Picasso’s Guernica, 1937.

Huy, a speaker of English for only two years, is currently investigating the word ‘perpetrator’, a word key to our current studies as we consider how prejudice and bias are created and speculate as to how  we can overcome them. We ask what allows some individuals to take a stand against prejudice while others choose to participate in it. We wonder why people stand by while civil liberties are removed and terrible acts are committed.

Below Huy considers the word perpetrator and shares his thinking. Huy was caught up in this investigation beginning the previous evening and throughout the day. Sadly, his last two videos of Friday have no sound! However, he sent me a message tonight, Sturday, saying, ‘I can do this!’  and recapped his thoughts in two new videos about how he regards this base element thus far. He sees ‘petr’ as one base from the Latin root ‘pater’ meaning father and speculates as to whether ‘patr’ is in fact another base. He wonders about ‘patriot’- unsure as to whether ‘-ot’   is in fact a suffix – he has seen zealot (and knows, although does not speak about this in this video, that ‘zeal’ is a free base element) as well as the word divot which he feels may support the’-ot’ as evidence for it being a suffix. He also wonders as to whether the base is ‘patri’ or <patr+i.>. We had discovered the compound word ‘patriarch’ on Friday and had talked about whether this word ‘patriarch’ indicated that ‘i’ was  a connecting vowel as connecting vowels act like suffixes and connect one base element to another or occur after a base and a connect to another suffix. Huy felt the term ‘combining element ‘ was confusing in reference to ‘patri’as the term does not indicate whether it is a base or a stem that occurs frequently in many words.

Huy eliminates in his video the word ‘patron’ unfortunately without the discussion he had about this earlier. He had noticed that this had come from the L. root pater and had wondered whether ‘-on’ was a suffix’ , then decided after seeing that the only suffix ‘-on’ referred to  sub-atomic particles, that ‘patron’ must be a free base element and while indivisible, still clearly related. He felt by the end of Friday that the  L. root ‘pater’ had led to these bases in present day English: ‘petr’, possibly ‘patr’ or ‘patri’ ( he leans more to patr’) and ‘patron’. He said as he was heading out the door,”Who would have thought that one word could have so much inside it!”

Below is our Friday discussion after Huy had thought about this for homework the night before- you will see my online comments suggesting he consider his suffixes!

What a valuable assessment piece! This shows the level of engagement he had with this investigation. Huy’s videos below also reveal, without any teacher prompting or questioning, the degree of his etymological and morphological understanding and thinking, as well as the ease he feels in manipulating the various tools to indicate his metacognitive awareness of the process involved in this research.




Here is his ‘working matrix’ for ‘patr’:

patr Huy 8.13.42 PM

The image above is of course Picasso’s Guernica painted in response to the bombing by German and Italian warplanes on the Basque village of Guernica.

As one the perpetrators of this atrocious slaying of innocent civilians in the unarmed Spanish village on April 26, 1937, Herman Goering testified at his trial, “The Spanish Civil War gave me an opportunity to put my young air force to the test, and a means for my men to gain experience.”

Picasso shows war as a brutal and destructive and through his images inspired by the attack on Guernica and builds an unforgettable collage of suffering: ‘Speculations as to the exact meaning of the tortured images are as numerous and varied as its viewers, and perhaps this was exactly Picasso’s intention. A composition so compelling challenges our most basic notions of war as heroic, unmasking it as a brutal act of self-destruction.’ (PBS) 

Watch Lena Gieseke’s animation of Picasso’s painting: