Sunday, February 7, 2016

Week 22: We the Outsiders, Point of View, and Symbolism (Week of 2/5/2016)

The week started out with me being absent for two days; I was attending an Expository Reading and Writing Course training which I know my students will love. They did a great job with the guest teachers in my class!
On Monday, the students got a mini lesson on point-of-view. We covered first person, third person limited, and third person omniscient. They started off with brief notes, identifying the differences between the different points of view. The students then read a story and used their notes to identify the point of view in which it was told. Once they identified the point of view, they read the same story told from the two other points of view and identified it for each, This was all done in preparation for Friday's first Book Club meeting; more on that later in the blog.

Tuesday was a fusion of the Preamble to the US Constitution and "The Outsiders". Students first read the Preamble and discussed it's vocabulary to find the true meaning and purpose behind it. They then chose a partner or worked alone to create a Preamble from the point-of-view of either the greasers or the Socs from the novel. This is always a fun activity because the students have a good time getting into the heads of the characters in the book and identifying their motives as characters. I always like to fuse a little history into my English class when I'm able to and this is a perfect fit!

Jumping all the way to Friday, we had our first Book Club meeting for our third quarter Independent Book Projects. I'm really impressed with how all of the groups did! I heard a lot of great discussion about point-of-view and how it affects the story. Students dove into the type of PoV the story is told in, why it matters that this narrator is telling it and not another, and what insights we gain into the world of the book (the setting) based on who is telling the story. Mr. Townsend joined us fifth period and was impressed with the conversations he heard in the room around him as well as at the groups he joined. Thanks for jumping in, Mr. T!

This week in AVID started with taking symbolism to the next level. I had students choose a partner and then research a well-known symbol, turning it into a poster to present to the class. The students needed to pick a symbol, identify its literal meaning (what are we really looking at?) and its figurative meaning (what meaning have we, as people, attached to this shape?). We're not quite done with the posters yet, so we'll be revisiting them next week.

(left) Literally, we're looking at a white and gray apple with a bite out of it. Figuratively, it represents the Apple company.

On Tuesday, my students jumped into an article that talked about how most students need more than four years of college in order to graduate. This was an important article because the majority of students these days take more than four years to graduate due to a variety of different reasons. My students enjoyed this eye-opening article and the reasons why students may take longer to graduate. I even shared my college experience, which was seven years in the making. They were very interested in my story, switching from being a radio-TV-film major, to English, then, finally, to Child and Adolescent Development. We also talked about how it may be a good idea to get your gen ed (general education) units out of the way through a junior college before transferring to a four-year university; it's the same education, just more or less expensive depending on where you go.

Questions for the drive home and dinner table:
-What did you learn at the Keith Hawkins assembly?
-How did your book club meeting go on Friday? What did you like about the conversation and process?
-How does the point of view of a story affect it? How would "The Three Little Pigs" be different if the big, bad wolf told the story?

Warmest wishes,

Kevin Laffin

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