Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Year End Poetry

Grade 7 students will spend the last several weeks reading, writing, memorizing, and reciting poetry.
First up: memory and recitation. The New York Times promoted the benefits of memorizing poems in a 2009 essay.
The students will choose from a list of poems that are 25 lines or fewer, and memorize one to recite in class.
You may wish to review this site which has tips for how to memorize a poem.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Mark Twain Camp Haunted?!

The grade 7 ELA students have been researching the Mark Twain Camp, and it seems as if it's one of the few landmarks related to the author that isn't haunted (see here and here).
The Mark Twain camp in Saranac Lake shouldn't be left out when it comes to spookiness. Therefore, after doing some research, the students will work on the following assignment:

Write a short piece of creative fiction in which you tell a story about the haunted Mark Twain Camp on Lower Saranac Lake. In your story (2 pages, handwritten neatly or typed) be sure to include the following:

  • a clear beginning, middle and end

  • details from your research

  • dialogue

You may want to, for example, tell the story of a family who rents the camp, and discovers it to be haunted. Or, perhaps you'll tell the story of a paranormal investigation team that comes to investigate the camp.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Mark Twain Camp

The Historic Saranac Lake Wiki is a great source of information to learn about the Mark Twain/Saranac Lake connection.

We'll be using this site to research details to add to a creative piece

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Twain Time

Our ELA class is continuing a study of the author Mark Twain. After reading excerpts from Susy Clemen's biography of her father, we've moved on to look at the story that put Twain on the literary map, "The Celebrated Jumping frog of Calaveras County."

By the way, while I was a college student at SUNY Potsdam, I took a course from Dr. Laura Skandera-Trombley, who went on to become the pre-eminent Twain scholar working today. I sure wish I had paid more attention in her class!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Water for Elephants by Sarah Gruen

Ms. Deangelo sent me the following review of Sarah Gruen's Water for Elephants:

Water for Elephants is told by the main character Jacob when he is in his nineties and his twenties. His life changes dramatically and he ends up joining the Benezini Brother’s Circus during the depression. I really enjoyed the parts of the story where Jacob is older and trying to get the nurses to treat him and the other residents of a nursing home as respected individuals, he is cranky and opinionated and he made me laugh.
The author makes the circus descriptions vivid and at times raw and direct. It is a well researched book that you get involved with the characters and want to just keep reading. There are some characters who are very violent to both animals and humans alike, and some readers may find this disturbing.
While I enjoyed the movie, I liked the book more although the book is more graphic. The level of detail is what made Jacob’s experience more realistic and honest. The movie includes very little of Jacob’s older self and that was part of the book I enjoyed...but it may not have worked as well on screen.

Thanks, Ms. DeAngelo, for being a great reading role model!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Mark Twain: Author Study

We are moving into what will be the final two units of study in grade 7 (hard to believe!) and the first will be based on the author Mark Twain.
Most people know Mark Twain by his novel The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, but less well known is his connection to Saranac Lake. Peter Crowley wrote about it last year in the Adirondack Daily Enterprise.
Over the next several weeks, we'll read Twain's work, view examples of his stories that have been portrayed in films, and hopefully arrange for a guest speaker to visit and discuss the time that Twain spent vacationing on Lower Saranac Lake.
I have been reading and enjoying Autobiography of Mark Twain, which was published last November and spent several months near the top of the New York Times Best Seller List.