Sunday, February 28, 2016

Year 8 and Indiana Jones

It's amazing how quickly the term goes - and this one is short! Only three weeks to go and we have Labour Day Monday week and Easter the week after, followed by the school holidays.

I've taught the film UP! as a film text a number of times, so as I now have the option of doing one of the Indiana Jones films instead, I decided to go for that. I have chosen Last Crusade because it has a bit more meat for class discussion than the other two. And it's such fun! You find out Indy's real name. You see his hat come floating back up the cliff he has fallen down, while he waits for it. You find out how he got his hat, his whip and how he became scared of snakes. Unfortunately, some of the in jokes will go over the heads of kids who haven't seen these films before. But there's plenty to enjoy, and you get to meet his father, who is a delight!

One of my students this year is a sort of male Hermione Granger, whose hand always shoots up and who is usually correct. I have some other good students, but they are so quiet! I can't get them talking unless I ask them and then they will reply in a soft, timid voice. I can't work out, yet, how to encourage them to talk - and it's really such a small class that I have to get people to participate.

And then there are a couple of difficult students. One of them is a young man who suffers from ADHD. He was in my literacy class early last year, before being promoted to a higher group, and livened it up no end. But in English, it is hard to get him to focus for more than a few minutes. And when he does, he will write about three lines and delete them before I can read what he's written. Or he'll just refuse to let me read his work.

Other times, he surprises me pleasantly, such as today, when I was talking about one's personal Holy Grail and mentioned Heinrich Schliemann and his discovery of Troy. "Wasn't that Homer?" he asked. He was listening in last year's history classes(as I knew from having covered that class once when he was arguing with two other boys about the relationship between Zeus, Hades and Poseidon - and getting it right) I explained that yes, Homer did write about Troy, but nobody took him seriously until Schliemann followed his own Holy Grail and found it.

Then he said something silly about Homer Simpson, no doubt to show off to his two equally difficult friends. Heaven forbid they should find out he knew something!

I have to prepare special, focused tasks for him and not let him type them till he's hand written them, so that he can't delete them. He might still tear them up - must avoid that somehow!

We're going to start on character dolls on Thursday afternoon, after a discussion of the characters themselves. I find character dolls are a good way to keep the kids focused on the characters and what sort of people they are, then you can put them up on the classroom wall.

I still haven't had a chance to make my class do some writing, apart from the initial blog post designed to find out what they know - next week?

I haven't yet talked to the class about the Hero's Journey, something I'd like to do before they start the assignment. Will I ever get the chance?

So much to do and so little time!

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