Friday, November 7, 2008

November 7/10, 2008

November 7/10, 2008

Students wrote a response to a poem from their literature texts: "The Runaway."
See the nearby post for the text of the poem. The self-starter using "The Runaway" was this:
a) Read the poem.
b) Write quickly for about two minutes or so about anything this poem brings to mind for you.
(In your composition book -- We're working from the back still.)
c) Borrow one line from the poem and create a poem or write about it, focusing on this line.
Students should write 1/3 to 1/2 page.
Notes for the poem: A stall is an enclosure within a stable where an animal is kept, and a bin is a container for storing food, especially oats.

Poetry expresses both ideas and feelings. Notice how the feeling (mood) of this poem changes as the narrator realizes that the colt is running because of fear, not for fun.
Visualize the poem.

1. Students received their Book-of-the-Month Club approvals and first reading log.

2. We practiced for the reading log (focused on theme) and looked at other elements of literature using the short story "Song of the Trees" by Mildred Taylor.

Can you recognize
a protagonist (the main character, usually the good guy)?
whether the protagonist is static (unchanging) or dynamic (changing)?
an antagonist (the bad guy)?
the conflict?
the point of view?
the genre of a story?
themes in a book or story or poem?

We are focusing now on theme.

Theme is an idea about life revealed in a piece of literature.

Examples of Themes from “Song of the Trees”:
This is basically how you will do your reading logs.

p. 30 Mama scolds Christopher John for eating the cornbread because they are in hard times when many families (including them) don’t have enough to eat. – Theme: “When times are hard, family members must share and make sacrifices.”
p. 31 Mama is trying to protect the children from knowing she is sick, and she doesn’t want to tell her husband that the money he has sent has been stolen because she doesn’t want him to worry. – Theme: Family members protect each other.
page 31-32 Cassie loves the trees. They bring her joy. page 36, column 1, last 3 paragraphs The trees kept the memory of the past. Theme: People can take comfort from and learn from nature.
p. 38, 39 The children stand up to Anderson. Theme: Even the small and weak can stand up to that which is evil and unfair.
page 39, last paragraph -- David says he can accept dying "Just as long as I die right." Theme: A person can accept death if it comes as the result of doing the right thing and/or defending something or someone he loves.
p. 40 David stands up to Anderson. – Theme: Standing up to that which is wrong brings self-respect.