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Drinking Coffee Elsewhere

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message 1: by Clarissa (new)

Clarissa West-White (clarissawestwhite) | 15 comments Mod
For this collection of short stories, complete the following:

1) Which story is your favorite? Why?
2) Which character is your favorite? Why?
3) Which story would you see yourself teaching to a class of middle grade students? High school? What differences exist to make each suitable for that grade level and not the other?
4) Which story did you find the least interesting?
5) What is one activity that you would have students complete for the stories you chose in response #3 that promotes social activism? Be specific and include steps (If you are tweaking someone else's creation, give them credit by citing the source.).


message 2: by Dominique (new)

Dominique Ferguson | 7 comments My favorite story is Brownies. Although very short, the message is very powerful. At the end when "Snot" talks about what her dad did to the group of religious people who do anything you ask, it was a time of great revelation for her. Until the drama with Troop 909 she had not realized the magnitude of her dad's statement.

My favorite character is Spurgeon. He is definitely not like most boys. He is a nerd and has no problem with that fact. Although his dad acts more like a child than an adult, Spurgeon is still loyal to him and that's commendable. Even after the fight I think Spurgeon still loves his father and wants a good relationship with him.

I would teach the story Brownies to a middle school class and The Ant of Self to a High school class. The Ant of Self is more philospohical and a story for more mature minds.

Our Lady of Peace was the least interesting. I kept thinking, what's the point?

I would have students log on to www.change.org and as a class we would host a fundraiser for a project voted on by the class. This can be done in any grade level. This activity is valid because Browwnies is a story whose moral is: to know better is to do better. And the Ant of Self proposes dismissing our crumb-snatching ways and thinking of others. Another activity could involve sending care packages to troops or writing thank you letters.


message 3: by Kaffee (new)

Kaffee | 8 comments My favorite short story was Our Lady of Peace. one of the main reasons why i enjoyed this story was because i could relate to the teacher in the story. I could actually picture myself in one of her classrooms. hopefully, i will handle the classroom better, though.
My favorite character in the book was Doris. Although Doris was young, she stood up for something she believed in.
The story that i see myself teaching to middle school students would be Brownies. Students can learn alot about following their friends and being a leader and the perceptions that people have about others that are different. I would teach The Ant of the Self to high school students. they would be able to learn about independence and family values from this story. the word choice and the issues that each sory discuss make each suitable for their grade levels.
The story that i found the least intersting was Geese. it took me a while for me to even understand the story. it wasn't until the end, that i fully understood it.
One activity that i would choose, would be to read the story, Browniesto the class and then we would do an activity. I would have pictures of people on papers andhave the students tell me what they think this person would be like, based soley on the way that they look. We would discuss perceptions and how we see other people and how they see us.


message 4: by Kiffani1.jones (new)

Kiffani1.jones | 8 comments I'm going to have to agree with Kaffee on this one. "Our Lady of the Peace" was my favorite story because it was relevant to our future profession and I could relate to Lynnea. The fact that she spent all her time yelling over the students and not putting her foot down is what a lot of teachers do and I hope I won't be that way. At the end of the story, her frustration was very real...something that I could definitely relate to (although I wouldn't run over any kids!).

My favorite character in the book so far is Clareese Mitchell. She is HILARIOUS! From the beginning of the story when she was talking about her "womanly troubles" and her "crossed eyes," she kept me laughing out loud.

As for teaching to middle school--I'd choose "Brownies." To me, that story is more relateable to them because of their age and the loss of innocence associated with stereotypes. For high school, I'd teach "The Ant of Self" because younger students wouldn't be able to grasp what I want them too from it. On the other hand, I'd teach Brownies to high school students because it opens their eyes to stereotypes and provides good discussion.

The story I found least interesting was Drinking Coffee Elsewhere. I'm not sure why...it just didn't do it for me. The main character, Dina's, flip-flopping got on my nerves.

An activity I would do for Brownies is allow the kids to have a cultural fair within the classroom. Here, the students would create works of art inspired by an assigned culture. Then, at the next PTO, I would have the students auction off their artwork to parents and donate the funds to a chosen charity.


message 5: by Ja'nyre (new)

Ja'nyre Parker | 7 comments I’m going to agree with my classmates, it was quite obvious the Our Lady of Peace was my favorite short story. This story opened my eyes to what things could be like in my profession, it was very relevant to what teachers face today in out different societies. Preparing to become a first year teacher, I know that I will feel and be able to relate to Lynnea. At times I feel as though I’m unprepared for the classroom, no matter how much I try to prepare myself through class and observations I just feel as though I’m not ready. Lynnea frustrations begin to over power her and sadly very realistic.

My favorite character would be Cleophus Sanders, because he tested Sis. Clareese’s faith, and her patience often. He reminds her why she should stand firm in what she believes in and encourages him to put his faith in the hands of the Lord as well.

In the case of teaching middle school students I’d go with Brownies as while, because there is so much they could learn from this story. They’re able to relate more with characters throughout the story, when speaking of their loss of innocence and racial basis and stereotypes. As for high school, I'd teach The Ant of Self because it would teach the students that everything has a purpose as well as they should. They should’ve been able to determine the significance of the Million Man March, especially young men.

I really didn’t think of one story to be lease interesting, I felt as though they all served a purpose and it was our job to decipher what that purpose was.

An activity I would do for The Ant of Shelf would be to have the students research different civil or political movements and have them write a paper based on their presents there at that time, and have them write down what the experience would be like and what they would have been able to take from that experience. Then allow them to share their papers with the class.



message 6: by Renee (new)

Renee Job | 6 comments My favorite story was Our Lady of Peace. The reason that this was my favorite short story was the fact that many people view teaching as an easy job and are not aware of the very ugly side that teaching possesses. It reminds me that no matter how prepared you think you might be that there will always something that pops up that reminds you that you will never be fully prepared for the classroom and the colorful students. The constant struggle between teacher and student is very real and if you someone is not mentally prepared for it then they might just end up an alcoholic like Lynnea did.
Dina, in Drinking Coffee Elsewhere, was my favorite character. She was hilarious. She reminded me of myself when I first came to collede in the sense that I did not want to socialize and I did not want to be bothered. Dina had serious issues and it made the short story an easy read for me.
I would use Brownies for my middle school classes. This is because these girls would fall into the same age group as my middle school students and the issues about race, bullying and familial issues may be things that my students can easily relate to. I would us Doris is Coming in my high school classes. It is more of an advanced short story and I think that the historical context presented can make way for different types of lesson plans.
The Ant of the Self had a great message to convey but it was the least interesting.
An activity I would do for Doris is Coming would be to show the movie Ruby Bridges and then I would ask them to write a short essay on the correlation between the story and the video and how they would have acted if they were placed in that situation and the impact they feel that these two women have made on societal views.


message 7: by Kierra (new)

Kierra J. | 8 comments 1. The story “Speaking in Tongues” was my favorite because it began so innocently and quickly turned into something different. The main character, Tia, is known for being a “good girl”; she’s trying to find herself in some sense by reconnecting herself with her mother because she lives with her aunt, yet is curious to find out what life would be like with her mother in Georgia. As soon as she gets to Georgia she finds out that going there may have been a bad idea; she calls the home of where she thinks her mother lives only to find out that her mother has moved on with life and has a new family. When she meets Dezi, all that’s innocent quickly turns into a fast-paced life that’s she’s unfamiliar with. Within a matter of days Tia had learned about kissing, drugs, prostitution, private parts and alcohol, all things she considered but never quite knew the truth about as a naïve young girl.
2. Sheba of “Our Lady of Peace” is my favorite character because she tells it, as my grandmother would say, “Like it I-S, IS!” It seems that the hand life has dealt her has made her immune to the little things that bother most people. She often has the answer to everything and doesn’t see why her classmates don’t have as much sense as she does. In fact, she seems to have more rationale than Lynnea, who’s supposed to be the teacher and adult in this situation.
3. I would teach “The Ant of Self” to the middle grades and “Our Lady of Peace” to high school students. I don’t think that there are distinct differences between them, in fact, I think they could be used interchangeably and each story could be taught in both settings. The only issue I could foresee is some of the language like the suggestive nudity or cursing, but beyond that, I found that both could be highly relatable to these age groups. I liked “The Ant of Self” because it highlights the life of a young man who obviously makes better choices in life than his father because he had to go bail him out of jail with his hard earned money. They end up at the Million Man March, something that should’ve been an educational and bonding experience for them, but instead they’re trying to sell exotic birds no one probably wants. I would hope a story like this could be relevant to students who may have family members on drugs and have to be the adults in their homes. “Our Lady of Peace” was just as interesting because it would allow students to see all the work teachers go through in an effort to afford them the best education. Also, it shows the difference between teachers who genuinely care and those who teach just to have a steady job. Then it illustrates the life of a student with a hard life because she’s in an orphanage and is pregnant; hopefully students who read this story will see that although her life is difficult she still found education to be essential.
4. “Drinking Coffee Elsewhere” was my least favorite story because I had no idea where it was going. I can’t even formulate an opinion about it because it was so random and unrelated. I wonder why Z.Z. Packer named the book after this mundane story; in my opinion, all of the stories had some sort of weird factor to it, but this one in particular took the cake. First, I’m reading about an anti-social young woman in college named Dina who enjoys being that way who meets another young woman Heidi in an unconventional way: Dina found her crying hysterically at her doorstep. They end up spending much of their time together, even in bed, even after Dina suspects Heidi might be a lesbian, but then again Dina isn’t sure if she is or isn’t one herself because she’s never been kissed, etc., etc. Basically, this story was all over the place and could’ve been left out.
5. “The Ant of Self”- I would have students come up with activities in which they think they could teach their parents something like how to use the internet, play a video game or a new dance. They would “experiment” at home and share with the class how it went. This isn’t necessarily an assignment but it is a way to encourage quality time.
“Our Lady of Peace”- Students would come up with real life scenarios that pregnant teens face and present it to others in the school (in a similar fashion of a science fair). This includes pictures of STD’s, sacrificing time with friends, not being able to go to prom, expenses of diapers, formula, etc.



message 8: by Jana (last edited Sep 29, 2008 07:55AM) (new)

Jana Smith | 14 comments I would have to say that my favorite story was "Brownies". Mainly because the girls in the story were so hilarious and spontaneous. They cracked me up!

The story I could see myself teaching to a middle grades class would have to be "Brownies". For the high school crowd I would use "The Ant of Self". I would use "Brownies" for middle grades because I feel that this story is the one they could most relate to. As for the high school classes, "The Ant of Self" seem like it is more age appropriate for them. DIfferences in these two novels are few. I could teach some of the same themes and morals with both novels. For example the moral "you can't judge a book by its cover" can be used as a way to teach the novel. Or stereotypes is another thing the novel can help to teach. Students will also learn perception.

The story I found the least interesting would have to be " Drinking Coffee Elsewhere"........really didn't get it at all....I would like to know why Z.Z.Packer chose to name the novel after this story. I honestly thought that after reading all of the other stories this was was gonna be the juiciest.....NOT!

Well for the high school readers of "The Ant of Self", Iwould have them research different governmental issues that effect their communities and we would have an in class debate. This would help students to recognize what is going on in current events, and what we should do individually in order to make things a little better.


message 9: by Monica (new)

Monica Hughes | 2 comments Well... I was trying to be different, but I have to agree with my classmates and say that I really enjoyed Our Lady of Peace. She was trying to have cintrol of her students, but it just was not working out in her favor. The reality is classroom manangement make take more time then we think. This is why we as educators have to make sure that we are going into this profession for the right reasons. It will not be peaches and cream everyday just like any other profession.

My favorite character is Clareese from Every Tongue Shall Confess. She was very funny at times, but was really serious. People misunderstood her motives and took her for granted. She always stood up for what she believed in, even if it left her in a lonely place.

As a future midddle school teacher, I would enjoy using Brownies as a story to introduce perception vs. reality. I believe it would trigger class discussion and help the students think outside of the box.

Honestly, I believe all the stories had their own unique purpose in the book whether it was stated or not. With tthat being said, I pretty much liked all of them equally.

As an activity, I would have the students pair in groups of two or three. They will have the opportunity to interview one another, asking each other questions. Then, they will be asked to write a paragraph or two about some interesting facts that did not know about the person before. Students may use this time to get to know each other, breaking down walls and building unity for a friendly classroom environment.


message 10: by Mike.s (new)

Mike.s | 1 comments whats the point or theme in "our lady of peace"??? i have an assignment due next week


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