I had some surreal moments when students said they couldn’t find anything on their person. They hadn’t fully realized these were made up characters, and they took their characters’ name and googled them. Some funny moments came when one my male students wanted to make his soldier part of the Rainbow Division, trying to be funny. The only way I’d let him was if he could historically find a Rainbow Unit. Low and behold, there was a 51st Rainbow Unit, so Hunter was thrilled to be the Major of it, lol, and he's the one in the picture above. The girl in the above picture isn't actually in a wheelchair. We came up with the wheelchair bound aspect of her story due to torture at the camps not for dramatic purposes. Nope, the skirt she was wearing was almost see through, so we decided we had to have her sitting down at all times. Thus, the story of her injuries was born. CRAZY!
I did the trials for three years, and now that I’m in high school, I really miss it. I might try to see if I can squeeze it in this year after our study of Night.
Boots of a Soldier
Before they started writing, I read to them my own personal Memoir of a Soldier’s Boots. For some of them, it was the first time they had seen or heard my writing, and it never ceases to amaze me how impressed and complimentary they are. Here's a snip from it:
After storming through the locked gates, the world around us seemed to change. It felt as if we had entered the gates of hell. Fires raged and smoke blinded the soldiers’ eyes. Instead of winter snow blanketing the camp, an ashy film of human remains made the landscape gray. Blinking again and again, the soldiers tried to clear their eyes and minds of the horrors they were witnessing. Trudging and sloshing through the mud that was a sea of tears, blood, and broken lives and hearts. Time after time they would meet the hollow eyes of a prisoner. Their sunken eyes burned with a haunted look of those who had danced with death, but somehow managed to overcome.
Dr. Phil Show with The Odyssey
Teaching the Odyssey isn’t one of my favorite things. I guess you could say I’m not a big mythology person. So, the only thing that gets me through is comparing and contrasting it with O Brother Where Art Thou, and doing the Dr. Phil Show—a kinda of reunion for the characters after the Odyssey. It has the usual characters like Odysseus, Penelope, and gods and goddesses like Zeus and Athena, but it also has some new faces like Fortula whose husband was one of the men eaten by the Cyclops. She and her daughters, Cassandra and Daphne, are both part of the show coming to confront both Odysseus and the Cyclops. Since I hate to assign a “hideous” part, I wrote a twist for the Cyclops where his father, Poseidon, gives him an Extreme Makeover. The first year one of my girl students went way over the top and gave him a sex change as well. The students really enjoy it, and it usually helps them review for their test.
Of course, I, myself, have a part in all the craziness. I'm Dr. Philemena, the host of the show. Here's a picture of me in costume for the "show"! And yes, if you peek really hard, you will see a Twilight poster on my filing cabinet!! LOL