Monday, June 15, 2015

Our Denouement! (With a Little Help from Vocabulary, Alphonsis Demorkfeed, and a Sandcastle)

This has been an incredible year! I have loved reading with you, writing with you, making music with you, acting out scenes with you, laughing with you, learning with you, growing with you.

It has truly been sublime.

And now...our DENOUEMENT!

This week, we'll dive into a highly creative (and somewhat crazy) endeavor with words: to write the narrative of Alphonsis Demorkfeed using every single one of our words-of-the-day. Want to see just how crazy this project is? Take a look at the link for a copy of the mission. (You'll get a green one is class, too!).

Our Crazy Mission about Alphonsis Demorkfeed and VOCABULARY!

And before I sign off, here is the photo of our gargantuan SANDCASTLE from our field trip to Crane Beach this past Friday. The central tower was almost six feet tall!

Monday, June 8, 2015

The Jackets We Wear

Today, we explored a powerful short story by Todd Strasser called, "On the Bridge." In it, we meet two protagonists named Adam and Seth who are both grappling with their identities--trying to figure out who they are, and who they want to be.

By the end of the story, we see that Seth's jacket has come to symbolize the "self" he was trying on--and it no longer fits! He wants to be more than just another "tough guy." Now, he wants to be real with himself. So, he throws the jacket into the trash.

I appreciated hearing your ideas and comments about the story, and the writing you did afterwards.

Now that we've had time to digest some of the story's themes and symbolism, share your ideas about this question: in middle school, do you think most people wear "jackets" that don't fit? Do you think most people are trying on different personalities and trying to figure out who they are--just like Seth? Why or why not?

Our word of the day today is SUBLIME, which means, inspiring awe; great; noble.

Friday, June 5, 2015

What We Hide...And Why

Wecome to the library today! Our anthology is almost complete, with special thanks to seven copy editors who stayed after school yesterday to help out. And today, we'll dive into a powerful (and deeply ironic) short story called, "Charles," by author Shirley Jackson.

First, read the story at this link.

Once you've had a chance to read the story and consider what is happening with this kindergarten student, open up a Google Document (or a Word Document if you prefer) and try your own hand at creating a brief story that utilizes a little bit of irony.

Remember that IRONY is when certain characters in a story are unaware or the reality of situations. Irony also occurs in a narrative when the reader (you! me!) knows more than the characters within the story, so that we hear about these characters and we want to shout that there is something they are missing!

Your own story can be brief. It can even be a VIGNETTE, which is a short-short story (sometimes only a paragraph long) that still has characters, a plot, and a setting.

Think about Jackson's story, and then try your hand at creating a piece that also shows the reader characters who do not know something very important--while we do!

Share your story with Mr. Reynolds via Google's "share" button before you leave the library, or send the Word Document as an e-mail attachment: LREYNOLDS@PSHARVARD.ORG.

Enjoy the story, and I am looking forward to reading YOURS!


Mr. R

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Of Seminars and Subtitles...

This week, we are continuing our exploration of the hero's journey--what it entails, and how protagonists deal with failure, rejection, and fear along the way.

Yesterday, after finishing our screening of the film Rudy, we had Socratic Seminar in which we explored what bravery looks like, whether it is something different for everything, and which our of characters from the year displayed bravery. Among the many great ideas I heard, I very much appreciated how you found that bravery can be either large or small--and it can be seen by others or completely unseen, under the surface. You also noted that bravery and heroism are relative--depending on what protagonists struggle with and against.

Today, we are working in groups to brainstorm and narrow down our choice for the title and subtitle of our class anthology, as well as discuss what title pages, front matter, and back matter are in a book.

Our word of the day yesterday was AUSPICIOUS, our word of the day from two days ago was INVOKE, and our word of the day for today is CHURLISH. I love hearing your sentences and stories using our words!


Mr. R