978-793-1553 fitz@johnfitz.com

We are, as they say, almost halfway…and almost to the mid-year…

And when reading The Odyssey, that means we have almost reached the beginning of Odysseus’s sweet revenge on the suitors that “plague his household.”

But before we get there, we are going to take a break and reflect on what you have read, experienced, thought and learned from reading The Odyssey so far. To call it an essay doesn’t feel quite right. There are far too many negative connotations surrounding the word essay. “Read my essay!” is not something most of you are excited to hear. Even writing an essay sometimes feels like you are being asked to build a castle out of dry sand on a stoney beach. You are usually “told” to write essays. Writing an essay is probably not the first thing that comes to your mind when on vacation.

But maybe it should be. Maybe writing an essay can be one of the coolest and most satisfying experiences you will ever have. I mean how cool is it that you can use the simplest of human tools–your mind and your pen (albeit a metaphorical pen) to create a castle that will stand beside the shore of your life long after you have joined Odysseus in Book XI.

I am not asking you to write about anything you do not already know well.  I am only asking that you to take an experience and present it in the best and most compelling way possible.

The long and short of all this is that we will spend the next couple of weeks working on creating a symphony (essay) that you present as a printed publication, a digital portfolio, and as a narrated video. 

I will give you a detailed rubric to help guide you through each stage of the process.

Stage one will be to collate, curate and present your Odyssey writings as a “portfolio” on your weebly site. I will guide you through this in class. 

Stage Two will consist of a Harkness discussion that explores the major themes of The Odyssey Books 1-12

Stage Three will be to write a five paragraph literary analysis essay that explores a major theme of The Odyssey so far.

Stage Four: Will be to create a video that tells your story of reading The Odyssey. I will give you a rubric and guide you through each stage of this process. It .will be easier than you think.

This symphony of projects “is” your mid-year exam. The exam time will be spent reading, viewing, and commenting on your classmates portfolios–and then writing a metacognition of the entire experience.

Homework: Read Book 12

We will start the symphony tomorrow (Wednesday)!