Tuesday, October 1, 2013

A Tale of Two Cities: "The Wine-Shop"

Yesterday, we discussed chapter 5, "The Wine-Shop". Here's my 4-panel graphic adaptation:

Again, apologies to all my former art teachers.

(I especially like my Madame Defarge.)

"The Wine-Shop" is a pivotal chapter in book one. We travel to France for the first time. We meet the Defarges, and the Jacques. We finally see Doctor Manette and his shoes. Because we have spent the last month studying the French Revolution, my students weren't surprised by the poverty described in the chapter's opening pages. A man writes the word BLOOD on the wall, and my students understood when I had them mark the line that follows: "The time was to come, when that wine too would be spilled on the street-stones, and when the stain of it would be red upon many there."

Most of yesterday was me telling them what to mark and translating the chapter into something they'd understand. I rushed them. We had limited time, and last week I went long, and they didn't have time to process what I said afterward. Yesterday I was determined to finish discussing (talking) so they could have 10-15 minutes to work. They drew spilled casks of wine, and three Jacques talking to Monsieur Defarge, and a man making shoes. (My favorite was a man making shoes with a big smile on his face. One thing I especially like about drawing afterwards is that it's easy to laugh with a student about the fact that the shoemaker probably isn't smiling.)

Our Monday discussions can't always be me telling them what's important. Eventually, they will need to interpret the book independently. Learning to read a book like this on their own, and to discuss it in class, will be essential in high school.

But we're not there yet.

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