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Messages - isabellecavazos

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The Hobbit stuff / Creating a Riddle-Poem!
« on: May 04, 2020, 10:29:59 PM »
This page explains the historical context of riddles and Tolkien's poetic influences in creating them, as well as their form in The Hobbit with attention to their use of alliteration and end rhyme. This resource also goes in depth on application of poetic devices such as prosody and meter, as well as how their use has changed over time.

This guide could be used to facilitate students' interpretation of the riddles in the text or to provide a basic structure inspired by those in The Hobbit to create their own riddles. A class incorporating riddles could be focused on modeling riddles for the same purpose they are used in the text (e.g., interacting through riddles between Bilbo and Gollum or Smaug), or students can engage in a riddle-writing competition to create the most clever riddle.

Some helpful steps for writing a riddle include:
  • Pick a subject.
  • Imagine the subject speaking to you.
  • If that doesn't work, analogize the subject to a body or creature.
  • Adjust the description to the level of difficulty you want."

Creative Writing / Creating a Class Magazine
« on: May 04, 2020, 10:02:59 PM »
This resource from the British Council outlines the creation of a class magazine, with individual sections created by students and later compiled. Instructors are recommended to bring in various magazines for learners to review and brainstorm the potential sections they would like to include in theirs (sections could include general interest articles, advice columns, horoscopes, interviews, music reviews, etc.). Students are then delegated to create one of these sections.

This activity allows learners to explore and model genre conventions while focusing on their interests. In the process of creating their content, students can provide peer review and receive ongoing feedback on their sections. Students can also work toward a particular theme in the magazine based on course content or pursue this activity as an exploration for other topics of interest. This activity could also facilitate students' use of multimodal resources by selecting/creating relevant images, as well as create online components of the magazine using website creation tools or blog pages.

Creative Writing / Comics in the Classroom
« on: May 04, 2020, 09:24:12 PM »
This online resource allows learners to create their own comic strips using premade illustrations. It includes a list of potential ways to incorporate comics into the classroom, including practicing new vocabulary, developing conversational skills through writing thought balloons, or creating original narratives.

If used in conjunction with an extensive or intensive reading project, learners can build on the narrative by creating an alternate ending or placing the characters in a new, original situation using the comics as a way of visualizing their narratives. To focus their language use, learners can also be instructed to include new vocabulary or grammatical structure in their dialogue. In an extensive reading project, the comics can also be used periodically and allow learners to illustrate their interpretation of specific settings and characters.

A complete lesson plan with potential activities using comic strips can be found here. As the plan notes, instructors can also provide constraints for learners' comic strip narratives (e.g., use of a specific location, character, or situation) and allow learners to interpret these constraints within their narratives.

Post-Reading Activities:
  • After reading and annotating the article, students could make a list of 2-3 questions they still have. Then, students could research these questions using the hyperlinks within the article itself,'s search, or Google.
  • As one potential pre-reading activity would be to infer meanings of a list of vocabulary items students may not know (e.g., supernova, merger, white dwarf), students could then return to these items and define them based on the context provided in the article after reading. This would help activate students' schema on the topic prior to reading and allow them to confirm their inferences using context clues after reading.

The Hobbit stuff / The Hobbit: Genre Analysis (Children's Tale or Fantasy?)
« on: February 05, 2020, 10:32:19 PM »
This piece from Schmeink (2019) discusses the intersection of children's story and fantasy as genres presented in The Hobbit and explores the ways this text (as well as its film adaptation) aligns with and rejects the characteristics of these genres. For instance, some characteristics of texts within the fantasy genre that the article details include:
  • They are a way of enriching the imagination
  • They are a way of experiencing and exploring emotions
  • They are a source of hopes and dreams for changing our world
  • They are a way of escaping, etc. (p. 12)
While reading, learners can analyze these functions in relation to their own experience with the text, or can explore how different genres are portrayed.,-21,802

The Hobbit stuff / Social Justice Writing Prompts for The Hobbit
« on: February 05, 2020, 09:57:14 PM »
This resource provides a useful compilation of writing prompts on a variety of subjects based on The Hobbit (geared toward intermediate-advanced learners), including prompts addressing representations of language variation and social hierarchy and oppression. Below are a few examples that could be used to teach this text in the context of social justice issues:
  • The roles of women in The Shire and beyond (A chance to look at all the women who appear or are just mentioned. What roles do all these women play? Don't forget all the absent mothers, what does their absence suggest, imply or contribute to the story?)
  • Prejudice in Middle-earth (how many kinds of prejudice are there among Elves and Men and others, what forms do they take, and how do they arise? Is Tolkien making a wider observation?)
  • Being overlooked: the roles of servants, squires, heralds and pages in Tolkien's works. (don't forget the ostlers in Bree and Beorn's 'servants' in The Hobbit!)

The Hobbit stuff / Using Runes: History and Fun Writing Prompts
« on: February 05, 2020, 09:54:56 PM »
This resource provides the historical context of the various functions of runes in Northern Europe and provides some fun activity prompts for brainstorming and creating messages using them:
This is an example of an interesting prompt for younger learners that allows students to reflect on each part of the Hobbit's journey:
"Look at the map from The Hobbit: some of the shapes on it look like letters of the alphabet. Mountains look like M, the dragon, or great worm, looks like W. the river looks like a long S, and the trees look like F, but broken and twisted. How many words can you find beginning with each of these letters that will describe each thing or place?"

Descriptive Writing / NY Times Picture Prompts
« on: February 04, 2020, 11:13:34 AM »
This resource provides a number of picture prompts from NY Times' articles meant to provide inspiration for student writing:
These picture prompts include photos, illustrations, and graphics that can be incorporated into creative writing prompts, a daily writing task, practice for making inferences about a narrative, inspire class discussion, or as a supplement to an extensive reading project.

In an article from the NY Times on strategies to include these picture prompts in class, it was recommended to present an image and have students label it with associated vocabulary terms they are familiar with (sample below). This would be a helpful way to activate learners' schema and inquire about unfamiliar terms.

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