Sunday, September 14, 2008

Focus Titles: Prairie Songs and My Daniel

We have almost finished the first two focus titles of the year, both historical novels set on the Nebraska prairie, by children's author Pam Conrad.

The AM class has been reading Prairie Songs, a coming-of-age story about a young girl whose life is changed by the tragic life of a young doctor's wife from New York.

The PM class has been reading My Daniel, a heart-rending story told in flashbacks by a grandmother taking her two grandchildren through the Museum of Natural History in New York.

A third Pam Conrad book, Prairie Visions: The Life and Times of Solomon Butcher, is a related nonfiction title about a man who photographed the people who lived on the Nebraska prairie in the late 1800s. The book is a great visual for Pam Conrad's readers, giving us a peek back in time to see what prairie soddies and the pioneers who lived in them were like.

In addition to reading these great books, we have been studying Pam Conrad's writing craft, particularly the way she writes original similes and metaphors to create visuals in the reader's mind. We are learning how to recognize these figurative literary devices in writing and also how to use them in our own writing.

In Prairie Songs, Louisa, the main character, memorizes a poem by Tennyson to recite at the Fourth of July festivities. We are memorizing the poem, too.

The Eagle: A Fragment

He clasps the crag with crooked hands;
Close to the sun in lonely lands,
Ring'd with the azure world, he stands.

The wrinkled sea beneath him crawls;
He watches from his mountain walls,
And like a thunderbolt he falls.

—Alfred, Lord Tennyson

There are a few surprises yet to come in our Pam Conrad prairie unit, but if I revealed them now it would spoil all the fun. So stay tuned and perhaps there will be a follow-up post.


Sydney said...

Oh I remember that book! You guys are going to like it. And i think I still remember the poem, and i also wanted to thank you Mr.Blount for being a good teacher last year.

Sarah said...

Hi Mr. Blount. I just wanted to say I loved the book Prairie Songs. It was sad when Emmeline died because she froz to death on the praire in the winter.It was also sad when the baby died.But I liked the eagle poem.So Ijust wanted to tell you how Ifelt about the book.

Fidelis said...

MAKE UR CLASS READ THE DELTORA SERIES at least the first deltora series Deltora Quest good books

Your former student