…the edge of the great forest

This all happened a long time ago, in your grandmother’s time, or in her grandfather’s. A long time ago. Back then, we all lived on the edge of the great forest. Hansel and Gretel, Neil Gaiman For the first time in two years, I feel like I am finally back to my authentic self as a teacher, and am cautiously celebrating how wonderful this feels. Over two years ago, we (the PLC I was in at the time) used the text of Hansel & Gretel to do mood/tone, along with Stopping by Woods on A Snowy Evening by Robert Frost…

1 of 3: Write: author’s advice

Neil Gaiman spoke at Benaroya Hall on Sunday, November 18–my dear friend Wendy bought us tickets, treated me to dinner, and a lovely book. I can’t say I haven’t been spoiled like that in ages because my sweet friend Sharon put up with my rantings and insanity of two very bad, dark and confusing years. Going out on a Sunday night in late fall is hazardous for a teacher, especially this teacher who is prone to insomnia and falls blissfully to sleep but wakes early in the wee hours. This is my third time hearing Gaiman speak, and he did…

Chivalry isn't dead.

Here is my attempt to help students using the Notice and Note strategies for one of my favorite short stories, ‘Chivalry‘ by Neil Gaiman.   Or: Wait, you know what? I think you might enjoy doing this yourself. I don’t want to spoil the story for you. I believe there is an example of every signpost in this story. Read it out loud to your students in your best English accent (if you don’t have one already). Enjoy. This book of short stories is well worth it: //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=0061450162&asins=0061450162&linkId=294d0b937f0eedcb5fb1277dff77d0ea&show_border=true&link_opens_in_new_window=true&price_color=333333&title_color=1b1f24&bg_color=dfe6f0

WIHWT: Where can I get one of those?

“This,” said Galaad, “is the sword of Balmung, forged by Wayland Smith in the dawn times. Its twin is Flamberge. Who wears it is unconquerable in war, and invincible in battle. Who wears it is incapable of a cowardly act or an ignoble one. Set in its pommel is the sardonyx Bircone, which protects its possessor from poison slipped in wine or ale, and from the treachery of friends.” “Chivalry” by Neil Gaiman

Writers Reading Writing Week.

No, I do not have hero-worship of Neil Gaiman. (Liar.) Ever have one of those units of study that just globs along in the back of your mind? Well, after reading aloud this week* this thought inspired me: Why not create a mini-unit of writers reading their reading? I am constantly stressing to my students that writing is talking: and they can all do that. We are just beginning to really dig into the writer’s workshop protocols. I was asked two days’ ago what “writer’s workshop” model I use – I didn’t have a prescribed answer. I use the one…

WIHWT: the beginning of The Graveyard Book

There was a hand in the darkness, and it held a knife. The knife had a handle of polished black bone, and a blade finer and sharper than any razor. If it sliced you, you might not even know you had been cut, not immediately. The knife had done almost everything it was brought to that house to do, and both the blade and the handle were wet. The Graveyard Book  by Neil Gaiman Copyright 2008

Mighty Myth Month: Instructions.

 Look for the video on our Moodle Pages. Instructions By Neil Gaiman Touch the wooden gate in the wall you never saw before. Say “please” before you open the latch, go through, walk down the path. A red metal imp hangs from the green-painted front door, as a knocker, do not touch it; it will bite your fingers. Walk through the house. Take nothing. Eat nothing. However, if any creature tells you that it hungers, feed it. If it tells you that it is dirty, clean it. If it cries to you that it hurts, if you can, ease its…

Mighty Myth Month: Eeek! A spider!

Here’s looking at you, Anansi! Anansi, you old trickster! From the West African area, the Ashanti tribe originated the tales of the most famous spider-god of all, Anansi. Similar to the Coyote in Native American/Central American tales, Anansi is a trickster, a clever fellow who usually gets the best of his foes. (Usually, but not always.) Anansi by Micha F. Lindemans The Ashanti trickster/culture hero, also called ‘the Spider’. He is the intermediary of the sky god Nyame, his father, on whose command Anansi brings rain to quench the forest fires and determines the borders of oceans and rivers during…