Eep! I’m more than a week late posting this, so I’ll get right to it. A week ago Tuesday I met with the kids and we discussed December’s reading selections. They both chose “Runaround” by Asimov, and true to their comfort zones, the girl chose to draw a map of the station on Mercury, while the boy chose to write a short story from the perspective of the damaged robot.
While the discussion was brief for each story, I decided to push them a bit. Their reading selections this time around are incredibly short (literally!), but I told them that they both had to decide on a project outside their comfort zones. This means that my friend’s son will likely take on an art or crafty project, and my daughter–who tried to b.s. her way into a crafty project herself–will likely be writing something. Of course, there are other options open to them, but they seem rather stuck and a slight push outside their individual realms of “easy” might get them thinking about something outside writing/art ideas for projects from February’s readings.
Also, because one of the selections is actually a list of six word stories from famous authors, I told them they had to write three of their own, as well as pick three to five (preferably less) they think of as their favorites from the list. Friend’s son was finished less than twenty minutes from completing our discussion. Squirelflight tried, but only came up with one I considered viable (the others were cop-outs).
So what are they assigned?
January Reading Selections
- The Gettysburg Address by Abraham Lincoln
- O, Captain! My Captain! by Walt Whitman
- I Have a Dream by Martin Luther King, Jr.
- Six Word Short Stories by Various Authors
- Fenimore Cooper’s Literary Offenses by Mark Twain
Not a darn short story (except for the six word minis) among the whole lot! Not sure how that happened, but it did. When I was a bit younger than my daughter is now, MLK, Jr. became one of my heroes, to the point that I did a project on him in school, my mother helped by editing video footage of him to support my speech, and she took me to his memorial because he wasthat influential on my developing self. Walt Whitman’s poem is one I loved and used frequently for auditions through elementary and middle school, and of course, it was used in Dead Poets Society, which also was influential. It seemed appropriate to pair the poem with Lincoln’s speech, as he was the inspiration for Whitman’s words.
The six word short stories are just fun, I’ve written several myself, and joined a Livejournal community based on the concept. I only waited this long to share them with the kids because there was so much piled up for previous months. The final piece is one recommended by my partner as an excellent–nay, probably the most biting, slicing, ruining–example of a critical look at someone else’s work. While I doubt my own writing is a insufferable as Fenimore Cooper’s appears to have been, a part of me is quite happy to know that Samuel Clemens is long dead, and can’t read my own stories.
As always, please let me know if you have suggestions for further reading selections, I’m actually seeing a lot of bare spots in the coming months and am open to short stories, speeches, essays, poems, critiques, and other inspiring or important or silly works that might challenge these kids to think. Thanks and be well!
Previous Reading Selections: