Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Translation: AKA a Typical Warm-up

Things are often not as they seem.
In this typical warm-up (typical in that language lies at its heart), students sought to unravel the mystery of this artwork by Xu Bing. What at first seems like calligraphy is in fact the entirety of the poem, The Song of Wandering Aengus by W.B. Yeats....

Students tried their hand at translating this, with much success!
Then we wrote our own work in the same vein....

And then we endeavored to make it more calligraphic:

We had fun thinking about translation. 

As a corollary, and a way to talk about the implications translations with your child, why not listen to the theme song from Disney's Frozen, as ably sung by Malinda Kathleen Reese... and not so ably translated by google.translator.

Here's the first stanza of the poem, above...
I WENT out to the hazel wood,
Because a fire was in my head,
And cut and peeled a hazel wand,
And hooked a berry to a thread;
And when white moths were on the wing,         5
And moth-like stars were flickering out,
I dropped the berry in a stream
And caught a little silver trout.

Monday, March 24, 2014

What Does It Mean to Have a Voice?

The 8th grade group is currently reading Karen Hesse's Witness, a novel-in-verse account of what happens when the Ku Klux Klan comes to Vermont in 1924. It's part of our spring-long investigation: What does it mean to have a voice?
We started our inquiry with a visit to Martin Steingesser's Thinking Heart project. Martin is a Maine poet who visited the 7th grade last year, during their poetry unit. At the center of the Thinking Heart project is the work of Etty Hillesum, a Dutch woman who died at Auschwitz. For a glimpse of the project: click HERE
Is the pen mightier than the sword? This is a long, nuanced conversation.
"I will write these times like faint brush strokes against the great wordlessness of God . . . wield this fountain pen like a hammer, my words so many hammer blows,” Etty Hillesum (from her diary, written in Nazi-occupied Amsterdam)