**spoiler alert** My favorite aspect of this text are the themes of accepting consequences and loyalty to friends. When Candy's dog is killed, all men**spoiler alert** My favorite aspect of this text are the themes of accepting consequences and loyalty to friends. When Candy's dog is killed, all men have to accept consequences of this behavior which they all recognize in silence. George must accept the consequences of his abandonment of Lennie when he ends up putting him out of his misery at the end. ...more
Before Reading: At the YA Literature Conference on April 1st, I had the opportunity to listen to Ms. Anderson talk about her new book.YOYA CODE 5Q 4P
Before Reading: At the YA Literature Conference on April 1st, I had the opportunity to listen to Ms. Anderson talk about her new book. She mentioned the research and letters she received from young girls across the country about their struggles with anorexia and bulimia. I believe these issues have a place in the classroom in some form. I am excited to read the book after listening to Anderson's presentation.
During Reading: I am enjoying Anderson’s voice and tone she creates throughout Wintergirls. To me, Lia is both the protagonist and the antagonist because her condition is affecting so many people around her negatively. Her concept of self image is severely distorted and she lacks confidence to change her situation before it gets out of control. So many young girls today are in situations like Lia’s. They don’t have an outlet to discuss the feelings they have, so they believe in punishing themselves and those around them. Lia even goes to the extreme end of manipulating her parents by tampering with her weigh ins and finding ways to look as though she’s gaining weight: “I race downstairs to the laundry room as far away from Jennifer as I can get. I turn on the tap, lean over the sink, and guzzle until my belly is a big water balloon. I sail on the tide toward the kitchen, heavy –loaded with ballast, waves splashing” (45). These lines address issues facing teens today while simultaneously allowing us to discuss grammar and literary devices relevant to the ELA classroom. Lia struggles to cope with her best friend’s recent death from bulimia complications because she feels like the death was her fault. The girls had made a pact to be the skinniest girls in school; they were competing so much to become “skinniest,” they grew apart. Cassie’s body was found in a hotel room after she hit rock bottom and Lia did not answer any of her phone calls. Lia associates food with when she was a “real girl,” not a wintergirl. She says, “When I was a real girl, Thanksgiving was at Nanna Marrigan’s house in Maine, or Grandma Overbrook’s in Boston” (29). Her self-esteem reaches a low point because of her parents divorce and the overwhelming influence their careers have over their daughter. She reminisces about having the choice to go to both grandparents’ home and eating Thanksgiving dinner, not starving herself during this time. She misses the comfort feeling food brings to families who stay together.
It is rumored young adult novels do not contain enough information to analyze or investigate when compared to other “classic” texts. Wintergirls succeeds in developing an interesting frame story about the serious side effects of constantly obsessing over weight. Teens of all ages and backgrounds can relate to one of the themes in the novel. Lia struggles to find mechanisms to successfully cope with her friends’ recent death, her parents divorce and inaccessibility, and her stepmother’s new role. There are other protagonists males can relate to like Lia’s friend Elijah who works at the hotel where Cassie was found dead. He would love to have parents who cared about him like Lia’s. When she compares situations towards the end of the book when she’s “unthawing” or healing, she realizes she might now have it as terrible as she thought.
I read this book for the second time this semester before I taught it to my seniors at KMHS. YOYA CODE: 5Q 4P
A. Pre-Reading/Anticipatory Thoughts:
I read this book for the second time this semester before I taught it to my seniors at KMHS. The first time I read it was for my Shakespeare seminar my last undergraduate year in college. I enjoyed it the first time because the timeless themes apply to today's culture in several ways. Iago's jealousy and motives are based on hearsay; many people today get jealous for lesser offenses than Iago believes Othello and Cassio commit. If we turn on Forty Eight Hours Mystery , Dr. Phil or Unsolved Mysteries, we see stories of spousal murder for insurance reasons and financial advancement. Othello will always have relevance to high school seniors who are beginning to experience jealousy, love relationships, and pressure to conform in increasing amounts.
B. During Reading:
I read this play very slowly with my on-level seniors. Because of the way my CT wanted me to teach the play, we read through EVERY WORD. I was forced to ensure I knew what each word meant because I was expected to delineate the play line by line, act by act, scene by scene to them by standing in front of the room and talking through it. I will NEVER teach Othello this way again because my students were just as bored as I was. Despite my casual attempts to pull them in by stopping and relating the text to their lives outside school, they still had a difficult time going beneath the plot surface because of a study guide I gave that stuck to who? what? when? where? why? type questions. We discussed jealousy as it related to both men and women of Shakespeare's time and today. We went over Emilia's speech when she states: "But jealous souls will not be answer'd so / They are not ever jealous for the cause / But jealous because they are jealous" (3.4.59). I was able to have they students research a jealous character on a television show and analyze the justifications for their actions. All in all, I was able to introduce some elements to them like the play does not have to be about race and racism. It's so much more than that. We talked about the way Shakespeare switches from prose to verse in an effort to entertain and ensure the groundlings understood the plot. I explained the play in terms of reputation, communication, loyalty and prejudice. It wasn't the same kind of racism we struggle with in America. The students traced what Shakespeare might have been trying to tell us from reading this play.
C. After Reading:
I'll have to admit, I liked this play more before I taught it to seniors. While I believe they can connect with some of the major themes and motifs in Othello, I had to grit my teeth all the way through reading EVERY WORD of it in class. I'll admit trying to teach a play dealing with soliloquies, asides and dramatic irony without acting it out almost bored me to tears. The next time I teach this play, (if I am required to because I am now scarred for life) we will act out scenes and I will show clips along the way to reinforce what we discuss in class.
A. Pre-Reading: I had never heard of this book before this class, so I really didn't know what to think. From reading the back cove YOYA Code 5Q 3P
A. Pre-Reading: I had never heard of this book before this class, so I really didn't know what to think. From reading the back cover and studying the cover page, I did not think I would enjoy reading this novel. The totem poles on the front made me think of a story that would be dated and have no relevance to me or my students. The back cover inspired me to get started because it said something about older and younger generations.
B. During Reading: I am reading more than five chapters in one sitting so it must be a good book. I am a chapter by chapter person because I have a hard time sitting still for very long. The themes of friendship, change, death and alienation I am noticing so far are touching and relevant to our society and especially to adolescents. I am enjoying the frame story in this novel. Caleb tells Mark to "be sorry for the Indians. You know nothing and they must teach you (12). The author explores the important concept of self-reliance in the first few chapters when Mark is told his assignment. As he gets a feel for the Indian symbols, Mark tells himself, "If man were to vanish from this planet tomorrow, here he would leave no trace he ever was" (17). We are no longer self-sufficient. The Indians in this book survive without what many of us deem necessities. It's interesting how the author focuses on the juxtaposition between our society and that of the Indians from the very beginning to draw readers in.
C. After Reading: I finished this book in two sittings which is unusual for me. Craven builds suspense by foreshadowing, and the motif of lonliness and accepting death continues to the end. The modern ideas represented in this book will appeal to adolescent readers. Gordon and Keetah realize you can't change your heritage, but you can change how you react to situations. We are all lonely at some point in our lives and there's peace in lonliness. Adolescents (including some adults I know) can learn non-conformiy from this novel because they always have someone around them all the time. This novel facinates me with its ability to tell a wonderful fictional story and keep readers interest by alluding to common ground. Maturity comes with accepting alone time as valuable and uplifting instead of trying to fill the silence.
I read this book in one of my freshman composition classes at GSU. At first glance, I thought the book would be a boring because of how much I knew abI read this book in one of my freshman composition classes at GSU. At first glance, I thought the book would be a boring because of how much I knew about American habits. I am not much of a fast food eater, but after I read this book I quit eating it altogether for about a year. I felt better mentally and physically when I made the decision. Even though I never really ate them before, I especially avoided fast food hamburgers. The research evident in this book surprised me. I occasionally eat fast food now because of long work hours with graduate school and convenience, but I am careful when I select the restaurant. I always look for the inspection reports and to see if the people preparing my food are wearing gloves. It's sad that our society (myself included) is so overworked and concerned with time that we risk major health problems by eating this kind of food without any thought about the potential consequences. Someone needs to write a book about that. ...more
A.) Before Reading/Anticipatory Thoughts: I’ve heard about The House on Mango Street before this class, and I am looking forward to r YOYA CODE 5Q 5P
A.) Before Reading/Anticipatory Thoughts: I’ve heard about The House on Mango Street before this class, and I am looking forward to reading it. One of my friends read this book for a class, and I remember her saying it was a choppy, yet delightful read. From reading the back cover and looking at the front picture, I am glad students are reading culturally diverse books like this one. The Latino race appears left out in comparison to other adolescent coming-of-age novels I’ve read. I am excited to read more because I hope to teach students to have respect for one another in a culture-rich environment and this book might help. B.) During Reading: The first chapter that really caught my attentions is “A Rice Sandwich.” It explains Esperanza’s desperate attempt both to fit in at school and to get attention from her mother. She’s growing up fast having to handle alienation and ridicule because she’s less fortunate compared to some of the other kids. The way Cicernos describes the nun who humiliated Esperanza is heartbreaking. Not only does she have to overcome peer pressure, but her mom doesn’t seem to pay her enough attention. Another chapter I am enjoying is “Hips.” It reminds me of a poem I read by Lucille Clifton titled “Homage to my Hips.” In the poem Clifton, like Esperanza, learns to appreciate her womanly figure. The girls begin to dance and wiggle their hips to music they create. I like the happy tone in this chapter because I didn’t expect Esperanza to appreciate obtaining womanly hips. C.) After Reading: Mango Street has excellent advice for students not only for students who are culturally diverse, but also those who struggle with acceptance and are less fortunate in relation to the majority. I enjoyed the book and would teach it in a classroom because it allows students a safe place to discuss issues like culture, rape, maturity and to keep going when the road gets rough. I especially liked “Bums in the Attic” because it illustrates Esperana’s positive attitude despite all she’s been through. She says “I’ll offer them the attic [to my house:], ask them to stay, because I know how it is to be without a house” (87). The words Cicernos uses in this chapter caught my attention because she shows how eager Esperanza is to get away from Mango Street, yet she will forever remember where she came from and help others in life. The kids in today’s classrooms could learn from Esperanza’s positivism and try to imagine life without their precious IPods and video games. ...more
A) Pre-Reading/Anticipatory Thoughts: I’m sure I am one of the few people who has never read To Kill a Mockingbird . I think it’ YOYA CODE: 4Q 3P
A) Pre-Reading/Anticipatory Thoughts: I’m sure I am one of the few people who has never read To Kill a Mockingbird . I think it’s partly because I did not go to secondary school for that long in the south. I’ve heard several positive comments–particularly about it’s timelessness and relevance as the years pass by. I am excited to explore themes of racial identity and innocence versus experience in this coming of age novel. The cover of the novel looks interesting because of the mockingbird and some string in a tree hole. From reading the back of the book, I can see it’s won several awards; it must be a pretty decent read.
B) During Reading: 2/3/09- From what I’ve read so far, I like the novel and how it sets up everyone’s typical childhood past. We all played outside with our friends and there was always that one creepy house and the one child who would never come out to play. I am enjoying Scout’s character because it seems like all women go though a slight tom boy phase during adolescence. I can also identify with Scout’s delineation of elementary school. In chapter four, Scout talks about how she feels cheated by the Alabama school system: “Out of what I knew not, yet I did not believe that twelve years of unrelieved boredom was exactly what the state had in store for me” (33). During school, I can remember feeling the same way because I started reading at a young age; instead of challenging me, my teachers made me grade their papers or help students who needed assistance. Harper Lee’s words relate to any ignored child a formal education setting. 2/5/09- I am enjoying the friendship of Scout and Jem. It’s one of those “I’m too young to date but I like you” type relationships. I think adolescents can relate to playing outside in the summer time and having that one friend they look forward to coming each year. The way Lee reintroduces Dill in chapter fourteen is both clever and heartbreaking. Dill has been pretty rough around the edges from the start of the book, but we realize the severity of his situation when he tells Scout and Jem about the torture he endured from his own parents. Dill says, “having been bound in chains and left to die in his basement, by his new father, who disliked him, and secretly kept alive on raw field peas by a farmer who heard his cries for help” (140). I think this part is where most adolescents can realize their home lives are not nearly as bad as Dill’s. Many teens think their parents are terrible, but maybe if they read this book they’d see just how bad things could get.
C) After Reading: The ending blew me away! I loved it. She somewhat lost me in the middle of the book, so I had to put it down, but I wish I would’ve kept reading. I think she builds the suspense of Boo Radley perfectly from the beginning to the end. My favorite part comes in one of the final chapters when Scout alludes back to the words of her father from the beginning. She compares Boo Radley’s actions to those of a mockingbird. If the town knew Boo killed Mr. Ewell, they would scrutinize him and Scout and Jem’s situation would be the talk of the town.
D) Teaching Ideas: I really didn’t think I would relate to this novel because of the southern setting, characters and allusions; however, I thoroughly enjoyed it. Lee could have gone without writing “Maycomb county...” so much, but that’s minor and not related to the themes or characterization this novel portrays. I believe high school students, or even middle school eighth graders would benefit from and find ways to relate to this novel. I think the Mapquest activity, Facebook page, e-mail activity, or character locker idea we used as product options would work well to teach this novel. ...more
Pre-Reading/Anticipatory Thoughts: In my undergrad work at Georgia Southern, I took an Adolescent Lit. class as an elective, so IYOYA Code: 5Q 4P
Pre-Reading/Anticipatory Thoughts: In my undergrad work at Georgia Southern, I took an Adolescent Lit. class as an elective, so I had some background information on this author/ book when I saw it on the reading list. I knew it would contain controversial issues like the other books we discussed in that class. This might sound menial, but when I went to Books –a-Million to purchase this novel, I found it interesting it was located in the children’s section as opposed to teenage literature. After reading the back cover and the first few pages, I was able to see how they categorized it to fit into the children’s section based on the ages of both Jonas and Lily. I am anxious to read further into this genre of young adult literature because we didn’t read much sci-fi or fantasy novels in the class I’ve already taken. I see the benefit for children to discuss these issues in schools, but I am curious to see how the already-teachers in our class view this type of literature as well because they work with parents more than I do. During Reading: 1/13/09- I am enjoying reading The Giver so far. It reminds me of another utopian YA novel titled Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin. I just finished reading through chapter ten, and one place in the novel really made me want to stop and think. The community Jonas and his family unit reside in is almost like an alternate universe. It’s really sad they have to take pills to prevent them from having pleasant dreams. At the end of this chapter I underlined this quote: “[Jonas:] remembered that, upon waking, he had wanted to feel the Stirrings again” (39). As I underlined this particular passage, I also wrote “HOW MISERABLE” in the margin. The way this community ignores feelings and avoids communication would really teach kids the importance of family. I think they would relate to Jonas's feelings at this point in the novel and realize they are normal and common. The red motif has been another interesting aspect of the novel, and I am curious to see how it unfolds at the end. After Reading: I enjoyed this novel for several reasons. The feelings Jonas is able to experience by way of the Giver change him, and he is able to step back and see things from a different perspective. The lesson Jonas learns is difficult for both kids and adults. I believe adolescents can relate to the physical and emotional changes Jonas undergoes through from start to finish. As he accepts more responsibility, Jonas questions actions of his community that he used to love so much. In chapter seventeen, when his friends let him down because they poke fun at war without knowing what it’s really like, Jonas realizes the extent of his training. After he breaks up the pretend war game, the narration describes Jonas’s thoughts: “He felt such love for Asher and Fiona. But they could not feel it back, without the memories. And he could not give them those. Jonas knew with certainty that he could change nothing” (135). The fact that nothing in the community can be changed foreshadow the plan Jonas and The Giver create. When Jonas learns of his father’s actions during release ceremonies, and the upcoming release of Gabriel, he can no longer remain a part of the community. I believe this novel will help adolescents cope with issues relating to their parents they might not understand. I believe the novel ended well, closing the recurring red motif with the sled he and Gabriel use to get down the hill. Being a person who strives for closure, I would have liked a little more detail at the end, but I see why Lowry left it open to the imagination. Ideas for Future Teaching: Like I mentioned in the “After Reading” section, this novel presents motifs and themes any teenager can relate to. Even though the community is similar to an alternate universe, it would still teach kids to be thankful for the world we live in today. I would teach this novel in an American literature class as a bildungsroman. I might do a parallel reading with a classic American Literature novel such as Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. I think adolescents would enjoy The Giver and they might be more interested in reading a classic like Huck Finn if we have first read and discussed this piece of work. ...more
Unfortunately, this book was the only one I had time to read over the holiday break. I enjoyed Warren's message about the three main purposes of ChrisUnfortunately, this book was the only one I had time to read over the holiday break. I enjoyed Warren's message about the three main purposes of Christmas. I will use his idea about having a birthday party for Jesus when I have children one day. ...more
Before Reading I first read this book in an American Literature survey course at Georgia Southern. I remember that I loved this book. I also r5Q 4P
Before Reading I first read this book in an American Literature survey course at Georgia Southern. I remember that I loved this book. I also remember my professor being extremely interested in it as well. The thought of this actually happening frightens me. It's one of the few books I can see myself re-reading, so I chose it for this class to see how adolescents might view the novel.
One thing I noticed that I didn't remember focusing on from my first reading is how many questions the boy asks of his father. The questioning symbolizes the boy's innocence versus the father's experience. When the father answers the boy, it's like he's constantly diverting him away from the question. Maybe he's trying to reassure him in order to keep the boy's spirits up despite their terrible situation. For example, the boy asks, "Who is it, Papa? and the father answers, "I dunno, who is anybody? (49). " The father is trying to keep the boy's mind focused on other ideas than the road. Adolescents can definitely relate to this type of treatment from their parents. If I taught this book, I would focus on the relationship building aspects and look for ways to help kids foster positive relationships with others.
The Road teaches all types of lessons to students. I might use it in conjunction with research on an environmental unit or something similar. I think they will enjoy the different adventures off the road and appreciate the undying father-son love present in McCarthy's fiction. I think students will see this book as a warning of what we're doing to the planet and the near death experiences along with what happens to the people along the road will inspire kids to change. I would possibly relate this book to the movie I am Legend with Will Smith to gain student's interest as well. ...more
Before I read this book, I had no idea about investing money. That's why I decided to read it, of course. Kiyosaki delivers valuable information aboutBefore I read this book, I had no idea about investing money. That's why I decided to read it, of course. Kiyosaki delivers valuable information about how to make money work for me. I did not know that most people work from January to May just for the government! He gives great advice about how to pay yourself first with the money you earn. I also enjoyed his talk about how there needs to be more classes on personal finance in schols. He says to take big risks instead of playing it safe. The old advice of "going to college, getting a safe, secure job" is old news. ...more