Unit 1 Growing Up

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Book one

Unit 1 Growing Up

  1. Objectives

    1. Grasp the main idea (the essence of writing is to write what one enjoys writing) and structure (narration in chronological sequence) of the text;

    2. Appreciate the narrative skills demonstrated in the text (selection of details, repetition, coherence);

    3. master the key language points and grammatical structures in the text;

    4. conduct a series of reading, listening, speaking and writing activities related to the theme of the unit.
  2. Time Allotment

    1. 1st period: Pre-reading; While-reading (text structure; cultural notes; language points)

    2. 2nd period: While-reading (language points)

    3. 3rd period: While-reading (language points; grammatical structures)

    4. 4th period: While-reading (grammatical structures; details; synonyms; coherence);

Post-reading (main idea; exercises)

    1. 5th period: Check on students’ home reading (Text B);

Post-reading (Theme-related Language Leaning Tasks)
  1. Text Analysis

Russell Baker is very good at selecting details (see Part IV Writing Strategy) to prove his point. For example, in Para. 2, he creates an unfavorable image of Mr. Fleagle by describing his “formal, rigid and hopelessly out-of-date” eyeglasses, hairstyle, clothes, jaw, nose, and manner of speaking.

What’s more, Russell Baker employs repetition not only to make it easy for readers to follow what he is saying, but also to impress them more deeply. For example, in Para. 2, there are 9 “prim’s” or “primly’s” in as few as three sentences! Thus readers will have in their mind a vivid picture of what Mr. Fleagle looked like. Another example of such repetition can be found in Para. 5. Count how many “I wanted’s” there are in this paragraph (5). They help to emphasize Russell Baker’s strong desire to write for himself.

On the other hand, where this stylistic device is not justified, Baker is also expert in avoiding repetition by employing synonymous words and phrases. (Ask students to find them after Pre-reading)

  1. Cultural Notes

    1. Grade schools in the U.S.: It is necessary to have some knowledge of grade schools in the U.S. because Ss have to realize that “the third year in high school” (Para. 1) equals “the eleventh grade” (Para. 9). U.S. students generally go through elementary schools (kindergarten to 5th or 6th grade), middle schools (grades 6-8) or junior high schools (grades 7-9), and high schools (grades 9-12 or 10-12).

    2. What American teachers wear in school: Nowadays, people in the U.S. love to dress casually. Even among those companies with a rigid dress code some now allow employees not to wear suits on Fridays. U.S. teachers wear fairly formal clothes to school, but not necessarily suits and ties. Bow ties are considered even more old-fashioned than ties.

    3. Spaghetti and proper way of eating it: Spaghetti is the Italian-style thin noodle, cooked by boiling and served with sauce. Usually you would put is fork into a plate of spaghetti, turn the fork several times so that spaghetti will wind around the fork, then place the fork into your mouth. It’s impolite to suck.
  2. Language Points

    1. The idea of becoming a writer … took hold.: Even since I was a child in Belleville, I had thought of becoming a writer from time to time, but I didn’t make up my mind until I was in the eleventh grade.

take hold: become established

Until then I had been bored … with English courses.: Up to then I had lost interest in things related to English courses.

associate (with): join or connect together; connect or bring in the mind When our class was assigned … subjects.: When it was decided that Mr. Fleagle would teach us English during my third year in high school, I expected the English course to be as boring as before.

anticipate: expect (usu. followed by gerund or that-clause)

    1. rigid: (often disapproving) fixed in behavior; based on correct or accepted rule

The rigid headmaster would button up his clothes even on the hottest days.

    1. I prepared for … pointed.: I expected that things wouldn’t improve with Mr. Fleagle as our teacher, and for a long time I was right in my expectations.

    2. tackle: deal with

    3. This title produced… mental images.: At the sight of the title I saw an unusual series of pictures in my mind’s eye.

    4. I was preparing myself … for discipline …: I expected that Mr. Fleagle would order me to see him soon after school for the purpose of punishing me …

command: order (usu. followed by a that-clause in subjunctive mood. A brief review of words of the kind for Ss to have further knowledge)

    1. hold back: prevent the expression of (feelings, tears, etc.) examples omitted

    2. In the eleventh grade … a calling.: In my eleventh grade, and one might say at the last possible moment, I had found something I wished to take up as a career.

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