Thursday, December 13, 2007


It is 7:26 and I am ready to crash for the night.

Thank GOD tomorrow is Friday, and it will effectively be the last day of the semester. Monday and Tuesday are standardized testing, and Wednesday is a half-day; the only class I'll have is Journalism, because I've got planning early. (Never mind that our upcoming yearbook deadline has smashed me up against a brick wall in a hammerlock and demanded my lunch money. That's what Saturday is for. *sigh*)

I'm dumbing down my instruction worksheets. I hate using the same word over and over, but I am learning that repeatedly defining the same word over and over is even WORSE. GRH. "Key" and "significant" are now "important." "Passages" has become "sections." "Plausible" will be replaced with "believable." I don't know what I'm going to do about "psychological."

I hope I can remember to write up a bunch of limericks for our poetry unit for next semester. I want to use them to teach meter, because as much as different dictionaries are claiming it is anapestic, it totally doesn't have to be. You just need five lines, an AABBA rhyme scheme, and a corresponding 3/3/2/2/3 feet per line. I don't know how to make the difference between accented and unaccented syllables click for them if they don't already understand that. I'm hoping limericks will help.

As I write this (and dumb down my instructions, but - HA HA HA, you little pishers - NOT the work itself) my wonderful pie is cooling. 50 minutes more and it will be cool enough to cut without turning it into cobbler. (Maybe.) In a little more than an hour, I will be abed.


Hugh O'Donnell said...

I'm not an LA teacher, just the son of one. That said, take all this will a few grains of salt.

First, I think limericks are superb for demonstrating meter. That's how it was drilled into my head.

Second, When I was a junior in high school, I had to learn meter. It was confusing, so I made up a mnemonic. Maybe this will help your students.

"IT (the adding machine) ADS"

Then, "It all begins with US."

US is Unstressed, Stressed. (X/, or as I learned it, _/)

From that point on, flip it. (/X)

Back to the beginning and add another X (XX/)

Flip it (/XX)

The Spondee..? an easy to recall //.

I = X/
T = /X
A = XX/
D = /XX
S = //

See the pattern?

Anyway, it worked for me.

Clix said...

Great mnemonic... but I haven't been able to get to the point of studying the different types of meter, because my little angels are struggling to "hear the beat."

Last semester, I did my intro-to-shakespeare lecture (about a minute and a half) in iambic pentameter. Nothin'. I went back and hammed it up, and after the second time through I got a tentative guess - "You're, like, saying some words louder than others?"

I'm hoping that they can hear the metrical differences between two limericks with similar subjects, like this:

If a man on the road to New York
Wants to stop for a meal of roast pork,
He will not very soon
Be in need of a spoon,
But will want to have plate, knife, and fork.


A man who goes to York
Might want a bit of pork.
He will not soon
Need bowl or spoon.
He needs a knife and fork.

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