Monday, September 16, 2013

Holes by Louis Sacher: Chapters 4 and 5

 On Friday, we read the next two chapters of Holes. We are learning to recognise how information about characters can be given in a story to build our knowledge of them: from what they say and how they say it, and from their actions and reactions. Here's what we have learnt about the characters by the end of Chapter 5 (note: we inferred some of this. See previous Holes post):

Stanley –  is Stanley Yelnats IV,  is named after his ancestors,  his last name is Stanley spelt backwards, he is in the wrong place wrong time, he has been found guilty of a crime  

Father – is an inventor,  he perseveres, he is trying to invent a way to recycle old sneakers, he doesn’t eat when he is working hard on new idea, he sang the song If only  to Stanley

Guard – sleeps on the job, wears sun glasses, carries rifle, 

Bus driver
Judge – gave Stanely a choice jail or Camp Greenlake 

Mother – is optimistic and positive – looks at how lucky they are whenever they seem to strike bad luck

Warden – is selfish – “owns the shade” and the hammock, makes them dig holes 

Kissin' Kate Barlow –  (Character from the past), famous outlaw, kisses people after she killed them; she didn't kiss Stanley's great-great grandfather

Great-Great Grandfather : (Character from the past) Stanley's father's 'dirty-rotten-pig-stealing-great-grandfather, he made a fortune on the stock market,  he was robbed by Kissin Kate Barlow and left stranded in the desert - but she never killed him; he stole a pig from a one-legged gypsy who put a curse on him

Mr Sir – quit smoking, eats sunflower seeds instead, irritable, not fond of campers, has a tattoo of rattle snake, looks tough – wears a cowboy hat, is  strict – like Horrible Hanley in PP? Makes sure everyone knows the rules and boundaries, is  sarcastic – cruel? 

Mr Pendanski – Stanley’s counsellor, seems to be nice – not as scary as Mr Sir, nose badly sun burnt,  called Mom by the boys, acts like  most American parents (evidence from Conor) 

Rex - nicknamed X  Ray, wears glasses

Alan white kid – nicknamed Squid 

Barf Bag – Lewis – in hospital (Did he get bitten by a scorpion, rattlesnake - or yellow-spotted lizard - on  purpose?) 

Jose - nicknamed  Magnet

Theodore - nicknamed  Armpit, spits, is rough with Stanley - pushes him over 

Ricky  - nicknamed Zig Zag 

Zero  - has no real name

 Things we want to know:
- Are nick names based on their personalities? 
- How did Zero get his name? Is it because he doesn't talk? Does he have zero personality?
- What will Stanley's nick name be?

Here's some vocabulary to research for Chapter 6:
scarcity          prospect          testify          collapse          torment          mere          destiny          coincidence           humiliating          auction          schedule           despicable          souvenir

Chapter 7:
shaft          impression     defective          scooped     lukewarm      assigned     pried     unearthed        perimeter           forlorn       shallow       runt          doomed       eternity      horizon          deftly     excavated         compacted       preposterous       summoned        dawdle     pier      clod     grimaced              

Friday, September 13, 2013

Watching the America's Cup Live - in the classroom

This morning, we started the day proofreading and editing our Holes novel study blog, but we decided to watch Race 7 of the America's Cup live instead.

Mrs Vincent said we had to listen for new or interesting words from the commentary. Here are some of them:

Note from Mrs Vincent: How many ways could you group these words? sailing terms? verbs? adjectives? alphabetically?

relieved     comprehensively     nose dive      hydraulic     leeway    safely    refining     decade     system     mark     faultless   potentially      smacked     permanent fixture       pressure    knots    classified    grinders    compelling      technique     skimming     tacking   volunteer    pivot    foil    exciting    complex    optimise    foredeck    colleagues    starboard     raising     timing    success    illustration    leading    interview    design    positioning      engineer       generating     stability     mainsail    control     element    leading edge     bid    unload    norm    gybe    dominating    integrity      package    properties    bow    overlap    separation    amazing    fascinating    differential    down wind   

Emirates Team New Zealand won, by the way.

We are also learning about the America's Cup with Mrs Irwin and we have learnt:
- the skipper of Emirates Team New Zealand  is Dean Barker
- the skipper of Oracle is Jimmy Spithill - he is from Australia
- the NZ team manager is Grant Dalton
- the Oracle team manager is Russell Coutts
- there are cameras everywhere on the boats
- the sailors carry knives in case they get stuck on the ropes
- NZ tax payers paid $35 million towards the campaign
- each catamaran costs about $100 million
- the wing of the catamaran is 40 metres
- the hull of the catamaran is 24 metres

- NZ won the Louis Vuiton Cup against Luna Rossa from Italy

The next race is Sunday 15th September at 8:10 am NZ time, and 9:10 am.

We want NZ to win so we can have the next America's Cup in New Zealand. We think this would be a good thing because it would bring a lot of money to New Zealand.

Everyone should wear red socks when the race is on to remember Sir Peter Blake who wore his good luck red socks when he won the America's Cup for New Zealand.

Our New Novel Study: Holes by Louis Sacher

Because  we enjoyed reading Private Peaceful by Michael Morpurgo, so much we decided we wanted to do another novel study and compare it with Private Peaceful. We also wanted to see if another novel would have some of the same features as Private Peaceful, such as foreshadowing; conflict with self, others, and technology; parallels between  the first and second parts of a novel; and interesting features such as changing between the past and the present.

We started reading Holes by Louis Sacher today.

We discussed if we had ever felt we had been blamed for something we didn't do. Everyone had an experience of this. 

We looked at the cover of the book and decided that the story would have something to do with lizards, the desert or dirt, blue skies, and maybe  some clouds.  Jason wondered if the clouds would be important, and Mrs Vincent said that the clouds would be something to watch out for in the story, and would be symbolic, as the birds were in Private Peaceful, and that it would be a good idea to note when clouds were mentioned. ("Foreshadowing!" commented Cameron.)

We researched some vocabulary:
shrivelled          hover      crammed      stranded   neglected    barren    desolate
stifling          slumped     descendants      vast      gruff      melody       perseverance     

Which word from the list above means:

grumpy      dried up        hunched over       very hot       float above       packed tightly     stickability  children and grandchildren, for example    tune      stuck somewhere      infertile        lonely      huge  forgotten

We looked at images of these nouns:
rattlesnakes    scorpions     yellow-spotted lizard        log cabin      hammock 

On Thursday we read Chapters 1, 2 and 3 (They are short chapters.) 

We discussed the setting: Camp Greenlake - somewhere in Texas, and Stanley's own home, but there's no lake and nothing is green. ("Ironic!" said Brylee - and we were impressed with her.)

We discussed inference, and we inferred that Camp Greenlake was not a good place for people to be because there was no shade and no lake.   There was also a  chance that you could get killed by a yellow-spotted lizard. We also worked out that it must be an awful place because some people preferred to be bitten by a rattle snake or a scorpion to digging a hole on the lake. ("Blighty!" said Jamarl - and we were impressed that he found the first parallel with Private Peaceful.)

We discussed the theme of perseverance and how Stanley's father persevered with his inventions. We also thought that luck could be one of the themes as Stanley's family had a lot of bad luck - even though the mother reminded them of some good luck that happened. 

We noticed that Holes is also like Private Peaceful (PP) because the story changes between the past  and the present, although only the past tense is used.  PP had a recurring motif of the song "Oranges and Lemons". Conor was the first to recognise that Holes has a recurring motif* of a song "If Only".

*a recurring subject, theme, idea, etc., especially in a literary, artistic, or musical work.
Some of the class have read the story before but they are not allowed to tell anyone what happens. 

We are already enjoying the book and we are only up to page 10.

Vocabulary For Chapter 4: dazed, juvenile, premises, violation, facility,  burlap. holster, buzzard,

Vocabulary for Chapter 5: assigned, shovel, cot, saliva, sanitary,

Vocabulary for Chapter 6: scarcity, prospect, testify, collapse, torment, mere, destiny, coincidence humiliating, auction, schedule, despicable, souvenir