Reflection: Intrinsic Motivation The Age of Faith in Review: Studying for Myths and Puritans Unit Test - Section 3: Examples of the Archetype: Tricksters Through the Years


In our discussion, students noted that each occurrence of trickster behavior also puts Coyote further into "trouble," moving the plot forward. Students examine how Coyote's interactions with Buffalo Bull, create this sense of trouble: first to save himself, then out of greed, as well as how he foolishly trusts the Old Woman in the tale. Specifically, in connection with the characteristics of the trickster tale we identified:

Violence: Kicks Buffalo Bull's skull

Magic: Summons trees to protect him

Deceit: Tries to trick Buffalo Bull into not hurting him

Subverts natural order: Buffalo herds are led by the strongest. By Coyote providing Buffalo Bull with new horns, he's subverting the natural order of the herd. 

As a whole, the students showed ability to identify the first three, but needed to be prompted to come to the conclusion on the last one. Given that this is not explicitly stated in the text, I took note that some students in this class certainly function at the knowledge level, but will need practice at application of that knowledge. 

Students took initiative when asked about other examples of the trickster; based on their ideas, we agreed that "cartoon logic" counted as "magic" for the purposes of understanding a trickster. Students created a strong list of examples, including: Swiper (from "Dora the Explorer), Jerry (of "Tom and Jerry"), Roadrunner, Bugs Bunny, Pink Panther, Daffy Duck, and I gave Woody Woodpecker as an example. As they realized all of these were cartoon characters, I noted to the students all have their origins between the 1930s and 1960s; the trickster was a very popular archetype mid century. In the future, I may tie this to writing and research standards, as it provides a chance for a mini research project.  

By drawing these connections to their early pop culture experiences, I'm able to encourage student motivation and ownership in our class, discussion, and the material.

  Tricky Thoughts: A Look a Student Review Discussion
  Intrinsic Motivation: Tricky Thoughts: A Look a Student Review Discussion
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The Age of Faith in Review: Studying for Myths and Puritans Unit Test

Unit 2: Literacy: Plain Living Portrayed in Puritan Poetry and Sermons
Lesson 8 of 10

Objective: SWBAT analyze the theme of balance in nature and the complex characterization of a trickster archetype by drawing comparisons in a whole-class review.

Big Idea: What is test anxiety like? In preparation for our first test of the year, students review methods of comparing and contrasting in literature.

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