Shadow Spinner

Saturday, October 29, 2016

In case you were wondering, we don't only read Very Old Books in my literature classes. We mostly do but I like to mix things up a bit, especially for the eighth graders. They have to read different things than the rest of the upper school anyway, or they'll end up possibly repeating books their senior year. Only possibly, because I am a wild thing, given to CHANGING THE BOOK LIST without any notice! I know, I know. But some creatures just cannot be tamed, mkay?

All of that (it wasn't that much, actually, but I got interrupted by Tristan about 87 times in the course of typing that paragraph SO) to say that my eighth graders finished their first novel with me and we had their first book party on Thursday. I don't usually start the eighth graders on Lost Tools until maybe the very end of the school year, but I had a suspicion that this group was up for it now. That suspicion turned out to be completely founded, so they also knocked out some wonderful rudimentary persuasive essays on the book as well.

We read Shadow Spinner by Susan Fletcher. It's an easy read (to lull them into complacency about literature class before I throw them into something with more tricksy words and sentences...was that a clever little clue about the next book? NO BUT THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN AWESOME) about Shahrazad and the thousand and one nights. We all loved it! It caught their interest right away, sparked some wonderful discussions about all kinds of things, and was a lovely introduction to the idea of stories having this deep and timeless power that is essentially what we will be going back and back to until they graduate. And best of all, the students didn't execute me or anything because they wanted to find out what happened next in the book! 

No, but really, I kept timing it so class would end on a cliffhanger and I could shoo them away, so I got a lot of "Mrs. Hallford! YOU'RE BEING SHAHRAZAD!" and they totally got why the Sultan had to find out what happened next. And you know, it occurred to me that I do tell stories every day to save lives, just on a much less dramatic, tangible scale.

To celebrate the book we watched Aladdin, ate Middle Eastern food, and drank sharbat. My awesome room mom got the food for us from a restaurant around the corner, because I just wasn't up for an all-nighter of making baba ganoush and falafle. I did make the sharbat, though. They drink it a lot in the book and the kids had asked to try it especially.

Fun times yet again!

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