Tag Archives: Literature

Classroom Reveal, Part I

Sorry I’ve been so quiet all spring and summer. I’ve been busy — state testing, prom, honor society induction, professional development, graduation, finals, ducks (shoutout to our ag teacher for taking the noisy, destructive little SOBs off my hands), travel, side hustles, curriculum writing, and last but certainly not least, painting an elaborate mural on all four walls of my classroom.

I finally wrapped up the mural on Monday. It was a long process that began last spring, when I wandered into my superintendent’s office and asked how much trouble I’d be in if I painted literary characters all over the walls of my classroom. She basically gave me carte blanche and waited to see what would happen next. About 103 hours of actual work later, this was what I came up with:

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I still have a truffula forest made out of pool noodles and tissue paper to mount on a particle-board stand, a couple of giant IKEA leaves to install near my desk, and a few more strings of fairy lights to hang on not-quite-finished bulletin boards, but I’ll post all that when I do an official classroom reveal in August.

My goal with this project is to remind my kids of how they felt about reading when they were little — back when they were exploring the Hundred Acre Wood and having wild rumpuses and sneaking through Hogwarts under an Invisibility Cloak instead of being assigned a million pages of stuff they didn’t really care about. I want to recapture some of that joy and maybe get them excited about reading again. We’ll see how it goes.


P.S.: In case you’re interested, here’s an update showing the finished room.

Weekly Lit Meme: Setting

This week’s meme:

If you could travel to any five literary locations — real or fictional — where would they be, and why?

Here are mine:

5. Yoknapatawpha County, Mississippi. Based in large part on Oxford and the surrounding areas, Faulkner’s fictional world has been my second home since Dr. Howell assigned Light in August in his novel class my sophomore year of college.

4. The Phantom’s lair. Seven levels below the Paris Opera House, hidden from the rest of the world, singing scales with the most amazing voice teacher in all of literature? Yes, please!

3. Where the Wild Things Are. Let the wild rumpus start!

2. The Street of the Lifted Lorax. I used to beg my parents to take me for walks when I was a kid. I never told them this, but I was always secretly hoping we’d walk far enough to find “the far end of town, where the grickle-grass grows.” I still want that truffula seed….

1. Klickitat Street. And I want to go stomping down the sidewalk on tin-can stilts with my little sister.

Where would you like to go? Post your five as a comment, or just borrow this meme for your own blog and link back here so I can see your trackback.


Literary meme night

I normally spend part of my Sunday evening posting lesson plans on my classroom blog. My lesson plans often include quick writing prompts for my sophomores, and it occurred to me this evening that I might as well toss one of those prompts out into cyberspace as a meme for other bloggers to use as fodder when they get stuck and need an idea.

Here are the rules: I’ll post your Weekly Lit Meme — along with my own response — sometime late Sunday evening or early Monday morning. If you use the meme, please post a comment and/or link back to it so others can see what you came up with (and so we can cross-promote each other’s blogs a little bit).

And now, without further ado, I present the first-ever Red Fork State of Mind Weekly Lit Meme:

All things being single, if you could date any five literary characters, who would they be, and why?

Literature is full of amazing, unconventionally attractive heroes, and some of them probably had a lot to do with my decision to major in English. Here are the ones who dazzled me the most, in descending order of hotness:

5. Hamlet. Paranoid, depressed, unstable, prone to irrational violence, possibly suffering from a creeptastic Oedipus complex … but Kenneth Branagh’s version came out when I was in college, and I promptly fell head-over-heels for the guy, despite his numerous issues. (The link goes to a YouTube video of Branagh’s mind-blowing delivery of the soliloquy from Act III, Scene I.)
4. Rhett Butler from Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With the Wind. Widely regarded as the gold standard for hotness in American literature, and with good reason.
3. Heathcliff from Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights. I must confess: It’s been nearly 15 years since I read the book, and I’m a bit fuzzy on the details … but I specifically remember reading it in college and thinking, “Damn, he’s hot.”
2. Atticus Finch from Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird. Intelligence is hot. Integrity is even hotter. And that man had both in spades. *Swoon*
1. Erik from Gaston Leroux’s The Phantom of the Opera. Many things puzzled me when I was a teenager, but the one that puzzled me most was Christine Daae’s rejection of the Phantom. What kind of girl would choose a prissy little fop like Raoul de Chagny over a dark, mysterious badass who sings like Michael Crawford? I was terribly overcommitted at the time, and the idea of being kidnapped (and thus relieved of all my responsibilities) by a strangely seductive man who wanted nothing more than to marry me and spend the rest of my life giving me voice lessons seemed very appealing.

Who are your favorites?