Friday, March 18, 2016

Reading Period 21: March 18-24: National Velvet

Class meeting: March 22, 24

Long read:

National Velvet, chapters 12-17

Short read:

There is no new short read assignment, but do make sure you read "Tobermory" which was assigned last week. Details from the story will be important to the D&D game. Really important! You're going to wish you'd read it!


"Horse" by Louise Glück. If you're interested in learning more about here, or seeing her, here is a short video. By the way, Louise Glück has won the National Book Award for her book of poetry, Faithful and Virtuous Night.


Creative Assignment:

I challenge you to write a poem called "Horse" from the point of view of the other character in the poem "Horse" by Louise Glück. It can take any form you choose and can go in any direction you choose. The speaker in your poem doesn't have to acknowledge the speaker in Glück's poem at all, or your poem can be a direct response. Try to capture the yearning we described. How does yearning and longing enter the heart of this speaker?


Design a course of jumps for an equestrian competition. You can design a show jumping course, for use in an indoor arena, or an outdoor course that's based on a race track (like the Grand National that Velvet and The Pie jump around), or one that's completely open and cross-country. You could even set your course in the grocery store -- jumping stacks of Coke cans or lines of shopping carts. You could set your jump course at co-op, and ask your riders to enter the Chrysler Museum and jump over a piano. Start by glancing over this list of instructions for course designers from the US Equestrian Federation. Take a peek around in this video which is really long -- don't watch the whole thing! One of the riders talks you around a map of the course at the beginning, and then they talk about course design, and then you can skip ahead and watch some of the jumping. The actual jumping starts around 3 minutes in. You should make a map of your course and include close-ups of any particularly interesting jumps.

Writing Assignment:

You must finish your "dream" essay that we worked on in class. Some of you already finished, and that's great. Don't transfer it to the computer -- use your actual piece of paper.


Write a book review of one of the novels or novellas I gave you in class, or one we have read so far this year. You can review Watership Down, The Once and Future King, A Little Princess, A Christmas Carol, Over Sea Under Stone, Anne of Green Gables, or National Velvet.

You can choose to write your review just for me, or you can submit it to the Book Review Contest which is sponsored by the Friends of the Norfolk Public Library. If you submit it to me, you must write about the book you took home from class, and your deadline is one month from now. If you choose to submit to the library, your deadline is Tuesday!

A big part of writing a successful essay for a specific purpose or assignment is to carefully consider the requirements, and clarify exactly what kind of essay is desired. Here are the official guidelines. Please read at least twice:

"The primary aim of the Book Review Contest is to encourage reading and critical thinking among the student participants. Students are encouraged to review books they enjoy. Rather than writing a comprehensive summary, students should discuss some element of the book (e.g. plot, setting, character, theme or style). It is important to remember that these submissions are book reviews, rather than book reports, and should offer an evaluation of the book. Freshness of expression and imagination, as well as competent English composition, will be considered by the judges."

Another important part of successfully fulfilling an assignment is paying careful attention to the technical requirements: due date, submission format, etc. Here are the guidelines for submission. Please read through them at least twice:

A 3x5 note card must be paper clipped to the front of each report with the following information clearly printed or typed: Name, School, Grade, Teacher's Name, Title of Book. No name should appear on the review itself. No cover sheet or illustrations should be included. Reviews should be typed. Reviews should be no more than 500 words. Deadline for all entries  is Tuesday, March 22, 2016. Late reviews will not be accepted. Presentation of awards will be made on Thursday, May 19, 2016 at 3:00 pm at Slover Library. A first, second, and third award will be given in each grade. 
All reviews must be submitted to
Book Review Contest
Children's Department
Mary Pretlow Anchor Branch Library
111 W. Ocean View Ave
Norfolk, VA 23503
It's up to you to write an appropriate essay for the assignment and correctly follow the submission guidelines. The deadline is next Tuesday, so if you choose to do this assignment, do not delay until my due date of Wednesday at 7! Good luck!


1. Who is "the little man"?
2. What is "Becher's"?
3. What fake name does Velvet take for the race?
4. How does Mi explain away the fact that Velvet doesn't talk?
5. Whose point of view is the story in during the race itself?
6. Why was an objection raised? What rule did Velvet break?
7. What do Velvet and Mi refused to tell the members of the press at first?
8. Give a line of dialogue from the book that sums up Mrs. Brown's feelings on Velvet's win.
9. What makes Velvet cry at the end of the day when she gets home?
10. Why doesn't Velvet want the Pie to be in a movie?
11. What do Mally and Velvet start to collect?
12. What does Velvet tell the hunt committee as a reason for why she rode The Pie herself instead of getting a professional?
BONUS: Why does The Pie have to carry weight in his saddle?

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