Happy DPF, y’all. (That’s young-person talk for “you all,” FYI.) (Some people use “FYI” to stand for “for your information.” It’s just a lot faster. Hopefully it didn’t confuse anyone. I’ll try to avoid it in the future.)

We didn’t have the dance party today, due to the weather. I didn’t want to risk the potential injuries and the law suits and all that, so we postponed it. I think it was the sensible thing to do.

Today’s activities, like my brother who was dropped on his head, were simple:

First, students had 10 minutes to answer a set of questions about Catcher in the Rye. The handout with complete instructions can be downloaded from the link at the end of this post.

This worksheet started with “literal” questions, progressed to “inferential” questions, and finished up with one big fat “evaluative” question at the end. The idea is that you use the answers to the literal questions as raw material for you inferential answers. Then you use all of that stuff to help you with the evaluative question.

Most of the important questions in life and in school are “evaluative” by nature, and I think a lot of students aren’t sure where to start finding the answers. By learning about these question “levels,” I hope students are developing their own processes for gathering information and drawing conclusions. It’s certainly the best way to start understanding and writing about literature, which is something we’ll do a lot in this class. But beyond literature, it’s the same process used by historians, scientists, doctors, lawyers, and whoever else you can think of, to identify problems and come up with the solutions within their own fields.

After that, I made my best effort to get us through to the end of Catcher, but, sadly, I failed. We did add to our ideas about Holden being the “catcher,” and the various ways he himself is “falling” at this point in the story. In second period, someone finally teased out an interesting symbol I hadn’t thought of before. As Holden becomes delusional, he pictures himself falling off the earth into total oblivion every time he steps off the curb and crosses the street. The thing he does to keep himself from “disappearing” from the world is pray to Allie. In this scene, it is clear that Allie is the catcher that Holden relies on when Holden himself is falling. The symbol we identified was Allie’s baseball mit, which, of course, is a tool for catching. Kind of interesting stuff.

Anyway. Everyone go sledding this weekend and enjoy a hot chocolate or two.


Downloads: Catcher questions

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