Friday, September 25, 2015

Reading Period 4: September 26 - October 2: The Once and Future King

Class meeting: October 2
Due date for assignments and quiz: October 1, 7pm

Long read:

The Once and Future King by T.H. White, Book 1, "The Sword and the Stone," chapters 1-12

Poetry:

"Sumer is Icumen In" by Anonymous.

This is a medieval poem from around the time the book is set. This is how people really would have talked in the 12th century! Here is the poem, in what we now call Middle English:

Svmer is icumen in
Lhude sing cuccu
Groweþ sed
and bloweþ med
and springþ þe wde nu
Sing cuccu

Awe bleteþ after lomb
lhouþ after calue cu
Bulluc sterteþ
bucke uerteþ

murie sing cuccu
Cuccu cuccu
Wel singes þu cuccu
ne swik þu nauer nu

Sing cuccu nu • Sing cuccu.
Sing cuccu • Sing cuccu nu

Take a look here for a side by side translation in modern English.

Here is a video of people singing it:



Here is some sheet music so you can try it yourself. The first four lines are the melody, and the bottom two lines are the counterpoint parts, to be sung or played at the same time, as a harmony.

Creative Assignment:

Choose one and post to the Google+ Community!

In the first twelve chapters, Wart becomes a fish and a bird. Write a short scene where Wart becomes a different animal. What lessons can Merlyn teach by turning his pupil into a giraffe? A butterfly? A honey badger?

OR

Create an illustration of a scene from the story. You might choose one of the following:
1. A scene from Merlyn's house, like maybe an aerial view of Merlyn's table, featuring the famous mustard pot.
2. The different birds tethered or loose in the mews.
3. The griffon on his perch.
Or whatever else you like! Please choose unlined paper for your artwork.

The Castle of the Forest Sauvage?

The Castle of the Forest Sauvage?

Writing Assignment:

Choose one and post to the Google+ Community!

The education that Merlyn gives the Wart is hardly normal. Part of this is because in the twelfth century, they didn't have math workbooks -- in fact most people didn't even have books! So maybe this kind of thing worked for medieval times, but let's be honest: the Wart was missing out on grammar, drilling the multiplication table, learning historical facts, and writing short essays, for example. Write a short essay (100 words) in which you say whether you think Merlyn would be a good teacher today. Would you be able to get away with an "eddication" such as Merlyn provides? Would you want him as a teacher?

OR

Let's talk about Robin Hood, who the Wart meets in chapter 10. Robin Hood in stories is an outlaw (or criminal) who lives in the forest and robs from the rich to give to the poor. His nemesis is the Sherriff of Nottingham who works for the bad King John. Was there a real Robin Hood? (Or Robin Wood?) Watch this video on The History Channel's web site, which is three minutes long, or if you are interested in a bit more depth, watch this longer video, an episode of Real or Fact. Then write a short essay (100 words) giving your opinion on whether Robin Hood was a real person or just a myth, and whether or not it matters.

OR

When Wart enters the mews and becomes a bird, he gets an inside take on the medieval sport of falconry. Read more about falconry here. Write a short essay (100 words) and tell your reader whether you think falconry is a good sport or if it's cruel to animals. Use specific examples from the reading to support your position. Is this something that people should still be doing today?

Quiz:

The quiz is over chapters 1-12 of The Once and Future King

1. Who decided whether to fly Cully or not?
2. What does the Wart offer to King Pellinore, in exchange for his help?
3. What is special about the way time passes for Merlyn?
4. Why is Sir Ector proud of the Wart?
5. Who does Merlin summon, to turn the Wart into a fish, and tahw sdrow seod eh yas ot nommus siht nosrep?
6. What happened to the arrow Wart shot into the sky?
7. Give one piece of advice or instruction to someone who is going to try jousting.
8. Who is the leader of all the birds in the mews?
9. Why is Kay upset?
10. What skill must Kay and Wart demonstrate to Robin Wood, in order to prove they're worthy to come on the adventure?
11. Of what building material is the Castle Chariot made?
12. What does Kay take home from the adventure and what does Wart take home?

BONUS: Wart encounters the same unnerving situation in both the fish episode and the bird episode. What is it?

Friday, September 18, 2015

Reading Period 3: September 19 - 25: Watership Down

Class meeting: September 25

Long read:

Watership Down, chapters 30-50

Poetry:

Hyzenthlay's poem from Watership Down, chapter 35.
"Prospice" by Robert Browning
"Two Fusiliers" by Robert Graves

Creative Assignment:

Post your assignment to the Google+ community so your classmates can comment. Choose one:

Create a map to illustrate some or all of the story. You could map out the warren Efrafa if you want, or the new one based around the Honeycomb, or Cowslip's warren. Or you could pull the camera out to a long view, and map the whole story. Use color, paint, pencils, graph paper, or whatever medium you like.

OR

Write a poem celebrating a heroic act in this section of the book. Maybe it's Hazel chewing through the dog's rope, or maybe it's Bigwig holding of Woundwort. Maybe it's Kehaar helping the rabbits under the bridge, or Hyzenthlay leading the does out of Efrafa. Imagine rabbits repeating your poem in great burrows for generations to come, to commemorate the hero you choose to honor.


Writing Assignment:

Post your assignment to the Google+ community so your classmates can comment. Choose one:

We discussed how the thorn in Pipkin's leg foreshadowed the peg that held the snare trapping Bigwig. Think about the boat escape scene on the Test River. What earlier scene foreshadowed this event? Write a 150 word essay explaining what foreshadowing is, using this pair of scenes as an example.

OR

Write a constitution for Hazel's new warren. What are the rules and how will it operate? What are the most important ideas and goals? What is the role of the Owsla? How will resources be handled? What about safety? Will criminals be punished? What should be done with newcomers? Try to imagine how Hazel and his friends would want to write down their policies, if they could hold a pencil. Create their founding documents.

Quiz:

This quiz covers Watership Down chapters 30-50. Remember you can use your book to answer the questions. Send me an email with the subject header STICKYBEAK QUIZ.

Black Rabbit of Inle, Art by Sleyf
1. What is a wide patrol?
2. Does the Black Rabbit of Inle remind you of anyone in Greek or Roman mythology? Or any figures in popular culture?
3. What is the "Iron Road"?
4. How do the rabbits get across the river this this time?
5. How did Woundwort treat the human that saved his life?
6. Why is Blackavar brought up to silflay if he's not allowed to eat?
7. Who is Bigwig's ally inside Efrafa?
8. Bigwig makes an excuse to General Woundwort to explain why he was talking to Kehaar. What does he give as a reason?
9. What natural occurrence happens just as Bigwig is loudly denouncing General Woundwort in the field?
10. Who is the first to demonstrate how to swim under the bridge and away from the boat?
11. Who warns the rabbits of the danger of foxes when they want to make camp?
12. What does El-arairah use to imitate a dog's nose and trick Rowsby Woof?
13. Who warns Hazel of the approach of the Efrafan rabbits?
14. What is Hazel's suggestion to General Woundwort to avoid war?
15. When Hazel leaves for the farm, who does he leave in charge of holding off the Efrafans?
16. What is Hazel's plan to defeat the Efrafans?
17. What is the Efrafan strategy for defeating Hazel's warren?
18.  What does Vervain realize about General Woundwort when he comes out of the hole?
19. Who saves Hazel's life this time?
20. The first thing Bigwig says to Hazel after nearly dying is a joke. Why is it funny?
21. Who became the new chief rabbit of Efrafa?
22. What vision of Hazel's was made a reality between the two warrens?

Friday, September 11, 2015

Reading Period 2: September 12 - 18: Watership Down

Did you enjoy the carrots I left for you?
Class meeting: September 18

Long read:

Watership Down, chapters 18-29

Short read:

The Lady and the Tiger by Frank Stockton

Poetry:

"The Pilgrim" by Walter de la Mare (excerpted in the epigraph for chapter 28) Here is a link to just the poem but this page has some ads. Here is a link to the poetry collection where it can be found -- scroll down about a third of the way through the book to find "The Pilgrim."

Creative Assignment:

Choose one:

Many artists have taken on illustrating the rabbits of Watership Down. But what if these characters were people? Draw an illustration of five of the main characters of Watership Down, but draw the characters as if they were humans, not rabbits. What would they wear? Who would be tallest, strongest? How would they wear their hair? Who would have glasses or wear flip flops or have a derpy expression or be carrying a sword? You can draw these characters yourself, or if you are a movie fan, you can cast a movie version of this story, with human actors. Try this list of young actors for ideas -- who could best play your five chosen characters? When you post your assignment to the Google+ Community, try to post once and put additional info in the comments. You can upload multiple drawings/images in one post if needed.

OR

Watership Down is written in third person point of view, meaning the characters are referred to by name by a separate narrator, and called "he" and "she." Choose one of the following characters and situations, and write a short piece from the first person point of view, that is speaking in that character's voice and using the pronoun "I." Tell from that character's perspective how he is feeling and what he is thinking. Here are your choices:
1. Hazel in the ditch after being shot and climbing down the hole. This would could sound very serious, and might even read disjointed and confused. He is in a "dark, ebbing stupor."
2. Kehaar when he is staying underground being fed by rabbits. This one could sound really funny. Try your hand at writing in Kehaar's dialect. It's based on a Norwegian accent -- watch this video to get in the mood. Here's a clip from the animated show -- someone's approximation of Kehaar's accent.

Writing Assignment:

Choose one:

Just another elil behind door #2.
Write a 150 word essay explaining what you think the correct answer is to the question at the end of "The Lady and the Tiger." There are no wrong answers! Just explain the reasoning behind your opinion.

OR

Is the warren called Efrafa an example of a good idea gone too far? Think about the practices and policies of Efrafa. Are any of them wise, or at least based on wisdom? Imagine General Woundwort evaporates into thin air and you are made Chief Rabbit of Efrafa. Write a 150 word essay telling what you would change and what parts of their society you would keep in place.

Quiz:

Use your book and look back over what you read to answer these questions. Send me your quiz in an email with the subject header STICKYBEAK QUIZ. Copy and paste the questions into the email, then write the answers.

1. What rabbit came away from Cowslip's warren with Hazel?
2. What is a hlessi?
3. What is Bluebell's personality like?
4. Who killed Pimpernel?
5. How does the mouse help the rabbits, in exchange for Hazel saving his life?
6. How are Hazel and Kehaar able to communicate with each other, when Kehaar can't speak lapine?
7. Why does Hazel choose Pipkin to go to Nuthanger Farm with him?
8. Why is Hazel okay with letting the men take Laurel back to the hutch?
9. The man in Fiver's dream tells him the difference between men and rabbits, why men kill rabbits when they have a mind to. What's the difference?
10. In Efrafa, what is a "Mark"?
11. What does Kehaar know about being shot with a gun, that the rabbits don't know, that saves Hazel's leg?
12. What is Kehaar eating in chapter 29, and where did it come from?