Syllabus – Session II
- The Sword in the Stone by T.H. White. This book is often found as a bound series under the title The Once and Future King. This is easily obtained through the library system.
- The Princess Bride by William Goldman. Sometimes the title will include S. Morgenstern’s classic tale of true love and high adventure. That is still the book you want; it’s a sort of story within a story. Easily obtained through the library system.
- No Fear Shakespeare: Hamlet by William Shakespeare. There are many copies in the SWAN library system.
Week One: Come to class having read the first eight chapters of The Sword in the Stone by T.H. White. We will begin work on transformational stories and creative descriptions. Our discussion of the origins of the English language will continue. We will also be focusing on writing essays during Session Two: thesis statements, introductions, body paragraphs, conclusions. Read the next eight chapters of the book for week two.
Week Two: We will discuss the second third of The Sword in the Stone. Continue work on the transformation stories. We will continue studying English language origins and essay writing. Finish reading the book.
Week Three: Final discussion of TSITS. The students will have a chance to share their transformation stories. Begin reading The Princess Bride by William Goldman. No need to begin reading until after the introduction. Once you reach the point where Buttercup tumbles down a hill, stop reading! 😊
Week Four: Discussion of the first half of the book. We will continue discussing elements of writing and incorporating them in to our writing assignments. Finish reading the book for the next week’s discussion.
Week Six: We will begin our exploration of Shakespeare’s work, The Tragedy of Hamlet, the Prince of Denmark, or Hamlet for short. Using the No Fear Shakespeare: Hamlet version of the play, the students should be able to navigate this beautiful work. We will continue to work on essay writing and learn about the English language. The students should read the first two acts in preparation for week seven.
Week Seven: No Fear Shakespeare: Hamlet, discussion of the first two acts. Read the last three acts for week eight.
Week Eight: Finish the play of Hamlet and hand in an essay related to this work. Celebrate Shakespeare!
Additional Resources: (Books, Websites, etc.)
Syllabus – Session 1
One Thousand and One Arabian Nights by Geraldine McCaughrean. (There are seven copies of this book in the SWAN system. Copies start at around $2 on Amazon.)
Beowulf the Warrior by Ian Serraillier. (There are only five copies of this book in the SWAN library system. It is possible to obtain a used copy through Amazon. This book is also available through Bethlehem Books: $5 for an ebook, $10 for paperback.)
The Canterbury Tales by Geraldine McCaughrean. (Several copies in the SWAN library system.)
The Sword in the Stone by T.H. White. (The Sword in the Stone is just the first section of The Once and Future King. There are many copies of this book in the library system.)
Get to know each other through games. Introduction to Medieval Ages literature.
We will begin with selections from One Thousand and One Arabian Nights. We will discuss the concept of a frame story. The students will read selected stories and will come prepared to talk about a favorite episode. This year the blue class will also explore the origins and continued reshaping of the English language.
We will discuss the assigned chapters and give each student a chance to “sell” their favorite tale through a written report, a poster or even through a power point presentation. We will also discuss the importance of poetry in the Arabic speaking world.
In Week Four I will introduce the following concepts: heroic epic poem, alliteration, and kennings. We will also discuss narrative point of view. I will explain the historical background and linguistic background for the epic poem Beowulf. The students will have the opportunity to create their own sagas. They will be required to read through Beowulf the Warrior for Week Five.
The students will share their sagas in class. We will discuss the story of Beowulf and learn more about the dark ages in Europe. The writing assignment will be to retell a portion of the story from the viewpoint of Grendel’s mother or the dragon. Our exploration of the roots of English will continue as we discuss the evolution of English during its first thousand years. We will begin to discuss the background to The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer and will compare Middle English to the Old English of Beowulf.
The students will read selected tales from Geraldine McCaughrean’s edition of The Canterbury Tales for children in class. We will discuss chivalric behavior of the Middle Ages, that time period’s concept of love and marriage, and the elements of a cautionary tale. Together we will complete character charts. The writing assignment will be to analyze the character defects and lessons learned in the assigned chapters.
The students will finish discussing The Canterbury Tales by McCaughrean. They will share and hand in their “lessons learned” papers. In preparation for reading The Sword in the Stone, we will discuss the mix of legend and fact in the stories surrounding Robin Hood and King Arthur. The students should read the first eight chapters of The Sword in the Stone.
We will discuss the first eight chapters of The Sword in the Stone by White. The students will have a chance to use their imaginations as they “turn” into other creatures. We will focus on character development and perspective. This will be an ongoing project while reading this book selection. Continuing the story, we will read the next eight chapters for Week One of Session Two.
The subject matter that will be covered in Session One lends itself well to field trips 😊 If anyone is interested, we can arrange a trip to any one of the following: Medieval Times, a trip to the Art Institute, a lesson at an archery range. Let me know if there is any interest in these options!