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Sunday, February 27, 2011

WiT Chapters 5-6 Discussion Questions, Due March 4

Thank you for your wonderful participation!  Be sure to proofread, and don't repeat what other people have said!  Talk to each other through your comments.  Keep up the great work!

I've removed the first two questions in order to change the discussion.  No more repeats!

3. What are Meg’s faults? How can her faults help her with her mission?
4. What is it like on Camazotz? How would you like living in a place like this?

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Grade 7 Weekly Article, Due Tuesday, March 1

Libya: Pro-government forces fire on mourners

A Libyan hospital official says snipers have killed at least one person and injured a dozen more after they opened fire on mourners at a mass funeral for 35 protesters who had demonstrated to demand the ouster of Moammar Gadhafi.
Saturday's shootings occurred in the eastern city of Benghazi, which has been a focal point of five days of unrest and where government forces wiped out a protest encampment earlier in the day.
The hospital official, speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisal, said snipers were firing from the top of the security headquarters in the city.
THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.
CAIRO (AP) - Libyans set up neighborhood patrols in the shaken eastern city of Benghazi on Saturday as police disappeared from the streets following an attack by government forces on a two-day-old encampment of protesters demanding an end to Moammar Gadhafi's regime, eyewitnesses said.
The situation in the North African nation has become increasingly chaotic, with a human rights group estimating 84 people have died in a harsh crackdown on anti-Gadhafi demonstrations and the U.S.-based Arbor Networks security company saying Internet service was cut off around 2 a.m. Saturday, eliminating a critical link to the outside world.
"We don't see a single policeman in the streets, not even traffic police," a lawyer in Benghazi said. People feared that pro-government forces would soon follow up the encampment raid with house-to-house attacks.
"Residents formed neighborhood watches ... guarding their houses and neighborhoods," the lawyer said. He and other people inside Libya spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisal.
Switzerland-based Libyan activist Fathi al-Warfali said that several other activists had been detained including Abdel Hafez Gougha, a well-known organizer who was being held after security forces stormed his house in a night raid.
According to Human Rights Watch, an estimated 84 people have died in the Libyan protests, which have escalated dramatically since they began on Tuesday. Tolls given to the Associated Press on Friday largely tally with those announced by the rights group.
About 5:00 a.m. Saturday, special forces attacked hundreds of protesters, including lawyers and judges, camped out in front of the courthouse in Benghazi, Libya's second-largest city and a focus for the anti-government unrest.
"They fired tear gas on protesters in tents and cleared the areas after many fled carrying the dead and the injured," one protester said over the phone from Benghazi.
Doctors in Benghazi said Friday that 35 bodies had been brought to the hospital following attacks by security forces backed by militias, on top of more than a dozen killed the day before. Standing in front of Jalaa Hospital morgue, an eyewitness said that the bodies bore wounds from being shot "directly at the head and the chests."
About 20 coffins were brought to the square outside the Benghazi courthouse later Saturday as part of a mass funeral for the shooting victims, another witness said. Thousands of mourners were at the scene.
Gadhafi is facing the biggest popular uprising of his 42-year autocratic reign, with Libyans taking to the streets and much of the action in the country's impoverished east.
The nation has huge oil reserves but poverty is a significant problem. U.S. diplomats have said in newly leaked memos that Gadhafi's regime seems to neglect the east intentionally, letting unemployment and poverty rise to weaken opponents there.
At least five cities in eastern Libya have seen protests and clashes in recent days.
Forces from the military's elite Khamis Brigade moved into Benghazi, Beyida and several other cities, residents said. They were accompanied by militias that seemed to include foreign mercenaries, they added. Several witnesses reported French-speaking fighters, believed to be Tunisians or sub-Saharan Africans, among militiamen wearing blue uniforms and yellow helmets.
The Khamis Brigade is led by Gadhafi's youngest son Khamis Gadhafi, and U.S. diplomats in leaked memos have called it "the most well-trained and well-equipped force in the Libyan military." The witnesses' reports that it had been deployed could not be independently confirmed.
During the popular revolt in Egypt, authorities cut off the Internet for several days, though it did not quell the uprising that eventually brought down the president.
Information is tightly controlled in Libya, where journalists cannot work freely and many citizens fear the powerful security and intelligence services. The Cairo-based Arabic Network for Human Rights Information released a report back in 2004 that said nearly 1 million people among Libya's population of about 6 million had Internet access at the time. That was just three years after Internet service had been extended to the public.
There have been few anti-government protests in the capital Tripoli, in the west of the country, where the government has staged large pro-Gadhafi rallies.


How does the situation in Egypt connect to "The Glory Field"?  Use this article, and any other background information you have, as well as details from the novel, to comment below.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Grade 7 Spelling Words, 2/21-2/25

Here are the upcoming words, for anyone interested in getting a head start.

  1. abbreviate
  2. accidentally
  3. achievement
  4. analyze
  5. anonymous
  6. answer
  7. apologize
  8. appearance
  9. appreciate
  10. appropriate
  11. argument
  12. awkward
  13. beautiful
  14. because
  15. beginning
  16. believe
  17. bicycle
  18. brief
  19. bulletin
  20. business

WiT Chapters 3-4, Due February 25

Great job last week!  I'm so proud of your efforts.
Please answer at least 1 question.  Use complete sentences, and PROOFREAD!  Posts with more than 2 errors will not be posted.  At some point, come back and re-read the comments.  Respond to your classmates, ask a question, make a connection, etc.

You need to have 2 posts this week.
  1. What do you think Calvin means when he says, "Isn’t this wonderful?   I feel as though I were just being born. I’m not alone anymore!"
  2. Why does Mrs. Who use so many quotes instead of using her own words? What can you infer about a person who speaks in quotes? Try to think of a pro and a con.
  3. What did Mrs. Whatsit show them when they reached the summit of the mountain? How did it make each kid feel?  How do you think it would make you feel?

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Glory Field Questions Due Friday, February 18

All questions need to be answered in complete sentences.  Do not post as a comment here.  You may hand write or type the questions.

1.       How did you respond to the obstacles and limitations Luvenia and Tommy faced?
2.       How do you think you might have behaved in their situations?
3.       What does Elijah want Luvenia to do? How do Elijah’s goals differ from those of Luvenia?
4.       What steps does Luvenia take to try to achieve her goals? What is the outcome of these efforts? From these events, what do you learn about the whites and African Americans in Luvenia’s community?
5.       What important decision does Tommy face? How do the events in Johnson City affect his decision?
6.       Do you think Mr. Deets treats Luvenia fairly? Give reasons for your answer.
7.       Evaluate the important choice Tommy makes. What does he sacrifice? What does he gain? Do you think he made the right choice? Why or why not?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Adding comments without becoming a follower


Unfortunately, you cannot become a follower if you do not have a google, yahoo, aim, twitter, or openid account.

If this is the case, you can still read and post comments.  Here is how you comment:

Click on the comment icon.  In the drop down menu, select Name/URL

Enter your first name, last initial.

Use the school URL: 

See the comment below for an example.

Grade 7 Weekly Article, Due Tuesday, February 22

Please read the following article.  At the end, answer the question.  You must post your answer, and then at some point, come back and comment on what another person has said.  Do not just repeat someone else's answer.  Be sure to proofread your work before you post!

The Black Experience in Children's Books: One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

by Walter Dean Myers

I was at a conference at a small school in Michigan. The focus of the conference was on literature for children. My talk had gone reasonably well, touching upon my own publications and my seven-year career as an editor. The question and answer period was divided into two sections, interrupted by a more than welcome coffee break. At the beginning of the second session a young man in the front of the auditorium raised his hand. He hadn't participated in the earlier session although I had noticed him taking careful notes.
"Mr. Myers, apart from your personal interest in multi-ethnic literature," he asked, "don't you think we've been harping on the issue of racism in children's books for some time now?"
The inference, of course, was that the "some time" had been too long a time. I asked him to elaborate on his question and, rather uncomfortably it seemed, he expressed the view that the push against racism in children's books, while commendable in itself, had become anachronistic in these enlightened times. What's more, the issue was being greatly overplayed by some people and some groups.
The response from the rest of the assembly was immediate. What buzzing there had been ceased. This was clearly a question that had been on more than one mind—and indeed I had heard similar questions from librarians and educators in Michigan, Kansas, New Jersey, New York and Texas, mostly within the last two years.
This essay is an attempt to answer, from my own viewpoint, this question: Is it time to say "enough" about racism in children's literature? I think I can express my viewpoint best by sharing my experiences as a Black writer.
I first became involved in writing for children some ten years ago by entering the CIBC's first contest for unpublished Third World writers. Before that I had been writing short fiction primarily, with only a dim awareness of the crying need for children's books reflecting the Third World experience. It became clear upon examination of the materials then available that books did not do for Black or other Third World children what they did for white children—they did not deliver images upon which Black children could build and expand their own worlds. But this was in 1969 and publishers and librarians alike were voicing similar concerns about the lack of suitable materials for Blacks and other Third World children. It was just, I felt, a matter of time before the situation would be rectified.
But I soon discovered that there was a lot of resistance, even resentment, to this idea. I visited my daughter's grade school in Brooklyn at the request of the school librarian. After speaking to a bright group of seven-year-olds I was introduced to the principal. I showed him my first book—Where Does the Day Go? (1969)—and he thumbed through it quickly, looking at the pictures. I fully expected him to say something tactfully complimentary. Instead, he said that he didn't feel that the book belonged in his school's library. There were no white children in the book! There were several Black children, a Japanese girl and a Puerto Rican boy, but no white child. I began to wonder if my work would be ignored—or remain unpublished—if I did not include white children. Would I be unable to write about all-Black neighborhoods?
My next book, The Dancers (1972), was published some two years later. I need not have been worried about not having white children in this book. The publisher introduced a white character for me. He's not in the story, but he appears in as many pictures as possible and seems to be in the story. This being a Black writer was not going to be an easy task.
The Dancers and The Dragon Takes a Wife (1972) inspired some of the most virulent hate mail imaginable. I've received hate mail in response to my magazine articles—an article about interracial adoption drew a lot of angry letters from whites, for instance—but the mail about these children's books represented a different beast altogether. The letters were primarily from parents, people who could keep my work from school shelves and from local libraries. Many correspondents were furious that I—a Black author—had "invaded" the white world of fairy tales; "obscene" was one of their milder labels for The Dragon Takes a Wife.
But, despite these minor annoyances, I still felt that the time was soon coming when literature for Black children would really blossom and that all children's literature would be truly humanistic. The accusations that Black writers wouldn't or couldn't write well was being mocked by the CIBC contest, which had attracted a host of good Third World writers, excited by the opportunity to chronicle their own experiences. Such writers as Sharon Bell Mathis, Ray Sheppard, Virginia Driving Hawk Sneve, Margaret Musgrove and Mildred Taylor were demonstrating that not only were they excellent writers but that their work did have viable markets.
By the mid-seventies, however, the promise of the late sixties and early seventies seemed suddenly hollow. The number of Black writers being published decreased as Black political activity decreased. The reasons for this were clear. Publishing companies had never tried to develop markets for Third World literature. Instead, they had relied upon purchases made through Great Society government funds, and when these were phased out the publishers began to phase out Third World books. Books were spaced so that their publication would not coincide with other Black books because sales representatives complained that they couldn't represent too many at one time. A look at the most recent catalogs shows that there are fewer books being published for Black children now than a decade ago....
I have had good experiences in my writing career as well as bad. But while I am hopeful for my own efforts I am not hopeful for the body of literature that still needs to be produced. I am not hopeful for the writers who are being turned away because "Black books aren't selling." I am not hopeful for the librarian who claims to love children and children's literature and yet can tell me that American children who are white do not need to learn of the Black experience, or that the Black experience need no longer be chronicled with truth and compassion. But most of all I am not hopeful for the millions of Third World children who will be forced to grow up under the same handicaps that I thought, a decade ago, that we were beginning to overcome. I'm afraid that the time has not yet come to say "enough" about racism in children's books.

Do you agree or disagree with Mr. Myers?  Explain your answer.

Update:  This is not an essay on whether or not there is still racism.  It is about whether or not the topic of African American oppression and history should still be present in children's and young adult's literature.  Look at my comment below before you write your own comment.

Why the necessity in children's literature, specifically fiction? What are the consequences of Myers' quote, "A look at the most recent catalogs shows that there are fewer books being published for Black children now than a decade ago...."

Friday, February 11, 2011

Glory Field Extra Credit

In the first three sections of the novel, characters are trapped in various ways. Many of the African American characters are physically or economically trapped, while many of the white characters are trapped by their prejudices. Skim the first three sections of the text to find examples of the different kinds of shackles—both literal and figurative—that imprison different characters. Post your examples as a comment here using complete sentences.

WiT Discussion Questions, Chapters 1 and 2 - DUE FEB 18

You must respond to at least 1 question.  Please refer to the question by number, as well as by restating it in your answer.
EX:  1.  Meg feels...about herself because she thinks/says...  I can relate to how she feels because... Meg reminds me of .....because....

  1. How does Meg feel about herself?  Can you relate to her feelings, or connect her to another character in another book?
  2. What do you think Mrs. Whatsit looks like? (Other than how she is vaguely described in the book.)
  3. What does the ending of chapter 2 make you wonder?
  4. Which character can you connect with the most?  Why?
  5. What behaviors/events seem strange to you?  Why?

Welcome Grade 6!

Welcome to my new blog!  We are going to use this blog to discuss the novel, A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeline L'Engle.

Your requirements are to read the assigned pages and contribute to the blog discussion.

You must answer at least 1 teacher question per week.

You must add an original connection, comment, or question per week.

You must respond to at least 1 classmate's comment, connection, question, etc. per week.

This is due before 8 a.m. each Friday.  You will be given the assignment over the weekend, and it is up to you to manage it.

Please let me know if you have questions!