Friday, April 13, 2018

Reading Period 24: April 13 - 19: Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry

Long Read:

Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred Taylor, chapters 1-4

Short Read:

"Girl" by Jamaica Kincaid

Poem:

"Sharecropper" by Sterling Brown. This poem tells the story of a sharecropper being interrogated by his landlord to give up information about a meeting of workers who want to form a union. It is violent and harsh and may be upsetting. Don't read it if you're worried.

Creative Assignments:

After listening to Brown read "Sharecropper" several times, and thinking about the symbolism of the last line, where white oak and black oak are planted together, create a piece of art that combines white oak trees and black oak trees in some way. You could show trees planted together, or you could draw their leaves or acorns. You'll need to look up the actual differences in the two trees and learn what they would look like side by side, but you can show them in any way that you want to, to express the theme of the poem.

OR

After reading "Girl" by Jamaica Kincaid, write a piece of flash fiction of at least 300 words where a speaker gives instructions to the reader in the same stream-of-consciousness format. You can put the reader's internal responses in italics like in the Kincaid story. You can use semicolons and dashes, but no other punctuation.

Writing Assignments:

This week's assignment is to write a well-organized informative essay. You'll need an introduction, a body, and a conclusion. Your introduction could connect the essay topic to the novel we're reading, or you could use some other introductory strategy like imagery, an anecdote, an interesting fact, or a question. Here are the topics you can choose from. Please note that we are going to write three of these, while we read Roll of Thunder, and you can choose a different topic each week. Your essay should be three hundred words long. We're going to work hard on organization in this block, so when you turn it in, I want you to label your paragraphs in pencil or pen and say what the main topic or idea of each paragraph is. In the introduction, I want you to label it with your "hook" strategy and in the conclusion I want you to label it with your "new place" direction.

Topics:
Sharecropping
Segregation and "Black Codes"
Plessy vs. Ferguson
Brown vs. Board of Education
National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)
Mildred Taylor's life
Please also fill out the easy parts of the Stickybeak Scoop Sheet for  The Outsiders, so that in class on Tuesday we can work on structuring the informative essay and also the themes/motifs/symbols and discussion questions for The Outsiders.

Quiz:

For each character in the book, give a line of dialogue that shows the character's personality. The whole book is Cassie "talking" but dialogue is in quotation marks and is what the characters actually say out loud.

1. Stacey.
2. Mary (Mama).
3. David (Papa).
4. Big Ma.
5. Christopher-John.
6. Little Man.
7. T.J. Avery.
8. Mr. Morrison.
9. Miss Crocker
10. Cassie

BONUS: What does it mean when Cassie says that the Wallaces burning the Berrys was something "that wavered between the known and the unknown"?

Friday, April 6, 2018

Reading Period 23: April 6 - 12: The Outsiders


Long Read: 

The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton, chapters 9-12

Short Read:

An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge by Ambrose Bierce

Poem: 

"Spring," by Edna St. Vincent Millay

Creative Assignment:

"Stay gold, Ponyboy" is one of the coolest things that anyone has ever said in a novel, partly because it just sounds so cool, and partly because it references an awesome poem. Look back through the poems we have read this year, and create catchphrases for each of the characters in your fictional gang of friends, based on these poems. Each character must have his or her own catchphrase and each catchphrase must reference a different poem. When you give the list, tell what poem you're referencing, in case it's not obvious.

OR

Write a counter-poem to Edna St. Vincent Millay's "Spring." You'll need to figure out what her thesis is, and then write a poem that argues with it. If you'd like to wait until after Tuesday to do this one, we will definitely be discussing the poem in class, so if you're having trouble with what your counter-idea should be, hold off until we discuss it. You might even get a start on your poem in class too.

Writing Assignment:

You've been working on your fictional gang in class. If you need to review the worksheet for creating your gang, here it is. You've developed your characters, you've written introductory chapters from their points of view, and you've collaborated on plot ideas where these two gangs will clash. Maybe you and your partner and the other pair you're working with has already developed a list of four scenes. Great! This week's assignment is to write a scene of at least 300 words, showing conflict between the gangs (man vs. man!), either an inciting event or a climactic rumble. You can work with what your collaborators have given you, or you can work on your own idea. If no one can agree, go your own way and follow your own idea! We will try to collect the 8 pieces into a story, but don't worry about that part of the process right now.

Note: There is no assignment about "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge" but it would be great if you would read it anyway, because we will be working with it in class.

Quiz:

1. Give your best definition of the word "Tuff."
2. What is the connection between Darry Curtis and Paul Holden?
3. How do the Greasers feel, after the fight is over?
4. What simile does Ponyboy use for Johnny's death?
5. What examples does Ponyboy give of Dally being a hero, not a hoodlum?
6. Give an example of Darry behaving like a parent to Ponyboy.
7. What does Ponyboy confess to Randy and why?
8. Give an example of how Ponyboy's life is different, since the hearing.
9. What does Ponyboy do that worries the Greasers and prompts them to tell him not to "get tough."
10. What do we learn about the book we are reading, when we get to the very end?


Friday, March 23, 2018

Reading Period 22: March 23-29: The Outsiders

Long Read: 

The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton, chapters 5-8

Poems:

"One Art" by Elizabeth Bishop
"Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night" by Dylan Thomas

Our assignments this week will connect our collaborative writing project. You will need to thoughtfully consider the "gang" that you have created with your partner in class. Remember that this gang, like the gangs in The Outsiders, believe in their cause and their identity. They work together and support each other. Your gang is a balanced group, and does not solely exist for making mischief. They have to have something they care about, to protect. They have to have something to believe in.

Creative assignments:

Which of your gang members would have as their favorite poem one of the assigned poems from this week? Would your agent of chaos like Elizabeth Bishop's instruction to not hang onto things? Would your rule follower respond to Dylan Thomas' instruction to stand up to death and fight? Write a 250 essay that includes your interpretation of what the poem means to your character, a description of your character, and an imagined reason why the character finds this poem so important.

OR

Choose three of your gang members to illustrate. These can be three that are closely related, three that find themselves frequently in conflict, or another group. You don't have to decide with your partner who will illustrate which members, but you could, if you both decide to work on this assignment.

Writing Assignments:

Choose one member of your imaginary gang, and write an introduction to the group in first person from this person's point of view. Your character should introduce his or her friends, and also talk about what unifying ideas and goals bring the group together. This might read a bit like the first chapter of The Outsiders.

Quiz:

1. What book does Johnny bring back for Ponyboy?
2. What symbolic act do the boys feel forced to do, that makes Ponyboy cry?
3. What natural phenomenon prompts the boys to discuss the Robert Frost poem, "Nothing Gold Can Stay"?
4. Who is the Greasers' spy inside the Socs?
5. Why did the church catch fire?
6. Why did Dally hit Ponyboy in the back?
7. How many of the little kids did they manage to save?
8. What is the newspaper headline about the fire?
9. Randy says the Greasers can't win, even if they fight the Socs. Why?
10. What is the only thing keeping Darry from being a Soc?

Friday, March 16, 2018

Reading Period 21: March 16-22: The Outsiders

Long Read: 

The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton, chapters 1-4

Short Read:

"The Enchanted Bluff" by Willa Cather

Poem:

"Nothing Gold Can Stay" by Robert Frost

Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.

Creative Assignments:

Write the words to the Robert Frost poem neatly on a sheet of unlined paper, and then illustrate it in whatever manner you choose. You can be abstract or literal, but you must use color.

OR



After reading Tip's story of what happened with the village on the bluff, make up your own story using this geographical feature (a bluff or a mesa) as inspiration. You can base it on the legend in the Willa Cather story or you can make up something entirely different. Who lives there? How did they get there? How did they live? What happened to them? You can write in summary form, as Tip told the story, or you can write in scene with dialogue and action. Write at least 250 words, or many more words if you are inspired.

Writing Assignments:

Choose one of the historical topics mentioned in the story "The Enchanted Bluff" and write a short essay about it. You can use one source from the internet for your research, but you must check and confirm your information with at least one other source to make sure your chosen source is legit. Topics you might choose: magnetic anomalies in the Bermuda Triangle which might have thrown off Christopher Columbus' compass, the star that went out when Napoleon was about to lose battles, the Aztecs sacrificing prisoners, the Mound Builders of the Ohio and Mississippi river valleys, Coronado's search for the seven cities, or the Mormon migration to Utah. Write at least 250 words.

OR

Write a short essay comparing the group of boys in "The Enchanted Bluff" with the group of boys you meet in The Outsiders. You could contrast the characters, what they do, what they talk about, how they live. In your essay, also explain why each group became a group. Were they thrown together geographically, because of age, social class, common goals and interests, or another reason?

Quiz:

For your quiz, tell me a bit about these characters, or these groups of people. One sentence is fine.

1. Ponyboy's parents.
2. The Greasers
3. The Socs
4. Ponyboy himself
5. Sodapop
6. Darry
7. Dally
8. Johnny Cade
9. Two-Bit
10. Steve

Friday, March 9, 2018

Reading Period 20: March 9-15: Lord of the Flies

Long Read: 

Lord of the Flies by William Golding, chapters 10-12

Poems:

“I Stood upon a High Place”
by Stephen Crane

I stood upon a high place,
And saw, below, many devils
Running, leaping,
and carousing in sin.
One looked up, grinning,
And said, "Comrade! Brother!"

“All There Is to Know About Adolph Eichmann”
by Leonard Cohen

EYES - Medium
HAIR - Medium
WEIGHT - Medium
HEIGHT - Medium
DISTINGUISHING FEATURES - None
NUMBER OF FINGERS - Ten
NUMBER OF TOES - Ten
INTELLIGENCE – Medium
What did you expect?
Talons?
Oversize incisors?
Green saliva?
Madness?

“A Song at the End of the World”
by Czeslaw Milosz

On the day the world ends
A bee circles a clover,
A fisherman mends a glimmering net.
Happy porpoises jump in the sea,
By the rainspout young sparrows are playing
And the snake is gold-skinned as it should always be.
On the day the world ends
Women walk through the fields under their umbrellas,
A drunkard grows sleepy at the edge of a lawn,
Vegetable peddlers shout in the street
And a yellow-sailed boat comes nearer the island,
The voice of a violin lasts in the air
And leads into a starry night.
And those who expected lightning and thunder
Are disappointed.
And those who expected signs and archangels' trumps
Do not believe it is happening now.
As long as the sun and the moon are above,
As long as the bumblebee visits a rose,
As long as rosy infants are born
No one believes it is happening now.
Only a white-haired old man, who would be a prophet
Yet is not a prophet, for he's much too busy,
Repeats while he binds his tomatoes:
No other end of the world will there be,
No other end of the world will there be.

Creative Assignments:

After reading "A Song at the End of the World" at least twice, write your own poem that mimics this poem's idea. It should begin and end with the same line. Other lines you might want to borrow could be "No one believes it is happening now" and the construction "As long as..." Include your own details about the mundane things that might be going on as the world ends, and what people would have expected to be going on, and create your own version of the prophet who repeats the end lines. Not a white-haired old man, but something you imagine.

OR

In class we discussed how Lord of the Flies contains every kind of conflict that literature has to offer: man vs. man, man vs. himself, man vs. nature, man vs. society, and man vs. the supernatural. Choose the scenes that reflect these conflicts, and create a labelled drawing of life on the island that shows each. You could create one drawing including a lot of elements, which you label with the different types of conflict, or you could create five separate sketches.

Writing Assignments:

In class we discussed how Freud's concept of id, ego, and superego explains the interplay between a person's animal will and higher intellect. Remember the analogy of the rider on a horse, who does his best to control the animal while listening to the instructions of a riding teacher. We also decided how these three elements of the human mind are represented by the boys on the island. Write a 250 word essay in which you explain how Ralph, Jack, Simon, and Piggy fit into the definitions of id, ego, and superego. You'll need to introduce the concepts first, then give a little time to each character, maybe including an example from their behavior in the book to back up their psychological function, and finish with a conclusion. In the conclusion you might think about how the book ends and speculate on what William Golding is telling us about the human mind, based on that ending.

OR

Last summer, two Hollywood writers announced that they are writing and directing a movie based on Lord of the Flies that will portray all the characters as female. One of the directors said that "taking the opportunity to tell it in a way it hasn’t been told before, with girls rather than boys, shifts things in a way that might help people see the story anew. It breaks away from some of the conventions, the ways we think of boys and aggression." However, a lot of people are reacting negatively to the idea, saying that the story would be completely different with female characters, and cannot possibly stay true to the book. People are also raising eyebrows over the fact that these two directors are male. So, what do you think? Would the movie work with the same plot as the book, but girls instead of boys? If yes, why do you think that is? If no, how do you think the plot of the book would change?

Quiz:

1. What word does Ralph use that Piggy does not want him to use to describe what happened to Simon? What word does Piggy want to use?
2. The boys in Jack's tribe think they killed the beast. But what does Jack say?
3. What did Jack's hunters steal when they raided Ralph's camp?
4. Ralph, Piggy, Sam and Eric want to prepare themselves to visit Jack's tribe by doing what?
5. What words does Ralph use to describe Jack in the heat of the fight?
6. What choice does Piggy lay out for all the boys, just before he falls?
7. Why does Ralph feel that it might be ok to try again with Jack and his tribe?
8. What does Ralph do when he encounters the pig's head in the jungle?
9. When Piggy falls, the conch is smashed. What did the conch symbolize to the boys?
10. Who claims to be chief when the adults arrive?

BONUS: What do you think will happen to the boys when they get home?

Friday, March 2, 2018

Reading Period 19: March 2 - 8: Lord of the Flies

Look at this totally pretty beach!
Long Read:

Lord of the Flies by William Golding, chapters 7-9

Creative Assignments:

Pretend that you own a bakery and that someone has requested a Lord of the Flies themed cake. Using any image or scene from the book, and any color scheme, create sketches for a decorated cake. You could even design a cake that looks like the island. In your assignment, include the materials you will need -- different colors of frosting, little props, fondant, etc. -- and also the flavors you will choose. You do not actually have to bake a cake! Just give the plans.

OR

Write a code of conduct for an island-based society composed entirely of children under the age of 15, based on the Boy Scout Law. Your code of conduct must highlight at least five attributes of a good citizen. You can write it from your own perspective and experience, or choose to "role-play" one of the characters to create your code.

Look, flowers!
Writing Assignments:

After reading "The Lottery" by Shirley Jackson, considering the statement "All life is equally precious," and reflecting on our class discussion, write an essay of at least 250 words responding to the following prompt: If tradition demands that one member of a community be sacrificed each year, is a random lottery the most fair way to decide on the person to be sacrificed? Or is there another way to decide that's more reasonable and just? Do not include animals in your argument in any way -- focus only on human members of the community. To fully answer this prompt, you must first decide whether a lottery is most fair. If the answer is yes, you must say why. If the answer is no, you must offer a different idea for how the community could decide.

OR

Consider the two leadership situations you encountered in class. First you formed a council with diverse personalities and worldviews, and then you formed a council with similar personalities and worldviews. Write an essay of at least 250 words in which you respond to this prompt: Which leadership council was most effective? In order to answer this question, you'll need to define the word "effective." Was it the most comfortable? The one that generated the most content? The one that presented the most balanced list? Use specific examples from your experience to support your idea. You must say one or the other was more effective. Saying "it depends" or "sort of" is not an option.

Look, puppies!
Quiz:

1. Who reassures Ralph that he will make it home?
2. What happens to Ralph's spear when he participates in the pig hunt?
3. Who pretends to be a pig when the boys recreate the hunt in a game?
4. Why does Jack leave the group?
5. What project does Piggy suggest?
6. Why do the hunters impale a pig's head in the clearing?
7. The Lord of the Flies says that Simon can never escape him. Why?
8. What does Simon learn up on the mountain?
9. How does the weather add to the mood of the scene where the boys are dancing on the beach?
10. What happens to Simon's corpse and the parachutist's corpse?

Sorry, I know this week's reading is tough! Make sure you take a walk in the sunshine, play with a dog, hug your mom, and find something that makes you laugh and smile!

Friday, February 23, 2018

Reading Period 18: February 23 - March 1: Lord of the Flies

Long Read:

Lord of the Flies by William Golding, chapters 4-6

Short Read: 

"The Most Dangerous Game" by Richard Connell

Creative Assignments:

Using your watercolor resist project from class as a starting point, finish off this piece of art by adding lines and color, either with more watercolor paint, or with sharpie, or pen, or colored pencils. What can you add in the resisted areas, or how can you create outlines in the watercolor sections that augment the painting? 

OR

Write a poem of two sections, one representing Jack's point of view and one representing Ralph's. The challenge is this: the diction and word choice must reflect the developing worldviews of these characters. Who will have a regular rhyme and meter, and who will write blank verse? Who will use elevated vocabulary and who will use short, easy words? Not only your content but also your form must reflect the voice of these two characters. For your title, take one of the chapter titles.


Writing Assignments:

Remembering our four character archetypes, how would you sort Ralph, Piggy, Simon, and Jack into Hogwarts houses and why? If you'd prefer to use D&D classes or Three Musketeers characters as archetypes for comparison, that's fine too. Write a 250 word essay in which you tell how the main characters of Lord of the Flies would be sorted, and give at least one specific example from the story for each one -- an image, action, or line of dialogue.

OR

After reading "The Most Dangerous Game" think about Rainsford's line: " The world is made up of two classes--the hunters and the huntees." Do you think that Rainsford's assessment of the world has changed by the end of the story? In what way? Write a 250 word essay in which you explain Rainsford's way of looking at things, and take a position on whether he still feels like that at the end of the plot.

Quiz:

1. Why did the hunters let the fire go out?
2. What was Ralph's response to Jack's apology?
3. Who gave Piggy meat at the feast?
4. How did Piggy's glasses get broken?
5. Give three examples from Ralph's agenda for the meeting.
6. Who does Simon believe is the beast?
7. What does Piggy think the grown-ups would do while discussing problems?
8. Who discovers the beast on the mountain?
9. What actually is the beast on the mountain?
10. Who wins the argument of whether to stay on the rock pile at the end of the island or go back?