Saturday, July 24, 2010

It deepens like a coastal shelf

Well I certainly have been Little Miss Slack Blogger lately. Work is hectic. If I'm not preparing classes I am teaching them. The good times continue though. My cohort of students are absolutely delightful. We have worked our way through simple, compound and complex sentences and are now looking at the various forms of top-level structure paragraphs which is fun. They have been writing thesis-illustration and cause-effect paragraphs for me which I am about to read before next week. The spelling tests continue daily (although I did give them one lesson off last week). One of my students has taken up Scrabble as a means of improving his spelling and vocabulary much to the delight of his wife - and me. I mean really, that is fantastic. And we have had some wonderfully interesting class discussions about community, values, morals, ethics - general topics which led us into the topics they have to write about for their first assignment - volunteering and fathers after divorce. That second topic has the potential to be a little fiery but I was so pleased with the mature way they handled the discussion. We had all points of view - from divorced fathers and mothers, as well of children of divorce which made for a really rounded discussion. We have also begun looking at notetaking strategies which they took to really quickly. Next week we begin paraphrasing and referencing (Harvard). In between all of this I have made room for some poems. The first one was by Philip Larkin:

This Be The Verse

They fuck you up, your mum and dad.
They may not mean to, but they do.
They fill you with the faults they had
And add some extra, just for you.

But they were fucked up in their turn
By fools in old-style hats and coats,
Who half the time were soppy-stern
And half at one another's throats.

Man hands on misery to man.
It deepens like a coastal shelf.
Get out as early as you can,
And don't have any kids yourself.

It really was a great way of generating a discussion about changes in family structures. The second one I used as a prompt for their weekly reflection which takes place in the last part of of their last lesson for the week.

The Road Not Taken

TWO roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

It was a beautiful way to end a busy week of writing, writing, writing. Next week I plan to choose some song lyrics I think.


2paw said...

I love both those poems!! Your students are very lucky to have you for their teacher!!

Wendy said...

thank you! what a lovely thing to say

Anonymous said...

they certainly are blessed to have you !! Great poem to inspire a discussion !! the second one is great as well.

Wendy said...

what a nice comment! Thank you!