Reading Selections 2011 – 2012

In my previous post, I promised I’d provide you with the list and links for the reading selections I gave to my students this past school year.  So, without further ado (dammit, now I want to watch a Shakespearean comedy again) . . .

November 2011:
This year, I’d decided we would focus more on poetry, hence the “How to Read a Poem” as the very first entry.

December 2011:

January 2012:
In January, I took us in the direction of their beloved genre: sci-fi, to discuss the surrealism in reading and enjoying poetry supposedly created by fictional characters.  We also discussed the reality of technology on the way we read, and argued (and laughed at) the many contradictions and heavy bigotry in Emerson’s famous “Self-Reliance” (it reads a bit like a less subtle Ayn Rand novel, really).

If you look at the first link for “Ode” you’ll find a scrap of handwritten text.  Why give them that for their assignment?  To prove my point about the importance of learning both cursive and symbolism.  Neither child had practiced much cursive writing, and thus, it was nearly impossible for one and difficult for the other to decipher English text, simply because of the method used to write it.  Given that they both seemed heavily focused in areas where decryption and an understanding of handwritten materials may be important to them in the future, I figured it was a good idea they start exploring it now.

Atwood’s poem here plays heavily on a common theme in many of the Grimms’ fairy tales where maidens were often relieved of their hands, usually for something their father, brother, or husband did.  As part of this month, instead of completing standard projects, I asked them to search for the poem read on air on NPR’s Writers’ Almanac on the day, month, and year each one was born, and to reflect on whatever feelings or thoughts the poem inspired.

*My friends’ poems are not available for public viewing at this time.
**The December poetry selections were the following: “Toward the Winter Solstice” by Timothy Steele, “Blow, Blow, Thou Winter Wind” by Shakespeare (from As You Like It), “Winter: A Dirge” by Robert Burns, “A Leaf from the Tree of Songs” by Adam Christianson, “Lord of the Dance” (traditional), “Reflections on a Scottish Christmas” by Johnny Cunningham, and “An Old Man’s Winter Night” by Robert Frost (a cousin).

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