Thursday, October 8, 2009

Day 32: Reading the Odyssey

Today we started WordSkills Unit 2 and learned how to read The Odyssey using sticky notes.

  1. The Simpsons. To start class, we watched 6 minutes of The Simpsons so students would know the general story before we started reading. Not only does this give students a concrete example of the term “allusion,” but it also allows them to experience The Odyssey the same way its original listeners did: as an audience familiar with the plot before the first line was even spoken. Because this was an orally delivered poem and based on historical events, The Iliad and The Odyssey were commonly known stories. Therefore, it is crucial students have some understanding of the arc of the story, even if it is cursory (as it was for many audience members as well, only told to them by a family member or friend). I hope this is adequate justification for those of you who may be a bit skeptical. Students are always welcome to excuse themselves from any viewing they are not comfortable watching.
  2. WordSkills 2.1-2.5. If you were absent you need to get notes from a friend on the first five prefixes. They are also posted under the WordSkills tab.
  3. How to Take Reading Notes using Stickies. Any absent students need to download this form (How to Take Sticky Notes Web), which explains how to do the homework. In class we practiced taking notes using the first page of The Odyssey, p. 651 in the textbook. Because The Odyssey is a difficult and dense text, I need everyone to slow down while reading it. On each page of your book, you need to summarize what happened, point out any important lines (with arrows on your sticky), write down any questions, and add a thought about characterization (What are this character’s motives? Desires? Strengths? Weaknesses? point out the lines that tell you so).

HW: Read “I Am Laertes’ Son” p. 656-658. Take notes on stickies. Use at least 2-3 stickies per page. Follow the directions on the “How to Take Reading Notes on Stickies” for ideas. If you have your own copy of The Odyssey, you do not need to use sticky notes. You may write directly in your margins.

Please, if you have your own copy of the book… Please, please, please, feel free to read ahead and read much more than what we are reading in class. I highly encourage all Honors students to obtain their own copies of the book, translated by Robert Fagles, and read it straight through. I will be overjoyed if you bring up things that we haven’t talked about in class.

I would also like to draw your attention to the free audio version of The Odyssey available under the Resources tab.

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