Friday, December 8, 2017

Reading Period 12: December 8-14: Fahrenheit 451

Long Read: 

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, Part 3, "Burning Bright"

Short Read:

"The Library of Babel" by Jorge Luis Borges

Also check out this awesomely weird site, The Library of Babel. Just mouse over any of the words on the main index.


"There is no Frigate Like a Book" by Emily Dickinson

There is no Frigate like a Book
To take us Lands away
Nor any Coursers like a Page
Of prancing Poetry –
This Traverse may the poorest take
Without oppress of Toll –
How frugal is the Chariot
That bears the Human Soul –

Creative Assignments:

This week's short story, "The Library of Babel," proposes the the universe is an infinite library composed of interlocking hexagons. Create a piece of art that shows something else composed of hexagons. A person composed of hexagons might have one hexagon for the heart, one for the stomach, another hexagon for emotions, and maybe one to stand on for each foot. A school composed of hexagons might have classrooms and offices of this shape. A pumpkin composed of hexagons? A dragon composed of hexagons?


This week we're talking about literary analogies, or metaphors. Write a poem in which you compare a book to something else, like Emily Dickinson's poem "There is no Frigate like a Book." I'd also like you to imitate Dickinson's capitalization in your poem. You could say "There is no Spaceship like a Book" or "There is no River like a Book" or "There is no Wild Boar like a Book" or "There is no 1965 Shelby GT like a Book."

Writing Assignment:

While on the subway, Guy Montag felt that his life could be represented by a child shoveling sand into a sieve, helplessly watching as the sand poured through. Take a look at your list of "life" analogies from class. Life is a Coke machine. Life is a bagel. Life is a highway. Life is a stage. Write a 250 word essay in which you draw out an analogy for life. You'll need at least three ways that life is like the thing you choose.


Define these words from Fahrenheit 451 and use each one in a sentence. Don't find the sentence from the book -- make up your own.

1. Stolid
2. Olfactory
3. Stratum
4. Proclivity
5. Jargon
6. Cacophony
7. Dictum
8. Rationalize
9. Torrent
10. Bestial

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Reading Period 11: Dec 1-7: Fahrenheit 451

Long Read: 

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, "The Sieve and the Sand."

Short Read: 

"Exchange" by Ray Bradbury


"Dover Beach" by Matthew Arnold

The sea is calm tonight.
The tide is full, the moon lies fair
Upon the straits; on the French coast the light
Gleams and is gone; the cliffs of England stand,
Glimmering and vast, out in the tranquil bay.
Come to the window, sweet is the night-air!
Only, from the long line of spray
Where the sea meets the moon-blanched land,
Listen! you hear the grating roar
Of pebbles which the waves draw back, and fling,
At their return, up the high strand,
Begin, and cease, and then again begin,
With tremulous cadence slow, and bring
The eternal note of sadness in.

Sophocles long ago
Heard it on the Ægean, and it brought
Into his mind the turbid ebb and flow
Of human misery; we
Find also in the sound a thought,
Hearing it by this distant northern sea.

The Sea of Faith
Was once, too, at the full, and round earth’s shore
Lay like the folds of a bright girdle furled.
But now I only hear
Its melancholy, long, withdrawing roar,
Retreating, to the breath
Of the night-wind, down the vast edges drear
And naked shingles of the world.

Ah, love, let us be true
To one another! for the world, which seems
To lie before us like a land of dreams,
So various, so beautiful, so new,
Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light,
Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain;
And we are here as on a darkling plain
Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,
Where ignorant armies clash by night.

Creative Assignments:

After reading the short story, "Exchange," think about what libraries mean to children and adults. The story is about how fascinating and important the character found the library as a child, and how that fascination and dependence faded with adulthood. While children often read voraciously, adults frequently get out of the habit, sometimes not reading for pleasure at all. After you've reflected on the story, the place of books in the world of Fahrenheit 451, and your own feelings, either write a 250 word personal essay about what a library means to you, or create a color illustration of a fantasy version of a library, including the most appealing elements you can imagine, with no regard for physics or financial constraints.

Writing Assignments:

Ray Bradbury was writing in a time before the internet, before Facebook and Twitter and blogs and the Huffington Post. In his time, the perceived threat to the practice reading books was the television. With the advent of movies and TV, our experience with stories changed forever. In a 250 word essay, give your thoughts on the experience of watching a show on TV compared to the experience of reading a book. How is it better or easier, or how is it not as good? You'll want an introductory paragraph, and then a paragraph on reading and a paragraph on watching TV. Then take your reader to a new place in the conclusion by making a value claim. Which is better?


After reading the poem, "Dover Beach," consider how the poem made you feel. After reflecting on the class discussion about whether books that make you feel unhappy should be read anyway, write a 250 word essay giving your opinion on this topic. With specific quotes, use the poem as an example of something that would have been forbidden in the world of Fahrenheit 451, because it is scary or depressing. Do you think that this type of literature is important, even though it might make us sad? Why?


1. What is the "White Clown"?
2. Where did Guy originally meet Faber?
3. Why is Guy's copy of the Bible special?
4. As Guy is trying to read the Bible on the subway, what noise is competing for his attention?
5. Why are books hated and feared, according to Faber?
6. What is Guy Montag's plan for using the books to bring down the firemen?
7. How is Faber able to talk to Guy when they are apart?
8. How does Mildred try to cover up for the fact that Guy has a book?
9. Name two of the authors Beatty references when he's arguing with Guy.
10. Where does Beatty take the Salamander on Guy's last ride on it?

Friday, November 24, 2017

Reading Period 10: November 24-30: Fahrenheit 451

Long Read: 

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, "The Hearth and the Salamander"

Short Read:

"The Fog Horn" by Ray Bradbury


"Fire and Ice" by Robert Frost

Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.

Creative Assignments:

Without looking at any images online, try to imagine what the Mechanical Hound looks like. We know he has 8 legs and is made of brass and copper and steel. It has rubber-padded paws and a proboscis for injections. Draw a picture of what you imagine the Hound looks like, and include a person or another object for size comparison. 


Examine Clarisse McClellan's dialogue. She has two conversations with Guy Montag in the first twenty pages -- one where she talks about race car drivers and people watching and billboards, and the other where she talks about dandelions and tasting rain. Using only words and phrases from her speech lines in these two conversations, construct a poem with the title, "Are You Happy?" 

Writing Assignments: 

The society in Fahrenheit 451 has done away with books, and front porches, and also spankings and representational art. What sorts of things have replaced them? Using examples from the book, write a 250 word essay describing what people in the book do instead of read. You will find a lot of material in Clarisse McClellan's speech right before she disappears. In your conclusion, you can take your reader to a "new place" by identifying which of these activities are familiar in our world.


Mildred and Guy Montag are both characters that harbor internal contradictions. Guy is a fireman and yet he has doubts about his job, and rescues and hides books. Mildred appears to be perfectly happy, and yet she also has another side. Using examples from the book, write a 250 word essay describing the two sides of Mildred Montag. You can take your reader to a "new place" in the conclusion by discussing what this contradiction means for Bradbury's broader characterization of people in this society. 


Who said it? Answer with the character's name. 

1. Kerosene is nothing but perfume to me. 
2. Do you ever read any of the books you burn?
3. I think that's fine!
4. It doesn't think anything we don't want it to think. 
5. Play the man, Master Ridley; we shall this day light such a candle, by God's grace, in England, as I trust shall never be put out. 
6. There must be something in the books, things we can't imagine. 
7. We must all be alike. Not everyone born free and equal, as the Constitution says, but everyone made equal. 
8. Sometimes I drive all night and come back and you don't know it. It's fun out in the country. You hit rabbits, sometimes you hit dogs. 

These four are from the short story, "The Fog Horn." 

9. Ray Bradbury really likes similes. Give five examples from the story. 
10. What two substances does he narrator see in the monster's eyes?
11. Why does the monster attack the lighthouse?
12. According to McDunn, what does the monster learn? 

Friday, November 3, 2017

Reading Period 9: November 3-9: Macbeth

Long Read: 

Macbeth, by William Shakespeare, Acts 4-5

Creative Assignments: 

Giuseppe Verdi wrote an opera setting the words of Macbeth to music. Take a look at this video of the production. Here's another one, but without subtitles. Think about the most important speeches in Macbeth and choose one. You might pick "“Look like the innocent flower, but be the serpent under ‘t.” Or “Out, out, brief candle! Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more. It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, Signifying nothing.” Any quote will do really! Now, choose a pop song, and modify the words to reflect the words of the play. It doesn't have to be an exact match. For example, you could change "Uptown Funk" to "Lady Macbeth": Lady Macbeth gonna give it to ya! Lady Macbeth gonna give it to ya! Look like the innocent flower! Or maybe instead of "We found love right where we are" you might say We killed Duncan right in his bed! Or some such thing. Post your song, telling what song it's based on and what speech in the play inspired it.


Below are four images of different productions of Macbeth, showing Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. Use your imagination and come up with some costume ideas for your ideal production. Would it be contemporary? Victorian? Medieval? Futuristic? Describe and sketch at least three characters.

Writing Assignment:

Pretend you are a trial lawyer preparing a defense of Macbeth in the murder of Duncan and Banquo. The trial has already passed, the witnesses have been called, and you are wrapping up your argument to the jury. Using at least three key points to defend him, write your closing statement of at least 250 words. One idea for your conclusion would be to suggest another person who might be more to blame. The witches? Lady Macbeth?


1.What are the three apparitions that give prophecies to Macbeth? 
 A. The ghost of Duncan, the ghost of Banquo, the ghost of Fleance.
 B. A head, a bloody child, a child dressed as a king.
 C. A dagger, a head, a bloody hand.
 D. First witch, second witch, third witch.
 E. Dunsinane, Forres, Inverness.

2.What are the three prophecies he receives? 
 A. 1. Beware Macduff. 2. Worry about Fleance. 3. Ponder Duncan.
 B. 1. Beware Macduff. 2. Stay away from Dunsinane. 3. Stay away from women.
 C. 1. Beware Macduff. 2. No woman born in Scotland shall ever defeat him. 3. He will not be vanquished as long as Duncan's corpse is in Dunsinane wood.
 D. 1. Beware Macduff. 2. No man of woman born shall stand against him. 3. He will never be vanquished until Birnam Wood comes to Dunsinane Hill
 E. 1. Beware Macduff. 2. No man of England shall stand against him. 3. King Edward was not born of a woman.

3.What does this mean? “From this moment, the very firstlings of my heart shall be the firstlings of my hand.” (Act IV Scene 1, Macbeth’s final speech) 
 A. As soon as I have an idea, I’m going to act upon it.
 B. I will never betray my first love.
 C. A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.
 D. If I find something in my hand, I'm going to stick it in my heart.
 E. Whatever moves me first will move me last.

4.Who says the line: “He has kill'd me, mother:Run away, I pray you!” 
 A. Fleance.
 B. Banquo.
 C. Macduff's son.
 D. Duncan.
 E. Malcolm.

5.In Act IV Scene 3, Malcolm accuses himself of being insanely lustful, avaricious, criminal, power-hungry, not suited to be king. How does his conversation with Macduff resolve? 
 A. He kills himself.
 B. Macduff agrees Malcolm should never be king.
 C. He takes it all back.
 D. The doctor takes him to King Edward for a cure.
 E. He accuses himself of being addicted to haggis.

6.What help has the King of England loaned to Macduff in his effort against Macbeth? 
 A. 10,000 men and a healing wand of blessing.
 B. 10,000 trees that can walk to Dunsinane.
 C. 10,000 generals and a sewer, newly built.
 D. 10,000 witches and a cauldron, hot.
 E. 10,000 men and Siward, Earl of Northumberland, for their general.

7.When Macduff is grieving for his wife and children, Malcolm says, “Be this the whetstone of your sword.” What does this mean? 
 A. Let this prevent you from being rash in battle.
 B. Let this motivate you to be fierce in battle.
 C. Let this teach you that battle serves no purpose.
 D. Let this make you feel better after your wounds.
 E. Let this convince you to build a fence instead of an army.

8.What is Lady Macbeth worried about, while sleepwalkingin Act V, Scene 1? 
 A. She sees an apparition of a witch.
 B. She cannot find her husband.
 C. She sees ghosts in her bedroom.
 D. She cannot find her dagger.
 E. She sees blood on her hands.

9.How did Birnam Wood come to Dunsinane? 
 A. The trees took up root and marched.
 B. The soldiers used branches as cover.
 C. The soldiers dressed as trees.
 D. The wood was transported in a magical fog.
 E. The wood symbolized Macbeth's guilt.

10.How was Macbeth killed by a man not of woman born? 
 A. Macduff was out of Scotland's trees resplendent made.
 B. Macduff was from his father wholly made asunder.
 C. Macduff was from his mother's womb untimely ripped.
 D. Macduff was from a man and goat fastidious clenched.
 E. Macduff was out of Duncan's brain conceived and born.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Reading Period 8: October 27 - November 2: Macbeth

Long Read: 

Macbeth by William Shakespeare, Act 2-3

Short Read: 

"Story of an Hour" by Kate Chopin


"Sonnet 29" by William Shakespeare

When, in disgrace with fortune and men’s eyes,
I all alone beweep my outcast state,
And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries,
And look upon myself, and curse my fate,
Wishing me like to one more rich in hope,
Featur’d like him, like him with friends possess’d,
Desiring this man’s art and that man’s scope,
With what I most enjoy contented least;
Yet in these thoughts myself almost despising,
Haply I think on thee, and then my state,
Like to the lark at break of day arising
From sullen earth, sings hymns at heaven’s gate;
For thy sweet love remember’d such wealth brings
That then I scorn to change my state with kings.

Creative Assignment:

Last week during our visit to the farm you took notes for a poem while sitting on a horse and riding through the fields and woods. This week your creative assignment is to use those notes to write a poem. Incorporate as many of the physical details as you can, including how you felt, what you smelled, heard, saw, etc. Your poem can be in any form, but don't feel like you need to rhyme or have regular meter. If you weren't able to make it to the barn, you can write about a different time when you've been out in nature, enjoying the sensory input.

Writing Assignment:

Can you solve the mystery of the third murderer? We know that Macbeth sent two murderers to kill Banquo and Fleance, but who is the third person that shows up? There's lot of speculation about who this might have been. Shakespeare's audience might have gotten a clue, because there may have been some costuming or acting similarities to the character it was meant to be. While we may never know for sure, we can make a decision and incorporate it into our own production. For example, if we decide it's Macbeth or Lady Macbeth, we can disguise that actor to play the part. If we decide it's a random person, we can reflect that in the casting/costuming. Read this discussion of the different possibilities and then write a 250 word essay in which you decisively say which choice we should make with our version of Macbeth.


Shakespeare used several real historical people in his characters, and one is Edward the Confessor, who Malcolm and Macduff try to get to join them in the fight against Macbeth. Who was Edward the Confessor? In what time period did he live? What was the relationship of England to Scotland at that time? Where is Northumbia? Was there a real Siward who was its Earl? Write 250 words in which you give the historical context for this connection between the story of Macbeth and the real world King Edward. Cite links to your research materials at the bottom of your essay.


1.What happens between the time Macbeth exits at the end of Act 2 Scene 1 and the time he enters in Scene 2? 
 A. He sends a messenger to the king.
 B. He confers with Lady Macbeth.
 C. He visits the park on his horse.
 D. He kills Duncan.
 E. He kills Banquo.

2.Who officially discovers Duncan’s body? (Act 2 Scene 3) 
 A. Macbeth
 B. Banquo
 C. Macduff
 D. The grooms
 E. Fleance

3.What did Macbeth do to cover up the assassination of the King? 
 A. Smear the grooms’ hands with blood.
 B. Wash his hands of blood.
 C. Kill the grooms.
 D. Pretend to be surprised and horrified at the body.
 E. All of the above.

4.Who fled from the castle after the king was discovered dead? 
 A. Lennox and Ross.
 B. The two grooms, covered in blood.
 C. Macbeth and Lady Macbeth.
 D. Banquo and Fleance.
 E. Malcolm and Donalbain, the king's sons.

5. Who says this line? "Is this a dagger which I see before me,
The handle toward my hand?"
A. Macbeth
B. Banquo
C. Duncan
D. Lady Macbeth
E. Porter

6.Who does Macbeth tell the murderers to kill in Act 3, Scene 1? 
 A. Duncan and Banquo.
 B. Macduff and Lennox.
 C. Malcolm and Donalbain.
 D. Banquo and Fleance.
 E. Lennox and Ross.

7.What does Macbeth mean by this? Act 3 Scene 2 Line 45: “Be innocent of the knowledge, dearest chuck, till thou applaud the dead.” 
 A. You won't be able to fully appreciate the murder unless you understand the plot.
 B. Better you know nothing of what's going to happen, until it's done.
 C. You will stay innocent as long as you don't kill anyone.
 D. I can't tell you what's going to happen, because you'll give away the plot.
 E. Make sure you appear to be happy, after the murder is accomplished.

8.Where do the murderers in Act 3, Scene 3, set on their victims? 
 A. In a park near the castle.
 B. In the stable, after the horses have been put up.
 C. In Forres.
 D. In the victims' bedrooms, when they are asleep.
 E. In the castle yard.

9.Why does Macbeth not want to take his seat at the table with the lords? 
 A. Lady Macbeth has told him not to sit down at the table.
 B. He is worried that there is a plot against his life.
 C. There is a ghost sitting in it.
 D. He doesn't want to accidentally give away information.
 E. He hallucinates a bloody dagger lying on the stool.

10.Why has Macduff gone to England? (Hint: reread Act 3, Scene 6) 
 A. To Forres to spread the word of Duncan's assassination.
 B. To Inverness to protect Malcolm and Donalbain.
 C. To England to avoid suspicion of murder.
 D. To England to ask King Edward for help in removing Macbeth from the throne.
 E. To Ireland to encourage Macdonwald's supporters to rise against Macbeth.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Reading Period 7: October 20-26: Macbeth

Long Read:

Macbeth by William Shakespeare, Act I


Sonnet 116 by William Shakespeare

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove.
O no! it is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wand'ring bark,
Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.
Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle's compass come;
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me prov'd,
I never writ, nor no man ever lov'd.

Creative Assignment:

The three witches in Macbeth have been portrayed in every conventional way imaginable, from green-nosed warty crones to voodoo priestesses, and even some unconventional ways. Can you think of a brand new way to visualize these characters, to make them fresh? Do your own version of Henry Fuseli's 1783 painting. Don't copy his style -- use your own concept.


Rewrite Act I Scene 5 in first person prose from the POV of Lady Macbeth, using modern dialogue between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth where appropriate. So, your piece might begin. "I got a letter from Macbeth today! I was just lingering around the castle, frustrated with our lesser nobility, when this message from my husband really lit up my day..." Etc.

Henry Fuseli, 1783
Writing Assignment:

Write 300 words about the Globe theater: who its patrons were, how it fit into Renaissance lifestyles, and how it operated. You'll need an introductory paragraph to grab the reader and introduce your topic, a paragraph about each of those categories of information, and a conclusion paragraph in which you take the reader to a new "place." For your intro, let's practice setting a scene for your reader. Describe the atmosphere of the Globe without introduction -- the sights, sounds, smells (?) and put your reader THERE. In your conclusion, let's practice making a value judgment as your "new place." You might speculate about whether it was fun to go, or whether it was better than theaters now, or worse. Your conclusion can include a personal twist - what do you think it would have been like? You'll need to do a bit of research to write this -- include links to any online sources you used at the bottom of your essay. Don't forget to bring in a paper copy for me to read on Thursday!


1.At the beginning of the play, who are Duncan's captains, Macbeth and Banquo, fighting? 
 A. Two armies: Norway and the rebel Macdonwald
 B. One army: Norway
 C. One army: the rebel Macdonwald
 D. Two armies: Norway and England
 E. Two armies: Ireland and Macdonwald

2.Summarize Act 1 Scene 2. 
 A. The Thane of Cawdor will die.
 B. Duncan is a great king.
 C. Macbeth is a great warrior.
 D. The Norwegians had massive numbers.
 E. Macdonwald is a villain.

3.The witches give Macbeth some information which is unknown to him, but that the audience already knows to be true. This establishes for the audience their ability to truly prophesy -- what is the information? 
 A. That he is Thane of Glamis.
 B. That he is Thane of Cawdor.
 C. That he will be king.
 D. That he will not be king, but his sons will.
 E. That he will be happy.

4.What does Macbeth mean by this: “Two truths are told as happy prologues to the swelling act of the imperial theme.” (Act 1, Scene 3, Line 128) 
 A. He only understood two of the things the witches told him.
 B. Only plays with prologues can have third acts with kings.
 C. If there is a king in the first act, then he must be assassinated by the third act.
 D. The witches were right about being Thane of Glamis and Cawdor, which means they may be right about being king.
 E. He plans to tell everyone the truth about the prophesy, and then be king.

5.What does Macbeth mean by this: “If chance will have me King, why, chance may crown me, without my stir.” (Act 1, Scene 3, Line 143) 
 A. Nothing is within our control; we are at the mercies of the fates.
 B. If I’m supposed to be king, it’ll happen without my doing anything.
 C. I'm going to do everything possible to make myself king.
 D. There's no such thing as chance, because everything happens for a reason.
 E. The only way chance makes a king, is to crown a king by chance.

6. When Banquo reports to King Duncan about Macbeth's behavior in battle, what does he say?
A. Macbeth was a jerk and killed people randomly.
B. Macbeth was a coward and ran and hid under a table.
C. Macbeth was courageous and fought well.
D. Macbeth led a mutiny and is now trying to be King.
E. Macbeth was wounded and is in danger of dying.

7. Who actually makes Macbeth Thane of Cawdor?
A. Duncan
B. Banquo
C. The Witches
D. The People's Republic of Cawdor
E. He seizes the title by force.

8. What is Lady Macbeth's plan to entertain the royal visitors at her castle?
A. Big feast
B. Murder
C. Put on a clever play that reveals secrets about the audience.
D. Quiet evenings of playing bridge and sipping gin fizz.
E. She has no plan, because she doesn't entertain her husband's guests.

9. Paraphrase this speech from Lady Macbeth:

The raven himself is hoarse
That croaks the fatal entrance of Duncan
Under my battlements. Come, you spirits
That tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here,
And fill me from the crown to the toe top-full
Of direst cruelty. Make thick my blood.
Stop up the access and passage to remorse,
That no compunctious visitings of nature
Shake my fell purpose, nor keep peace between
The effect and it! Come to my woman’s breasts,
And take my milk for gall, you murd'ring ministers,
Wherever in your sightless substances
You wait on nature’s mischief. Come, thick night,
And pall thee in the dunnest smoke of hell,
That my keen knife see not the wound it makes,
Nor heaven peep through the blanket of the dark
To cry “Hold, hold!”

A. I am afraid I'm going to be murdered.
B. I am making plans to escape this castle.
C. Make me like a raven, because I want to do dark things.
D. Take away my womanliness, and make me cruel.
E. It's getting dark early these days -- what is this, October?

10.Who dies in Act I? 
 A. Macbeth
 B. Banquo
 C. Duncan
 D. The old Thane of Glamis
 E. The old Thane of Cawdor

Friday, October 13, 2017

Reading Period 6: October 13-19: The Black Stallion

Long Read:

The Black Stallion by Walter Farley,
chapters 13-18


I Saw From the Beach 
by Thomas Moore

I saw from the beach, when the morning was shining,
A bark o'er the waters move gloriously on;
I came when the sun o'er that beach was declining,
The bark was still there, but the waters were gone.

And such is the fate of our life's early promise,
So passing the spring-tide of joy we have known;
Each wave that we danced on at morning ebbs from us,
And leaves us, at eve, on the bleak shore alone.

Oh, who would not welcome that moment's returning
When passion first waked a new life through his frame,
And his soul, like the wood that grows precious in burning,
Gave out all its sweets to love's exquisite flame.

On the Beach at Night, Alone. 
by Walt Whitman

ON the beach at night alone,
As the old mother sways her to and fro, singing her husky song,
As I watch the bright stars shining—I think a thought of the clef of the universes, and of
the future.

A VAST SIMILITUDE interlocks all,
All spheres, grown, ungrown, small, large, suns, moons, planets, comets, asteroids,
All the substances of the same, and all that is spiritual upon the same,
All distances of place, however wide,
All distances of time—all inanimate forms,
All Souls—all living bodies, though they be ever so different, or in different worlds,
All gaseous, watery, vegetable, mineral processes—the fishes, the brutes,
All men and women—me also;
All nations, colors, barbarisms, civilizations, languages;
All identities that have existed, or may exist, on this globe, or any globe;
All lives and deaths—all of the past, present, future;
This vast similitude spans them, and always has spann’d, and shall forever span them, and
compactly hold them, and enclose them.

The ocean said to me once 
by Stephen Crane

The ocean said to me once,
Yonder on the shore
Is a woman, weeping.
I have watched her.
Go you and tell her this --
Her lover I have laid
In cool green hall.
There is wealth of golden sand
And pillars, coral-red;
Two white fish stand guard at his bier.
"Tell her this
And more --
That the king of the seas
Weeps too, old, helpless man.
The bustling fates
Heap his hands with corpses
Until he stands like a child
With a surplus of toys."

In class we discussed the three poems above, and everyone chose one to memorize! This week we're going to get started on that in a major way.

Creative Assignment:

Write your chosen poem out by hand in three different ways. You might choose to write it on lined paper with a pen, and then on a whiteboard, and then in pencil on graph paper. You might choose to put it on your street in chalk, or use markers of all different colors, or punch it into tin with an awl. You might decide to quilt it into a piece of fabric, or dry erase it onto a window, or spell it out in scrabble tiles. However you choose to do it, you must show three DIFFERENT versions. I guarantee when you are done with this, you will be well on your way to memorizing it.


Create three different videos of yourself reading the poem aloud in different locations/situations. You could read it in the bathtub, on the sofa, or you could have someone video you reading it as  you hang out an upstairs window and shout. Your attire must be different for each video -- so you might read it once in pajamas, once in a viking hat, and once in a tutu. These videos will stay private to our Google+ Community -- don't worry! I will record videos later of us all reciting our poems, and these I will ask permission to post on the blog.

"Hoi. The name's Steve. I got a poem fer ya."
Writing Assignment:

Consider the author of your chosen poem. Write a short essay (250 words) about him, including biographical information, and also any context you find for the poem you're memorizing. So, you'll want to find out when in his life the poem was published, how it was received, and what literary movement or period it was part of. You can use Wikipedia if you like, but you must include one other source as well. Do NOT copy and paste from your sources. Use them to learn information and then write your own words. Include the (2) links to your sources at the end of your paper.


Consider Walter Farley. Write a short essay (250 words) about him, including biographical information, and also any context you can find for the novel, The Black Stallion. You'll want to find out when in his life it was written, how it was received, and what effect it had on his life and career. You can use Wikipedia if you like, but you must include one other internet source as well. Do NOT copy and paste from your sources. Use them to learn information and then write your own words. Include the (2) links to your sources at the end of your paper.


If you read National Velvet during Stickybeak's first year, write a short essay (300 words) comparing National Velvet and The Black Stallion. Start out by making objective comparisons without including your opinions -- what about the two novels is the same and what is different? Then you can move to comparing your reactions to the two novels -- which you liked better and why you think that is true.


1. Why does The Black not want to leave the barn, and how do they solve this problem?
2. How many times did The Black go around the track the first time they let him run on it?
3. Who is Jim Neville?
4. Why is the Match Race between Sun Raider and Cyclone the only race The Black can do?
5. Why does Jim Neville already know of Henry Dailey?
6. Why does Alec have strands of The Black's mane clasped in his hands after the ride for Jim Neville?
7. Why is Alec's mom in Chicago during the Match Race?
8. When Alec's dad thinks the race is too dangerous, what is Henry Dailey's argument back?
9. What does Alec have to do before riding in the race that's just a regular kid thing?
10. From whose point of view do we find out about the race itself?