Saturday, April 22, 2017

Reading Period 24: April 21-27: The Little Prince

Long Read: 

The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery, chapters 22 to the end.


“Demain dès l’aube”
de Victor Hugo

Demain, dès l’aube, à l’heure où blanchit la campagne,
Je partirai. Vois-tu, je sais que tu m’attends.
J’irai par la forêt, j’irai par la montagne.
Je ne puis demeurer loin de toi plus longtemps.

Je marcherai les yeux fixés sur mes pensées,
Sans rien voir au dehors, sans entendre aucun bruit,
Seul, inconnu, le dos courbé, les mains croisées,
Triste, et le jour pour moi sera comme la nuit.

Je ne regarderai ni l’or du soir qui tombe,
Ni les voiles au loin descendant vers Harfleur,
Et quand j’arriverai, je mettrai sur ta tombe
Un bouquet de houx vert et de bruyère en fleur.

"Tomorrow at Dawn"
by Victor Hugo

Tomorrow, at dawn, the moment the countryside is whitened,
I will leave. You see, I know that you await me.
I will go through the forest, I will go across the mountain.
I can no longer remain away from you.

I will trudge on, my eyes fixed on my thoughts,
Without seeing anything outside, without hearing any sound,
Alone, unknown, back bent, hands crossed,
Sad, and the day for me will be like the night.

I will not look upon the gold of nightfall,
Nor the sails from afar that descend on Harfleur,
And when I arrive, I will place on your grave
A bouquet of green holly and heather in bloom.

Creative Assignment:

Write a poem of three stanzas, using only sensory images: sights, sounds, sensations, smells. Each stanza must present a different emotion, either from the ones we brainstormed in class, or ones of your own choosing. Pick two negative emotions and a positive, or to positives and a negative, and think strategically about how you will arrange them in your poem. Take the reader to that emotion without the benefit of explanation of feelings. Colors, noises, objects, lights -- that is how you must communicate your feelings in this poem. We will be working on doing an in-class reading, so prepare yourself mentally for that.

Writing Assignment:

In class we discussed the challenges that face a translator. In a 250 word essay, write about what those challenges are. What pitfalls does a translator have to avoid, and what choices does a translator have to make? Now consider what type of translator you would be, if you were given the task to translate a poem from another language. Would you try to stick to the original as much as possible? Or would you change it to make it sound better in English? How would you keep the new work from becoming your own creation? Or would you go in that direction on purpose? You can use the different translations of "The Sick Muse" as illustrations if you like.


Read about Antoine de Saint-Exupery in his entry on Write a short essay that answers the following questions: What was his job and what kind of person was he? What facts about his life relate directly to his novella, The Little Prince? Do you think it's important that we know this about him, in order to fully understand the novel? Using this as an example, do you think it's important to always find out whether authors have personal experience with the story elements in their books?


1. The little prince says that only the children on the train know what they are looking for. What are they looking for?
2. Based on the prince's response to the salesclerk with the water pills, what is the little prince's opinion of the pills? How can you tell?
3. According to the little prince, what makes the desert beautiful?
4. Can you think of anything else invisible that makes something beautiful, like a flower you can't see near a faraway star?
5. Why does the prince drink water, even though he doesn't need it to live?
6. Do you think it is better to avoid tears by never letting yourself be tamed? Why?
7. Find a simile in chapter 26.
8. How will it be different for the pilot now when he looks at the stars?
9. Why does the prince ask the snake to bite him? Why can't he just fly back to his planet by whatever means he arrived?
10. List four things in the story that are yellow.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Reading Period 23: April 14 - 20: The Little Prince

Long Read: 

The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery, chapters 10-21


"Vowels" by Arthur Rimbaud

A black, E white, I red, U green, O blue: vowels,
I shall tell, one day, of your mysterious origins:
A, black velvety jacket of brilliant flies
which buzz around cruel smells,

Gulfs of shadow; E, whiteness of vapours and of tents,
lances of proud glaciers, white kings, shivers of cow-parsley;
I, purples, spat blood, smile of beautiful lips
in anger or in the raptures of penitence;

U, waves, divine shudderings of viridian seas,
the peace of pastures dotted with animals, the peace of the furrows
which alchemy prints on broad studious foreheads;

O, sublime Trumpet full of strange piercing sounds,
silences crossed by [Worlds and by Angels]:
–O the Omega! the violet ray of [His] Eyes!

in French:


A noir, E blanc, I rouge, U vert, O bleu: voyelles,
Je dirai quelque jour vos naissances latentes:
A, noir corset velu des mouches éclatantes
Qui bombinent autour des puanteurs cruelles,

Golfes d'ombre; E, candeurs des vapeurs et des tentes,
Lances des glaciers fiers, rois blancs, frissons d'ombelles;
I, pourpres, sang craché, rire des lèvres belles
Dans la colère ou les ivresses pénitentes;

U, cycles, vibrements divins des mers virides,
Paix des pâtis semés d'animaux, paix des rides
Que l'alchimie imprime aux grands fronts studieux;

O, suprême Clairon plein des strideurs étranges,
Silences traversés des [Mondes et des Anges]:
—O l'Oméga, rayon violet de [Ses] Yeux!

Matchbox Minute Movie: 

In class we have been working on creating a matchbox that contains all the props and sets to film a one minute movie version of any book or narrative poem we've read in class this year. Your writing assignment is to write the script for your movie. Your movie can be from 50 to 70 seconds long, so your script will have to be extremely condensed! Post your script to Google+ to get feedback from your classmates. Your creative assignment is to finish up all your props, characters, and backdrops for your movie. You may find, as you write your script, that you need more props. You're welcome to use Lego, Sculpey, folded paper, other other tiny materials, but keep in mind that in order for your piece to meet the requirements of the assignment and be displayed in the Matchbox Museum on May 2, everything has to fit into the matchbox. When your script is written, post it. When your props and characters are all created, photograph them. If you do this, this counts as your writing assignment and creative assignment.


Creative Assignment: 

Have you ever heard of synesthesia? It's when one sense is picked up and experienced by another sense, such as seeing sounds or hearing or tasting colors. Read more about it here. It's not known for sure whether the French poet Rimbaud had synesthesia, but the idea of hearing colors is certainly present in his poem "Vowels." Create an illustration for Rimbaud's poem "Vowels" in which the words appear as images in their assigned colors, and you play with the idea of synesthesia and senses crossing over.

Writing Assignment:

The little prince visits six planets before coming to earth and meets characters on each planet that represent different philosophies or views. Think about the different ways these characters approach life, and imagine two more characters the prince might meet, if he had visited two more planets. Write an essay of 200 words in which you introduce the idea of the little prince visiting planets, talk about two more planets the prince might visit and describe the characters who live on them, and then conclude by making a new observation or asking a new question.


1. How does the king ensure that all his commands are obeyed?
2. For what does the vain man use his hat?
3. What is the drunkard trying to forget?
4. What is the businessman counting?
5. Why can the lamplighter never rest?
6. Why doesn't the geographer know about the oceans and mountains on his planet?
7. Why is there no one around, when the little prince lands on planet Earth?
8. What special power does the snake have?
9. What does the prince learn about his flower, when he visits the rose garden?
10. Why does the fox want to be tamed?

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Reading Period 22: April 7 - 13: The Little Prince

Long Read: The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery, chapters 1-9

Poem: "The Sick Muse" by Charles Baudelaire, from Fleurs de Mal

Creative Assignments:

Create three drawings. First draw the little prince. Then draw the little prince inside a boa constrictor. Then draw the little prince inside a box.


Write a chapter from the point of view of the flower on the little prince's planet. You can write about when she emerged, when she met the little prince, or his departure. You can use your imagination to create whatever story you like -- it doesn't have to only stick to the details we find in the book.

Writing Assignments:

When you have read over all of the translations of "The Sick Muse" at the link above, choose the translation that you think is the best and the one you think is the worst. You can use any criteria that you feel personally makes sense. Write a short essay explaining your choices. Think before you start: how many paragraphs will you write? How will you use transitions between the paragraphs? In your conclusion, take the reader to a new place by saying something about your criteria, the reasons you chose the translations you did, and what it says about your preferences.


After reading the first nine chapters of The Little Prince, write a short essay about what parts of the story are real and what parts are made up. To do this, you'll have to decide the following: What does make-believe mean, and what does real mean? Is something impossible necessarily make-believe? Are real things the things you personally can see? When you have decided what elements of the story are real and what are not, think about how many paragraphs you will need to write your essay, how you will transition between the paragraphs, and what new place you will take the reader in your conclusion.


1. Why did the narrator go for so long without drawing?
2. Why is the narrator alone in the Sahara desert?
3. The little prince keeps rejecting the narrator's sheep drawings. What is the solution?
4. Why will the sheep not need to be tied up?
5. Why did people at first not believe the astronomer who discovered Asteroid B-612?
6. Why does the little prince always get rid of the baobab trees on his planet?
7. Why can the little prince watch the sun set 44 times in one day?
8. What is something serious for the narrator? What is something serious for the little prince?
9. How is the new flower different from the poppies?
10. Why is the flower not afraid of big animals?

Friday, March 24, 2017

Reading Period 21: March 24-30: Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank

Long Read: 

Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank, through August 1, 1944.


Anne Frank's poem written in a friend's album:

‘Dear Eva,
Share your joy with many,
fun and pleasure with everyone,
your sorrow with only a few,
and with those you love your heart.
In memory of your friend
Anne Frank’

Watch this paint marbling video featuring the works of Vincent Van Gogh. We're going to be working on a marbling project in class:

Creative Assignments:

The last Dutch artist we're going to study is Vincent Van Gogh. Take a look at this painting by Van Gogh, Bedroom in Arles:

Here's a link to a larger version. Now read this note, written by Van Gogh to his brother, about the painting:

My eyes are still tired by then I had a new idea in my head and here is the sketch of it. Another size 30 canvas. This time it's just simply my bedroom, only here colour is to do everything, and giving by its simplification a grander style to things, is to be suggestive here of rest or of sleep in general. In a word, looking at the picture ought to rest the brain, or rather the imagination.The walls are pale violet. The floor is of red tiles.
The wood of the bed and chairs is the yellow of fresh butter, the sheets and pillows very light greenish-citron.
The coverlet scarlet. The window green.
The toilet table orange, the basin blue.
The doors lilac.
And that is all--there is nothing in this room with its closed shutters.
The broad lines of the furniture again must express inviolable rest. Portraits on the walls, and a mirror and a towel and some clothes.
The frame--as there is no white in the picture--will be white.
This by way of revenge for the enforced rest I was obliged to take.
I shall work on it again all day, but you see how simple the conception is. The shadows and the cast shadows are suppressed; it is painted in free flat tints like the Japanese prints. It is going to be a contrast to, for instance, the Tarascon diligence and the night café.
Your assignment is to create a colorful picture of a room in your house, like Bedroom in Arles, along with a note to describe it, naming each color used. Use the coolest color words you can, like "citron" and "scarlet."


Miep Gies as an older lady. She died in 2009.
Write a poem about the helpers in the book. Write to thank them for being brave, write to say how their actions inspire people, write to honor their fear and their doubts, and write to keep their place in history alive. Choose a central image for your poem -- maybe the "Happy Pentacost" cake or the strawberry canning, the radio they used to get their news, or a blackout curtain. Your poem does not have to rhyme or have a regular meter. Here are the main ones -- you can choose one or all:

Miep Gies – Secretary to Otto Frank
Bep Voskuijl – Secretary to Otto Frank
Jo Kleiman -- Accountant
Victor Kugler -- Employee

Writing Assignments:

We discussed in class how Anne's diary was meant to be private, and she wrote things in the diary that she wouldn't have written for public consumption. However, her father decided to publish it, and that's how we have access to it today. When we post things on Facebook or other social media, often those words are sanitized to make everything seem great, uncomplicated, but in a private diary, where we can be more "real," we may decide to release some darker thoughts or secrets. Your assignment is to write about the difference between public and private speech. You may either write this as a personal essay, in which you talk about your own experiences and the things you choose to say privately or publicly, and how you protect your words, OR you may write this as a persuasive essay in which you pick a side and argue that Anne's father was right or wrong in his decisions to edit and publish her diary.


Instead of a quiz, write an essay including as many homophones as you can. For a topic, take the idea that you are two people -- one in public in everyday life, and one in the private space in your head. For inspiration and direction, take the last entry in Anne's diary. Your essay can be serious or funny. Since Google+ won't let you format your post with italics or bold, I recommend writing this in Google Docs, bolding or italicizing all your homophones, and then giving us a shareable link.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Reading Period 20: March 17-23: Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank

Due dates:
Quiz: Monday, March 20
Assignments: Wednesday, March 22

Long Read: Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank: Thursday, July 29, 1943 to Wednesday, March 22, 1944.


what if a much of a which of a wind
by e.e. cummings

what if a much of a which of a wind
gives the truth to summer’s lie;
bloodies with dizzying leaves the sun
and yanks immortal stars awry?
Blow king to beggar and queen to seem
(blow friend to fiend:blow space to time)
—when skies are hanged and oceans drowned,
the single secret will still be man

what if a keen of a lean wind flays
screaming hills with sleet and snow:
strangles valleys by ropes of thing
and stifles forests in white ago?
Blow hope to terror;blow seeing to blind
(blow pity to envy and soul to mind)
—whose hearts are mountains,roots are trees,
it’s they shall cry hello to the spring

what if a dawn of a doom of a dream
bites this universe in two,
peels forever out of his grave
and sprinkles nowhere with me and you?
Blow soon to never and never to twice
(blow life to isn’t:blow death to was)
—all nothing’s only our hugest home;
the most who die,the more we live

Creative Assignment

Parts of this section contain Anne's descriptions of her "ordinary days." She breaks it into parts of the day, and delivers incredible detail of the life in hiding and all the mechanics of the hardship she experiences. Pretend you are writing a diary entry explaining your average, normal day to a stranger from the future who wants to understand your habits and the factual details of life in 2017. Write a descriptive essay of 250 words in which you give, in detail, every moment of your day. If you can, write just about your morning, or evening routine. Include as many vivid details as you can, so your reader can really picture the experience.


Read this article about Dutch artist Piet Mondrian, and learn about his belief that abstraction could portray reality better than realism. Then create your own composition in the style of Mondrian. You must use color, but you can use a digital medium. Along with your composition must come a description of the real thing that you're portraying.

"Broadway Boogie Woogie" 
"Still Life with Ginger Pot II"
"Composition with Large Red Plane, Yellow, Black, Grey and Blue"

Writing Assignment:

Explore this representation of Anne Frank's "secret annexe." Anne herself said she sometimes felt guilty about feeling sorry for herself because others had it far worse than she did. At times she was very cheerful about her hiding place, and at times she hated it. Write an essay about the conflicting feelings Anne experienced, using at least three quotes from the text to support your points. You could find one quote where she's making the best of it and being cheerful, one quote where she is feeling uncomfortable and confined, for example. Use quotation marks to show where you're quoting directly from Anne's diary, and write a 250 word essay about her attitude toward the hiding place.


Anne says, "If you were to read all my letters in one sitting, you'd be struck by the fact that they were written in a variety of moods." How would you describe the tone of Anne's diary? From what specific language does that tone originate? Write a 250 word essay in which you analyze the tone using at least three quotes from the book to support your points. Maybe your idea is that the tone is constantly changing. You may find three quotes that illustrate three different tones. Maybe your idea is that the tone is very emotional. You might find three different quotes. Each quote needs its own paragraph to set it up and then explain it, and you'll need an introduction and conclusion to help the reader understand your main idea.


1. Choose a quote that shows Anne's attitude toward her mother.
2. Choose a quote that shows Anne's attitude toward her father.
3. Choose a quote that shows Anne's attitude toward Dussel.
4. Choose any other quote that demonstrates Anne's feelings about another person, and give the character and the quote.
5. What author is Anne's father so amused by?
6. After the news of Italy's surrender, what three songs were played on the radio? (Sept 10, 1943)
7. What did Mrs. Van Daan have to sell, that made her so furious?
8. What happened to Anne's fountain pen?
9. Why does Anne call her mother "Momsy" or "Moms" instead of Mom?
10. What might the Germans do to Holland to defend it, if the British invade?

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Reading Period 19: March 10-16: The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank

Due dates:
Quiz: Monday March 13
Assignments: Wednesday March 15

Long Read: The Diary of a Young Girl, Sunday 14 June 1942 - Monday 26 July 1943

Creative Assignment: 

In the early days of the diary, Anne Frank is in school. She gets in a lot of trouble for talking out of turn, and has to write several punishment essays, titled "A Chatterbox" and then "An Incurable Chatterbox" and then "Quack, Quack, Quack says Mrs. Natterbeak." Pretend that you frequently get in trouble for talking in class. For some of you, this will not be a difficult stretch. Imagine that you have been given the assignment to write an essay called "A Chatterbox" as punishment. What would you write? Write 250 words in your own voice.


While we read Anne Frank's diary, set in the Netherlands, we're going to be studying some Dutch artists. This week, I'd like you to work through all of this Khan Academy set of videos and articles, about Rembrandt, Vermeer, and a few other Dutch artists from the Baroque period. When you're finished with it, create your own copy of one of Rembrandt or Vermeer's most famous works:

The Night Watch by Rembrandt

Girl with a Pearl Earring by Vermeer
If you pick the Rembrandt, you can copy just one piece of it if that makes it easier -- the video may show you certain figures to focus on. Either way, do watch the Khan Academy video about the piece, which shows each one in a museum context and gives some close-ups and commentaries.

Writing Assignment: 

Work through the introductory lesson on the web site of the Anne Frank house. At the end of this lesson, after watching a short video, you will have put together a timeline that connects events in Anne Frank's life with world events going on in World War II. When you have finished the lesson, write a 250 word essay in which you explain what was happening in the world that led up to the Frank family going into hiding. You can use this timeline to help you as well. Your essay should serve as background information for the diary, and bring the reader "up to date" on world events up to June 1942 when the diary begins. You can talk about when the Franks moved from Germany to the Netherlands, which was at the same time that Hitler rose to power in Germany. This Wikipedia page will also be helpful (The Netherlands in WWII) but please visit it with a parent.


One of the things that makes Anne Frank's diary such a beautiful, moving piece of work is the honesty that Anne gives us in her entries. Sometimes her very confessions of feelings toward her family members are almost uncomfortably personal. Take a look at, for example, Saturday, 30 January, 1943; Saturday, 7 November, 1942; Monday, 28 September, 1942. These deeply personal confessions are what makes Anne a character we can relate to so easily, and they bring her story of the events of the "Secret Annexe" to life. But would we be brave enough to share such private thoughts if we knew our diaries were going to be published? Do you think it is fair to Anne that we are reading her private thoughts? Choose one of these entries and write a 250 word essay about it. In the essay, summarize Anne's confession, and answer the question: is it fair to Anne that her words, written in the heat of the moment, and only for her own private diary, should be read by strangers?


1. In what city does Anne Frank live?
2. Where does Anne Frank go to school, before the family goes into hiding?
3. What is the main function of building that holds the "Secret Annexe"?
4. List the members of the Frank family along with one word to describe each one.
5. List the members of the Van Daan family along with one word to describe each one.
6. List two of the helpers who bring the Frank family food and supplies.
7. How do the Franks get their news?
8. What is a ration card?
9. With what person does Anne share a bedroom?
10. Why is Anne going without shoes?

Friday, February 24, 2017

Reading Period 18: Feb 24 - Mar 2: Twenty Thousand Leagues

Due Dates:
Quiz: Monday, February 27
Assignments: Wednesay, March 1

Long Read: Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne, Part 2. This is a lot! You can do it though! And remember, we'll have a "rest week" after this, so if you don't get it entirely done, you can catch up then.

"The Kraken" by Lord Alfred Tennyson
"The Chambered Nautilus" by Oliver Wendell Holmes

Creative Assignments:

Write a poem with one of the following first lines:

Far away into the sickly light
In roaring he shall rise
On the sweet summer wind
In gulfs enchanted, where the siren sings
The stars, she whispers, blindly run
O heart, how fares it with thee now?

Your poem must contain simile, metaphor, alliteration, and both visual and aural imagery.


Create a colorful illustration of Captain Nemo's ship, The Nautilus. You can put it in any environment you choose -- maybe in a kelp forest, or on the surface of the ocean, or mounted in a case in a museum. You should use details from the book to create your illustration but you can also use your imagination. PLEASE CONSIDER DOING THE POEM IF YOU CAN MANAGE! Remember we are all (all!) going to submit to the Norfolk Public Library Poetry Contest.

Writing Assignments:

At the end of the novel, we are left wondering who Captain Nemo was, why he was so bitterly set against society, and whether he even survived the Maelstrom. Write a 250 word essay about Captain Nemo in which you use quotes and specific details to describe his character. In your conclusion, give your opinion about why Jules Verne left his identity and fate a mystery, and whether this was a good idea.


Remember H. G. Wells' rhetorical technique of "the plausible impossible"? Do you see places in the novel where Jules Verne is using this same technique? The Nautilus visits real places like shipwrecks of real battles and the Transatlantic Telegraph Cable, but the ship also visits made up places like the lost city of Atlantis. How does Jules Verne make the unbelievable believable by giving lots of details and making things seem normal? How does he make the impossible seem plausible? Maybe it's his choice of narrator, of the way things are described, or the diction. Write a 250 word essay in which you give several examples, including quotes.


Define these vocabulary words and use them in a sentence.

1. Ambient
2. Ardent
3. Despotism
4. Effulgence
5. Indefatigable
6. Promontory
7. Sonorous
8. Tacit
9. Undulation
10. Capricious