11th July, 2014

Elementary music position in Southern Indiana! If you’re interested, fan mail me.

10th July, 2014

#fagleschallenge: Book 9

hithertokt and I teach “The Odyssey” to freshmen in high school.  We’ve challenged ourselves to read a book a day of the Robert Fagles translation (the one we now [both!] teach) in order to prepare for the next school year.  Feel free to join us!

Book 9 - 12 of the Odyssey are the “Fantastic Beasts and Where to the Find Them” of Greek Mythology.  So hold on to your hats.

Book 9 begins with Odysseus narrating where he went after Troy.  They plunder the Cicones, make a huge mistake in not cutting in running, and are run out of island by the Cicones and punished by Zeus with a storm.

They then go to the Lotos Eaters’ island.  For such a famous image to come out of the epic, it takes up one page:  the land, they explore, some dudes eat the flower, don’t want to leave, and Odysseus has to make his men leave.  This is two islands in a row he has to make his men leave.

Next they go to the island of the Cyclops, a land in which each monster/brute lives on his own or with his little family unit.  It’s an island of isolated, farming beasties. 

This is where Odysseus and his men test the bounds of xenia. They land, eat well, decide to go exploring, find the cave and HELP THEMSELVES TO THE CYCLOP’S FOOD.  When Polyphemus comes back, obviously ticked there are men in his cave, Odysseus claims xenia:  “you’re our host, and the gods don’t like it when you break the code of a host, so give us gifts.” 

Polyphemus was like, “Uh, screw the gods OM NOM NOM”  and eats his men.

Let’s all jump ahead to the part when he’s blinded and talk about Homeric similes.  These bad boys are everywhere.  An epic or Homeric simile stretches over the course of multiple lines, this scene has some of the best:

I drove my weight on it from above and bored it home
like a shipwright bores his beam with a shipwright’s drill
that men below, whipping the strap back and forth, whirl
and the drill keeps twisting, never stopping –
So we seized our stake with it fiery tip
and bored it round and round in the giant’s eye…
its crackling roots blazed
and hissed –
as a blacksmith plunges a glowing ax or adze
in an ice-cold bath and the metal screeches steam
and its temper hardens – that’s the iron’s strength –
so the eye of Cyclops sizzled round that stake.


That’s some good stuff.


Upon leaving, Odysseus falls victim to the old classic: hubris. After brilliantly telling the monster his name is “Nobody,” as he is escaping he takes credit for the attack: “I am Odysseus!”
He brings about his own curse! Polyphemus then prays to his dad, Poseidon, who then gives Odysseus a hard time up to Ogygia.

What’s more humorous to  me is the book started with two scenes of the men not listening to Odysseus and then ends with HIM not listening to THEM.  The men tell him to shut up and no egg on the cyclops.

But does he listen? Nooooo….

10th July, 2014

hipsterenglishteacher:

justteach:

hipsterenglishteacher:

Goodbye, Elements of Literature, I’ll miss you! You’ve been a part of my life for a long time, now I must let you go. I’ll never love another textbook more than you. 

What are you using now?

This Crap.  My district adopted Holt’s new Common Core Collections anthologies (the state could find money to purchase new textbooks but not upgrade technology to implement PARCC). These books are about 350 pages MAX of informational material no one is familiar with and are all about 300 Lexile points above where a ninth grader in my district start. I told my colleagues in the meeting today that I’d help write the curriculum, but I’d be holding on to the Elements books and teaching from them. 
Seriously, who wants a literature textbook written by A&E, History and Bio channels? 

hipsterenglishteacher:

justteach:

hipsterenglishteacher:

Goodbye, Elements of Literature, I’ll miss you! You’ve been a part of my life for a long time, now I must let you go. I’ll never love another textbook more than you. 

What are you using now?

This Crap.  My district adopted Holt’s new Common Core Collections anthologies (the state could find money to purchase new textbooks but not upgrade technology to implement PARCC). These books are about 350 pages MAX of informational material no one is familiar with and are all about 300 Lexile points above where a ninth grader in my district start. I told my colleagues in the meeting today that I’d help write the curriculum, but I’d be holding on to the Elements books and teaching from them. 

Seriously, who wants a literature textbook written by A&E, History and Bio channels? 

(via Hipster English Teacher)

10th July, 2014

(via PPT)