I am hoping to go to the Nelson Atkins Museum with my brother and sister-in-law later today; he is the true artist in the family and both of them are quite knowledgeable about the subject. I, on the other hand, know precious little except for the recent research into Impressionism, so I am hoping that this will be an educational as well enjoyable outing.
This week marked the last week of school, with next week culminating the academic year with final exams. This was a very hectic and emotional week for me, hence the lack of posts on the blog. For those who are interested....here are the two highlights of the week.
Each year I do a rather cheesy, but heartfelt presentation in my British Literature class. Most of them are seniors and will be leaving the school for good, so I offer a "graduation" ceremony of sorts. At the beginning of the year students in the class write a Knightly Tale to correspond with our reading of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. Students learn that there are 10 primary characteristics of a knight, and a true knight must possess 8 out of those 10 traits. In the course of the assignments students learn that knights come in all shapes and sizes, and in reality, all of us have knightly potential within us.
The ceremony is structured around this lesson. I create certificates that list the 8 traits --- one of which includes "a knight must have a peerless weapon" - and I give each student a metallic silver #2 pencil with the words "peerless weapon" imprinted on the side. I tell them this is to help them achieve all future academic goals. I think try to bestow one "admirable trait" for each student -- that is, one characteristic that I feel is unique to them and what makes them special. In the background I have a variety of songs playing that incorporate the theme of "moving on" in life:
- My Wish by Rascal Flatts
- I Hope You Dance by LeeAnn Womack
- Good Riddance by Green Day
- Fix You by Coldplay (my all time favorite song)
- 100 Years by Five for Fighting
- Sound of Silence by Simon and Garfunkel
- Defying Gravity from the original cast of Wicked
- Graduation Song by Vitamin C
|Puck and Oberon|
|Fairy and Titania|
The truly wonderful benefit of the plan was not the lavish production, but the fact that these 8th grade students have NO FEAR of Shakespeare. They LOVE the Bard. Some even want to read more of his plays over the summer. I have goosebumps just thinking about that possibility. So for those of you who teach --- let me just say that the only way to teach Shakespeare is to require the students to get out of their seats, get outside of themselves, and to act it out. What a marvelous opportunity!
|Demetrius, Hermia, Lysander, and Helena|
|The Mechanicals: Quince, Bottom and Flute|