On Broadway!

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This week we begin our study of Phantom of the Opera, one of Broadway’s most famous musicals.  Some of you are already familiar with the play and are fans of the music.  Most of you have heard of the story, but you don’t yet know the details.  You’re in for a treat!

Every year, students say this is a fun unit, and that’s true.  We do have fun! But we also learn a lot. Our study of the plot gives us a better understanding of the terms rising action, internal and external conflict, character motivation, climax, resolution, and theme.  We’ll discuss the influence of setting on mood and plot, and we’ll explore the nuances of diction and tone. We’ll debate some difficult questions, and if past years are any indication, a few of us will even be moved to tears.

What musicals have entertained and inspired you?  Are there some Broadway songs that you and your family know by heart and can sing without prompting?  Share your favorites in the comments!

Independent Reading: What Did You Think?

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We’re about to complete our reading logs for the last nine weeks, and this class blog is the perfect place for sharing our thoughts about the books we’ve read.

Choose one of the two prompts below and respond to it as a “comment” to this blog post. I’ve made the first two comments myself as examples. Notice that the first thing we’ve got to do in the comment is IDENTIFY THE BOOK WE’RE TALKING ABOUT! Since we can’t use italics, underlining, or bold text in a comment, we’ll have to set titles apart from the rest of the comment by capitalizing correctly and using quotation marks. Comments should be about five sentences long.

1. One of the overarching themes for this year’s study in seventh grade English is the idea of the Call to Adventure: the idea that a person’s journey begins when some person or some event sets a character on a path of discovery.

In the case of Helen Keller, that call came from Anne Sullivan, who called Helen on a journey to discover language and all of the ways that it could enrich her life. In many stories, a character is called to adventure by a mentor or by circumstances that lead the character to his or her challenging journey. This journey might be an actual journey to new people and places, or it might be a figurative journey to self-discovery and the realization of some important truth.  How were Scrooge, Max, and Christine called to adventure?  How about Luke Skywalker, Frodo Baggins, or Harry Potter?

In one of the books you chose to read, did a character receive a call to adventure? Was he or she guided by a mentor who set an example or taught valuable lessons? Elaborate and give an example.

2. One of the reasons we teachers assign independent reading is so that you discover authors whose work you enjoy. This is important because the more you read, the better your reading and your writing will become.

Which of the books on your independent reading list did you enjoy reading the most? What was it about that book that kept you reading? Was it something about the plot (the action in the story that made you want to find out what was going to happen next), the characters (who they were, how they interacted, what they thought and felt), or the style of writing (the way the author put together sentences, chapters, descriptions, dialog, etc)?

Be specific in your answer without giving away any spoilers!

Image credit:  Pixabay and BeFunky