Sunday, May 3, 2015

Ideas for THOMS Essential Questions

1) Is it possible to leave your past behind you?
2) Does the environment around you shape who you are, even if you don't want it to?
3) What good can come out of bad situations?
4) Can you really escape your background? (kind of the same as Q1)
5) How can you turn a bad situation into a good one?
6) Can too much hope be a bad thing?
7) What sets someone free?

Monday, April 27, 2015

They are the only ones who understand me. I am the only ones who understand them. They can break free from the street in which they are constrained. I hope to one day be able to break out on the concrete without forgetting that there is concrete below me. This concrete built me up to be who I am and without it the strength I have might not be there. These trees are who I hope to be with their strong roots that bring back the memories of my childhood. The branches are all the directions I will go in my life that constantly are brushing up against other things. These memories will be what I remember as I continue to grow and thrive as a product of this environment.


They are the only ones who understand me. I am the only ones who understand them. The many pages as I flip through. Each one changing as they each tell different stories. The words mesh together like a life that is perfectly crafted. The cover that shows something that has to do with the words inside, but not always. The endings often left up to the reader to interpret. Did they fall in love? Did she escape? Why don't they just change their minds? When no one else seems to do it for me, I can always escape to the pages that flow and fly by like raging waves in the sky.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Creative Writing Activity for On the Road - Writing an everyday activity like Kerouac

I woke up after a long sleep the night before and I wasn't sure where I was going today. I stepped into the bathroom, showered, and decided to get my wallet and jeans. My friend had just text me, "Hey you wanna go to the movies?" I never thought that something like this would require so much thought but I called my old buddy Eddy Saxton and we decided it was time to go. I had borrowed the car from my mother so it was smooth sailing from there. Eddy retired to the back seat and slept for a good ten minutes as my buddy and I talked about whatever was on our minds. Finally we made it to the theater. These were the days were Eddy decided he could pretty much do whatever he wanted so he ran right past the ticket counter. I went back to pay for our tickets. That's the thing about old Eddy Saxton, he never looked back to see if anyone was looking out for him.

Quotes from Articles for MGRP

"Why Not Teach Beat Poetry?Why should Beat poetry not be taught? Listen to the answers. It is crude and rude; it is vulgar and suggestive; it is strange and foreign to our way of life; and its proponents are immoral, illegal, but only in a few cases does the way of life seem to have been fattening. These are serious charges against a kind of literature; oddly enough, the sentences have a
familiar ring."

"Teachers cannot expect their students to think of them as intellectually living if they refuse to consider ideas as reality and condemn them along with their creators, who have not been understood. Neither can teachers hope to comprehend or influence the minds of their charges if they refuse to use the language by which those minds think and communicate. If teachers believe and understand the truths star-studding their discipline, they can negate the nihilism of Beatism in a real and positive
way."

"When the doubt of the Beat Generation is honest, it is far more real than the placid acceptance
of cultural patterns typical of many Americans. In an age of power, when the fact that man can blow New York City off the face of the map in half a second means to the Beat Generation that there is no assurance of tomorrow, there are answers in literature, and teachers are obligated to teach them"

"I wanted some adolescents to read an important but untraditional and typically unacademic book, while they were still adolescents, at the beginning of the millennium."

"I wanted to see if the experience of reading Kerouac still held the possibility of joy for US teenagers."

"By the sixth academic period, several teachers were aware that some student voices had emerged as stronger than we had ever heard them."

"By re-entering the novel and moving along with it, they pushed at or pushed away some academic boundaries - and discovered - what? They discovered something that we sense when we first learn to read along with a parent or teacher or sibling: that reading is fun and that reading is power, the power to lift words from paper and make them a part of your breath a part of your heart a part of what being human means."

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Multi-genre Research Paper Topic

Topic: Is Beat literature still relevant and teachable in high schools today?

What I Already Know:

- Beat literature came about in the early 50s and included many themes such as travel, drugs, sex, disillusionment, and the counterculture.
- Some writers included Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, William Burroughs, and Lawrence Ferlinghetti.
- This literature was taught in high schools much more in the 80s and 90s, especially Kerouac's novel On the Road.
- Many people feel that Beat literature should not be taught because of themes that are largely seen as taboo and because the writing is very different from what students are used to.
- Many students aren't exposed to the Beat movement or its literature for these same reasons.

What I Want to Learn:

I would like to learn if students actually do enjoy this kind of literature. Will they be able to relate to some of the plot points or underlying themes? I also want to learn why it has fallen out of favor in many schools today, at least in my personal experience. I want to be able to create activities that stimulate an interest in this movement and begins to broaden their scope of American literature to include counterculture. Is there a way to teach this literature that makes it relevant today and have a rational discussion about these themes?

The Origins of My Research:

I've been interested in Beat literature since I first read On the Road in sophomore year in high school and was curious about why it wasn't even thought of to be taught by my teachers. I remember becoming fairly interested in the movement itself and began to get my hands on as many Beat books and poems as I could. Even today my interest in the movement is one of the main reasons I am an English major. When I first decided to be an English teacher I was going to make it a point to teach On the Road in my classrooms.

Questions About My Topic:

1) Why is this literature somewhat pushed aside today in schools?
2) Can students find this style or the themes the texts include relevant?
3) Are there ways to tie Beat literature to pop culture?
4) Can they be related to current events?
5) Why might students find this literature boring/hard to understand?
6) Can students learn from the writing style at all?
7) Can I, as a teacher, expand my knowledge on the movement through students?
8) Are there some things that I should gloss over?
9) How can we discuss the sexual themes in an effective way?
10) How can we have a discussion about drug use in an effective way?
11) Would a possible school trip make sense in this context?
12) Why is Beat literature important to teach?

Outside Sources:

"When Do We Begin Teaching Beatnik Poetry?" F. Allen BriggsThe English Journal Vol. 49, No. 5 (May, 1960), pp. 311-315

While this topic is possibly a bit dated, it gets at a question I'm interested in - should we teach Beat literature in school. The article gets at the idea that teachers have to look realistically at the world because too often teachers are seen as not real people or only interested in a world of a long time ago. Beat literature talks about the "real world" and every day situations that people actually go through.


"Ripples in the Upside-Down Lake of the World": Running a Read-Aloud Marathon
Dave Iasevoli The English Journa lVol. 98, No. 6 (Jul., 2009), pp. 74-78

This article talks about the importance of teaching On the Road in today's day and age. This novel is different than any text most students have read because of the themes and style of writing. The article addresses a way to teach the novel and also how students get interested in it through realizing it's a man's life on the printed page.


Thursday, April 16, 2015

And Some More Poem

The snow is being discussed and opinions are formed.
There's two.
A zillion.
More or less.
The clouds are like faces that finally wake up.
Whose face?
Not my face.
Esperenza.
She's the cereal that no one likes.
But it's okay as long as she likes it.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

POV in The House on Mango Street

This book is a complete change from Maggie in terms of point of view. In Maggie we get a distant narrator who seems to see himself as being above everyone else. In The House on Mango Street we see a neighborhood image that is created by somebody who lives in it. Esperanza is a narrator who will be biased and will tell on honest story about where she lives. This text provides a closer view of Mango Street and the people surrounding it because Esperanza should have no reason to do otherwise. For example, in the section titled "The First Job" she tells about how she got her job at the photo store. The first thing she wants us to know is that it "wasn't as if she didn't want to work", it was just tough to find a job in comparison to what she thought. If this were told by from a third person narration like in Maggie we might see a different situation. The narrator might assume that she took longer than usual to find a job because she was lazy and everyone in the neighborhood was lazy. We would get a much more skewed view of her and the people she is seen with. However, it wouldn't be in terms of bias, it would be in terms of how we should view others from above instead of getting personal with the characters.