Series: White People Homework (22) ‘Canon’ Fodder

Districts and English departments are scrambling for “diverse” books–while some of us have been doing this work, time to continue and support.

Creating Genres

Who names the genres? How are genres created? Are we allowed to make new ones? The answers are we do, all different ways, and absolutely yes! My husband shared this article with me. Forever interested in genres, it sparked my thinking about the genesis of genres: The Hottest New Literary Genre Is ‘Doomer Lit’ (Stories about climate disaster have entertained us for years. Now, they’re getting more unforgiving and dire.)* *there is a mention of 4 **** in the article which is dipped in clickbait sauce, and is a shame, because the rest of the article is excellent. Invent your…

Summer Series of Saves: Genre

My sweet friend posts the cutest things on social media (in contrast to my doom-and-gloom handwringing posts). This is such a great idea of how to explain genre to students–yes, the lyrics are a little spicey but rest assured I always get parent permission for my 8th-grade students. This would be such a fun engaging activity: give student groups songs and randomize styles of music. Play examples of different musical genres and have students identify key characteristics. I’m curious as to what some of your favorite genres might be, too: [socialpoll id=”2512344″]  

Saving Summer: More Good Things

Literary Analysis, Themes, and Essay Writing, Oh my!! How did I not know about this? (probably because of PG-13 language: I’ll get permission slips, promise!) ThugNotes is narrated by Sparky Sweets, Ph.D., and yes there is some language, but the plot summaries and analysis are epic. For a secondary audience, this modern version of CliffsNotes is helpful and entertaining. Since I’m teaching a unit on Lord of the Flies next year I am thankful for his analysis and insight. Next: thinking about essays and writing structures differently: An Essay Primer for Adults: Six Essay Types You Should Know by Lorraine Berry…

Saving Summer: Graphically speaking.

  Back in April, my buddy Sharon and I went to the local National Consortium for Teaching About Asia weekend workshop, “Graphic Novels and Cultural Authenticity” class about graphic novels, and the Freeman Choice book award winner came to speak, too. It was a wonderful day, with some of my favorite people. All of the books except for Teaching Graphic Novels by Katie Monnin were included in the small admission price. I HAD to buy the Katie Monnin book after I saw the visual graphic organizer (see image) turn my head around about teaching theme. The books: Are You An…

Absolutely True Attempt at Journey of the Hero

Ah, the never-ending struggle, challenge, and balance with what has proven to work with what’s new. Teaching Joseph Campbell’s Journey of the Hero structural pattern works — it works because students understand truly what plot is, they can apply it to multiple mediums, stories, and their own lives, and wait…no more needs to be said. They can apply it to their own lives. Having to let go of my curriculum baby — you know that baby–the one you work on for months, craft, shape, support with standards and engaging lessons, scope-it, and sequence-it and tie it all up with a bow, and…

Series: Elements of Structure Part 9: Parody & Satire

I think I would cease to function if I didn’t have my sense of humor. Everyone thinks they have a sense of humor, but… Humor is one of the most difficult mediums to write. One way to allow students to access their natural silliness is to introduce them to parody and satire. Parody: intended to spoof by using humor based on an existing piece/genre Satire: intended to criticize something or someone, often with humor, but not necessarily. Is Monty Python Satire? (Click for a PDF) Malcolm Gladwell’s podcast, Revisionist History (did I list that one, too!?) did a show on satire. The…

Genre Lessons

 Yes, a wall of books. It took most students’ breath away, and teachers, too, who peeked in my room. I was inspired to try this real-life sorting activity and authentic book-talks because of pragmatic realities: having moved classrooms nearly every single year, I had had enough of putting books back on shelves by myself, never to have them handled again by students. So they were left in their boxes (we had school on August 30th and 31st) until that Friday afternoon, when I put boxes on every table, and then had students dump them out. The sorting process started with…

Game on.

Great conversation the other day: student in my “struggling” reading comprehension group reminded me once again that many kids aren’t necessarily “bad” readers, but not motivatedto read. We had a few moments just to talk about what we were reading, a topic at hand, a bird-walk, so to speak, and he and I discussed a high-level, critical analysis about: games. We talked about the genres and analyzed the varying classification of the wide variety of video/computer games. (The student sent me this link, by the way: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Video_game_genres) Recently, I had a conversation with my husband about this very same topic,…