not through the slightest partition
shut out from the law of the stars.
The inner- what is it?
if not the intensified sky,
hurled through with birds and deep
with the winds of homecoming.
– Rilke, via Parker Palmer’s The Courage to Teach
So, I believe this post is about human’s desire to connect and the many and varied ways we fail and succeed to do so, but I found myself winding and weaving through various sources of inspiration I have recently encountered, so bare with me! It will be an interesting and (slightly?) tangential ride. (I hope.)
I recently joined a book club, and due to some procrastination on my part, I went on a three-day reading binge this weekend to finish Delicious Foods by James Hannaham for my first meeting. I am an empathetic reader, so engrossing myself in the world of a book that begins with a teenage boy escaping an unknown but clearly terrifying situation in a car he is trying to drive without his recently dismembered hands was not an easy read.
Susan Turley wanted to do an extended looking lesson for her AP classes focusing on the theme of the “unknown.” To this end, we used the Extended Looking Learning Targets and Reflection and paired them with this image:
After we went through the extended looking process, we immediately transferred the skills to text the next day using the following poem:
From Space to Time
on a day when
we were dark
and not so full of
what did we find?
everything, when we closed
had never been open.
once, we thought we
loved each other
who can reverse
we stepped out
into some new
step of distance
and not in love.
Taken from Poetry Foundation:
Carolyn M. Rodgers, “From Space to Time” from The Heart As Ever Green (Garden City: Anchor Press/Doubleday, 1978).
Copyright © 1978 by Carolyn M. Rodgers.
Here is the worksheet we used to guide through the extended looking process after students had read the poem.
The students began with seven minutes to fill out the “observation” part of the chart. In the seven minutes, they wrote down observations from the poem about the following independently:
- Context (are there stated characters, setting, dialogue, action, audience?)
- Surface features (sentence structure, punctuation, word usage)
- Literary devices (simile, metaphor and imagery)
Afterward, they worked in small groups to come up with their “meaningful connections,” “questions,” “theme statements” and “supporting evidence of theme.”
Susan and I will be reflecting on the learning targets and extended looking process for text later this week.