- Before reading today, we reviewed briefly some of the events that occured in yesterday’s reading. (One or two students were missing so this was helpful for them, but also helpful to get the rest of us back in the mindset of the book before continuing.)
- We read through Chapter 4 and 5 today, but only ‘just’ were able to finish Chapter 5. We’ll discuss the questions for it tomorrow, but there are a few key parts from these chapters that are important for setting the foundation for the rest of the book. If you’re uncertain about what’s going on or what is important to remember, have a look at this website that gives a good review of Chapter 4-6 and analyzes what about these chapters are important. If you keep up with our reading and understand as we go, you’ll enjoy the book a lot more and do better in your character analysis essay coming soon!
- One thing that is especially important to catch is the relationship between the characters in the Finch family. Would you be able to explain what is so unique about this family and how they relate to each other?
The school is looking pretty spooktacular in preparations for the Open House tomorrow and Halloween the day after. Little events like these mean different things to different people but I’ve really enjoyed seeing the creativity of the art students coming out in their projects. Some of them, I’ve seen, have completely embraced the opportunity to really put great effort in their work. I’m looking forward to capturing, if possible, finished products to save them for posterity. Keep up the good work, everyone!
Some of the art work they’ve done in class, too, has turned out so well it deserves its turn to be formally presented, framed and matted and all. Such great care and attention was put into the details of this work, it’s nice to see a finished product once they are satisfied with their work. Parents will have an opportunity to see some of this work framed when they come for the open house tomorrow night. Maybe we’ll even do a silent auction to sell the art?! What do you think – do these look worthy of being auctioned off?
- We reminded ourselves of what had just occured in the novel when we finished reading yesterday. We discussed again, briefly, the answers to the questions from that last chapter and then we dove into our reading for the day.
- I was pleased that students took their turns in contributing to the oral reading today. It’s a strange occurance that I can count on every time when I begin a novel study with a class – my throat will always go somewhat hoarse a few classes into reading. lol Today, it was starting! I guess I’m just not used to that much talking – which some would argue with!
- We’ll finish the few paragraphs to end Chapter 5 and then have a good discussion about some of the main parts of the chapter that will be important to note.
- To give students a visual picture of who the characters in the novel are, we watched two movie trailers. The first was the original one with Gregory Peck introducing the film. The second was a recently created one done by a student for an English project. The tension built in the second, though, was clearly more effective because it catered more to what we expect of movies today – to catch our interest with conflict-building music and the potential for violence! It was just interesting comparing the two videos.
- We continued reading the novel, although we didn’t listen to the audio version of it on tape this time.
- Students have a representing assignment where they have to either represent the Radley house or Boo Radley himself. They have to find information from the novel that gives the reader an impression of either of these things and then represent it with their own drawing. It also must include a 3-dimensional type of element, such as the chicken feathers in the example I showed them.
See what you think of these movies trailers. The first is the original, with the second being the recently created one.
Here is the second….
- Today, we began an introduction to the novel To Kill a Mockingbird. Students viewed a powerpoint with me that showed photographs of images from the 1930, including several showing the racial segragation of Blacks from Whites. We also discussed the way the novel’s perspective, written from the voice of a young child’s, would impact the readers differently than if it had been narrated by an adult who knew the realities of what they saw, instead of being naive but observant.
- We began reading by listening to the southern drawl of the woman who narrates the audio version of the novel. She reads very slowly, so we won’t be reading along with the audio version, but it helps to make the setting of the events clear – it’s from the deep south during a much different time and society than the one we are used to.
- Students used this class time to continue with their English blogs. They should be much more comfortable with how to carry out certain tasks, such as add links or embed the videos. The focus, initially, though is to complete the paragraph(s) component of each section.
- I like that they’re enjoying looking at each other’s blogs, though, and are comfortable adding comments.
- Next week, we’ll begin our final sub-unit in the first part of this course, “Looking Back and Looking Forward”. In that unit, our sole focus will be a novel study of the great book To Kill a Mockingbird!! They’ll love it – I guarantee it!
- The students did wonderful jobs today of performing their readers theatres for the elementary grades. We all gathered together in the library and the groups took turns entertaining their guests. They all found something suitable in the costume box I had for teaching Hamlet, so it added a bit to their presentations.
- After the theatres were finished, they each found a quiet place with a handful of the students from the same Grade 3/4 class that tried out the Screamin Millie poem a few weeks ago. Since we have just recently read about and discussed the benefits of reading aloud to children, it was a good opportunity to pay the favour back to these children, but to also share a little of that imagination and wonder that only young children have through a shared story. It was a pretty nice way to begin the day and end the week.
Here’s a picture of the background I made in a rush with pastels. The paper took up nearly the entire floor of my classroom to do it, too, but it added a little something to their performances! Plus it has a castle in it, so the environment was clearly ready for some fairytale storytelling!!
- At the beginning of class, I checked with each of the three groups performing their readers theaters tomorrow. All groups seem slightly unsure of how good their play will be but say they’re ready to perform it. I’m looking forward, at least, to seeing them get out of their seats and show a little creativity / personality with the project.
- We are at the end of our last sub-unit and before starting the next one talked today about listening and the fact that most people are so poor at actually “listening” rather than “hearing” – there is quite a difference.
- We compared an author’s purpose in writing to a listener’s purpose for listening. An author, before writing, has to determine why they are writing and they then include specific things to make that purpose clear, such as giving directions for how to do something if their purpose is to inform. With listening, it is such a passive thing – we sit back and assume because we hear that we listen, but this is not always the case. To really clearly listen, we also have to make a decision about what our purpose for listening is and listen for indicators to clarify or keep us on track. For example, if you’re listening for entertainment, you need to listen for character descriptions or names and listen to the plot of the story being told in order to understand the end result. If we are listening to analyze something, we need to listen clearly for two or more things to be compared in order to come to a conclusion at the end. Listening takes focus and practice.
- We “listened” to a couple youtube videos to make the point. Each were very different (one to entertain, to give instructions, to convince, etc) and it was very clear as we listened what their purpose for speaking was and along with that same purpose, our purpose for listening needs to be recognize in order to improve what we take in and what we retain.
Of particular interest was a video they listened to that gave instructions about how to charge an iPod using an onion and electrolytes from a Gatorade. The things you learn, hey?!
We also clarified, though our activities, how much of an advantage “viewing” while “listening” improves our ability to understand what we’re listening to and connect it to our prior knowledge. Without understanding how to connect new ideas to our old ones, we have no ability to understand, really. An example of viewing enhancing listening was from the video about Backtracking in a Britney Spears song. Viewing or reading on the screen what was written to help the audience “listen” for something specific helped the students realize what was actually (or supposedly in this case) being said. What do you think – do you think the hidden message played backwards in this song was intentional?
- We worked in the computer lab today to continue developing the three blog posts assigned to students. (They do a summary-type paragraph at the end of each sub-unit and link their ideas or reflections to a video and website/link that enhances that idea and they also have to make a comment on someone’s blog of the same topic.) Students are seeming to be more comfortable with the format of the website so developing those posts will come more easily as time goes along.
- The Readers Theater performances will be on Thursday. Groups were told they could either use this class time to work on typing out their theater or work independently on their blogs.
- Students have discussed the positive and negative influences and morals taught through children’s stories. Now, they’re going to attempt to create their own version of a fairytale but with a more modern twist. They’ll create a script and perform their reader’s theatre next week.
- To help them understand the task I am asking of them, I showed them a video of last year’s ELA 20 class I had in Goodsoil. The kids did a great job, though my audio recording doesn’t do them real justice. It still helps give an idea of the assignment.
- Students had work time to get started and will have all of tomorrow’s class to continue.