Epic Fail

October 14, 2009 at 11:29 am Leave a comment

I’m teaching about setting, and how – as students analyzing setting – we have to be specific and look for details. As an example, I’m talking about The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. I figure it’s a well-read enough book on its own, and that students who haven’t read it will have likely seen the movie.

I ask them what the setting of the story is and, predictably, get “Narnia.” When I press about the chronological setting of the story, I get mumbled responses about “WWII,” “WWI,” “the 1900s,” and “the 19th century.” I’ve expected this, and when I move to the next slide on PowerPoint the answers pop up, prewritten: Narnia, a long time ago.

Next I ask them if that’s enough detail. We pin down “a long time ago” – which is, after all, an awfully big place – using what some of the history buffs in the room know about the World Wars. Then I point out that if there is someone who has never heard of this book, and all we tell them is that it takes place in Narnia, he won’t know if Narnia is a distant planet, a magical kingdom, or a small town in eastern Idaho. (And wouldn’t the books be interesting if they did take place in eastern Idaho? There’s a creative writing exercise for you!) We begin spelling out some of the details of Narnia – the terrian, the climate, the political atmosphere.

Suddenly, a light bulb flickers dimly above one student’s head. Before he was just bored; now, he’s confused.

“Wait a second,” he says, after another student finishes explaining how the evil witch wants to seize all power in Narnia. “Aren’t we… isn’t this Epic Movie?”

Ladies and germs, my work here is done.



Juniors November, Here We Come…

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The Bee’s Knees

This is the teaching journal of a student first-year second-year THIRD-YEAR (!!!) English teacher. I am writing this blog as a reflection for myself, a way to keep friends and family updated, and a sharing-ground between other educators online. I love comments!

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