My Greatest ambition

Last class we read “My Greatest Ambition” and we focused on Rite of Passage.

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Let’s analyse the story. Think and write notes about the following:

-Explain the title


-Point of view




-Conflicts (Person vs Self/Person vs Society/Person vs Parents)



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My Parents by Stephen Spender

Sir Stephen Spender, in full Sir Stephen Harold Spender, (born February 28, 1909, London, England—died July 16, 1995, London), English poet and critic, who made his reputation in the 1930s with poems expressing the politically conscience-stricken, leftist “new writing” of that period.

Read the poem by Spender

My Parents
My parents kept me from children who were rough
Who threw words like stones and wore torn clothes
Their thighs shone through rags. They ran in the street
And climbed cliffs and stripped by the country streams.
I feared more than tigers their muscles like iron
Their jerking hands and their knees tight on my arms
I feared the salt coarse pointing of those boys
Who copied my lisp behind me on the road.
They were lithe, they sprang out behind hedges
Like dogs to bark at my world. They threw mud
While I looked the other way, pretending to smile
I longed to forgive them but they never smiled.

Stephen Spender had a foot affliction and he lisped while he spoke; this made his parents extra careful about exposing him to rough handling and bullying in school. A reading of this poem however makes us wonder whether he approved of that move entirely. He seems to have been ambivalent about the whole issue. He was not comfortable with the roughness of the street children either.

Metaphorical Inference

This poem has strong autobiographical overtones. Stephen Spender had a club foot and he lisped while talking. His parents tried to shelter him from the rough street children. While Spender seems to have been uncomfortable with their coarse speech and rude gestures, he admired the strength of their bodies and the freedom they enjoyed. They could come and go as they liked and they were uninhibited (“stripped by the country streams”). His overtures of friendship were rebuffed by them; perhaps they mistrusted people of his class. The tone is in parts wistful and there is a longing for physical perfection that he could see in the children.

Prepare a post in your blog with the following tasks.

Task 1. 

How do you think he might felt while going to school?

Task 2

Watch the video which analyses the poem. Take notes and publish them in your blog.

Task 3

Here a summary of each and every stanza.

-Find a quote to prove each of them.

-Find a literary device in each stanza and explain what the writer is using that device for.

This webpage may be of great help

Stanza 1

The poet’s parents sought to protect him from the street children. They were rude in speech and were dressed in rags. They were uninhibited and stripped off their clothes and swam in the country rivers.

Stanza 2

The speaker feared the brute strength of the boys. They were muscular and did not hesitate to use their arms and legs. The poet was also scared of their mocking ways. They laughed behind his back, imitating his lisp.

Stanza 3

The boys were like vandals; they threw mud at people and pounced on them. But despite all this, the speaker was forgiving. He wanted to be friendly and smiled at them. But they did not reciprocate the friendly overtures.


Write an essay

Explore the ways in which the poet vividly presents his childhood experience in the poem.

In your answer you should explore:

-The poet’s thoughts and feelings about the bullies

-The portrayal of the boys

The overall impact of the poem on you


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The Destructors

We have been working on War Poetry, a literary movement that criticized WWI.

Now, we are going to read a story: THE DESTRUCTORS by G. Greene which deals with the results of WWII in Britain.

The story begins by introducing us to the Wormsley Common Gang, a group of boys ranging from nine to fifteen years of age, who live in a tough area of London and spend their summer holiday pulling pranks. They gather daily in an empty lot created when bombs dropped on England during World War 2 destroyed the houses that used to stand there. One beautiful old house still stands on the edge of the lot, although it was damaged during the war and is propped up by wooden struts. This house is owned by Mr. Thomas, an elderly, solitary man who used to be a builder and a decorator, and whom the boys derisively call “Old Misery.” The bombing destroyed the house’s plumbing, so Mr. Thomas uses an outdoor lavatory.

The leader of the gang is a boy named Blackie who concerns himself with fairness and with the gang’s reputation. A boy named Trevor, who comes from a more affluent background, but whose parents have fallen on hard times, is the gang’s newest member. Usually the boys would make fun of the name Trevor, but the menacing way he carries himself inspires their respect. They call the new boy “T.” and allow him to enter the group without a humiliating ritual induction. Other members of the group include the young and easily surprised Mike, and the more practical and outspoken Summers. (summary from

The story

Take a look at this presentation

Comprehension questions (pair work)

  • The Wormsley Common Gang. Comment on membership, recruitment, enemies, activities, and motivations. How about gangs today?
  • What do you see as the central theme of this story? Remember: a theme is not simply a subject like “love”. It is a fuller expression of what an author is trying to suggest about this subject. Write a paragraph explaining your interpretation of this story’s theme.
  • Identify three important conflicts present in the story. Explain what exactly is causing the problem—and whether they are internal or external in nature. Finally, explain which of these conflicts seems to the central problem.
  • Draw an image of Mr. Thomas’ house. Now explain the gang’s motivation to destroy the house by webbing out points and quotations to each of the ideas below:
    1. the age and beauty of the house
    2. the gang’s usual pranks around London
    3. what has occurred in the recent past with T’s parents
    4. Blackie’s reaction to the word “beautiful”
    5. The boys’ reaction to Mr. Thomas’ gift of chocolate
    6. Summers’ reaction to the word “please”
    7. the burning of the banknotes
    8. their consideration for Old Misery
  • Of what significance is the setting of this story in blitzed London? Does the story have anything to say about the consequences of war? About the causes of war?
  • Address the following quotation in the story by explaining its context and overall significance to the story:

“Streaks of light came in through the closed shutters where they worked with the seriousness of creators—and destruction after all is a form of creation. A kind of imagination had seen this house as it had now become.”

  • Describe what happens in the resolution of the story. Why might Graham Greene have ended the story in this ironic manner?
  • On the surface this is a story of action, suspense, and adventure. At a deeper level it is about delinquency, war, and the hidden forces which motivate our actions. Do you agree? Give reasons for your answer.
  • Research a definition of the philosophy of nihilism. How might the Wormsley Common Gang’s actions in the story demonstrate a kind of nihilism?

Choose a question to write an essay

  1. The setting for this story is London, nine years after the city survived a series of bombing attacks during WWⅡ. How does this setting contribute to the development of the story?
  2. “The Destructors” written by Graham Greene is set in London nine years after the end of World War II. People survived from “The Blitz”. The Blitz “was Nazi Germany’s sustained aerial bombing campaign against Britain in World War Two.”(The Blitz) Everything was in chaos, people lost their home, slept in the underground station and lost their hope for the future. Comment closely on this.
  3. Graham Greene’s portrayal of human nature, in “The Destructors,” conveys the idea that people have the instinctive ability to distinguish, and make a conscience choice, between what they believe to be good and evil. This message is clearly projected by the characters and their actions: that children born to a traumatized society will grow rebellious. Comment closely on this.



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Topics for the Research Paper

Resultado de imagen para writing a paper

Comparing novels and movies

1. Harry Potter and the movie. The gothic genre.

2. Frankenstein and the movie (the one with Robert De Niro). The Gothic Genre.

3. The Great Gatsby and the movie.  The American Dream. The 1920s in the USA. Symbolism.

4. The Hunger Games and the movie. Social context and criticism to the system. Symbolism.

Role of Women and Rite of Passage in Katherine Mansfield’s short stories. Compare and contrast this to the world today.

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Suggested stories (of course, you can choose others)


Chauvanism and the role of women in Ernest Hemmingway’s stories. Compare and contrast this to the world today.

Link to Stories

Nature and man in the poems by Ted Hughes: 

Links to his Poetry

Sci-Fi stories and their criticism to historical and social contexts, especially totalitarian governments and societies.


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Parts of the Paper and Research Time

Resultado de imagen para part of the paper

  1. Title
  2. Quotation (by another author but related to your paper)
  3. Index
  4. Biography of writer (and director in the case of choosing a movie too)
  5. Context of production (historical, social, literary context)
  6. Thesis question
  7. Introduction
  8. Body development
  9. Conclusion
  10. Bibliography (appropriate citation)

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-Themes you are going to tackle

-Reading and gathering ideas, information, important quotations.


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Encuentro #5

Hoy es un gran día ya que comenzaremos a compartir nuestras ideas, la base de nuestra futura charla TED.

En grupos cada uno presentará su idea y el resto de nosotros le daremos una devolución en base a una adaptación de los 6 sombreros de Edward Bono.

Resultado de imagen para 6 sombreros para pensar

Luego, veremos la siguiente charla: “El Secreto de una gran charla”



Pienso y Escribo

-3 frase acerca de la idea a desarrollar. ¿Por qué querés hablar de esa idea? ¿Por qué te parece relevante?

-¿Cuál es tu conexión personal con esa idea?

-¿Por qué vos serías la persona indicada para hablar de eso?

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Songs and Literature

Activity 1

In class, we have been discussing our favourite songs. We shared lyrics we adore and we debated and commented on them.

We also read an article about Bob Dylan winning the Nobel Prize for Literature! WOW!!!

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Now, we are going to work on musicians and bands that sometimes write to protest!

Musicians of all genres have voiced their support for causes such as civil rights and an end to war. With the recent surge of activism in New York and beyond, new activists can hum these numbers as they fight for immigrant rights or demonstrate to protect the environment.

I have prepared a list of 21 protest songs, one for each of you.

Activity 2

Choose a song you want to work on:

Activity 3

Prepare a post in your blog (Language and Literature) and analyse the song. Include:

-a short biography of the singer or band

-a video of the band or singer playing the song

-main themes (quote to prove) and tones

-at least 3 literary devices you can spot

-your opinion on the topic

-any pic you want to use to illustrate the matter

Also, make a reflection on this learning activity (did you like it? was it useful? what did you learn?, etc)

Activity 4

Then, visit 5 blogs and leave a comment.

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Music is poetry to our ears and poetry is music to our eyes!

Thanks Senior 5 for such a nice day!

We shared music and ideas, thoughts and memories!

Tomorrow….the second part!

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Encuentro #4

En este encuentro quiero compartir con ustedes esta charla de Brandon Slepicki, un participantes de Clubes TED-Ed

Luego de ver la charla, les propongo pensar y reflexionar sobre aquel tema que los inquieta o apasiona!

Siguiendo estas preguntas orientadoras, realicen un mapa de intereses.

-¿Qué tema realmente te moviliza, te “saca de la silla”? ¿En qué tema no podés dejar de pensar?


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The Butterfly Effect

The idea that everything is connected becomes most interesting when applied to ourselves.

Resultado de imagen para the butterfly effect phrases

“would it make a difference if i told you, nobody could possibly love you as much as i have loved you?”

Task 1

Writing prompts: choose an option to write

  1. Imagine one small change in the history of the planet, and imagine how things would be different. Similarly, conjure up a few characters and, in your tale, explore how one’s activity may relate to another, and so on. (historical event, social event, ecological event, etc)
  2. Tiny changes within our past society can turn Argentina into a better place. Do you agree? Write the story.
  3. Do you believe that something that happened at some point in your life may have influenced the person your are today? Write deeply about this.
  4. Write a story and make the following quotation part of it.Resultado de imagen para the butterfly effect phrases

Hope you have enjoyed the movie and now the writing!

Task 2: Leave a comment about your favourite part of the movie or leave a reflection on the butterfly effect.


Posted in 2019, DHsecundaria, Senior 5 Lang & Lit 2019 | Tagged | 2 Comments

Senior 1 topics for the term test

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Topics for the term test (3 exercises)

1 exercise on literary devices (check the blog to study)

1 exercise on poetry

-Watching for Dolphins

-In Praise of creation

1 writing paragraph


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Senior 5 Topics for the term test

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Topics included in the Language and Literature term test: Poetry

All the poems you prepared and “To the Evening Star”

I will also assess the use of connectors in your writing!!

Tutorial Students

Writing based on the story and the movie: “Eveline” and “Brooklyn”

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