Friday, March 25, 2016

Reading Period 22: March 26 - April 8: A Wizard of Earthsea

Class meeting: April 5, 7

Due dates: 

Quiz due April 4, 7pm
Writing and Creative Assignments due April 6, 7pm

Long read:

A Wizard of Earthsea, by Ursula K. LeGuin, chapters 1-3

Poem:

"Learning the Name" by Ursula K. LeGuin

Creative Assignment:

Imagine you run a hotel in the village of Thwil. You are trying to drum up more business, based on your idea that maybe tourists will want to come and visit, to see the flying houses and boys turning into fish, and stare at the wizards in training. Write an article for Destination Earthsea magazine including travel instructions and a description of the village and your hotel, and detailing everything there is to see and do in Thwil. Make sure you include instructions/rules for interacting with wizards. Use your imagination to come up with some local attractions. Destination Earthsea editors have a firm word limit of between 200 and 250 words.

OR

Create an illustration of Ged and his otak including as much detail as you can. Use details from the story including description and dialogue to show what you think an otak really looks like.

Ursula K. Le Guin
Writing Assignment:

We laughed at Anne Shirley wanting to be called "Cordelia" but now that we're talking about magic and true names, that desire doesn't seem so frivolous. Think about how your name defines you, how it represents the person you are. Write an essay about your name in which you tell us where your name came from (if you know), and whether you feel it represents you. If you were to choose a "true name" for yourself, what would it be? Before you begin writing, think about an introduction, a body and a conclusion. What question will you ask in the intro that can be answered in the conclusion? What paragraphs will you include in the body? Make sure you intent at the beginning of each new paragraph. Make Google+ bow to your will on this formatting issue. 250 words.

Quiz:

1. The island of Gont is known for what?
2. What was the main character's birth name?
3. Why did the goats follow him to the village in such a weird way?
4. How did Ged save his village from the Kargs?
5. What was it like for Ged to be Ogion's apprentice. Lots of dragons and transformations?
6. What was Ogion's reaction when Ged chose to go to Roke?
7. Why is the weather so calm and the sea so still around Roke?
8. What is the door to the wizarding school made of?
9. What is the difference in personality between Vetch and Jasper?
10. How do you change a rock into a jewel?
11. What is the difference between Hardic and Old Speech?
12. Who works the illusion that charms the Lady of O?

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!

Poem: 

"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.

Listen:



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?

OR

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.

AND

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!

Quiz:

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?

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)

Poem:

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.

OR

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.

OR

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.

Quiz:

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?