Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Your Own Definition of Heroism!

Today in class, we crafted thesis statements that reveal our stance about the similarities and differences between the novel Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry and its respective film version. We had a thesis statement on the board and we revised it from an average to a stellar thesis statement, by making sure that it:

1) Is specific!

2) Holds an opinion or presents a case with which another reader can argue! (remember, a thesis statement is not just a re-statement of facts, but a fresh, original, NEW idea that needs support and evidence--film clip of A Few Good Men from September!)

3) References the title and author to which we are referring!

4) Creates a map for the essay!

Then, you each crafted your own thesis statements with these qualities in mind.

Afterwards, we acted out the start of Chapter 12--the final chapter--of our novel.

For tonight, be sure to finishing reading Chapter 12. Tomorrow, we will explore what it means to be heroic. We will think about characters from ROTHMC and also from our other reading and conversation this year.

Here is the guide we'll be using as we work to create our very own definitions of what it means to be heroic. 

I am excited!


Mr. R

Monday, May 25, 2015

What Does It Mean to be Heroic?

On Friday, we explored the similarities and differences between Mildred D. Taylor's novel and selected scenes from the 1978 film version of ROLL OF THUNDER, HEAR MY CRY.

We eloped tiny details and big plots points, conflating characters and characteristics. You all did a great job sharing your observations, and this week we'll craft thesis statements and also consider the essential question: WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE HEROIC?

As we finish the novel by Tuesday (we'll act out the start of Chapter 12 in class tomorrow), we wil begin to explore what heroism really is. Does being a hero always mean lack of fear? Does it necessitate success?

Can failure be heroic?

Can insignificance be heroic?

Can humor and hope and happiness be heroic?

We will talk about the poignant characters from the novel, Papa's remarkable act of heroism, and more this week. And we will explore one of Mr. Reynolds's all-tome favorite heroes. Ever.

Revisions are coming back to you, one by one, on your Google Documents for your anthology contribution. Keep an eye on your e-mail and you'll see my comments within your piece when you get an e-mail notifying you about it.

Excited to see you all soon!


Mr. Reynolds

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

If Uncle Hammer Came to Bromfield...

I really enjoyed our class today as we began to work on creating scripts around characters from Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry. We brainstormed all of the characters we could recollect from the novel thus far, and then began to reflect on their traits and actions.

Here (link!) is the screenplay / script project that we began today. We are focusing on one of the characters to imagine how their attributes, personality, and moral reasoning would fit if that character spent a day here at our school. What kinds of interactions would the character have? Would they agree with the cultural and moral values they find here? Why or why not? How would your character respond to certain ideas about success, perseverance, and friendship?

Be sure to also read through Chapter 8 in Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry. Tomorrow in class, we will discuss the riveting scene towards the end of chapter 8, as well as continue to craft our scripts.

Our word of the day was VEHEMENT (adjective, which means showing great force or emotion).

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Your Life as a Novel?

Today, we explored how Midlred D. Taylor's biography shapes her writing in Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry. We discussed how authors use their own life experiences, their ideas, and their relationships to help them craft novels. Fiction indeed can come from fact!

You also tried your hands at writing the opening scene of your own life, were it to become a novel. You wrote with great focus and I loved seeing the questions you asked, the themes you explored, and the ways you tried to re-imagine your life as a novel.

Tonight, be sure to review our vocabulary words for our quiz tomorrow: SUFFRAGE, REGISTRAR, INERTIA, TEMERITY, and DISCOURSE. And our extra word: ALOOF!

Also, we are reading up through the end of Chapter 7 in Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry.

Have an awesome evening! I loved hanging out and talking about writing, tone, and life with you all today!


Mr. R

PS--And here is our board from today in case you need the notes on how authors use their lives in their fiction--especially in opening scenes!

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

All Kinds of Courage

Today, we took a "Gallery Walk" through the voting rights posters we crafted in class yesterday. To protest the literacy tests many states gave during the early and mid 20th century, we talked about how activists rose up to defend voting rights for ALL people.

And I loved hearing the connections you all made to Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry.

After our Gallery Walk, we watched a short clip about the Freedom Riders, and how their impact arose from a bold, brave decision to show the kinds of discrimination and injustice experienced by so many people who didn't identify as "white."

Then, we read aloud, in pairs, an article about practices at the Denny's restaurant franchises throughout the 1970's, 80's, and 90's. You all offered insightful comments about the lawsuits and the documentation we explored.

Tonight, be sure to read through the end of Chapter 6 in our novel, and tomorrow's we'll look closely at Mama's talk with Cassie about injustice. 

Our word for the day today was TEMERITY, which means "reckless boldness," and our word for the day from yesterday was INERTIA, which means "the property of remaining exactly where one / an object is, unless acted upon by an external force."

our WODs from last week were SUFFRAGE (the right to vote) and REGISTRAR (one who keeps records, like a registrar of voters). 

Have a wonderful evening.