Along with the reading, we discussed in class the personalities of the main characters. My favorite part was trying to figure out the exact personality of Odysseus. He is usually a strong, ethical character (well, except for when he was cheating on Penelope, which seems to have been acceptable in those times), but in Book VIII he taunts the giant Cyclops Polyphemus, after releasing his master plan to save the rest of his crew, and almost gets captured once more. This scene of Odysseus taunting Polyphemus seemed out of place and not of Odysseus’s overall character. But, it was interesting to think about what was driving him to act that way, and to think about times when maybe I act out of character, too.
To put our knowledge of Book VIII to the test our teacher had us write a Thematic Literary Analysis Paragraph. Luckily we have done these types of assignments before, so I was used to using the rubric. What a Thematic Literary Analysis Paragraph is a paragraph that is comprised of eight sections of the paragraph, the One Word Theme, Guiding Quote, Broad Theme, Narrow Theme, One/Two Punch, Smoking Gun, Head and Heart, and Get On or Get Out. Once you fill out the rubric you put all of the categories together and it creates a neat paragraph.
Another part of Unit One was continuing to use Weebly, a site that helps you to create a web page in a small period of time. We expanded on the digital portfolio we’d started as our mid-term exam, and put all of our creative writing, poetry, and other miscellaneous writing pieces such as the Thematic Literary Analysis Paragraph. I struggled with it at first, because of the new technology, but I can honestly say that the results are pretty impressive, especially given how easy it is to use.
We also worked on our grammar skills, such as Comma Rules, and our vocabulary and word roots. So far, we’ve learned Comma Rules 1-5. The Comma Rules have had a huge effect on my writing and sentence structure, and I know that will help me when I’m applying out to other schools next year. The vocab work hopefully will help on my SSATs, which I’m definitely dreading. I don’t like standardized tests. They hurt my brain. Literally.
The word root work was interesting. Several of the first ten are based on Latin, and now I can see how studying Latin will help me. It’s great when a plan comes together.
The only sticky point for me in Unit One has been the collaborative writing on Book IX. We just can’t seem to get it done. Similar to the social networking, it’s also hard to understand how other boys feel about my writing. I know that’s an important part of the learning, but it isn’t always easy.
All in all, Unit One has been a good start to the second half of the year. It’s still hard sometimes to keep up with the work, but the results are pretty pleasing, and I do get the basic flow.