Our first digital classroom endeavor will be to continue our class conversation of the community text in the “comment” thread of this classroom blog. Enjoy this short video made by our upcoming visitor, Jamie Ford. Then, reflect over the novel and consider responding to one of the conversational prompts in this post. Next, draft your ideas in a word document for help with following the rules of Standard English (spell check & grammar, usage issues). Finally, paste your prose in a comment box below the post. Be sure that you compose your comment (5-7 sentences) in Standard English and only create useful and kind comments. For more on what type of comments, read more below.
Conviction: Jamie Ford’s Novel affords our school many conversations about our community theme this year, conviction. Throughout the year, we will discuss this theme and learn from each other while examining this rich, complex topic. This dialogue could make us a stronger community. Here is our school definition.
“Conviction is a strong belief or firmly held opinion. It is an unshakable feeling without need for proof or evidence. It is making and maintaining a commitment. This year, Suffield wants to explore how people form convictions and how they impact our lives. For example, we are told to do what is “right” and not to let others adversely influence our decisions. Yet how do we know what is right? Where does “wrong” begin? Conviction is a fascinating and complicated topic that will make for rich exploration across our curriculum and programs” (http://www.suffieldacademy.org/page/News-Detail?pk=927857&fromId=191958). What specific scene or sentence captures the best moment of conviction for you?
School Climate: This novel also makes us aware about negative and positive issues relating to school climate. According to the National School Climate Center, School Climate “refers to the quality and character of school life. School climate is based on patterns of students’, parents’ and school personnel’s experience of school life and reflects norms, goals, values, interpersonal relationships, teaching and learning practices, and organizational structures” (http://www.schoolclimate.org) When students feel unsafe, their performance naturally drops. Likewise, when students are connected to an adult (sometimes it only takes one adult), they tend to flourish intellectually and developmentally. Explore one specific scene or sentence that illuminates a positive or negative moment of school climate. NB: I learned my favorite “School Climate” mantra, If it’s mean, intervene, from Dr. Jo Ann Freiberg, (http://www.schoolclimate.org/about/council.php) when I met her at CAIS conference on school climate.
Historical Novel: The scene where Henry learns from the Japanese photographer that he is not taking pictures of burning garbage but rather the burning destruction of wedding photos reminds us that historical novels provide the power to deliver an emotional impact about the history of an era. Does Ford’s scene artistically deliver a dark chapter of US History better than your US History text book? What other evocative scene or sentence from the novel resonates one aspect of American history for you?
Traits of our parents: Literature provides many nuances and examples where children come to terms (consciously or unconsciously) with traits that they may have learned from their parents. How does Henry’s maturation compare to this father’s life story? What is it about the age of Henry and what he is discovering about himself that is important for creating such an interesting love story and coming of age story (Bildungsroman)? Henry also exhibits signs of stubbornness, perhaps a cousin of conviction in the range of emotional learning. Did he learn that from his father. What role does their collective stubbornness play in their father/son conflict? There are many ways to reflect on this motif (literary pattern). You could also comment on where Henry or his son learns stubbornness and reflect how this trait gives him strength. Or what other specific inherited trait does a child come to terms with in this novel?
An author’s creative use of music: The author’s use of music in the text adds an artistic depth to the novel and provides insights into some key characters. There is a tradition among novelist to expand character development by showing in the narrative the character’s reaction to music or experiencing other art forms. For example, Carson McCullers and Kate Chopin use this technique in their novels; juniors will recall Chopin’s The Awakening where the reader learns more about Edna from her reaction to music. Examine one scene or small passage where Ford develops a character’s inner life more with the experience of music.
Flashbacks: Jordyn’s insight was to ponder how Ford’s shift in time from the 1980s to the 1940s keeps the reader’s interest in both time periods.
Or celebrate another aspect of this great novel and focus on one specific scene or sentence for supporting your claim.