The really good news about finding these solutions for your child, is that, while you are “healing” one of these red flags, your child is adapting to their challenges on the inside, unbeknownst to you. It’s really cool, actually. As you fill their gap, they have built another strength, dare I say, a “super hero skill”. That’s the next trick, to find that newly created talent, AND FEED IT! Because they will be great….no, a genius in this area! And don’t think I’m the only one that thinks this is how a genius is created, listen to Barry Panter, a retired psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, when talking about people who are “wired” differently, “the neurosynaptic and neurochemical pathways in their brains may be different than most brains, and it may be this that contributes greatly to creativity and their genius” (quoted from USA Today article, “Tortured genius” by Maria Puente).

So, how is this all related to depression? Well, ever since Robin Williams passed away, I’ve been noodling this idea, because what I kept hearing from the “doctors” is that they don’t know exactly what causes depression and that it is typically manifested over years and due to several different causes….Several. Different. Causes. That’s it. That’s the connection.

At this point, this is more of an observation than anything else. But, there are two things I do know, many people on the autism spectrum are depressed and if you have one of these challenges, do something about it, because you don’t know what it will combine with down the road and manifest into. Most people who get help turn out stronger and better than before!