Friday, March 4, 2016

Reading Period 20: March 11-17: National Velvet

Class meeting: March 15, 17

Due dates:

Quiz due March 14, 7pm
Assignments due March 16, 7pm

Long read:

National Velvet by Enid Bagnold, chapters 7-11

Short read:

"Tobermory" by Saki (H.H. Munro)


Consider this excerpt from "The White Cliffs" by Alice Duer Miller

We went to the Tower,
We went to the Zoo,
We saw every flower
In the gardens at Kew.
We saw King Charles a-prancing
On his long-tailed horse,
And thought him more entrancing
Than better kings, of course.
At a strange early hour,
In St. James's palace yard,
We watched in a shower
The changing of the guard.
And I said, what a pity,
To have just a week to spend,
When London is a city
Whose beauties never end!

Creative Assignment:

After reading the above excerpt from "The White Cliffs" by Alice Duer Miller, create a 16 line poem about your own city, or a city you've visited. Just as Miller's poem highlights some of the more interesting things to see and do in London, you can showcase some of the interesting things to see and do in Norfolk or Portsmouth, etc. or Rome or Paris or Philadelphia or Atlanta -- whichever city you have visited that you want to write about! Imitate Miller's rhyme scheme too.


If you created a box of pretend animals like Velvet Brown's pretend horses last week, this week write a short manual describing their care and feeding. You can imagine you're leaving your animals in someone else's care for a week and need to let them know what to do and how to manage. Be as specific as you can and let your imagination take over as you describe the individual animals' quirks and behaviors. 200 words.


Velvet longs for horses and loves to ride. But what she really longs for and loves is maybe something more than just the physical act of riding -- freedom, identity, power, teamwork, companionship, love, trust. Write a poem about something that you long for, like Velvet longs for horses. Maybe it's swimming, or flying, or drawing, or riding a bike, or playing video games. Talk about the immediate physical act, but also reach in your poem to describe what abstract feelings that physical act really means. Maybe it means peacefulness, or competition, or solitude, or friendship, or something else. Make your poem at least 10 lines.

Writing Assignment:

Using the handout we worked on in class, write and post a researched essay about any London topic mentioned in the poem excerpt. Fill in your topic, your research question, make notes about your research, and create an outline. We'll be working on the outline in class next week so bring a physical copy of the sheet of paper with your outline on it, as well as your 300 word essay. If you don't know how to do an outline, that's fine. If you're not going to be in class, just write and post the essay.


1. What is the Pavilion at Brighton? (Look it up.)
2. The horse Sir Pericles was named for a real person. Who is Pericles? (Look it up.)
3. What bothers Meredith about Edwina's nails?
4. How is the piebald's jumping different from Sir Pericles?
5. What decision does Velvet make while jumping the piebald that impresses Mi?
6. Describe the race that Velvet wins with the help of her mother. What role does her mother play?
7. What did Mi have to pawn to get the money for entries?
8. "Velvet and Mi dreamed a boldness bordering on madness." What boldness is this sentence referring to?
9. What name does Velvet decide on for the piebald's official racing name?
10. What name does Mi give to Velvet as her official racing name?
11. Where do they get 100 sovereigns for the entry money?
12. Which sister surprises Velvet by playing with the pretend horses?
13. What important transformation does Velvet undergo in preparation to become a jockey?

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