Update on teaching S1 Lit and S2 English.
S1 Lit finished Animal Farm and we even rented the movie for the whole grade and played it one night in the main hall. I think I achieved hero status among the S1s for that move. Discussions ranged from how do dictators function, why people are afraid to revolt for good reasons, all the way up to corruption in current Ugandan politics. These are some sharp 8th graders.
Now teaching Oliver Twist. Great book to investigate poverty. At the moment we are teaching the four-level theory of poverty ( poverty of God, friends, self, and materials. source: When helping hurts.) For example, Oliver is poor materially, which is obvious. He has no good clothes or money. This is the level that most people see, and one mistake the whole world makes is thinking that by giving these material goods to the poor that their poverty will be solved. No. It’s the other three that usually cause the material. Poverty of God means no one raised him with any sort of religion or explanation of the universe or his purpose in it. Poverty of friends: he has none and therefore lacks social and emotional skills. Poverty of self: never attempted skills or school and therefore will fail to develop self esteem and be limited to working class mentality. The kids are getting it!
S2 English: fun with grammar? not really. But we do have writing contests which the boys seem to enjoy. We’ll post a topic on the board or a format requirement. Then they have 15 minutes to write the most convincing or most entertaining piece fitting the requirements. The ones who think they have something good wave me down. After I review and approve, I select the three best to read outloud anonymously. Then the boys vote for their favorite. But otherwise, to be honest, this class is limiting since the curriculum is all set to go page by page through the grammar book.