Friday, July 25, 2014

Summer Reading for World Literature/Composition

The key to being a great reader is to read extensively, and the key to being a great writer is exposure to great writing. Reading is not something to do just during the school year; life-long learners are also life-long readers. Summer provides time to enjoy uninterrupted reading and allows students to digest ideas prior to discussing and interpreting writing techniques in class.

For this World Literature class, the summer reading books explore a lot of big ideas that we’ll cover in this course: truth and fiction, heroes and villains, gods and monsters, journeys, storytelling, the human spirit, and more.  As you undoubtedly know, we encounter “tough” topics in today’s world, and some of the novels below address such issues (war, terrorism, child soldiers, prostitution). Parents may wish to preview or read reviews to help determine which books would be appropriate for your student’s interests and abilities.

1. Pick one book from the list below.  Read and enjoy!
2.  While reading, find three “significant moment” quotes.  What does that mean?!  What makes a moment significant? That’s up to you as a reader/interpreter/thinker. Consider moments that:
·reveal a truth about a character, the theme of the novel, or life in general.
·indicate a major change in the character, plot, tone, etc.
·demonstrate the writer’s craft (consider major literary devices).
·strike a chord in you or grab your attention
3.  Please type and format your significant moments as in the sample below.
4.  Schedule about 5 or 10 minutes to discuss your book with Mrs. Harris. 
5.  Moments are due by October 31, 2016.  Discussions with Mrs. Harris should be completed before Christmas break.
6. If you are an Honors student, please choose two books and find five significant moments in each book.  

Significant Moment (Life of Pi + page number):
“The sun was beginning to pull the curtains on the day. It was a placid explosion of orange and red, a great chromatic symphony, a colour canvas of supernatural proportions, truly a splendid Pacific sunset, quite wasted on me.”(124).

Explanation of Significance:
This image captures a personified sun in the middle of a metaphor, “pull[ing] the curtains on the day” like one might end a play. It’s interesting that what is real, nature, is being compared to something imagined or make-believe –like actors on a stage. In fact, there are several contradictions in the passage. The imagery of a natural phenomenon, a sunset, is compared to man-made works of art like drama, music, and art. The “explosion of orange and red” is also described as “placid,” meaning calm. The narrator uses language to describe things merging together (curtains, symphony, a canvas on which brushstrokes exist together), while he is actually quite removed from the event. The layers of the metaphor all end with the abrupt phrase “quite wasted on me.” On some level he realizes what he is missing in life, but staying alive — survival —is his only reality.

Book List:
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Life of Pi by Yann Martel
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini
Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

Friday, July 18, 2014

Word Crimes

This new Weird Al video will make the hearts of all language arts teachers go pitter pat!  Enjoy: