Saturday, October 02, 2010

Three Musketeers Week 4: Lackeys and Abduction

Welcome! This blog post is related to my Three Musketeers class at our homeschool co-op, Homeschool Out of the Box. We have an academic section, reading Richard Pevear's translation of the book, and an enrichment section, reading the Usborne Young Readers' abridgement of the story. For all lesson plans related to this class, click the Three Musketeers tag at the bottom of this post.

We began class today reviewing our French vocabulary and checking out our homework and reading comprehension. The students had put some effort into their visions of the abandoned monastery, and we contrasted their ideas with the ones in the video clip I sent out in email. Here's that video. One of the most important things to absorb from this reading is the fun, witty patter the combatants toss around during the preparations for the duel, which is paid homage in a scene from The Princess Bride -- and you can see that video here. Fun stuff!

DISCUSSION: We talked last week about Victor Hugo and how he wrote more serious intellectual drama and Dumas wrote more popular entertainment and adventure. We talked today about the similarities in The Three Musketeers and popular stories, even fairy tales or bedtime stories. What common elements could we find in this novel and some of our most familiar stories? Damsels in distress, sword fights, chase scenes, very easily identifiable villains and heroes, uncomplicated good guys and bad guys, kings, queens, palaces, secrets, etc. One of the most obvious of these elements, and yet the most difficult to identify, is the number three and the repetition connected to that number. We all remembered "The Three Bears" and "The Three Little Pigs" as well as all the things that come in threes in plot lines of familiar tales. We'll see as we go forward that not only are there three musketeers, but there will be repetitions in threes in the action as well. This was very challenging material for the kids, and even the junior class was able to follow this discussion, and did a great job making this connection.

POETRY: We read the Victor Hugo poem "The Grave and the Rose." I gave them an English translation below the French poem on the page, and we compared how difficult it is to tell who is speaking in the English version, compared to the original French. We continue to look at different challenges of reading literature in translation, and this is one of them. I assigned the children to use two colors of highlighter or colored pencil to delineate the speakers in the quoted parts of the poem.

We also worked on the second line of "Demain des l'aube" and put the first two lines together.

ACTIVITIES: We sang our songs inside today -- no dancing around in the rain for us, but that's okay. It gave us more time to look at the French. We did Il Court le Furet, Sur le Pont d'Avignon, and le Petit Prince, and the junior class also worked on Claire de Lune. No swordfighting today either due to the rain, although the junior class still managed to slash and cleave a little bit!

ASSIGNMENT: On the worksheet for today are four ovals. I'd like the students to draw the faces of the four main characters on those ovals, using whatever props or clues they can draw so that they can trade with a partner and be able to identify which face goes with which character. Here are the vocabulary words they should find and highlight in the text:


And here are the reading comprehension questions for chapters 7 and 8.

Who is Athos’ lackey, and what rule does Athos enforce with him?
Who is Porthos’ lackey, and what does he look like?
Who is Aramis’ lackey, and what three problems does he have?
What does this mean: “In prosperity one should sow meals right and left, in order to harvest some in adversity.”
According to the landlord, what is the queen’s situation?
What person does the landlord suspect of kidnapping his wife?

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