Both children chose Harrison Bergeron for their projects, and while my daughter opted to make her own “handicaps” that she might have to wear in Harrison’s world, my friend’s son, try to replicate the feeling of being placed under such restrictions.
My daughter learned papier mache techniques, made an “ugly” mask over an aluminum foil mould made from shaping it around her face, and then when the paper had dried into the shape she’d chosen over the course of a few days, she painted it in acrylic paints. I gave tips where necessary and acted as an assistant occasionally. She also put on a pair of broken headphones that hooked around her ears to simulate the device that would buzz in her ears whenever she had deep thoughts.
My friend’s son set up an obstacle course and created his own handicaps with the intention of having each person run through twice–once without the handicaps, once with–and his hope was to see if we all ended up with similar completion times with the handicaps than without. The obstacle course involved running three times around a traffic cone, race forward, kick the second cone, stand on a “platform” (in this case, a collapsed yard goal) and throw a wiffle ball into a bowl on a windy concourse. When the ball finally reaches its destination, each person had to catch the ball, and then complete a problem on the white board.
He created a weighted bag filled with books that needed to be worn across the chest, a pair of old glasses smeared with grease, and headphones attached to an iPhone that played a soundtrack he made that repeated on a loop; it was filled with creative commons sound effects that were disruptive and came every 15 to 20 seconds. He said he’d send it to me to share on the blog, so it’s forthcoming. 🙂
We discussed the other stories. They both had trouble with Brer Rabbit, and mostly because of the dialect it was written in; we talked about why an author would choose to write an entire story (and not just the dialogue) in something outside of “standard” English, its intent as an oral story, and how it would sound if a native of the dialect read it out loud to us instead of me in a halting manner. We talked about abolitionists and feminists and how the latter was left behind by the former, causing divisiveness within the feminist movement since the nineteenth century. We even talked cyberpunk.
With little time left before we needed to get out for the kids’ swim class, we wrapped it up, and I showed them the very light amount of reading for March, but with the expectation that they’d get their projects done by the start of April. I also told them I left out two essays that went together with one another and the sandwiched February/March months that squeeze in African American History Month and Women’s History Month all in one neat chunk, sort of a two month minority marathon to be ignored by public schools the rest of the year. They both looked at me with gratitude that I hadn’t saddled them with another one of my diatribes. Ahem. I’ll save it for another time. 😉
March Selections are as follows:
- There Will Come Soft Rains by Ray Bradbury
- The Monkey’s Paw by W.W. Jacobs
- A Pair of Silk Stockings by Kate Chopin
- Longing to Die of Old Age by Alice Walker