We have finished Esperanza Rising! And with this accomplishment we took some time to reflect on what this story means to us. We created some interesting projects to show off our hard work with this novel. We focused on theme and central ideas of the book, those ideas that go beyond what we saw and read; those symbols, metaphors, and what it all means to us as a people.
Yeah, deep stuff.
But that's what we do in Language Arts. We take that surface information, Esperanza's situation--her journey to America, the hardships she faces--and dig deeper into what it really means. And I think we have found a good place to be with this work. We just started out this year and we are quickly working through these elements of literature, the world around us, of life. A big theme from this book? Something you will get to know well throughout your life... Change!
We will be starting this next week with a lot of change. New classes and schedules for most of you is just part of it. Much like Esperanza, we are in the early stages of change that will follow us this whole year and beyond. And change can be scary. It's not easy to start something new. We stumble. We mess up. We fail. But we also learn. We stand up and power through, stumble some more, and make the work we do mean something by the journey we take in creating it.
So, you don't have to be ready for change, but you can handle it.
Patience... patience... patience...
We have a hard time getting through some of the material now and again. Whether it be distractions, life getting in the way, understanding what is being asked, or even just trying to stay focused, there are many reasons to why we just can't get through what we have planned for the week. But, just like Esperanza is beginning to see her situation through new eyes, we can do the same.
We have tough work ahead of us. It is not easy to look at something that seems so straightforward and to take it apart to see something new; something that we never thought of in the first place. I'm talking about analyzing this story and finding the real life in it. Those connections to us, to our struggles, to our victories, to our families, our friends, our lives... How do we see that in this novel? It is difficult. So, we've slowed down a little bit. We are saving the final chapters for next week, and giving us time in class to make sense of the story as a whole. And I think this has helped us actually work more efficiently.
We have almost finished Esperanza Rising and will be doing a couple more discussions on our thoughts and beginning our projects next week. I'm giving you this time to make sure we all have a chance to truly understand this novel, and more importantly understanding what we can do to make these inferences in real life. Because this is all about real life.
I've said it a few times before, but really this book doesn't matter... in the grand scheme of things, at least. Ten years from now it's not important if you know what a potato could symbolically represent in this novel. But it does matter that we are able to see these possibilities in the world around us. We need to be able to look into something at a deeper level, and think about the not so obvious truth laying beneath everything around us.
So we slow down... take in the moment... and figure it out at our own pace... Right Now!
This is where you can check and see a brief overview of what we have done as a class each week. My intention is to keep this up to date with happenings, assignments, trends, previews of the following week, and anything else that needs to be shared with my students and their families. I may not always get something written each week, but I will do my best to be disciplined in keeping you informed.