Move heaven and earth…

What feeds your soul? If I didn’t know about The Odyssey…or ancient storytelling, what would my relationship with incredible texts be with N.K. Jemison, Junot Diaz, Adrianne Huron, Neil Gaiman, Naomi Alderman, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Colson Whitehead…and on and on. Writers from a variety of backgrounds, ethnicities, and experiences, all weaving grand stories…if I didn’t have exposure to canon, would the texts and discussions be as rich? The Battle of the Canon by Amber Counts from Three Teachers Talk created a little bristle in me at first, but then reading further I understand her opinion. Student choice is valuable. My students regularly…

Read the book, dummy.

  //ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=US&source=ac&ref=tf_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=mrsk06-20&marketplace=amazon&region=US&placement=0325050805&asins=0325050805&linkId=d12e1b280c1386c7821e7588c08506cf&show_border=true&link_opens_in_new_window=true&price_color=333333&title_color=0066c0&bg_color=ffffff Noticed: I belong to the Notice & Note Facebook group, and it’s marvelous. Teachers helping other teachers, all grade levels (but predominately K-8), finding books, helping with lessons/units, etc. The big focus is on Kylene Beer’s and Robert Probst’s new book, Reading Nonfiction: Notice and Note Stances, Signposts, and Strategies. I haven’t had a chance to read it yet, and therefore embarrassed myself a bit by one of my questions in a post. A teacher named Lisa Roth put together this PowerPoint intended to share with staff. (I hope she doesn’t mind if I link it here: if yes,…

Myth of the Month Club: Krampus

Krampus is the dark companion of St. Nicholas, the traditional European winter gift-bringer who rewards good children each year on December 6. The kindly old Saint leaves the task of punishing bad children to a hell-bound counterpart known by many names across the continent — Knecht Ruprecht, Certa, Perchten, Black Peter, Schmutzli, Pelznickel, Klaubauf, and Krampus. Usually seen as a classic devil with horns, cloven hooves and monstrous tongue, but can also be spotted as a sinister gentleman dressed in black, or a hairy man-beast. Krampus punishes the naughty children, swatting them with switches and rusty chains before dragging them, in…

Interview with an immortal.

What would Zeus do? Those are the questions you’re asking as you analyze a character. There are many ways to analyze a character.    Ask yourself: What do you look like? What is your day like? What is your status in the world? What relationships do you have? What symbols or tools would represent you? Do you have any special gifts or training? What is one story that defines who you are? If you could be someone else, who would it be? What is one thing you regret? What is one thing you are most proud of?   Once you…

Troublemaker.

Hear the sound of those girl’s tears? Oh, poor baby. She has gained a few pounds and her best friend is cheating on her with her boyfriend. How do I know? I am Eris, the original ‘mean girl!’I’m the one who slipped the note in her backpack letting her know about the cheater, and who shrunk her pants so she would think she was gaining weight. Well, who did she think she was, anyway, trying to be friendly and cute to everyone around her, being kind hearted, patient, and sweet? Blech! Makes me want to barf! That syrupy-sweet act doesn’t…

Pushing that boulder…

Anytime you hear the term, Sisyphean Task, we have the old sinner, Sisyphus to thank: From: http://www.mythweb.com/encyc/entries/sisyphus.html Sinner condemned in Tartarus to an eternity of rolling a boulder uphill then watching it roll back down again. Sisyphus was founder and king of Corinth, or Ephyra as it was called in those days. He was notorious as the most cunning knave on earth. His greatest triumph came at the end of his life, when the god Hades came to claim him personally for the kingdom of the dead. Hades had brought along a pair of handcuffs, a comparative novelty, and Sisyphus…

Mighty Myth Month: Trees.

No, this isn’t about the 1976 Rush song. It’s about trees. In Norse mythology, Yggdrasil is the tree that represents all levels of above, middle, and below for mankind: In Norse mythology, the World Tree called Yggdrasill runs like a pole through this world and the realms above and below it. Yggdrasill is a great ash tree that connects all living things and all phases of existence. Trees represent life, growth, and perhaps greatest of all: potential. Trees symbolize strength, honor, as well as other less-attractive human qualities such as jealousy, greed, and death: Trees—or the fruit they bore—also came…

Mighty Myth Month: What's in the box, Dora?

http://mikerbaker.com/knack/wp-content/uploads/2007/10/pandora_tn2.jpg Pandora’s “box” is a modern invention going back only as far as Erasmus. According to Hesiod, the evils of all men were shut up in a storage jar (pithos) buried in the ground. This is connected by some with the Athenian festival of pithoigia, – when the great vats (pithoi) of new wine were opened. Perhaps that’s really where all mankind’s troubles spring from! [from wine, not Pandora] She, as the first woman, created after man, is sometimes compared to Eve in Hebrew myth. Pandora was originally a title of the goddess Rhea (the name means all gifts) –…

Mighty Myth Month: Girl in the Hood.

We all have to venture out into the world from time to time. For most of us, that’s everyday. We’re moving, walking driving, going, running, catching, all going to or coming from some PLACE. Unless we’re suffering from agoraphobia, we go outside. However, most of us don’t walk through dark woods to get there. Most of us are in a car or a bus. We usually don’t have baskets of goodies. And we’re not visiting sick grandmas. But most of us want to get where we’re going alive. And the world is still a dangerous place. This cautionary tale of…