Day 1 of summer school down. We’re reading Wilson’s FENCES. Our first paired text was Morrison's “Recitatif.” Tomorrow, it’s the “Bona and Paul” Excerpt from Jean Toomer’s CANE. #pairedtexts #engchat #litchat
Day 2 included a close reading of “Bona and Paul,” followed by theme statements for the story, and a gender-flipped reading of Act One Scene One of FENCES. Two girls read the parts of Troy and Bono and there was much engagement and laughter.
Preliminary Notes from Day 3:

Student to me: Did you pick FENCES or did they tell you to teach it?
Me: No, I picked it. I love teaching it.
Him: You picked a good one.

HIGHEST PRAISE ALWAYS COMES FROM THE KIDS.
I am loving the student interpretations of what the windows represent in this line from “Bona and Paul:”

“Bona is one window. One window, Paul."
"The two windows represent how Bona and Paul both being of color are kept out of “the room” and use the limited “window” they have to see.”

!!!!
“The two windows are a physical representation of the “with/against” language in the story.”

!!!!!
Today’s #pairedtext for FENCES is Roxane Gay’s “I Once Was Miss America.” Students were asked to imagine how Troy Maxson would respond to Gay’s essay. Some answers forthcoming 😉
Here we go with responses to how Troy would react to “I Once Was Miss America:"

I think Troy would respond negatively to "I Once Was Miss America" simply because it wasn't his own experience.
"He probably would relate to her in the sense that they both had dreams they didn't achieve."
"He would react by being mad at the system because he had the "same" experience with his base ball as she did with wanting to be Miss America."
“I feel that Troy would have a negative response to Roxane Gay's essay because his way of thinking is more of self-centered, so he would have zero care for her work."
"He would be infuriated, because of his distaste for the people he blames for not being able to make it in baseball, he would most likely say something along the lines of how spoiled those children who bullied her are."
ok last one promise:

"He would agree because of how he feels about the racial inequality in the world, but at the same time he would be annoyed about how she wants to be popular and be just like the popular kids (white, thin, blue eyes, blonde)."
This #pairedtext was great as a way to do a “sneaky” character analysis. By saying how they think Troy Maxson would respond to Gay’s essay, the kiddos show how well they understand who Troy is. #engchat #aplitchat #litchat
Next up for #pairedtext, current event edition…

Racial inequity in the justice system.

Affluenza Teen: nytimes.com/2018/04/02/us/…
Kiddos will read all four…and write a paragraph of dialogue, as Troy talking to Bono or Rose, responding to the four stories. #pairedtexts #engchat #litchat #teaching for #SocialJustice
Official assignment as posted in Classroom: “Write a paragraph of dialogue as Troy discussing how he feels about all four stories, addressing Bono, Rose, or Cory."
Troy, reacting to the news stories above, as imagined by one of my summer school students: “You know as long as your skin white the law ain’t care what you do.”
"Well of course the Affluenza kid only did 2 years Cory, he’s white and rich what do you expect?"
"You see Cory white people hate us you don't have to do anything serious and they will find a way to lock you up for as long as they can because they don't wanna see us in the streets."
"He could be stealing to survive just like I did when I didn’t have anyone. There is no reason for him to be put in prison for five years."
"Now that! That is an example of how money goes to the wrong people, they let him off because he could fill their pockets!"
"All I did was pull a knife and kill one guy and I got 15 years. This guy kills four and doesn't even get half what I got, all cause he’s white and rich."
Ok that’s it from Friday.
Today’s paired text: Roxane Gay’s tumblr post “My Receipt Was Not Good Enough.” Kiddos had to imagine and write about how Troy would’ve responded to that in his own time, and how he would’ve responded now. #pairedtexts #engchat #litchat
"If Troy and Roxane were together, Troy would be all up in the guy's face while Roxane would be trying to calm Troy down so he doesn't start anything."
Today’s #pairedtexts:

“Ex-Basketball Player” by John Updike
“Mending Wall” by Robert Frost
“Harlem” by Langston Hughes

Then, a matrix of text-to-text connections...
And then imagining how Troy would react to some contemporary music…more info TK.
Alright, here we go.
Students will listen to/watch videos for/read lyrics of:
“Freedom,” by Beyoncé ft. Kendrick Lamar
“The Blacker the Berry” by Kendrick Lamar
“This is America” by Childish Gambino
“Glory” by Common feat. John Legend
Then, they’ll:
1) Write one sentence of dialogue, as Troy, reacting to the song.
2) Describe what Troy’s emotional response would be.
3) Imagine how Troy would explain the songs to Cory and Raynell
4) Explain how the songs show an experience different than Troy's
The final exploration of these #pairedtexts is for them to find another song that would be Troy’s favorite and explain why…and they can’t use the songs I “assigned.”
#pairedtext #engchat #litchat #HipHopEd
Note: I’ve wondered these two weeks why I’ve “found my groove” again with being creative with technology and #pairedtext ideas. What I figured out: TIME.
Summer school sessions are only four hours a day. I have TIME to breathe before and after. TIME to think critically and creatively about what I’m teaching and why...
OH and HUGE thanks to my girl @juliaerin80 for providing feedback on the idea for this Troy and Contemporary Music assignment.
Another important part of this #pairedtext activity. I requested feedback from my students. Told them trying an assignment for the first time makes me nervous as a teacher…and that their feedback will help me make it better.
Happening now: Students are working in a massive Google Doc table to make connections between/among ALL that we’ve read so far (including the music). It’s kind of amazing and fun to watch. Collaboration FTW!! #pairedtexts #engchat #litchat #teaching
This response to the feedback request on the song assignment = my heart bursting.

"it was a new way of connecting things I never thought would make sense together. ( song and a book)"
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