Thursday, November 20, 2014

Reading Period 13: Nov 19-25: Slave Songs and Fireside Poets

Long Read: 

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, chapters 17-24.

Short Read:

Excerpts from "My Bondage and My Freedom" by Frederick Douglass.
Read the biographical selection and the short excerpt in your textbook (AIAL p. 363-364), and then read chapters 15-17 at this site, which gives an e-text of the whole book.


Fireside Poets:
Longfellow: "A Psalm of Life" (AIAL p. 297)
Whittier: "From Snowbound" (AIAL p. 306)
Holmes: "The Chambered Nautilus" (AIAL p. 312)
Lowell: "The Courtin'" (AIAL p. 316)

Slave Songs:
"Follow the Drinking Gourd"
"Wade in the Water"
"Steal Away"
"Swing Low Sweet Chariot"
(Those three songs can be found here.)

Creative Assignment:

Have a look at the many different cover illustrations different publishers and artists have created for The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Some are slanted more toward children, and some are more scholarly or "grown up." Now create your own cover. What scene or pose would you use to represent the book? What audience do you intend to reach -- kids? adults? Who is this book written for?

Google Fu:

Slavery is illegal in every nation of the world. But does it still exist? Use Google to research this question, and post your answers to these questions, using at least one good source to back up your answers. Is slavery still happening in our world? If so, where? Make sure you link to your source.


Pretend you are writing a paper about slave narratives. The following two links come up in your research, and you must consider a strategy for taking notes on both of them.

"An Introduction to the Slave Narrative" by William L. Andrews (
"The Slave Narrative" by Donna M. Campbell (

One of these links takes you to an article with paragraphs. The other is constructed more as a list. Answer the following questions: 1. How would you approach taking notes, for each one? 2. Which one is more valuable to your research and why? 3. What is a slave narrative?

Twitter Scholar:

Often you can find the freshest new material on a given subject by using Twitter, because people tend to post links to new articles, not old. Search "slavery" on Twitter to help you answer your Google Fu questions this week. What is the difference between the articles/resources you turn up using Google and those you turn up using Twitter? Check the dates on the links you find. Can you find an article published in November 2014? How would you go about finding this article on Google?


Your rough draft is due on Tuesday, November 25, at midnight. Please write your rough draft in a Google document and share it to the group. Make sure you share it so that others "Can View" instead of "Can Edit"! When everyone has shared their paper, we will do peer review using this form. You must print out the paper you are reviewing, and mark it up with colored pencils or markers as described on the form, and turn it in to your partner the following week. Partners: Benny and Sarah, Jacob and Zoe. I will be marking up a copy too. After you get your critiques back, you'll have a week to revise it.


Instead of a quiz over the novel chapters this week, answer these questions with True or False, according to your own feelings. I'll also post this on the Google+ community, and you can answer there, to see how your opinions line up with your classmates' opinions. 

1. A good education makes a good person.
2. It is better to follow laws, even if we don’t agree with all of them.
3. Children should obey and respect adults.
4. The ability to read and write is the most important skill a person can learn in life.
5. An adolescent’s behavior is influenced by friends more than anything else.
6. An adolescent’s attitudes are influenced by parents more than anything else.
7. A person must “play the game” to survive.
8. “Game playing” is dishonest.
9. Cruelty begets cruelty and kindness begets kindness.
10. When bad things happen to a person, he/she has done something to cause them.

(Discussion prompts from "A Teacher's Guide to the Signet Classic Edition of Mark Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn," by Jane Shlensky.)

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