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Book/Work not taught.Is there a novel/poem/play you really like to teach, but haven't...

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timbrady | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted August 5, 2008 at 6:25 PM via web

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Book/Work not taught.

Is there a novel/poem/play you really like to teach, but haven't in recent/many years?  Is there a work you always wanted to teach but haven't?  Why?

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kwoo1213 | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator

Posted August 6, 2008 at 10:02 AM (Answer #2)

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I've not taught Othello in several years. In the past 4 years, I've taught A Midsummer Night's Dream instead.  I taught Othello for nearly 6 years and wanted to do a comedy instead.  I got a little wary of the tragedies and wanted to teach something lighter!  

There are several modern plays (too many to name) that I've wanted to teach, but haven't had the time to do so with everything else I have to squeeze into a semester! 

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linda-allen | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted August 6, 2008 at 1:44 PM (Answer #3)

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I love British literature. In fact, in college I specialized in medieval literature, particularly Chaucer. But I have never had the chance to teach it!!! I teach soph. English, and I'm stuck with Julius Caesar! I also would like to teach a class in sci fi/fantasy lit., but that would never go over well in my district.

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pmiranda2857 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted August 8, 2008 at 3:55 AM (Answer #4)

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I love British literature. In fact, in college I specialized in medieval literature, particularly Chaucer. But I have never had the chance to teach it!!! I teach soph. English, and I'm stuck with Julius Caesar! I also would like to teach a class in sci fi/fantasy lit., but that would never go over well in my district.

I love Sci Fi, and taught The Time Machine this past year for the first time in this school.  It was a wonderful experience for me, and I think the students really loved it.  We discussed the concept of technology going too far and H.G. Wells ideas on the state of human society and where its going.  I had the 11th grade time travel, which incorporated stopping at 7 places in history and writing a first hand account of what they saw.  The project was a success.  The students also enjoyed watching both film versions of the book.  I love this stuff, so I have just as much passion for Sci Fi as Shakespeare!

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engtchr5 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

Posted August 8, 2008 at 5:56 AM (Answer #5)

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In reply to #3 and #4: I really like the works of Isaac Asimov, and this year, I was able to integrate a sci-fi unit using his works and the movie "I, Robot." You may know that the movie was based upon Asimov's short stories, and the comparison and contrast possibilities were endless.

Previously, though, such movies were too controversial for a typical school setting (there is brief partial nudity and some mild language in I, Robot). I'd like to do it again in the coming school year, but with a new administration, we'll just have to wait and see.  

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sullymonster | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted August 12, 2008 at 6:24 AM (Answer #6)

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Les Miserables!  I have taught this book numerous times to high school students at various levels of reading ability, and it has always been a hit (I do use an abridged version!!  and we do a lot of in-class reading).  Students really enjoy reading about these characters who seem trapped by society, and relate closely to the themes.  Unfortunately, our curriculum has really  buttoned down, and I don't have the freedom I once did..... so no Les Mis, at least for the time being.

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amy-lepore | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted August 16, 2008 at 6:20 AM (Answer #7)

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I would love to teach a unit of Stephen King's short stories.  I may just find time and space in my sophomore classes to do just that...so many of them say they hate to read (that breaks my heart), but I think if I can just get them interested...the hook will be deeply imbedded and they'll read forever.  :)

I love to teach Alas! Babylon to my 10th graders, but like Linda, my love lies with British Literature.  Among my faves there are Frankenstein, The Picture of Dorian Gray, The Importance of Being Ernest, Beowulf, and Shakespearian sonnets. 

 

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parkerlee | Teacher | (Level 2) Educator

Posted August 16, 2008 at 8:56 AM (Answer #8)

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I could really get into Peter Shaffer's "Amadeus" as the plot is so intriguing along with some great themes to sink your teeth into, but I hesitate because of some of the bawdiness in both the playscript and film version. As I teach in a religious school, I am afraid of a conservative whiplash of sorts if I dare try!

In this light, a few years ago parents complained when the school (this time a public high school!) sent all the students to the movies to see "The Pianist." One father complained that his daughter was traumatized at the "harsh reality" of the Warsaw Jewish ghetto and the Holocaust in general; to top it all, this guy was a lawyer!

What are we going to do next as 'educators' - 'rewrite' history?

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ned34 | High School Teacher | eNoter

Posted October 3, 2008 at 9:47 AM (Answer #9)

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I would love to teach a unit of Stephen King's short stories.  I may just find time and space in my sophomore classes to do just that...so many of them say they hate to read (that breaks my heart), but I think if I can just get them interested...the hook will be deeply imbedded and they'll read forever.  :)

I love to teach Alas! Babylon to my 10th graders, but like Linda, my love lies with British Literature.  Among my faves there are Frankenstein, The Picture of Dorian Gray, The Importance of Being Ernest, Beowulf, and Shakespearian sonnets. 

 

I just finished Stephen Kings teleplay "Sorry Right Number"  my SEBD students really enjoyed it.

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kasecor | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Adjunct Educator

Posted October 24, 2008 at 5:01 PM (Answer #10)

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I taught Beowulf when I was student teaching, and it was amazing!  I have not been able to teach it since then, because it is not on the curriculum for my school.  If I ever get 11th graders again, I think I will request it to be added!  A lot of people seem to think that the kids won't want to read it, but I haven't been out of school that long (3+ years) and the kids I had in ST loved it.  It's all in how you teach something!

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slauritzen | High School Teacher | Honors

Posted October 27, 2008 at 2:30 PM (Answer #11)

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We teach Brit Lit for seniors, and it has always included Beowulf. It is even excerpted in our anthology. As the first piece of English literature and arguably the archetype for many future heroes, students should not graduate high school without being familiar with it. Besides that it can show the differences between Greek and English epics, the guys in particular enjoy it and often forget it is actually poetry. There are also great tools about SAT words that come from Beowulf.
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donnach | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted October 27, 2008 at 2:50 PM (Answer #12)

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We teach Brit Lit for seniors, and it has always included Beowulf. It is even excerpted in our anthology. As the first piece of English literature and arguably the archetype for many future heroes, students should not graduate high school without being familiar with it. Besides that it can show the differences between Greek and English epics, the guys in particular enjoy it and often forget it is actually poetry. There are also great tools about SAT words that come from Beowulf.

What do you mean "excerpted in our anthology"?  Your school has an anthology that you work from?

 

Thanks,

 

Donna

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clwielenga | Middle School Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted October 27, 2008 at 4:58 PM (Answer #13)

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I agree and to add to that....many of the great literary works of art are being left out.  They add enrichment to students' vocabulary and minds. 

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ladyvols1 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted October 27, 2008 at 8:15 PM (Answer #14)

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I would love to teach Kindred by Octavia Butler.  It is listed on our summer reading list for college prep, but I can't get permission to teach it in class because of the subject matter.  The powers that be think it would be too controversial for this area of the country.  I think it is a powerful novel and I could really do a lot with it.  Butler wrote a great deal, but little of it could be adapted for the classroom.  Kindred would be enjoyable for the guys and the girls.  The time travel, the theme of slavery, and the love hate relationship between Dana and Rufus are excellent themes.

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slauritzen | High School Teacher | Honors

Posted October 28, 2008 at 9:15 AM (Answer #15)

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We teach Brit Lit for seniors, and it has always included Beowulf. It is even excerpted in our anthology. As the first piece of English literature and arguably the archetype for many future heroes, students should not graduate high school without being familiar with it. Besides that it can show the differences between Greek and English epics, the guys in particular enjoy it and often forget it is actually poetry. There are also great tools about SAT words that come from Beowulf.

What do you mean "excerpted in our anthology"?  Your school has an anthology that you work from?

 

Thanks,

 

Donna

It's in our textbook which is Holt Elements of Literature.  It has most of the first third, but only a couple of pages on Grendel's mother and the dragon.  But I use almost the entire Raffel translation. 

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donnach | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted October 28, 2008 at 7:01 PM (Answer #16)

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We teach Brit Lit for seniors, and it has always included Beowulf. It is even excerpted in our anthology. As the first piece of English literature and arguably the archetype for many future heroes, students should not graduate high school without being familiar with it. Besides that it can show the differences between Greek and English epics, the guys in particular enjoy it and often forget it is actually poetry. There are also great tools about SAT words that come from Beowulf.

What do you mean "excerpted in our anthology"?  Your school has an anthology that you work from?

 

Thanks,

 

Donna

It's in our textbook which is Holt Elements of Literature.  It has most of the first third, but only a couple of pages on Grendel's mother and the dragon.  But I use almost the entire Raffel translation. 

I see, the good ol' Holt Elements of Literature book. 

 

Thanks for answering my question!

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linda-allen | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted October 28, 2008 at 8:11 PM (Answer #17)

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Can't help commenting: I hate the Holt textbook, especially the 10th grade edition. With the exception of Antigone and Julius Caesar, that book is worthless.

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morrol | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

Posted October 29, 2008 at 10:19 AM (Answer #18)

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I would love to teach Ulysses. Unfortunately, I've not had an AP class up to the challenge yet. It is also so long that I am loathe to assign it to any class. I slake my constant thirst for James Joyce by teaching stories from the Dubliners instead.

I would also love to teach Dorian Gray, but haven't been able to yet.

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ms-mcgregor | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted October 31, 2008 at 8:03 PM (Answer #20)

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In reply to #17:
Thanks for Post 17. Six years ago, our district purchased the entire Holt curriculum from the seventh to the twelfth grade. It was supposed to help teach standards and eliminate the need to teach novels. Many of our younger teacher stopped teaching novels altogether. Even one of our pre-AP teachers said novels were unnecessary because on the California Standards tests students only responded to short passages. I have been appalled and since I teach AP Literature, it's very difficult to have students read all the novels they need. Our school's scores on the test did improve but our standing in our district went from number one to number three. I can't help think that it was because students are not getting the depth they need by studying longer works of fiction and non-fiction.
You also indicated that your version of Holt has "Antigone". Our version ( Literature and Language) has only Julius Caesar. I had to use "Antigone" from an older text. Students loved making masks and presenting the play to each other. They wrote their lines on the back of the masks they made and then used sheets and other toy items for the rest of their costumes. Thanks for your views on Holt; I couldn't agree more.
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ms-mcgregor | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted October 31, 2008 at 8:09 PM (Answer #19)

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I used to teach the novel "Native Son". The version we had was the one originally published. A few years ago, publishers decided that they should print the book with the parts Wright was asked to remove when the book was first published in the 1940's. Although I can see their case for including the entire text that Wright had in mind, the new text contained material that I felt I couldn't include in a high school class. It's too bad, because students loved the book. I wish I knew where to get some of the older versions of the novel.

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jeff-hauge | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

Posted November 3, 2008 at 10:17 AM (Answer #21)

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I would love to teach Angela's Ashes but:

- I don't think i could get through it 3 sections a day every day...

- ... and if I could get through it, i would hate to get inured to its impact.
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hollyboo | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Adjunct Educator

Posted November 10, 2008 at 7:14 PM (Answer #22)

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I am teaching A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier by Ishmael Beah right now to my 9th grade class.  They love it!  I introduced the novel by watching the documentary, Invisible Children.  Both the book and documentary are about child soldiers in parts of Africa-- the movie is set primarily in Uganda, whereas the book is set in Sierra Leone.  My students were appalled that these atrocities are going on in our world, and even more so that no one had taught them about it.

In North Carolina, our standard course of study really stresses personal narrative and memoir fits right into that category.  I would highly recommend it to any teacher.  It also is helping the students become more globally aware, which is a big goal of mine as a teacher.  

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lmetcalf | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted July 17, 2010 at 9:23 AM (Answer #23)

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I used to teach Brit Lit and loved teaching several of The Canturbury Tales.  I really miss that, but don't see any practical value for the AP Literature class.  It would take too much time to do it well. 

I would really like to teach Jonathon Safron Foer's Extremely Loud and Incredibily Close.  I currently offer it for an independent reading assignment, but I love the use of multiple narrators and visuals as a new kind of "text" that adds to the story of the novel.

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