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A different kind of help

Hey, folks. I'm in the process of making lesson plans for my summer course. I want it to be lots of fun for my kids, which will mean keeping them engaged in class since I KNOW I won't get them to do a lot of homework during this 8-week course. So I'm concentrating on lots of in-class activities. So, keeping in mind that this is the pre-English 101 class I teach, considered remedial level...

Does anyone have any favorite essays or articles, ones that are universal in themes, or should be, that they would like to recommend?

Any particular poems you like, whether you're a poet or not, that are accessible to folks who may know nothing of poetry except (ahem) Eminem or Lady Gaga? Is there a piece of artwork you think is discussion worthy? A film (appropriate for class discussion) that we could watch (over the period of a few days; can't watch all in one shot... not allowed!)?

What grammar errors do you see consistently in your daily life, in work or in print, that I should work on to keep these kids from making the same mistakes?

If you can think of any of these things, or something else that you think might be a good idea for a course titled "Reading and Writing 2," again, a prerequisite to English 101 for kids who didn't pass the entrance exam, please share with me. I'd very much appreciate it.

PS: No pressure; if you can't think of anything for me, if you don't have time, or if you're not interested, thank you anyway.



( 7 comments — leave a comment )
Jun. 4th, 2009 10:27 pm (UTC)
Oh man - school them on words that sound the same but are spelled differenty and have different meanings: your & you're; to, too, & two, etc. Those make me inSAAAAAAANE!!!! Also, proper use of apostrohes and quotation marks. These are little things that make folks who misuse them look stoopid.

Also, tell them not to spell "stupid" wrong.
Jun. 4th, 2009 11:38 pm (UTC)
I will think on this and try to send you some stuff tomorrow...
Jun. 5th, 2009 02:28 am (UTC)
My friend, Andrea, just finished teaching a class to daycare assistants. The 3 less than stellar reviews of her teaching style all suggested that she provide a snack. I'm not kidding.

On a more helpful note, what if you discussed Theodor Geisel?
Wiki's article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Cat_in_the_Hat is very informative, especially the history section.

I'm guessing that many of these people have young kids and you could impress on them the importance of reading at an early age. AND, as a lead-in, maybe announce a 5 point bonus for the day for anyone wearing a silly hat.
Jun. 5th, 2009 02:42 am (UTC)
You asked ;-)
Pretty much anything from the McSweeny compendiums ;-)
Film - "The Red Ballon"
"All Summer in a Day" - Ray Bradbury
"Your Dog Dies" by Raymond Carver
"Dear Joanna" an essay in "Living by the Word" by Alice Walker
"One’s-Self I Sing" by Walt Whitman and also from Whitman's "Leaves of Grass"
- "4
I have perceiv'd that to be with those I like is enough,
To stop in company with the rest at evening is enough,
To be surrounded by beautiful, curious, breathing, laughing flesh is enough,
To pass among them or touch any one, or rest my arm ever so lightly
round his or her neck for a moment, what is this then?
I do not ask any more delight, I swim in it as in a sea.

There is something in staying close to men and women and looking
on them, and in the contact and odor of them, that pleases the soul well,
All things please the soul, but these please the soul well."

I had this painted as a chair rail in my LA apartment. Probably my favorite poem of all time.
Jun. 5th, 2009 10:20 am (UTC)
I've had surprising luck getting non-readers to read the Archie & Mehitabel poems (poet's name escapes me ATM) especially after talking through the concept of him being a cockroach and her a cat -- and b/c there are no caps and no punctuation, it allowed me to explain the value of punctuation and how it makes comprehension easier, which was an a-ha moment for some folks...this was for literacy volunteers, so I don't know if it's appropriate for your setting.
Jun. 5th, 2009 12:45 pm (UTC)
I like that idea. I already have a lesson planned for the students to punctuate "empty" sentences.
Jun. 5th, 2009 06:00 pm (UTC)
Well you can use some of mine, even though their not very long, if u like.
( 7 comments — leave a comment )