Wednesday, September 30, 2009

We're in the middle of the project designed to introduce Holden to modern music. There have been some really great presentations so far. The insights these students have are incredible. For example someone said how Holden sees women, girlfriends as a solution to his problems; yet another said Holden needs a girlfriend. I feel two ways about this: the truth is, I think, that we're all co dependant on somebody, regardless of how we deny it... that's love, right? And love is the whole point of this mess, so, it can't be bad. And I agree, Holden needs a hug. On the other hand, I can understand how teenagers are wary to give their hearts away, especially to the opposite sex. The potential for hurt is great, yet I've always preferred people who love without regard for their own safety. I think Holden might become one of these people. Maybe not. I mean look at JD Salinger. He took the love away. All because he got his feelings hurt. That kind of sucks in my opinion.

I feel the need to name-drop a few of the new bands I've discovered through this project, so here they are. Hollywood Undead, Mewithoutyou, Eyes Set to Kill,TUFF. Also, some of the lyrics I keep on reserve for students who want me to give them a song to interpret (and there are a few) are: "Sweet Jane" The Velvet Underground, "As I Come of Age" CSN, "Heart Cooks Brain" Modest Mouse, "Hey You" Pink Floyd, "Let It Be" Beatles, "Blowing in the Wind" Dylan, "I Am a Rock" Simon/Garfunkel

I think they really sense the humor as well as the sorrow. They get that Holden is torn up over Allie's death. They also get that he doesn't have any friends because he'd be kind of a drag to hang out with. Holden talks about being a good golfer in this book. I think golfing with Holden would probably be pretty fun.

I have been reading a lot of it out loud, because hey, everyone likes story hour, right?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Poltergeist in the Rye

Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters just came out. There's a part of me, the ninety year old literature professor, that is appropriately horrified, but there's the other part too- the kid that would rather read about a tanar'ri named Ertu from the Abyss than the whims of pampered aristocrats-he's appropriately horrified also... and loving it. I tried reading Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, and while it was amusing, I couldn't suspend my disbelief long enough to enjoy it in any way other than in an "isn't this quirky-and-kind-of-hip" self consciousness that wasn't too much fun. In the end I could have probably ordered an ice tray with space invaders shaped inserts from, spent less money, and got the same (if not more) satisfaction while drinking Kool Aide... rather than subjecting myself (again) to 200+ pages of British dialogue.

Yet... I was thinking what would Holden do if, while in New York, a zombie outbreak occurred? I mean, he's one step away from suicidal-maybe he'd want to join them? Or, maybe he'd get satisfaction from the way they resumed the mundane tasks of their mundane lives. It might be kind of interesting. I don't know how you'd use it in the classroom, or even IF you could. Or maybe, instead of zombies you could use werewolves. Like a werewolves of London kind of thing in New York city. I'm not a very big fan of werewolves, or vampires to tell you the truth, but maybe you could use ghosts. Holden is haunted, figuratively, why not propose a prompt in which Holden is haunted literally? C'mon, even Shakespeare used ghosts. Plus ghosts aren't really that hip right now. Nor ever. I think Casper ruined that possibility... and that movie with Patrick Swayze, God rest his soul, so you don't have to feel like a sell-out.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Holden the Optimist

We learn so much about what Holden thinks is phony in his world, yet we get a strong sense of his value system throughout the book. Your assignment is to find a cause, movement, organization, or charity in our world that Holden would not think is phony.

1) In 300 words, write why you think Holden could get on board with this cause, organization, or charity. You must use specific language from the book.

2) Familiarize us with your cause, organization, or charity. How did you hear about it? What are its goals? Is it possible for anyone to join?

The name of your cause, organization, or charity is due to me by ____________. Presentations will begin ________________. If you do not have a cause, organization, or charity by _______________, I will provide you with one.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Holden the Beat

As a class, we are going to make a mixed CD for Holden Caulfield introducing him to modern music.

You must choose one song with school-appropriate lyrics to appear on the mix. You will be required to write at least 300 words and to give a short presentation (including playing the song) to the class based on the following criteria:

1. Please don’t choose songs at random. Choose the song not necessarily because you like the guitar solo, but because you think it fits Holden in some way. Maybe you think its message might be helpful to Holden. Maybe you think Holden could relate to it in some way. Maybe you think it attempts to teach us something valuable about life. Regardless, have a legitimate reason for picking the song, and be able to explain why Holden Caulfield would like this song using specific references to the novel.

2. Analyze the lyrics. What elements of poetry do you think it includes? (figurative language/symbolism, irony— hyperbole, sarcasm—narrative devices)

3. In order to present the song, you must have a CD with your song and a copy of the lyrics for me.

*This project will be graded on effort, creativity, how well you demonstrate your understanding of the novel, and how well you complete all parts of the assignment.

**Turn in a copy of the lyrics and the CD by ------------- or as soon as you have them. I will choose a song for you if I don’t have materials by this deadline. Presentations will be ----------------.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Holden the Remote

Bellwork #4

We know Holden does not like movies because he tells us, however, he never mentions television.

1. If you were to hand Holden Caulfield a copy of this week’s TV Guide, which shows do you think he would express interest in? Why?

2. What modern television shows do you think Holden would never watch, even if you paid him? Why?

I usually get some good responses on this one. Kids think he'd like House for the sarcasm and Stewie for the innocent genius dichotomy. One student thought he'd like Anime because he was the fencing manager. Most kids say he'd hate reality shows because they're phony, as well as sitcoms and Lifetime.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Digital Storytelling: Pre-reading Activity

Like most good ideas, I stole this one. Here's the gist: arrange four images on a slide (I used powerpoint) and have students put them in chronological order. You'll be amazed at the stories that come from nowhere. Use groups of three or so and let them figure out the story. I toyed with having them write it down, but it's much more dynamic if they just start telling a story out loud. I used these images to prepare them for The Catcher in the Rye. Afterward, you can tell them the order of the images as per the book: in Holden's case, it's the broken window, the F, the train and then the city.