1. Using the following passage as a model, students will be asked to write about a heavenly place for a girl keeping in mind the mountain of examples which are provided in the example to prove that Uncle John’s farm was indeed “a heavenly place for a boy.”
It was a heavenly place for a boy, that farm of my Uncle John’s. The house was a double log one, with a spacious floor (roofed in) connecting it with the kitchen. In the summer the table was set in the middle of that shady and breezy floor, and the sumptuous meals—well, it makes me cry to think of them. Fried chicken, roast pig; wild and tame turkeys, ducks and geese; venison just killed; squirrels, rabbits, pheasants, partridges, prairiechickens; biscuits, hot batter cakes, hot buckwheat cakes, hot “wheat bread,” hot rolls, hot corn pone; fresh corn boiled on the ear, succotash, butterbeans, string beans, tomatoes, peas, Irish potatoes, sweet potatoes; buttermilk, sweet milk, “crabber”; watermelons, muskmelons, cantaloupes—all fresh from the garden; apple pie, peach pie, pumpkin pie, apple dumplings, peach cobbler—I can’t remember the rest. The way that things were cooked was perhaps the main splendor—particularly a certain few of the dishes. For instance, the corn bread, the hot biscuits and wheat bread, and the fried chicken. These things have never been properly cooked in the North—in fact, no one there is able to learn the art, so far as my experience goes. The North thinks it knows how to make corn bread, but this is mere superstition. Perhaps no bread in the world is quite so good as Southern corn bread, and perhaps no bread in the world is quite so bad as the Northern imitation of it.
_ Mark Twain
2. Using a poem of their choice, students will be asked to write a few stanzas in the same meter and tone. Light verse concerning an amusing idea expressed in an offhand manner provides the best model. Examples are as follows:
By Paul Laurence Dunbar
I know what the caged bird feels, alas!
When the sun is bright on the upland slopes;
When the wind stirs soft through the springing grass,
And the river flows like a stream of glass;
When the first bird sings and the first bud opes,
And the faint perfume from its chalice steals—
I know what the caged bird feels!
I know why the caged bird beats his wing
Till its blood is red on the cruel bars;
For he must fly back to his perch and cling
When he fain would be on the bough a swing;
And a pain still throbs in the old, old scars
And they pulse again with a keener sting—
I know why he beats his wing!
I know why the caged bird sings, ah me,
When his wing is bruised and his bosom sore,—
When he beats his bars and he would be free; I
Its not a carol of joy or glee,
But a prayer that he sends from his heart’s deep core,
But a plea, that upward to Heaven he flings—
I know why the caged bird sings!
By Langston Hughes
I play it cool
And dig all jive.
That’s the reason
I stay alive.
As I live and learn
“Dig and Be Dug
Each of the selections for the assignments has been chosen for its ideas, its interests, and its availability. Often the same selection can be used for two or more assignments. I think it is more interesting, however, to vary the reading material.
As was stated earlier, the selection of appropriate reading material is essential to the success of this unit. Knowing your students is the key to selecting appropriate material. Contained in the list of material for classroom use and in the reading list for students is reading material covering a wide range of interest and reading levels.