John C. Dimock
English 8, Vermillion Middle School
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Quarter 1, 2018, is going to be based around a reading of The Wednesday Wars by Gary B. Schmidt.
WE WILL NOT BE READING THIS TEXT IN CLASS!
Students will do the reading on their own time. On the specified dates, students will enter the classroom with the reading done and with the assigned journal completed and ready to hand in. Students will also be prepared for a discussion or quiz over all previously assigned material.
- 28 August – Chapter 1, “September”
- 30 August – Chapter 2, “October”
- 4 September – Chapter 3, “November”
- 6 September – Chapter 4, “December”
- 11 September – Chapter 5, “January”
- 13 September – Chapter 6, “February”
- 18 September – Chapter 7, “March”
- 20 September – Chapter 8, “April”
- 25 September – Chapter 9, “May”
- 27 September – Chapter 10, “June”
The chapter journals will be made available in class, but are also linked above for your convenience. These journals are what I would characterize as a “Hufflepuff” assignment because they are intended to allow students an opportunity to show they can work hard and
You’ll notice that this pace asks students to read two chapters per week.
However, books will be handed out 22 August – that’s a full week before the first chapter is due.
Students who get started right away and set aside some time each evening to read at least ten pages are going to find this a reasonable and achievable activity.
But these aren't your only assignments. Students who get off to a slow start or fall behind become overwhelmed very quickly.
If this happens to you, we have options for helping you get back on track, but none of them are easier than starting off on the right foot and keeping pace.
Class Timeline Project:
The novel The Wednesday Wars takes place over the 1967-1968 school year, from September to June, with each chapter being devoted to a single month of that time.
In order to more fully appreciate the historical context, we will collaboratively create a timeline of that period.
The historical context of the novel is a lot more complex than just the “history book” sort of narrative. The characters discuss politics and the Vietnam War, but they also care about their sports heroes; they watch TV and listen to music. All of these weave together and help create the “structures of feeling” or, put another way, communicate to the reader what it was really like to be a young person growing up in that particular time and place.
You will learn about and create a document for no fewer than five historical events. These events should fall within the categories of:
- World History
- American History
- Pop Culture
I also have an optional, sixth category, which I call, “The March of Freedom”.
All of these need some brief clarification:
Sports and Pop Culture are relatively straightforward. Any athletic event can count. Anything in music, television, film, or any other mass media will be fine for pop culture. I will not split hairs about what is or isn’t a significant sporting event or what is or is not popular culture. If the winner of the 1968 Fruit Bowl is important to you, it is fine with me.
Even though the Vietnam War was a major event in both world and American history, it plays such a significant role in the novel that it gets its own category. The events selected here should things that occurred in Vietnam (North or South) during this time.
The other histories, U.S. and World, may relate to the war, but should be things that took places in the United States or elsewhere in the world.
This project is about gaining historical perspective, not about refining categories. Learning about the Siege of Nam Bac is more important than whether you categorized it as part of the Vietnam War or World History.
The final category, which I have called the March of Freedom, is a reflection of just how radical a time 1967- 68 was. People all over the world were attempting to throw off the shackles of oppression, gain civil rights, and make the world a better, more democratic place.
So, while there is nothing in that category that couldn’t just as easily fit with America or World History, this optional section highlights the importance of those struggles here and across the globe.
Every student will find at least one event in each of the five categories.
You will prepare a 3x5 notecard for each of your entries. You will follow the model below:
Very brief description of the event
On the reverse side, you will put an MLA style works-cited entry for the place where you got your information.
At the end of the quarter, you will combine all of the works-cited into one document, an MLA formatted works-cited page.
Each notecard is worth up to 25 points.
The final works cited is worth up to 100 points.
If you choose to do a card for the optional March of Freedom category, you may earn up to 25 additional points.
Once the notecards are checked, they will be put on the timeline outside the classroom.
ONCE AN EVENT IS PLACED ON THE TIMELINE, NO OTHER STUDENT MAY SUBMIT THE SAME EVENT.
So, how should you approach this? Start early. Be first. The longer you wait to do these, the more difficult it is going to be to find quality entries.
In October, you're going to have more work and harder work in all your classes than you'll have in September.
GET STARTED NOW!