Tag Archives: War

Post-it note conceptual mapping

26 Jul

I teach a number of mid to lower ability classes in which students struggle to understand nuances of the concepts and ideas that we explore as part of the English course.

To help students think critically and creatively about a topic, I want to implement a new approach to creating concept maps.  I plan to provide students with a concept and a set of post-it notes.  Working individually, students are going to write down words and phrases associated with that concept.  Then, students will work in small groups, pool their post-it notes and discuss the words and phrases they consider relevant.  They might also add additional words and phrases to the mix if required.  A class discussion will follow.  Students will then work in their groups to organise their post it notes so that the most important words/phrases or in the middle and the least important are on the margins.  In their groups they will have to discuss, agree and justify their criteria for importance.   The concept maps and reasoning behind them will then be shared with the class.

I am hoping that the ‘thinking pauses’ and discussions built in to this activity will help students to develop their reasoning skills and ability to engage critically with concepts studied.

Art and advocacy

25 Apr

I recently read an article in The Huffington Post entitled ‘Yemeni Street Artist Covers the Ruins of War in Colours and Memories’.  The article details the attempts by a politically active street artist to (a) unite communities who have been scarred by war, and (b) to offer visual commentary on the continuing violence and political unrest in the region.

I think this would be a great article to show students when seeking to explain the power of artistic expression.

I also think this article has potential to inspire some interesting AOS Discovery short stories.  For example, students could write from the perspective of an ordinary citizen who comes to know a conflict through art.  In this story, each artwork would have the potential to spark meaningful and transformative discoveries.  Alternatively, students could write about one man’s desire to express his beliefs.  Here, students would need to move beyond the information in the article and explore how the protagonist tried a range of methods of expression, none of which allowed him to accurately convey his views.  Ultimately, the protagonist would discover the capacity of art to touch the hearts and mind of the populace.

Pairs of texts

31 Mar

I have spent a lot of time recently thinking about interesting textual pairings for study as part of a comparative unit.  Many of my ideas are not suitable for my school context or the ability levels of my classes.  However, I do think that, in the right contexts and with the right classes, all could form the basis of interesting and engaging units.

  1. A Lesson Before Dying (novel) & To Kill a Mockingbird (film)
  2. A Long Way Gone (memoir) & Freedom Writers (film)
  3. A Long Way Gone (memoir) & Girl At War (novel)
  4. A Long Way Gone (memoir) & Hotel Rwanda (film)
  5. A Long Way Gone (memoir) & Schindler’s List (film)
  6. A Long Way Gone (memoir) & Poetry of Siegfried Sassoon (poetry)
  7. A Long Way Gone (memoir) & The Devil That Danced on Water (non-fiction)
  8. A Long Way Gone (memoir) & Poetry of Wilfred Owen (poetry)
  9. Americanah (novel) & selected episodes of Black-ish (television series)
  10. A Monster Calls (novel) & Boy (film)
  11. A Monster Calls (novel) & Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (film)
  12. A Monster Calls (novel/film) & Frankenstein (novel)
  13. And Then There Were None (novel) & Selected episodes of Trapped (television series)
  14. Animal Farm (novel) & Selection of episodes of House of Cards (television series)
  15. Antigone (play) and Home Fire (novel)
  16. Anzac Girls (television series) & Poetry of Siegfried Sassoon (poetry)
  17. Bad Feminist (collection of essays) & For Colored Girls (film)
  18. Bad Feminist (collection of essays) & When I Hit You (novel)
  19. Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress (novel) & Freedom Writers (film)
  20. Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress (novel) & The Dreamer (novel)
  21. Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress (novel) & The Kite Runner (film or graphic novel)
  22. Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress (novel) & Wadjda (film)
  23. Becoming Kirrali Lewis (novel) & Boy (film)
  24. Becoming Kirrali Lewis (novel) & The Kite Runner (graphic novel)
  25. Beloved (novel) & Dracula (novel)
  26. Beloved (novel) & Frankenstein (novel)
  27. Beloved (novel) & Icarus Girl (novel)
  28. Beloved (novel) & Uncle Tom’s Cabin (novel)
  29. Beloved (novel) & Unconfessed (novel)
  30. Boy, Snow, Bird (novel) & Americanah (novel)
  31. Boy, Snow, Bird (novel) & Selected short stories of Chinua Achebe (short stories)
  32. Boy, Snow, Bird (novel) & Desdemona (play)
  33. Boy, Snow, Bird (novel) & God Help the Child (novel)
  34. Boy, Snow, Bird (novel) & Kissing the Witch (novel)
  35. Brave New World (novel) & The Crucible (play)
  36. Brave New World (novel) & Never Let Me Go (film)
  37. Brave New World (novel) & V for Vendetta (film)
  38. Briar Rose (novel) & Grave of the Fireflies (film)
  39. Briar Rose (novel) & Lion (film)
  40. Briar Rose (novel) & Night (autobiography)
  41. Briar Rose (novel) & Schindler’s List (film)
  42. Deadline (novel) & Dead Poets Society (film)
  43. Deadline (novel) & The Fault In Our Stars (film)
  44. Deadline (novel) & The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (film)
  45. Deadly, Unna? (novel) & A United Kingdom (film)
  46. Deadly, Unna? (novel) & Hairspray (film)
  47. Deadly, Unna? (novel) & Invictus (film)
  48. Deadly, Unna? (novel) & Remember the Titans (films)
  49. Deadly, Unna? (novel) & Selected episodes of Redfern Now (television series)
  50. El Deafo (graphic novel) & The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (novel)
  51. Etiquette and Espionage (novel) & Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (film)
  52. Exit West (novel) & Romeo and Juliet (play)
  53. Exit West (novel) & The poetry of Selina Nwulu (poetry)
  54. Exit West (novel) & The poetry of Warsan Shire (poetry)
  55. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (novel) & After the Storm (film)
  56. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (novel) & 11’09’01 (collection of short films)
  57. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (novel) & Lion (film)
  58. Face (novel) & The Intouchables (film)
  59. Fahrenheit 451 (novel) & Persepolis (graphic novel or film)
  60. Fahrenheit 451 (novel) & V For Vendetta (film)
  61. For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide / When the Rainbow is Enuf (choreopoem) & When I Hit You (novel)
  62. For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide / When the Rainbow is Enuf (choreopoem) & Mustang (film)
  63. Frankenstein (novel) & Boy, Snow, Bird (novel)
  64. Frankenstein (novel) & Frankenweenie (film)
  65. Frankenstein (novel) & The Iron Giant (film)
  66. Frankenstein (novel) & Metropolis (film)
  67. Frankenstein (novel) & Never Let Me Go (film)
  68. Frankenstein (novel) & The Rocky Horror Picture Show (film)
  69. Frankenstein (novel) & The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (novel)
  70. Girl Rising (film) & Poetry of Maya Angelou (poetry)
  71. Girl Rising (film) & When I Hit You (novel)
  72. Hamlet (play) & A Monster Calls (novel/film)
  73. Hamlet (play) & Nutshell (novel)
  74. Hamlet (play) & The Lion King (film)
  75. Hiroshima (novel) & Grave of the Fireflies (film)
  76. Jasper Jones  (novel) & The Help (film)
  77. Jasper Jones (novel) & To Kill a Mockingbird (film)
  78. King Henry IV, Part I (play) & Selected episodes of House of Cards (television show)
  79. King Henry IV, Part I (play) & Selected episodes of Scandal (television show)
  80. King Richard II (play) & Selected episodes of House of Cards (television show)
  81. Life of Pi (novel) & Castaway (film)
  82. Lord of the Flies (novel) & Where the Wild Things Are (film)
  83. Lord of the Flies (novel) & The Hunger Games (film)
  84. Macbeth (play) & Selected episodes of Designated Survivor (television series)
  85. Macbeth (play) & The Dressmaker (film)
  86. Macbeth (play) & The Gods of Wheat Street (television series)
  87. Macbeth (play) & The Kite Runner (graphic novel, novel or film)
  88. Macbeth (play) & Selected episodes of House of Cards (television series)
  89. Macbeth (play) & Selected episodes of Scandal (television series)
  90. Maus (graphic novel) & A Long Way Gone (memoir)
  91. Maus (graphic novel) & Night (autobiography)
  92. Maus (graphic novel) & Schindler’s List (film)
  93. March (novel) & Little Wome(novel)
  94. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl (novel) & The Fault in Our Stars (film)
  95. Night (autobiography) & A Long Way Gone (memoir)
  96. Night (autobiography) & Beatrice and Virgil (novel)
  97. Night (autobiography) & Girl At War (novel)
  98. Night (autobiography) & Over A Thousand Hills I Walk With You (biography)
  99. Night (autobiography) & Rabbit-Proof Fence (film)
  100. Night (autobiography) & Schindler’s List (film)
  101. Night (autobiography) & The Seven Stages of Grieving (play)
  102. Nineteen Eighty-Four (novel) & Pleasantville (film)
  103. Nona and Me (novel) & Looking for Alibrandi (film)
  104. Nona and Me (novel) & September (film)
  105. Of Mice and Men (novel) & Hunt for the Wilderpeople (film)
  106. Othello (play) & Boy Snow Bird (novel)
  107. Othello (play) & Desdemona (play)
  108. Othello (play) & Gone Girl (film)
  109. Othello (play) & Jasper Jones (novel)
  110. Othello (play) & New Boy (novel)
  111. Othello (play) & Selected episodes of Redfern Now (television series)
  112. Othello (play) & V For Vendetta (film)
  113. Over a Thousand Hills I Walk With You (biography) & Girl At War (novel)
  114. Over A Thousand Hills I Walk With You (biography) & Hotel Rwanda (film)
  115. Over A Thousand Hills I Walk With You (biography) & Lion (film)
  116. Over A Thousand Hills I Walk With You (biography) & Maus (graphic novel)
  117. Over A Thousand Hills I Walk With You (biography) & Night (autobiography)
  118. Over A Thousand Hills I Walk With You (biography) & Schindler’s List (film)
  119. Pride & Prejudice (novel) & Bride and Prejudice (film)
  120. Pride & Prejudice (novel) & Bridget Jones’s Diary (film)
  121. Pride & Prejudice (novel) & Mustang (film)
  122. Pride & Prejudice (novel) & The Wedding Plan (film)
  123. Refugee Boy (novel) & Freedom Writers (film)
  124. Refugee Boy (novel) & The African Doctor (film)
  125. Refugee Boy (novel) & The Arrival (picture book)
  126. Romeo & Juliet (play) & Alex and Eve (film)
  127. Romeo & Juliet (play) & A United Kingdom (film)
  128. Romeo & Juliet (play) & Freedom Writers (film)
  129. Romeo & Juliet (play) & Hairspray (film)
  130. Romeo & Juliet (play) & Meet the Patels (film)
  131. Romeo & Juliet (play) & Mustang (film)
  132. Romeo & Juliet (play) & My Big Fat Greek Wedding (film)
  133. Romeo & Juliet (play) & Tanna (film)
  134. Romeo & Juliet (play) & The Fault in Our Stars (film or novel)
  135. Romeo & Juliet (play) & Titanic (film)
  136. Romeo & Juliet (play) & Viceroy’s House (film)
  137. Romeo & Juliet (play) & West Side Story (film)
  138. Safana and Aunt Sarrinah (play) & Selected episodes of Redfern Now (television show)
  139. Safana and Aunt Sarrinah (play) & The Green Bicycle (novel)
  140. Safana and Aunt Sarrinah (play) & The Kite Runner (novel or graphic novel)
  141. Safana and Aunt Sarrinah (play) & Wadjda (film)
  142. Safana and Aunt Sarrinah (play) & Poetry of Warsan Shire (poetry)
  143. Scattered Lives (play) & Americannah (novel)
  144. Scattered Lives (play) & Freedom Writers (film)
  145. Scattered Lives (play) & Looking for Alibrandi (novel)
  146. Scattered Lives (play) & Poetry of Peter Skrzynecki (poetry)
  147. Scattered Lives (play) & Poetry of Selina Nwulu (poetry)
  148. Scattered Lives (play) & Poetry of Warsan Shire (poetry)
  149. Schindler’s Ark (novel) & Hotel Rwanda (film)
  150. Speak (novel) & For Colored Girls (film)
  151. Speak (novel) & The Lovely Bones (novel)
  152. Speak (novel) & The Scarlet Letter (novel)
  153. Speak (novel) & When I Hit You (novel)
  154. Stargirl (novel) & Wadjda (film)
  155. Station Eleven (novel) & A Midsummer Night’s Dream (play)
  156. Station Eleven (novel) & Hag-Seed (novel)
  157. Station Eleven (novel) & Never Let Me Go (novel or film)
  158. Station Eleven (novel) & The Tempest (play)
  159. Stolen (play) & Rabbit-Proof Fence (film)
  160. Stolen (play) & The Rabbits (picture book)
  161. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian (novel) & Hunt for the Wilderpeople (film)
  162. The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind (memoir) & Queen of Katwe (film)
  163. The Color Purple (novel) & For Colored Girls (film)
  164. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (novel) & Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (film)
  165. The Dreamer (novel) & Billy Elliot (film)
  166. The Drover’s Wife (play) & Selected episodes of Redfern Now (television series)
  167. The Drover’s Wife (play) & ‘The Drover’s Wife’ (short story)
  168. The Drover’s Wife (play) & When I Hit You (novel)
  169. The First Third (novel) & Boy (film)
  170. The Fault in Our Stars (novel) & Me and Earl and the Dying Girl (film)
  171. The Handmaid’s Tale (novel/television series) & Never Let me Go (novel/film)
  172. The Help (novel) & A United Kingdom (film)
  173. The Help (novel) & Remember the Titans (film)
  174. The Help (novel) & The Blindside (film)
  175. The Outsiders (novel) & Hunt for the Wilderpeople (film)
  176. The Outsiders (novel) & Freedom Writers (film)
  177. The Outsiders (novel) & Yolngu Boy (film)
  178. The Rabbits (picture book) & Deadly, Unna? (novel)
  179. The Rabbits (picture book) & Poetry of Oodgeroo Noonuccal (poetry)
  180. The Rabbits (picture book) & Rabbit-Proof Fence (film)
  181. The Real Inspector Hound (play) & Selected episodes of Trapped (television series)
  182. The Real Inspector Hound (play) & And Then There Were None (novel)
  183. The Scarlet Letter (novel) & Easy A (film)
  184. The Skull Beneath the Skin (novel) & The Real Inspector Hound (play)
  185. The Skull Beneath the Skin (novel) & Selected episodes of Trapped (television series)
  186. The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (novel) & The Drover’s Wife (play)
  187. The Street Sweeper by Elliot Perlman (novel) & Freedom Writers (film)
  188. The Story of Edgar Sawtelle (novel) & Hamlet (play or film)
  189. The Kite Runner (novel) & Big Fish (film)
  190. The Kite Runner (novel) & Boy (film)
  191. The Queue (novel) & Animal Farm (novel)
  192. The Queue (novel) & Brave New World (novel)
  193. The Queue (novel) & Fahrenheit 451 (novel/film)
  194. The Queue (novel) & Nineteen Eighty-Four (novel)
  195. The Queue (novel) & Persepolis (film/graphic novel)
  196. ‘The Yellow Wallpaper’ (short story) & Icarus Girl (novel)
  197. To Kill a Mockingbird (novel) & A United Kingdom (film)
  198. To Kill a Mockingbird (novel) & Boy, Snow, Bird (novel)
  199. To Kill a Mockingbird (novel) & Hairspray (film)
  200. To Kill a Mockingbird (novel) & Poetry of Langston Hughes (poetry)
  201. To Kill a Mockingbird (novel) & Jasper Jones (novel)
  202. To Kill a Mockingbird (novel) & Pleasantville (film)
  203. To Kill a Mockingbird (novel) & Remember the Titans (film)
  204. To Kill a Mockingbird (novel) & Selected episodes of Redfern Now (television series)
  205. To Kill a Mockingbird (novel) & The Blindside (film)
  206. To Kill a Mockingbird (novel) & The Hate U Give (novel)
  207. To Kill a Mockingbird (novel) & The Help (film)
  208. To This Day (graphic novel) & Wonder (novel)
  209. To This Day (graphic novel) & Face (novel)
  210. Vernon God Little (novel) & Elephant (film)
  211. Vinegar Girl (novel) & The Taming of the Shrew (play)
  212. Vinegar Girl (novel) & 10 Things I Hate About You (film)
  213. Voices from Chernobyl (non-fiction) & Grave of the Fireflies (film)
  214. War Horse (film) & Poetry of Siegfried Sassoon (poetry)
  215. War Horse (film) & Poetry of Wilfred Owen (poetry)

REVIEW: ‘Anna and the Swallow Man’

8 Mar

There are a number of novels, geared towards young adults, which are written about WWII.  As such, it is tempting to dismiss Anna and the Swallow Man as yet another one these texts.  To do so, however, would be a mistake.

Anna and the Swallow Man tells the story of the relationship between the titular characters.  Anna is a young girl who has been raised by her multi-lingual father.  One day her father is called to the university at which he works.  He does not return.  Anna finds herself alone and scared.

Well, she is alone until the Swallow Man finds her sitting outside Herr Doktor Fuchsmann’s shop.  In German, he asks Anna who she is.  She cannot answer; “she knew there was a version of ‘Anna’ that the Germans used for her, but it felt somehow wrong to say to this stern authority of a man that that word was who she was.  She was, just as much, cold, and hungry, and frightened…”  The man then switches to Polish, asking for whom she is waiting.  Again, Anna cannot answer; “It occurred to her to say that she was waiting for her father, but, in point of fact, she was not so sure of the truth of this anymore…”  Now accustomed to her silence, he tries a question in Russian and, finally, one in Yiddish.  It is the question asked in Yiddish, “Are you all right?” that prompts a flood of tears, not least of all because it “was the one question that, with certainty, she knew the answer to: She was not all right.”  It is in this moment that the destinies of Anna and the Swallow Man become intertwined forever.

Fatherless, Anna follows the Swallow Man out of the city, and the two embark on a journey wherein they attempt to survive the war.  During this journey, the relationship between Swallow Man and Anna develops and changes as each adapt to the other’s company and the realities of the war.

As flagged at the start of this text, languages are significant to the story.  This is apparent not only in the ways that key characters move between languages, but in the way that Swallow Man teaches Anna the language of ‘Road’ as a means of explaining how and why to behave while seeking to survive.

I found this to be a really interesting representation of the WWII experience and would recommend that it be read alongside a range of other texts which present factual and fictional representations of this historical event.

War and gender

6 Mar

In previous years, I have taught a war poetry unit to Year 9.  For various reasons, including the creation of a new scope and sequence, I will not have an opportunity to teach war poetry this year.  Ever hopeful that an opportunity to do so will present itself next year, I still keep and eye out for interesting poems to add to the collection.

While looking for poetry about journeys, I happened upon Juan Felipe Herrera’s poem ‘War Voyeurs‘.  This poem appealed in that it explicitly engaged with the motivations for war.  In this sense, it serves as an interesting counterpoint to the poetry of Jessie Pope in which young men are urged to blindly head into battle.

It also interests me in that it explores war in explicitly gendered terms.  For this reason, it would serve as a good companion (again) to Jessie Pope’s poetry which often depicts the nation as feminine and thus worthy of protection.  However, Herrera’s poem goes further than Pope’s poems in that it seems to condemn the nexus between masculinity and violence more generally.  As such, it serves as a commentary on gender relationships just as much (if not more so) than it offers a scathing criticism of war.

 

REVIEW: Soldier Boy

4 Jan

As part of my holiday reading binge I have also read Anthony Hill’s Soldier Boy.  This text is based on the true story of Australia’s youngest ANZAC, Jim Martin.

The text itself was interesting, charting the experiences and emotions of a boy (pretending to be a man) during war.  Also interesting were the primary sources included in the text.  However, the text often presented as a recount, making it difficult to completely immerse oneself the wartime setting or the perspectives of those mentioned in the texts.

In summary, this text would be an interesting way in to a unit on war poetry or life writing for a junior class.  However, I am not sure I would teach it as a stand alone text in another context.