Week 4

This week we began our discussed on Helen Keller’s autobiography, “The Story of My Life”. Keller wrote this book when she was only 21 years old.

 

Discussion Questions:

Do you know anyone who is visually impaired or deaf? It is estimated that nearly 100,000 people in the United States are currently both blind and deaf.

How can the world today adjust to those who cannot see or hear? Dublin recently put in cross walks that “chirp” when it is time to cross, to help those who are visually impaired.

How does Helen Keller’s high school experience compare to yours?

What do you think was the purpose and message of “The Story of My Life”.

Were you surprised by the positive tone of Keller’s autobiography?

 

We played “Pictionary”, where the person who drew the object was blindfolded. While more difficult, all of the students were able to visualize and draw their object accurately enough for their team to guess. For our writing assignment, Students chose whether they would “rather” be blind or deaf, and then explained the challenges and benefits they would face.

 

Week 3

Week 3 we continued to discuss “The Time Machine” due to Week 2’s cancellation. We watched excerpts from the 1960’s film version of “The Time Machine”. While currently outdated, it’s amusing to watch, and the CML library system has several copies!

Discussion Questions:

1) As an author what do you think of H.G. Wells? Does his style appeal to you, or did you find the book lacking?

2) Why do you think that after 120 years, “The Time Traveler” remains highly read? What appealed to his audience back then, and what about this book appeals to us now?

3) Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

4) Why do you think that Wells wrote such an ambiguous ending?

5) Do you agree with Wells that fiction is a good way to introduce new concepts to the public? How can this be used for good and for bad?

6) What would have happened if the Time Traveler ran into the Morlocks first?

7) The Time Traveler is sympathetic to the Eloi. Why do you think this is, especially for a scientific man (who you would assume would root for the strongest)?

Writing Exercises:

1) Write about what you think happened to the Time Traveler after the epilogue.

2) In Chapter 8, the Time Traveler goes into a museum. Some objects he recognizes, others he doesn’t. Take an object you know about, and see what the Time Traveler makes of it. (Smart phones, xboxes, modern art, etc).

 

 

Looking forward to discussing “The Story of My Life” next week!

Week 1 (Spring Semester)

And… we’re back!

We are beginning by reading “The Time Machine” by H.G. Wells. Wells is cited as being the “father of science fiction”. Decades ahead of his time, his scientific theories about a fourth dimension were ridiculed in the scientific world. Wells then introduced his ideas in fiction and created a new genre: Science Fiction! Wells also wrote “War of the Worlds”, and “The Invisible Man”.

We discussed the following questions:

1) Do you think that we can learn more from the past or the future? Do they teach us different things?

2) This book was written more than 100 years ago, does it still stand up to modern science fiction?

3) Is the science in “The Time Machine” still applicable today, or do you think Well’s books are flawed by today’s discoveries?

4) Looking ahead, what do you think Wells is trying to prove about humanity and the future?

5) Why do you think “The Time Machine” was not written from the point of view of the Time Traveler? (Instead, it is written by the Time Traveler’s friend…)

6) Why do you think so many names were “x’d” out during the beginning of the novel, as if to protect the persons identity? Does this add to the style of the book?

7) The Time Traveler sees the Eloi, and that they are similar physically. He suggests that perhaps since society is no longer a militant society, the institution of family is no longer needed. Do you agree? Will families always be needed?

Writing Activities:

1) If you could time travel to one place, where would you go? Past or future? Write about you would hope to see, whether it as in the future of the past?

2) If you could change 3 things about the world today to create a better future, what would they be?

Spring Semester Essay #1

Essay #1 (Spring Semester)

 

You may either write your essay on “The Time Machine” by H.G. Wells, or “The Story of My Life” by Helen Keller. This is a response essay, where you create and defend/explain your opinion on the chosen text. We worked on this type of essay last semester, and everyone did a great job! If you have any questions about thesis statements, MLA formatting, or In-Text citations, look below to previous posts, or email/text me. Good luck!

 

MLA Formatting

Works Cited Page

In-Texts Citations

Minimum of 2 pages

Minimum of 2 sources (one source may be the book you choose to write about)

Thesis Statement

 

If unsure of a topic, consider discussing why these books are important to read today (or on the flip side, irrelevant). You could discuss what you believe H.G. Wells was trying to prove about the human condition, or how Helen Keller’s autobiography has impacted the world.

 

hyperbolememe

Weeks 13, 14, and 15

These last few weeks we have finished reading Dickens “A Christmas Carol”, completed Essay 3, and watched Disney’s “A Christmas Carol”.

“A Christmas Carol” is certainly one of the most famous Christmas tales, and one of the most popular novels of all time. All of the students in class had watched at least one version of “A Christmas Carol”, including (but not limited to): Looney Tunes, Doctor Who, Muppets, Mickey Mouse, Mister Magoo, Flintstones, Sesame Street, and Smurfs. We decided to watch one of the newest versions of “A Christmas Carol”, the Disney film starring Jim Carrey.

We discussed the following questions:

1) Why do you think the story is so famous?

2) What part does religion play in this book? Do you think this book would be more or less famous if Dickens took a stronger stance on religion?

3) Do you think the characters are well developed, and that Scrooge’s transformation is believable?

4) Do you dislike Scrooge in this book? If not, how does Dickens make you “like” him? (I.e. humor, etc).

5) How is wealth treated in the story? Does Dickens condemn wealth as corrupt, or does he offer a more complex view?

6) How do you think this story is best told? Through books, movies, plays, etc…

7) What do you think would happen in this story if Scrooge was poor instead of wealthy?

8) Would that outcome of “A Christmas Carol” be the same if Scrooge did not see his grave?

 

Writing Activities:

1) Pretend that you are a journalist and have to interview Scrooge. How would he answer before his transformation is complete?

2) Write a scene where you are visited from the ghost of Christmas Past. What would be your reaction? What would you ask? Is there a scene from your past that you would want to see again?

3) Re-Write a classic Christmas song as Scrooge would want it. (The responses to these were hilarious!)

4) Which ghost would you rather receive a visit from? Why?

 

The Time Machine and H.G. Wells

Below are some resources for “The Time Machine” by H.G. Wells.

 

H.G. Wells Biography: http://www.egs.edu/library/herbert-george-wells/biography/

 

“The Prophets of Science Fiction” is a series about H.G. Wells. The section specific to “The Time Machine” begins at 11.20 in Part 1.

 

A 3 minute video explains the many theories of time travel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FflcA85zcOM

 

Another Youtube video on H.G. Well’s life. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Xu8qfxsGL0

 

A simple quiz on “The Time Machine”: http://www.funtrivia.com/playquiz/quiz34851400570.html