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Reader's Notebook, Part II

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Robyn F.

on 17 May 2013

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Transcript of Reader's Notebook, Part II

Reader's Notebook, Part II Chains Harry Potter
and the Sorcerer's Stone Laurie Halse Anderson Pam Muñoz Ryan When Marian Sang:
The True Recital of Marian Anderson Nancy Farmer House of the Scorpion Jacqueline Woodson Locomotion J.K. Rowling In Chapter 22, Lady Seymour wishes that she had bought Isabel and elicits the idea of “kind slaveowner” vs. “cruel slaveowner." Regardless, they are still owning people and treating human beings as slaves. This Same Sky Naomi Shihab Nye The book grapples with real issues. It does not present the "flat pancake" story that most of us learned in school (i.e. North was good, South was bad), but a much more complicated, complex, and realistic view. Morality Is morality universal or relative? A fixed entity or changing spectrum? Power Freedom Norm that remains in tact:
Those who have power retain their power. It is acceptable for the patriots to break the law in the name of freedom... ...but unacceptable for Isabel to break the law in the name of freedom. A Reading of the Declaration of Independence What causes the shift in national consciousness? What causes perceptions of morality to change? Illustrations Style and Theme Classroom
Connections Illustrator Brian Selznick uses shades of brown and gold to create captivating images that highlight the beauty of Marian's story and fight for civil rights and justice. The detailed, emotional paintings help students envision themselves in this time and place, allowing them to create more fluid connections to this real story. This non-fiction text illuminates a significant event in history and the woman behind it. More importantly, it delves into Marian Anderson's life and struggles as an African-American female prior to the Civil Rights Movement. The integration of Anderson's song lyrics throughout the book only add to the power of her voice--literally and figuratively. Students can listen to and watch videos of Marian Anderson's performances. They can read and analyze her lyrics as a form of poetry that promotes social justice and exhibits courage.
Marian's story can spark student inquiry and research into other lesser known figures in the fight for equal rights.
Important essential questions about America and discrimination will undoubtedly emerge. The book mentions how Marian was accepted in Europe but not in the USA because of her skin color; students can examine why this disparity existed and get at the deeper question: What causes racial prejudice?
Text sets would enrich the experience. Videos, poems, primary sources, photographs, and historical fiction texts would all serve to enhance students' learning. A true masterpiece highlighting poetry as an art form and as a tool for powerful self-expression Addresses serious and heavy issues in an accessible way while highlighting the beauty and force of poetry Multiculturalism at its finest! This collection of global poems speaks to children (and adults) on a multitude of levels: linguistic, emotional, academic, philosophical Poetry demonstrates the shared experiences between human beings across the globe while simultaneously celebrating their unique attributes. Although this book was classified under the fantasy genre, I think it contains more elements of science fiction and echoes classic dystopian writings. The idea of the "Keeper" was fascinating. Not everyone can become a keeper. Isn't this true in our world, too? The established structures do not allow everyone to succeed, even though that's what the American Dream purports. Duality of Characters Consequences of Illegal Immigration Marxism/Communism Political Hierarchies Essential Question:
What does it mean to be human? Classroom Connection: Students create book trailers, like the one below: The power of friendship is also an important theme throughout the book. Race and Stereotypes Muggles Mudbloods Pure-blooded wizards and witches Banned Books It's a good thing when children enjoy books, isn't it? Most of us think so. But like many children's books these days, the Harry Potter series has recently come under fire. In Minnesota, Michigan, New York, California and South Carolina, parents who feel the books promote interest in the occult have called for their removal from classrooms and school libraries.

I knew this was coming. The only surprise is that it took so long -- as long as it took for the zealots who claim they're protecting children from evil (and evil can be found lurking everywhere these days) to discover that children actually like these books. If children are excited about a book, it must be suspect.

-Judy Blume in a 1999 NY Times Op-Ed, "Is Harry Potter Evil?" Gryffindor: courage, bravery, "goodness" Slytherin: cunning, ambition, "evil" Hufflepuff: patience, loyalty, fairness Ravenclaw:
wit, learning, wisdom Sorting Hat Power and Influence Friendship: Can we only be friends with the people who share the same qualities as we do? Good vs. Evil:
Is the distinction so clear cut? Broken Homes Social Status Boxing Characters
into Categories Magic as an Escape At the end of the novel, the trio (Harry, Ron, and Hermione) have to overcome obstacles and challenges set up by the Hogwarts' professors designed to protect the Sorcerer's Stone.

However, these scenes pigeonhole the three characters into specific categories. Hermione is the smart one who uses her logic to solve a riddle; Ron is the goofy sidekick who happens to have a knack for chess, conveniently an obstacle; and Harry is the brave, athletic "chosen one" who must ultimately face Voldemort. Interestingly, Harry Potter fans never want to be "sorted" into this house, as there are no standout characters or significant storylines with Hufflepuff. Hufflepuff is never highlighted in the book, whereas the other houses are known for specific strengths and talents. What does this say about kind, quiet people who do not have the outstanding, distinguishable qualities in the other three houses? Perspective: We only hear Harry's thoughts and interpretations, a person new to this world. How would the narrative change if told by a pureblood? Someone born into the wizarding world? Voldemort? Malfoy? Focuses on the importance of relationships, interpersonal connections, and the security and support that such relationships provide Complexity of children. Eric, often mean to Lonnie, is diagnosed with sickle cell anemia. Lonnie still feels grief over this despite his previous interactions with Eric. How can this provide a valuable lens to children reading this book?

Classroom Connection: Addressing disability, our differences, empathy through community building activities and poetry writing and sharing. Inspiring Writers The Pen

Take a pen in your uncertain fingers.
Trust, and be assured
That the whole world is a sky-blue butterfly
And words are the nets to capture it.

Muhammad al-Ghuzzi
Tunisia The Question Mark

Poor thing. Poor crippled measure
of punctuation. Who would know,
who could imagine you used to be
an exclamation point?
What force bent you over?
Age, time and the vices
of this century?
Did you not once evoke,
call out and stress?
But you got weary of it all,
got wise, and turned like this.

Gevorg Emin
Armenia Great way to introduce grammar, punctuation, and personification! An excellent mentor text. I love that so many poems have been translated from the native language but it would be great to see both versions side by side. This could also make a great language study for students of all backgrounds. Thank you for joining me on this Reader's Notebook journey!
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