Saturday, November 18, 2006

'Hang her upside down from a tree and beat her with bamboo'

That was one of the ideas proposed by a pupil during a discussion about how Scarlet should be treated following the fire on the island which she may have helped instigate. The children were rather awed by the turn of events in Chapter 4, and keen that no-one should die, especially the characters they had been responsible for creating.

We spent a good deal of time talking about what the meeting would be like the next morning, when they would have to decide who was to blame and how to punish them. I wanted them to see it as a scene in the way a film director might - focussing on sounds and sight. To this end we also did a role play. This created great enthusiasm but didn't quite get across what I had intended - namely that characters' feelings such as contrition or anger could be shown by their actions and what they said rather than told directly to the reader. They saw it more as an opportunity for the characters to have a good squabble!

Each of them wrote a version of this scene the next day and I was able to use them quite extensively in Chapter 5. Their horrific ideas for punishments had moderated by then and we will vote on the most appropriate next week - drinking sea water, withdrawal of mango-eating rights, or collecting everyone's food for a week?

But what will they decide to do about the news from the small island nearby?


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