My Progress Report

I feel quite accomplished. I stayed up until about 2 a.m. blogging yesterday, but only because I spent an hour or two conquering the Iliad. I didn’t read the whole thing, only the excerpts in my World Lit textbook, but now I have a plan for how to guide my students through it. I also realized that Achilles is a really angry man, and that I should see if I can show my students any relevant scenes from Troy.

I always hated worksheets, especially in AP Lit in twelfth grade. I realized sometime during that year that what Ms. Sim was doing was guiding us through our reading. We would have to read a chapter of Lord of the Flies or one of the Canterbury Tales, then answer ten or twelve questions, some easier than others. When we came to class, we could use our “worksheet” answers during the class discussion. She was really giving us discussion points, just like Adkins for AP US History, but she called them by another name.

I still hate worksheets, but I think my kids need them. My teacher’s edition has comprehension level, plot-based questions for “less proficient readers,” as well as literary analysis discussion points. Before, I tried to actually lead a discussion using those points. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it failed miserably. I experienced more failure than success, to be honest. I had the most success when I walked them through the plot and the analysis points for Gilgamesh. Some of them even said Gilgamesh was their favorite of the (admittedly few) stories we read last semester. I know that tackling the Iliad will be difficult, and it will determine whether I bother with the Odyssey. I’m going to try using worksheets, though. I’ve just typed out the comprehension and analysis questions from my TE, but it should help as we read aloud in-class. If I can get them to keep learning pronunciations, we should manage.

It was a hard semester, but I learned from it. I would prefer to sit around finishing Rediscovering Catholicism, or just visit friends until I fly back to AL. I know that putting so much effort into planning even two weeks of lessons will pay off in the end, though. I have to believe that.


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Iliad?! Oh boy. I remember reading excerpts of The Odyssey for… man, I forgot what grade I was in. 7th, maybe? And after reading we had to give some kind of presentation on our excerpt. Tough stuff.

Lord of the Flies… ugh, that was another one. What made that difficult to trudge through was how boring it was. Damn required reading for school; I did pretty well, English and lit being two of my better subjects, but I *generally* hated it. I try and try, but I have a hard time reading and understanding text that I can’t get into.

…And that is where worksheets come in to the equation. They may seem like annoying, “busy work”, but they have helped me in the long run; i.e. when studying for tests, when figuring out themes found in such-and-such novel, or identifying the reasons behind the actions of so-and-so character. So tell your students to suck it up and get over it. ;)

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