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Picasso’s 1937 painting: The Wounded Minotaur

Thankyou everyone for the supportive comments to the previous post. Students are thrilled their work is being looked at and appreciated. A few more ‘Plain English’ style clips to share: loyal, malicious and arrogant.

Some students are beginning to understand the concept of a ‘stem’. They had realized of all the related words to ‘loyal’  the suffix –al was present and they felt this was a suffix that made the word an adjective. When other suffixes were added onto this stem they noted the word class changed: <–ty> made the word a noun, as did <–ness>. We are still speculating as to whether this is a free base element as in <loyal> or as the group has proposed as <loy+al>.

The group working with <arrogant> showed their understanding of how the root, Latin rogare: to question, to demand, influences the base and the <malicious> group (who are far from this in attitude and disposition) of the connection to words such as malevolent. In the course of the planning, this group discussed how <mal(e)> is often regarded as a suffix yet they felt that the existence of <malice> proves otherwise.

I had an interesting conversation with the group from the class next door, also working on the same Common Craft project with these words. Several of these students are making connections to their other languages. Two Korean students discussed ‘courage’ and their discovery that the English ‘courage’ came from the Latin root cor :heart. They told me the Korean equivalent of this word revolved around the liver as the seat of bravery. Perhaps this calls for an investigation into other internal organs being used or removed to indicate an attitude or character trait: ‘plucky’,’ guts and gutsy’ and their antonym ‘gutless’  immediately springs to mind, then ‘melancholic’, ‘lily-livered’ (need to investigate the origins of this phrase…arum lilies-death?) and ‘in cold-blood’.

Today a student entered the classroom staring at the A3 pages up around the wall, each page with one of the words we have focused on. My intention was to have students make as many connections to these words from the three myths we have studied: The Odyssey, Theseus and the Minotaur and Perseus and the the Gorgon. She said, “ I just keep seeing how so many of these words are connected.” I asked her to explain and she stated, “ Persecuted, tormented, victimized harassed- they’re similar but different; proud and arrogant, ..I just keep thinking about them and the ways they’re similar but some are stronger or more negative.”

Another group, sparked by the words, argued if Odysseus really can be called a hero. One boy passionately dismisses the idea – “He endured and was determined but is that heroic? He killed all the suitors, he didn’t listen to the gods and when told put down his weapon, he was disobedient and just kept on slaughtering.. surely there was another way! It’s definitely not heroic!” Another argued about Perseus – he had so much assistance from the gods with the helmet and winged shoes, not really like Odysseus who was isolated and victimized by Poseidon, and who pretty much had to survive unaided.” Lively, animated discussions, all prompted from a focus on the words.

The video clips: