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Blues Ain’t No Mockin Bird by Toni Cade Bambara

Blues Ain’t No Mockin Bird by Toni Cade Bambara. Lesson developed by Susan Lenski sjlenski@pdx.edu. Please think about these questions and answer with “yes” or “no.”. Friends can take my picture with their cell phones any time they want to.

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Blues Ain’t No Mockin Bird by Toni Cade Bambara

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  1. Blues Ain’t No Mockin Birdby Toni Cade Bambara Lesson developed by Susan Lenski sjlenski@pdx.edu

  2. Please think about these questions and answer with “yes” or “no.” • Friends can take my picture with their cell phones any time they want to. • It’s OK for a stranger to take my picture with a cell phone when I’m not looking. • Government officials have the right to take pictures of anyone at any time.

  3. Blues Ain’t No Mockin Bird YouTube “movie trailer”

  4. Reading Dialect • This story was written by Toni Cade Bambara in 1971. It’s written in a form called “dialect,” which means that it’s written the way people talked at that time in that region. We’ll talk about African American English later, but it’s important to remember that languages change so the dialect in this story will be different from today’s AAE.

  5. Things I’ll expect you to learn 1. How to read dialect 2. How to use evidence from the story to describe the theme 3. How to read a difficult story independently but with help

  6. Also…… 1. How to become engaged in a story, even if it doesn’t seem interesting at first. 2. How to figure out characters in stories.

  7. Here is the first paragraph of the story. • The puddle had frozen over, and me and Cathy went stompin in it. The twins from the next door, Tyrone and Terry, were swingin so high out of sight we forgot we were waitin our turn on the tire. Cathy jumped up and came down hard on her heels and started tap-dancin. And the frozen patch splinterin every which way underneath kinda spooky. “Looks like a plastic spider web, she said. “A sort of weird spider, I guess, with many mental problems.” But really it looked like the crystal paperweight Granny kept in the parlor. She was on the back porch, Granny was, making the cakes drunk. The old ladle dirpping rum into the Christmas tins, like it used to drip maple syrup into the pails when we lived in the Judson’s woods, like it poured cider into the vats when we were on the Cooper place, like it used to scoop buttermilk and soft cheese when we lived at the dairy.

  8. Checking understanding • What’s happening in the story? • What do you think will happen next?

  9. Think for a moment… • Is the man with the camera invading this family’s privacy?

  10. What happened? Look back at the text as you list the events in sequence. • 1. • 2. • 3. • 4. • 5. • 6. • 7

  11. Issues of Power and Privacy Did the camera men have the right to take pictures? What do you think the government officials will say when they return to their office? How does this story present issues of power?

  12. Exit Slips • Write one or two sentences on your index card about this question: • Were Granny and Granddaddy’s response to the photographers justified?

  13. Day 2 Blues Ain’t No Mockin Bird

  14. Civil Rights Movement

  15. 1960s moments • http://www.history.com/states.do?action=state&contentType=State&state=Civil%20Rights&parentId=1968 • Play Civil Rights video

  16. Second reading • Nonstandard grammar • Unusual vocabulary • Idiomatic expressions

  17. Dialect

  18. Dialect discussion • Give me one example of each of these: • Nonstandard grammar • Unusual vocabulary • Idiomatic expressions

  19. Dialect and Author’s Craft • Why do you think the author wrote the story in dialect? • How does using dialect evidence power? • Do you think the use of dialect was effective?

  20. Looking at Characters, Third reading

  21. Granny

  22. Granddaddy

  23. Assessment: Objective #2 Take one of Granny’s speeches or conversations in “Blues Ain’t No Mockin Bird,” and rewrite it in standard, formal English. How is Granny’s character changed when her dialect is taken away from her?

  24. Day 3 • Blues Ain’t No Mockin Bird

  25. Refreshing our Memory • What happened in the story? • Why is the time period that the story was written important to our understanding? • How was power portrayed in the story? • What do you think about the privacy issue illustrated in the story?

  26. Making Connections Develop a scenario taking place today that concerns issues of privacy. In groups of 3 or 4, come up with a scenario that could happen to YOU or to someone else who is living today.

  27. Assessing reading • a. Which characters play a part in this story’s conflict? Which ones are onlookers? • b. What details in the story explain why Granny has moved so often?

  28. c. Why do the two men want to film the family? d. Why does Granny resent the film crew? e. What action does Granddaddy Cain finally take to resolve Granny’s conflict with the camera crew?

  29. Assessing objective #1 • Write an essay addressing this question. • Do you think the government had the right to invade Granny and Granddaddy's privacy? Bolster your argument using evidence from the story and your own beliefs.

  30. Final words… Literature has the capacity to help us understand human behavior in the past, and it also helps us think about current issues. When we identify themes in literature, we are able to understand ourselves and our world in new ways.

  31. Take it home… • Ask your parents/guardians what they think about the issue of privacy. • Continue this discussion on our classroom blog. • Look at the website links I’ve posted on our class website to learn more about the author, the Civil Rights Movement, and hawks.

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