Upcoming in January

I just finished planning for January, and I’m going to be teaching the following this month.

American Literature: First, we’ll review the Edgar Allan Poe writings (“The Raven” and “Masque of the Red Death” and “The Tell Tale Heart”) as well as Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “Dr. Heidegger’s Experiment.” I actually used an excerpt of Stephen King’s Danse Macabre, which is in our textbook, as an introduction to the Poe unit. King’s piece is great for explaining how people’s curiosity is virtually uncontrollable and how the unknown is the scariest of all scares. This was a fun unit, and the kids loved it. It was the most energetic and intrigued they had been all year.

In January we will be reading Stephen Crane’s The Red Badge of Courage and looking at Impressionism, Naturalism, and Realism. Then, we’ll follow that up with Nathaniel Hawnthorne’s “The Minister’s Black Veil” and “Rappaccini’s Daughter.”

Mythology: We almost finished our examination of Greek mythology but need to finish The Fall of Troy and the tales of Odysseus. That should take us the first week of the month.

Then, we’re going to read Beowulf, compare and contrast Norse Creation with the Greek version and then read some Norse tales. This will finish the semester. We completed our major project this semester, so we have a fun finish to the class. I will probably show a couple films after school and look at how the myths are changed for films (maybe Troy, the early 80s Clash of the Titans, The Odyssey, or the new animated Beowulf).  Sometimes I show the kids the documentary about the mythology of Star Wars if time permits. It’s one that the students like (especially when the film director Kevin Smith says “of course” Annakin is the perfect villain to ruin the universe since Annakin is “an emo kid”).

Sophomore Honors: We finished up Ender’s Game before the Winter Break, which the students really enjoyed. Most of the class went out and purchased or shared the sequel during the vacation time. I got a number of e-mails regarding the Ender and Bean books. It’s nice to see the kids inspired to read more.

This month we’re looking at classic fairy tales and then reading William Goldman’s The Princess Bride. We’ll compare and contrast the film with the novel, and we’ll look at how Goldman satirizes fairy tales and contemporary society. We may even compose an ABC story which I’ve blogged about in the past.

That’s all for now. TTFN! 🙂

6 thoughts on “Upcoming in January

  1. John Spencer

    We’ve had some really cool conversations in my computer class about Greek mythology and technology (sirens, Prometheus, Pandora, Sisyphus). They had Greek mythology last year, so they seemed to come into class knowing the stories well.

  2. drpezz Post author

    I like bringing in mythological allusions from the newspaper or magazines to see if the kids can explain the use and purpose of the references. Comics, especially political comics, work well too.

  3. Edie Parrott

    I love teaching The Red Badge of Courage even though I haven’t had a chance to teach it in years! So few teachers include it in their classes, and I don’t know why. Crane does a marvelous job of showing the fear, boredom, and indecision of common soldiers, something we all need to recognize before sending so many young people into battle.

    Just out of curiosity, do you get to teach a separate mythology course? If so, I am really jealous. I taught a mythology course about twenty years ago before our state determined that it was not a college-prep course and essentially killed the course. Now it only counts as an elective; therefore we have insufficient students to even offer the course. Sad!

    1. drpezz Post author

      My kids haven’t liked Crane’s writing style in this novel because of the impressionist style. However, I’m hoping to do a better job of helping the kids see the beauty in it.

      Yes, I do teach a Mythology and Writing course, which is a senior English option. We’ve had no problems with universities accepting it thus far. I’ll keep an out for signs of trouble though.

  4. Theresa Milstein

    I want to take your class. I am certified to teach Social Studies, and have been interested in Humanities, because I could teach Social Studies and Language Arts at the same time. Since I’m a writer, that would let me bring both of my passions together.

    Have a good rest of the school year.

    1. drpezz Post author

      Thanks for the well wishes. 🙂

      I would love to teach the a full history alongside the literature, but I only get to give a brief contextual history with each unit as it stands now.


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