Thursday, June 18, 2015

Day 175 - Blizzard Bag Samples - Ben Lally - BHS English Dept. Head.

The first-year venture into trying out Blizzard Bags is behind us, and Mr. Lally wished to share the variety of projects that his students came up with for this assignment.
Several students recorded themselves reading Poetry Out Loud poems, and we’ve put together a SoundCloud channel – we figure these might be a good study guide for students in future years who wish to memorize these poems. Readers included Joe Bertolami, Stephen Blathras, MiKenna Mattson, Melanie Sunnerberg, Nick Whitney, Tiffany Wu, and Mr. Lally. Together, they’ve started the BHS English Department list with nearly 50 recordings.
Longfellow House Visits
Many students went to Cambridge to check out the home of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, easily the greatest American poet of the mid-19th century. No contest. Students created posters and slideshows showing some of the artifacts that they saw, including the location of the room that inspired the tragic poem, The Cross of Snow, and the desk where Longfellow penned most of his most famous poems. Samples are from posters by Kerry Curtin and Aadil Islam.
Louisa May Alcott House
Longfellow isn’t the only house in the area worth visiting. Marin Campbell went to go see Louisa May Alcott’s house, and saw the window desk where she wrote Little Womenand other novels.
Graphic Novels: A Primer
Will Rizza gave a presentation where he explained the differences between graphic novels, text novels, and comic books.
Graphic Novel Writing
Gariné Minassian tried her own hand at writing a graphic novel, as a complement to Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis, which Mr. Lally’s students were reading at the time. This piece incorporated some of the themes of self-discovery and cultural identity that are within Satrapi’s novel.
Short Story Writing
Two trios of sophomores tried their hand at writing a short story in the style of Ernest Hemingway. The results were excellent, as the students admirably adopted Hemingway’s sparse style and bleak worldview.
Fictional Styles – A Contrast
Kailee Heffler explained the main stylistic differences between Ernest Hemingway and Marjane Satrapi, the final two authors of Mr. Lally’s sophomore year.
Poetry Analysis
Some students opted to analyze a short packet of poems by significant poets not covered in the poetry unit from earlier in the year.
Although this first year had its bumps (the Hemingway museum’s hours made visits difficult, and students were coming up with new ideas right up to the final deadline), it seems as though a lot of students really got a chance to try something they might not otherwise do.

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