…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…

Saving Summer: Rethinking Themes, Essays, and Media

I’m about to do a dangerous thing: post a document long before it’s “ready.” It is not even close, and I think–that’s where it should be. A finished document would mean there is no room for growth or adaptation; it’s a sketch. Flipping my thinking around about the silo type of units, students would be better served if we took a gravitational, or centrifugal force idea. While we’re spinning, we stay connected and use metacognition to be cognizant of what draws us in. Choices are key, here, with a map for guidance. In essence, every UBD and essential questions demand…

Stitching themes.

As a follow-up to “How To Teach A Novel,” a treatise on theme. I contend that all the close reading strategies in the world only serve to engage us in the bigger conversation, the “grand conversation’ as my master’s mentor instructed us. (I thank you every day, Dr. Schulhauser.)  One word: Patterns. Patterns in terms of speech, actions, reactions, resolution and take-aways. What does the writer believe, what is she questioning, and what is she exploring? Did she take us with her, or leave us confused and behind?  Theme is, as most language arts concepts, deceptively simple to define, and…

Myth-of-the-Month Club: Janus

 My fellow bloggers out there in the technosphere have taken up the challenge to write a post-a-day on their blogs for the month of January. (“I can do that!” Mrs. L thought to herself.) So what if there’s laundry to do, meals to prepare, and holiday decorations to take down? I can do this! Or can I? And like any good resolution, which is also part of the “resolve” word family (resolution, resolve, resolute) I am going to give it my best. But I needed a theme. I love themes. Those are the universal truths and connections among all cultures,…