Tag Archives: Neil Gaiman

Chivalry isn’t dead.

galahad

Here is my attempt to help students using the Notice and Note strategies for one of my favorite short stories, ‘Chivalry‘ by Neil Gaiman.

 

N&N

Or:

n and n pinterest

Wait, you know what? I think you might enjoy doing this yourself. I don’t want to spoil the story for you.

I believe there is an example of every signpost in this story. Read it out loud to your students in your best English accent (if you don’t have one already). Enjoy.

This book of short stories is well worth it:

WIHWT: Where can I get one of those?

“This,” said Galaad, “is the sword of Balmung, forged by Wayland Smith in the dawn times. Its twin is Flamberge. Who wears it is unconquerable in war, and invincible in battle. Who wears it is incapable of a cowardly act or an ignoble one. Set in its pommel is the sardonyx Bircone, which protects its possessor from poison slipped in wine or ale, and from the treachery of friends.”

“Chivalry” by Neil Gaiman

Writers Reading Writing Week.

No, I do not have hero-worship of Neil Gaiman. (Liar.)

Ever have one of those units of study that just globs along in the back of your mind? Well, after reading aloud this week* this thought inspired me: Why not create a mini-unit of writers reading their reading? I am constantly stressing to my students that writing is talking: and they can all do that. We are just beginning to really dig into the writer’s workshop protocols. I was asked two days’ ago what “writer’s workshop” model I use – I didn’t have a prescribed answer. I use the one from the Puget Sound Writing Project, part of the National Writing Project. It’s designed to create, first and foremost, a safe place for writers. I am so comfortable with it, I supposed, because of my fine art’s background. Throwing a painting in progress or sketch up on the wall for your peers to see is risky: I developed my diplomatic critiquing style from these days.

So: I need to throw this idea up on the wall and see if it sticks: Each day for two weeks (yes, there’s an assembly on Friday, earthquake drill, [not taken lightly – we do live in a dangerous geographical area] I will continue to read out loud, and have students listen to other writers reading out loud. We will continue to work on annotating text, and the text will be in conjunction with author’s voices. How would you approach this? Would you have them read the text cold, as a pre-assessment of comprehension, and check for their understanding after they hear the writer? I’m thinking Neil Gaiman reading Instructions would be especially good. (Wonder if I can find a version of him reading Chivalry, one of my favorite short stories? Or should I just put on black T-shirt and speak in a British accent?)

Ultimately, I want them to find their own voices. And since that is the big questions: “What are you trying to say, in your own words?”, they will write and then — speak.

Not quite sure what that rubric should matrix*, though.

What we say and feel doesn’t always fit in a box.

*Comments from students the past few weeks: This class is easy, it’s fun, do we have to go to our next class? I’m not trying to cause divisiveness; I just love reading and writing–dang, I love my job.

*Did I just make matrix into a verb? I am so confused.

WIHWT: the beginning of The Graveyard Book

There was a hand in the darkness, and it held a knife.

The knife had a handle of polished black bone, and a blade finer and sharper than any razor. If it sliced you, you might not even know you had been cut, not immediately.

The knife had done almost everything it was brought to that house to do, and both the blade and the handle were wet.

The Graveyard Book  by Neil Gaiman Copyright 2008