Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Trying Something New

It's the first day of classes, but I start mine tomorrow, so today is a reading day.  (I'm reading the new only to me economic history by Keith Wrightson, Earthly Necessities.  Gosh, I always have so much to learn!)

Anyway, I'm trying something a little different this semester with my lit classes.  Usually, I start the first day by handing out the syllabus and spend a fair bit of time going over it.

But this time, I've sent the students out the syllabus and calendar (with a promise that I'll also bring them a copy), and asked them to take a look at it.  So I'm hoping to spend less time with that, and then jump right into fun stuff.

For Shakespeare, it's a performance project, which has worked really well for me every time I've used it, and which will benefit from some more class time on the first day.

For Chaucer, though, I'm not sure.  In the past, I've used "Adam Scriveyn" as a warm up (but with less time because of the syllabus stuff).  So I might do that.  Or I might do a quick "what do you know about Chaucer or the middle ages" sort of thing.  (And here, let me admit, I'm feeling a little iffy on all the dates that I might need to come up with...)  

What sounds good? And exciting?  (Because Chaucer is so much fun, and I want them to get that sense of fun.)


  1. I'd be tempted to use a bit of "A Knight's Tale" and Geoffrey Chaucer Hath a Blog to mix up the Chaucer as a semi-sacred literary figure with something a bit startling.

  2. How funny! I just found a reference to Earthly Necessities and realized I need to read it, too---it should help a couple of different projects. Online reading group? (and how appropriate: captcha is "coinent")

    First-day: Adam Scriveyn is good, and I like Janice's suggestion, too, especially if you have a smart classroom and don't have to make handouts and book a video cart. Given my focus on language, I've also given ME pronunciation rules and then done basic foreign language stuff, introducing myself ("I am highte . . . how artou highte?") and getting students to respond with their names pronounced as Chaucer would have. Then they divide into pairs for this. You can make it the standard "introduce your neighbor to the class" getting-to-know-you activity, only with Pre-Vowel Shift pronunciation.

  3. Thanks for the postcard! Just got it today!

  4. Thanks for the ideas, all!

    And Fretful, you're welcome :)