Warm Up: Copy homework for the week.
VOC: test on roots for all lessons; words for lessons 9 - 11.
LIT: Class discussion about A Single Shard. We opened with "what's a theme?" - just thinking about literature in general. Both classes came up with a definition that goes something like this: "a theme is the message the author wants readers to get from the book."
Armed with that definition, we proceeded to themes in this novel in particular. There were a handful of themes I'd asked the kids to watch for (honor, shame, family, lessons from Crane-man to Tree-ear) - but they had many, many more that occurred to them in their own reading.
Also, one group had a very rich discussion about the importance of conflict in a story -- without it, the story is boring and the reader is constantly asking himself, "why am I reading this?" They went further to point out that all of the conflicts Tree-ear experiences -- the "bumps" in his life -- are really important to his development. The idea that "character comes from the difficulties" was widely accepted by that group. In other words, it's only through the challenging times in a character's life (dare we say our own lives as well?) that we are able to see what kind of person he really is. When things are easy, it's "easy to be happy," -- the real thing is how the character reacts to challenges.
The other group went in a different direction -- with the idea that small things lead to big ones. Had Tree-ear given up when the vases were smashed, he never would have been able to bring back the pottery commission for Min. Even though it was only a small piece of pottery that he carried to Songdo, it was important because of what it led to. This group took from that the idea that all effort is important ... even if it seems to be small, one never fully knows where it might lead.
Then, each class developed a list of color symbols ... this will be useful for a small Shard related project coming later in the week.
Homework: correct last week's grammar test and get a parent signature.