Sunday, May 11, 2014

Course Redesign Update: May 11 - Persian Fairy Tales, Jatakas, and Salome!

Today was really fun: the Persian fairy tales that I worked on are from the best new book I have found as a result of this project — the Lorimers' beautiful Persian Tales! So, here's a rundown:

Persian Fairy Tales. I added all the notes to the Persian fairy tales and also the "Explore" connections so that students can build their own paths through the stories if they want. This will be esp. useful if students decide they are only going to do half of the reading in a given week. If they are only reading half, then by all means they should explore the themes they are most interested in. There are all different kinds of stories in this particular unit, including two werewolf stories (she-werewolves!) that will get some students' attention I am sure!  One of my favorite stories is still funny one about a fool and his luck: The Man Who Went to Wake His Luck.

Jataka Tales (Shedlock). Like Aesop's fables, I consider the Jataka tales to be so important that there are two Jataka units, one from the books by Babbitt, and this new one from a book by Marie Shedlock that is more explicitly Buddhist in its presentation, identifying the Buddha's incarnation in the stories. For students who are interested in Buddhism or religious tales in general, they will be able to choose to read both of these jataka units if they want during Weeks 4-5, which are the two weeks dedicated to the Middle East and India.

Europa's Fairy Book (Jacobs). This is another unit based on a book by Jacobs (I have already units based on his two volumes of English fairy tales, two volumes of Celtic fairy tales, and one volume of Indian fairy tales), and I thought this would be a good unit to include during the "European" part of the class in Weeks 13-14. The book contains Jacobs's retellings of some very common European stories. There are illustrations by Jacobs's regular illustrator, John Batten, and he does beautiful work, so adding the illustrations will be a pleasure! I might add the images later tonight.

Bible Women. I finished up all the notes to the Bible women unit, so there just remain the Introduction and assignment materials to wrap that one up completely! I was so glad to add the Martha page knowing that the Legend of Saint Martha is available in the Golden Legend week. Like with the Jataka tales being available for two weeks, I really like the idea that students who have an interest in women in Christianity can choose to read the Bible Women AND the Women Saints of the Golden Legend units for the Classical/Biblical unit that comes in Weeks 2-3. Again, I'm not sure how many students will choose to focus like that compared to students who will want to choose two entirely different units for that two week period. This is all going to be a new learning experience for me, and I'm looking forward to helping students see what the different options can be! In terms of a "learn something new every day" moment, I did not realize the name Salome does not appear in the Gospels; instead, it comes from Josephus (and others). I learned that when writing up the note for the page about Herodias!

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