Follow the Drinkin' Gourd
Information  to go along with URL:
I'm going to make a brief description of the simple little drawing I made to
go along with FOLLOW THE DRINKING GOURD.  Describing the drawing will provide a pretty
good solution to a couple of people on my list who said they don't have
Macs, although I imagine that most people in the field of education probably
have at least have some sort of access to a Mac just for the purpose of
running off a tranparency or hand-out.
At top of the right hand margin next to the lyrics I drew (with the mouse)
a five pointed star and labeled it, "The Northern Star: Polaris."

At the bottom of the page I drew seven smaller five-pointed stars in the
constellation's shape, with the handle facing left and bowl facing up and
labeled it "The Big Dipper constellation."

I connected these seven stars with lines of equal length and labeled the
last segment "1." Along the page's right marigin I drew another five broken
segments (2,3,4,5 & 6) and capped the segment labeled "6" with an arrowhead
pointing to Polaris, which I darkened in a little.
The idea here is that by sighting on the last star in The Dipper's bowl
(facing upwards in my drawing - I'm embarrassed to admit I don't know which
way it's facing at the moment in the actual sky) you can form a distance
with your thumb or whatever's handy to measure out in an extended line
straight to Polaris.  The distance from the Big Dipper bowl's last star to
Polaris is supposed to be roughly five times the distance between it's last
two stars.

Both Polaris (the Northern Star) and the Big Dipper are pretty easily seen
in even the most light-polluted environments, so by learning this little
trick anyone should be able to find bearings to the north on a clear night
anywhere on Earth.  All the other heavenly bodies appear to spin around
Polaris throughout the hours of the evening and days and months of the year.

Although I have not actually counted them, I think I've managed to aptly
illustrate why they say that "A picture is worth a thousand words." And as I
always find that these little word-processor projects (and this really is a
pretty simple one) take longer than they should, I still think the easist
thing to do in this case would be to just to put the file that I'm e-mailing
to you  on a floppy disk that should be easily read by any Macintosh
computers you may have access to at work.  Otherwise I hope that the
instructions above are easy enough to follow.  Thanks again for the

Dear K-8 Friends,

Thanks for being patient.  I wanted to have a whole wad of requests before I
sent the file out.

Several people said that they've got Clarisworks 4.0, so that's what I'm
sending.  Anything higher should be able to open the file, but if you've got
3.0 or lower just let me know.  Since I didn't write the song, you're
welcome to use the sheet in any way that you want.  As a matter of fact if I
HAD written the song you'd still be free to use it in any fashion you
pleased "as long (as I say on my web page) as you don't try to become rich
and famous trying to pretend you are me."  I'm just mentioning because
someone asked.

I'm also enclosing a copy of "Bookman" font in the hopes that you will be
able to print the file straight away without having to try and juggle the
size of the lyrics anound the drawing.  If you don't already have "Bookman"
in your fonts folder just drop it in there.

If you need advice on how to do that or how to make a transparency I'll be
glad to tell you.  I pick up my tranparency blanks at Sam's Warehouse, 50 to
a box at $7.99 and run them off on a laser printer at work.  I can also
share with you how I make the multiple copies - four to a page works nicely
for this particular sheet - if you want to make up ticket-sized handouts.  I
just looked at the Big Dipper a couple of moments ago, and it seems to be
actually oriented in a pretty similar position to what's shown on the sheet
in the 9:00 PM Westchester New York sky.  It really changes a lot throughout
the year, though.  I think it turns upside down my winter.

See you later.

David Saphra