Thursday, July 23, 2009

Priceless (Journal 3)

No matter the class level, nothing thrills a teacher more than when a student gets a tough question correct. To help my Steppingstone students, who are incoming 9th graders, interpret a text, I've been using AP questions for Cry, the Beloved Country.
For the most part, my students this summer are struggling with the idea that everything is a potential symbol. "All roads lead to Johannesburg," Paton writes. Why do we use roads? To drive on. What's another way to describe a road trip? Yes, a journey. So, what might the "road" mean for Kumalo? Um, no. Ahh, not really.
It has gone this way for the past week. I'll suggest a possible symbol or reference to the theme, and their blank faces will look at the table. A fun game, but at some point all of this modelling has to pay off. Two students combined to finally "get" a major symbol. Beautiful.
Pateon writes, "Jarvis watched the ploughing with a gloomy eye. The hot afternoon sun of October poured down on the fields, and there was no cloud in the sky. Rain, rain, there was no rain. The clods turned up hard and unbroken..."(162). The Do Now question asked them to use the adjectives to describe tone, and then to suggest a possible symbol.
One young scholar suggested that the tone felt hopeless. YES. The other scholar suggested that the rain represented hope because they really wanted it to rain. YES. A question from me: What about the drought--it can't just be a dry season? Jarvis feels dead, one asked. Close enough. Yes, Jarvis, like Kumalo, will go on a journey. In part, Jarvis's spirit is dead and he needs the rain, the hope.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home