Kriss Kross!

Woo! I made a crossword puzzle! There are a number of sites out there to use, like this one and this one. Not quite sure I’ve found a favorite yet. Some interfaces are better than others, but those others have a prettier end product. Hmm. Jury’s still out on that one.

This crossword is for grammar drills – the perfect active system of Latin verbs. Perfect, pluperfect and future perfect. Correlates with Wheelock chapter 12. Enjoy!

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Thou shalt repopulate this passage with more verbose vocabulary!

Oh, we had some fun with this activity.

To discuss word choice (particularly words of Latinate vs Germanic origins), we used the wonderful Joseph Decreux meme. This meme takes rap lyrics or other well-known quotes, and “translates” them into archaic language. Often with hilarious results.

After having a good laugh looking at some hilarious (yet school appropriate) memes, the students got their chance. Again keeping with the Hemingway theme that drove the course, I gave them an excerpt from the Simple Wikipedia entry on Hemingway. They then “translated” sections, with hilarious results.

BEHOLD!

Before: At home in Oak Park, Ernest wrote for his school newspaper.

After: In thine place of eating, resting and bladder drainage, he inked for the scholastic scroll.

Before: At home in Oak Park, Ernest wrote for his school newspaper. He tried to write like a famous sports writer, Ring Lardner, and he made his writing skills better.

After: In the vicinity of household near Oak Park, Ernest inscribed for his schoolhouse biweekly.  He attempted at composing approximative to noble frolic wordsmiths, such as Ray Lardner, and in result of that improved his wordsmith trade for the worthier.

Before: In 1917, Ernest found a job with the Kansas City Star newspaper in Kansas City, Missouri.

After: In the year 1917, the Kansas City Star newspaper, abiding in Kansas City, abiding in Missouri, supplied Ernest with employment.

Before: One reporter said: “Hemingway liked to be where the action was.”

After: A single reporter aforementioned, “Hemingway enjoyed to exist approximal to the location of heated activity.”

The best part about this activity is how much Hemingway himself probably would have hated it. Teehee…

Movie clip as text for analytical writing

In a writing class this summer, my 8-9 graders took a crack at writing about film. No easy task. Since they’ve been reading Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms, we took a clip from the 1957 film to analyze and write a thesis on. Before watching, we gave them a glossary of film terms (stolen from Wikipedia, of course) and looked at some examples of story boards. Hitchcock has some good ones.

Step one: Watch the clip with a critical eye. To make sure the kids watched it looking for small details, we had them create a story board for the clip, one sketch for each shot. Our kids are lil’ perfectionists, so this step took a bit.

Step two: Discussion. We asked them what filmic elements stood out the most. Maybe it was Henry’s hand slamming down on the sugar cubes he had lined up. Maybe it was the dramatic music. Maybe it was the warm colors of the bar compared with the cool colors of the hospital. Lots of options there.

Step three: Thesis statement. This has really been the focus of this summer class: writing good thesis statements. And these kids pulled through. Although new to film analysis, they produced some good analytical thesis statements that could eventually be developed into decent essays. So proud.

Student examples after the jump.

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All hail the almighty quote burger!

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An oldie but a goodie. Using a burger as a symbol for how to effectively integrate a direct quote in an essay, we discussed today how to:

  1. give context to a quote (top bun),
  2. quote the original work (burger patty),
  3. cite correctly (bacon, because it ain’t worth nuttin without the bacon!),
  4. and relate the quote back to the topic sentence of the paragraph and thesis statement of the paper (bottom bun, without which the whole thing falls apart).

I stole a thesis statement from SparkNotes, and paired it with a quote from Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms (which they recently read), and we put the two together as a class.

It took some prodding but we got a nice end product:

Initially a means of alleviating the pain of war and private grief, their affair continues to serve the very practical purpose of masking life’s difficulties. As Henry and Catherine are in the Milan hospital, they discuss past relationships. Henry lies about it, but Catherine doesn’t mind. She says, “It’s all right. Keep right on lying to me. That’s what I want you to do. Were they pretty?” (91). She lets him lie to her in order to suppress memories of her late fiance and potentially harmful knowledge of her present lover.

Not perfect, but not bad for rising 8th and 9th graders, eh?