This week my students will be looking at Words of the Wiser in several short stories. This strategy comes from Notice and Note: Strategies for Close Reading (Beers& Probst, 2013) and is a continuation of the curriculum I have been using with my 8th grade Literature class. Oddly enough, I am finding these strategies helpful in my own reading. I read for pleasure, for knowledge, and to get closer to God. Most often, I read "to know I am not alone." I am indebted to C.S. Lewis for that particular insight. At any rate, having these strategies in my mind as I prepare to teach keeps me looking for them in the material I read. Turns out they are everywhere, these morsels of wisdom, quotable quotes to keep us learning.
Although I am going reluctantly into this world of technology and I have been far more comfortable with sticky notes and chart paper than computers and smart boards, I recognize that my students are not. They need visual images, a little music, and some connections to movies and movement. So, because I am teaching students and not curriculum, I am working to implement video footage and connections to their world into my lessons. This week, I have a video I made on Animoto (I highly recommend this resource) that depicts characters from familiar books and movies and their wise words. That will begin our discussion as I ask the students to make connections to how these wide words lead the characters to change their actions and help us to discern the theme of the story. I have noticed that my students are more likely to understand these new strategies when I begin with digital images and examples, then lead them gently to the text material.
Among the quotes:
'We've all got light and dark inside us. What matters is the part we choose to act on. That's who we really are." Sirius Black to Harry Potter
"Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better, it's not." The Lorax
"Remember who you are." Mufasa to Simba in the Lion King
"The truth has a way of changing your plans. " Insurgent
" Stand up and go; your faith has saved you." Jesus in the Gospel of Luke
Today's gospel from Luke 17 tells the story of the ten lepers. One returned to say thank you to Jesus and Jesus says, "Stand up and go; your faith has saved you." Words of the wiser. Nine times out of ten, we neglect to give thanks for the healing that Jesus bestows on us. We worry, we fret, we are healed. We cry and mourn, we are healed. We feel jealous and small-minded, we are healed. We hunger for everything but righteousness, we are healed. We feel lonely and unloved, we are healed. We scream, "Help me" at the top of our lungs when we don't know what to do and we are healed.
And so, the words of the gospel pierce my stubborn heart and lead me to greater understanding.