Thursday, March 5, 2009

Sam Mcgee--- He's one cool guy

This past week, we've been learning the poem "The Cremation of Sam McGee" by Robert Service. I've been having a great time with this poem. We read this poem after a unit on "The Call of the Wild" by Jack London. Both literary works have a shared historical context of the Klondike Gold Rush in Canada's Yukon. Next week, we are going to study the Iditarod. After all, there's a story in the book all about the Iditarod, and as the teacher, I get to choose what's interesting.

Believe it or not, I just remembered an old high school friend reciting this poem for Speech. I saw him on Facebook one Sunday morning and asked him why he chose this poem for Speech. He told me that his grandpa used to take him ice fishing and would recite the poem to him.

Our school principal came into the room and recited the poem to all five of my sections. The kids ooed and awed over his ingenious memory. It was fabulous. It was fun. It's all apart of my evil plan to help them connect to poetry.

I'll tell the kids, "I'm the judge on interesting. If you know what's good for you, you'll find this interesting."

Sometimes they believe me. After hearing, watching, reading, questioning, I almost have this poem memorized. I bet this poem has been in and out of my brain at least thirty times in the last two weeks.

I try to really emphasize the imagery of the poem. Robert Service really appeals to his reader's sensory imagination as he tells us about Cap "stuffing" the corpse of Sam Mcgee into the furnace for his cremation. The sizzle always grosses me out... Ew... this poem is really gruesome.

This is probably why I chose this poem. The kids will remember it.

I found an awesome video on youtube. Urgelt gave me instructions on how to download it and use it for my class. I can't figure out how to save it so I can show it in Quicktime. I will though... Really I will!!!

I hope they will always remember the poem. Maybe they'll take their kids ice fishing one day tell their kids about this poem they memorized and start;

There are strange things done in the midnight sun
by the men who moil for gold.
The arctic trails have their secret tales
that would make your blood run cold.

The northern lights have seen queer sights
but the queerest they ever did see
was by the marge of Lake Legarge
where I cremated Sam Mcgee.

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