I was out ill Thursday and Friday, hence the lack of progress reports.
First period completed The Giver. We began a culminating project: a newspaper from Jonas’s community. Our publishing date will be approximately one week after Jonas leaves. We finished the day’s lesson by brainstorming possible topics.
The search for Jonas.
The effects of the memories being released on the community.
The effects of the community seeing color.
Interviews with Jonas’s friends and family.
Reports from the meetings of the community’s council of elders.
An interview with the Giver about what could have gone wrong.
An investigative journalism piece that asks the question, “Did the Giver encourage Jonas to escape?”
The effect on the number of requests for Releases (would it go up or down?)
Second period began with a quick vocabulary quiz. Students finished up Antigone in class Friday. We’re working on the final lesson, finishing up tomorrow. We’ll spend a couple of days working on the culminating activity (a comparison/contrast of Lord of the Flies and Antigone using elements of sociology as an analytical framework), then we’ll begin the Beast: Great Expectations.
Fourth and sixth periods continued working on Algernon. We’re just about done — we’re tying up loose ends. We also worked on prepositions today.
First period discussed the meaning of Release and the reason why a community would have such a policy: strict population control. We then switched gears to look at sentence types. We’ll be finishing that Monday.
Second period continued with Antigone.
We spent some time with a long passage from the Chorus, and discussed and implemented ways of parsing out such long passages:
Blest are they whose days have not tasted of evil. For when a house hath once been shaken from heaven, there the curse fails nevermore, passing from life to life of the race; even as, when the surge is driven over the darkness of the deep by the fierce breath of Thracian sea-winds, it rolls up the black sand from the depths, and there is sullen roar from wind-vexed headlands that front the blows of the storm.
I see that from olden time the sorrows in the house of the Labdacidae are heaped upon the sorrows of the dead; and generation is not freed by generation, but some god strikes them down, and the race hath no deliverance.
For now that hope of which the light had been spread above the last root of the house of Oedipus-that hope, in turn, is brought low–by the blood-stained dust due to the gods infernal, and by folly in speech, and frenzy at the heart.
Thy power, O Zeus, what human trespass can limit? That power which neither Sleep, the all-ensnaring, nor the untiring months of the gods can master; but thou, a ruler to whom time brings not old age, dwellest in the dazzling splendour of Olympus.
And through the future, near and far, as through the past, shall this law hold good: Nothing that is vast enters into the life of mortals without a curse.
For that hope whose wanderings are so wide is to many men a comfort, but to many a false lure of giddy desires; and the disappointment comes on one who knoweth nought till he burn his foot against the hot fire.
For with wisdom hath some one given forth the famous saying, that evil seems good, soon or late, to him whose mind the god draws to mischief; and but for the briefest space doth he fare free of woe.
We’ll continue working on it for homework (see below).
Fourth and sixth periods continued with Algernon, reading the selections that show how Charlie is realizing that his “friends” are in fact mocking him.
First period worked on chapters 16-18 of The Giver. Specifically, we looked at how Jonas’s new knowledge is really beginning to set him apart from the rest of the community. We practiced the skill of inferring by working in groups to determine a few facts we can learn about the community by paying close attention to how everyone is confused by Jonas’s new knowledge.
Second period continued reading Antigone. We began with an apt presentation on misogyny in the ancient world — very appropriate considering some of the comments characters make in the play. Afterwards, we continued with the play. The Chorus — four strong — gave a valiant effort, but ultimately they discovered how difficult it is to read well in unison. We also tried a full fifteen-person Chorus to see what it would have sounded like in an original performance.
Fourth and sixth period continued with Flowers for Algernon, taking a look this time at Charlie’s amusing punctuation. We learned about appositives and reviewed some of the other uses of commas.
First period continued with The Giver. We looked at all the ways the community tries to eliminate pain from the community. In the end, we determined that all the major differences between our society and theirs has to do with the elimination of pain.
Second period looked at the differences between modern drama and Greek drama. We went over the basic background knowledge necessary for an understanding of Antigone and cast the few characters.
Fourth and sixth periods went over the work from yesterday, then completed the “frequently confused words” in conjunction with Flowers for Algernon.
We had more ITBS testing today, which means we didn’t have first period.
Second period held the trials for Ralph and Jack. Ralph’s Dream Team came through for him, convincing the jury to return a “not guilty” verdict. When we meet again on Thursday, we’ll be starting Antigone, the classic (literally) Greek play by Sophocles.
Fourth and sixth periods worked on a quick review of words often confused:
For the most part, students are doing this individual and in pairs. It should be a review, but a few of them keep popping up in student writing.
First period had an unplanned Giver review discussion. I hadn’t realized that there were some fundamental issues about the book that some weren’t comprehending, and the questions at the beginning of class illustrated that we needed to process as a group a bit.
Second period didn’t have class today due to the ITBS testing.
Fourth and sixth periods worked on a quick (theoretically quick, anyway) review of apostrophe use. It was intended to take less than a whole period; it will end up taking about 1.25 periods.
First period: read through chapter 13 of The Giver by Thursday (the next time we’ll have class).
Second: complete court case (will present/try the case tomorrow).
Fourth and sixth periods: none (possible quiz tomorrow).
First period looked at the various rites of passage in The Giver and worked together to come up with an answer to the day’s essential question, “What is a rite of passage.”
Second period finished up Lord of the Flies. We began working on two trials that will be held Monday the next time we’ll have class together.
In separate trials, we’ll be trying Ralph and Jack for the death of Simon. Those who chose to work on Jack’s case will receive a bit of extra credit, as they had no materials to begin with.
Initially, I only planned on the trial for Ralph, but we talked as a class and decided to do two trials, with the understanding that those working Jack’s trial — especially the defense — would have a much harder assignment.
“Defending Jack is a little like defending Osama bin Laden,” said one of Jack’s attorneys to me. Of course, the truly difficult defendant from Lord of the Flies would be Roger.
Fourth and sixth periods returned to Flowers for Algernon. We took a break from reading to watch a bit of the film version, Charlie.
We’ll be having ITBS testing next week, so theoretically we won’t have class for first and second periods until next Thursday. I’m hoping we can, as a team, make some adjustments so that we’ll have class with first and second periods at some point during that three-day testing block.