Was: a defense, of sorts, of HP, now plot and student reactions

jstallcup at juno.com jstallcup at juno.com
Sun Feb 22 23:29:41 EST 2004

Robyn said:  > I tend to take a different approach to the same problem; I
deliberately start with stories that have little in the way of plot.
(E.g. "Araby" -- boy has crush on girl and ends up not doing anything
about it.) In this case, here we are with 75 minutes to fill and plot has
taken 2 of those minutes, so  they have to find something else to talk

Funny!  Much the same thing happens with picture books.  In fact, my
favorite moment that usually happens in the first week of class:

Jackie:  Blah, blah blah... You will be writing journal entries of two
pages per book.  blah blah blah
Student, now scared, raises hand tentatively: But... how can we write TWO
WHOLE PAGES about a picture book?

I mean, I can see it from their point of view:  the plot would take just
about two sentences to tell for most of the books we look at, and "what
else is there to talk about?" they wonder.  But, I tell them, when I'm
done with you, you will be able to write TWO WHOLE PAGES--and more--about
a single page in a picture book!  

Caught up in a fit of hyperbole one day, I told a class that I could talk
for 20 minutes just about the title page of Rosie's Walk.  Of course,
they challenged me to do it--and I think I managed it--or at least, I
talked long enough to make them beg me to move on to the actual story!  I
discovered lots of things about that page that I hadn't realized before. 
it was fun.

Actually, a bigger problem for my students is convincing them that plot
summary is not plot analysis.  

No ObDJW that I can think of, sadly...

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