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Open Letter to Mr. Vedder

Dear Mr. Vedder,

My name is Maryland Teacher. I'm a Maryland English Teacher.
On behalf of my three 8th grade classes, we have a story to share.

For the past three and a half years, I have included the lyrics to your song
"Black" as part of my Journey Through Genres unit. Initially, I
introduce "Black" as a poem. In the end of the Journeys Through
Genres unit, I ask the kids if they want to hear "Black" being "read,"
and I play your song. They always seem stunned when they realize that a
song is really nothing more than poetry married to rhythm.

I must admit that teaching "Black" is one of the highlights of my
year, and the kids love it, too. My students actually whined when I
took the lyrics back from them (too much to go over during a 45 minute
block of time). They wanted to know how the "poem" ended: I only
let them examine the song stanza by stanza, and we only got through the
first two stanzas during the first day. Never before have I seen them so
hungry for more. One promising young student even asked for a copy of
the lyrics. As a teacher, those moments are pure gold. It makes me
proud to be an educator.

When we review "Black," we treat it to literary analysis: we go
over Imagery, Metaphor, Mood, Tone, and Symbolism. In addition, we
examine the emotional temperature of the piece. The kids seemed to be
right-on-the-money with respect to the mood of "Black." They both
felt and appreciated the Narrator's pain as he laments the loss of a
loved one.

Here's what we came up with.

Empty canvas and untouched sheets of clay suggest a void in the Narrator's life, contrasting the two aspects of his life. When she was in his life, the Narrator/artist was able to produce his work. Now that the relationship is over, he lacks the steam
required to continue his art. The words empty and untouched suggest a
barren, austere emotional climate. They illuminate potential that goes
empty and untouched.

Comparing the Antagonist to the sun suggests that she provides heat,
warmth, and life to the Narrator, the proper "earthen bed" required
to nourish and promote the flower of happiness, growth, and
self-actualization. In short, she was everything to him. She completed
him. This totality can be seen in the fact that the word everything is
repeated several times during the subsequent portions of the song. The
line, "Now the air I tasted and breathed, has taken a turn" sharply
marks Tone. It is the Narrator dropping his mask and speaking directly
to us about how he feels about his loss. Not only was she his sun, she
was the air that sustained him. And with the souring of the
relationship, so sours the air. With the souring of the air comes the
souring of the Narrator. He gasps for breath, choking on his situation.
This slow, emotional suffocation is mute testimony to the honesty of his
pain, his loss, and the slow fragmentation of his security. The
Narrator can no longer breathe without suffering, and every breath
haunts him. The fact that he is required to breathe this sour air is an
ever-present reminder of the Narrator's all-consuming pain.

When we reviewed the lines, "And all I taught her was everything / I
know she gave me all that she wore
," a few students echoed some of my
private thoughts. Those lines read as if a young art professor had
fallen in love with one of his students. Several students from
different classes came up with that interpretation. The bitter hands
chafing is testimony to the Narrator rubbing his hands together in a
compulsive attempt to cope with his loss. The "washing" of the
pictures is a metaphor depicting the destruction of what was once a
beautiful relationship. The image of destroying a painting is a
powerful symbol showing how one feels when love decays. The loss of
that loved one feels like the destruction of a beautiful work of art.
The reference to a tattoo suggests that the Narrator's pain is
permanent. The pain is being compared to a tattoo's ink. Even though
that pain will fade/run over time, the Narrator feels that it will
always be there, just like a tattoo.

I feel that, "I take a walk outside / I"m surrounded by some kids
at play / I can feel their laughter, so why do I sear?"
is one of the
most powerful lines in literary history. Those words capture the slow
burn endured by those who are haunted by the fading echoes of true love.
It's as if the pain is both amplified by and juxtaposed with the
reminder that everyone around the Narrator has permission to be happy,
yet he is condemned to what he sees as an eternity of suffering,
slow-roasting over the white-hot coals of what was, and taunted by what
will never be. The juxtaposition of beautiful laughter and paralytic
pain eclipses the Narrator's happiness, highlighting his angst all the
more.

The 'twisted thoughts' can be thought of as the manic replaying of
what the Narrator could have done/should have done to salvage the
relationship, second-guessing himself and dooming himself to torturous
self-examination. This self-questioning erodes the Narrator's
stability, leaving him reeling from his efforts.

As the Antagonist is being compared to his sun, the line, "How quick
the sun can drop away
" shows a bitter, clipped Tone, capturing the
sarcastic hemorrhage felt by the Narrator. The sun's dropping is
testimony to the fact that the relationship is over. Love's glow has
faded. In her absence, in the sun's absence, the image created is
that of a man trying to scratch out an existence in a bleak word devoid
of warmth, light, love, and hope. Trapped within the scattered ruins of his
own emotional wasteland, the Narrator feels that he is at risk of drying
out and shriveling up. The Narrator identifies with Sisyphus, condemned
to an eternity of rolling his emotional boulder up life's steep inclines.

If the antagonist can be referred to a precious glass statue, then the,
"...bitter hands that cradle broken glass...," shows how the Narrator
cannot heal, despite the end of the relationship. The image created is
that of a masochist who cannot release the sharp fragments of something
that was once dear to him, trapped within a vicious cycle of
self-injury: he holds love's broken pieces, and they lacerate him.
Going against both intuition and friends' sound advice, he hugs it
again, perpetuating the cycle of self-mutilation. The word cradle
suggests that the Narrator will pursue any hope, however fleeting, of
resuscitating the relationship. The fact that the relationship keeps
slicing him is as powerful as it is self-defeating.

When the Narrator's world turns to black, he bears his soul, naked to
the world. He allows the readers a rare glimpse into the true depth of
his woe. This hurt, this emotional tattoo, ruins all that he sees, all
that he is, and all that he will ever be. This pain is symbolized by
the tattoo. His pain is so pervasive that he sees this grief as having
amputated part of his future, pillorying the hope that tomorrow could
have brought.

"Black" ends with a failed coup-de-grace. Unable to admit defeat
and move on, the Narrator cannot shake hands and walk away. While the
Narrator recognizes that the Antagonist will be the star in someone
else's sky, he laments that she will not be the star in his sky,
agonizing over the fact that it wasn't meant to be. "Why can't it
be mine
?" eliminates any chance of moving on, uprooting any growth
made towards closure. Buried within the wasteland of his heart, the
Narrator cannot see that he cannot see beyond the immediacy of it all.


"Black" captures all the emptiness, all the ache, and all the doom
felt by most young people when they look back on their clumsy first
attempts at love. It is my opinion that "Black" is one of the most
powerful pieces of poetry in the textbook that is our world.

My 8th grade classes are deeply interested in knowing what inspired
"Black." From where did it come? From what? That, and they
just wanted thank the person who found a voice for those who had
previously suffered in silence.

Sincerely,

Mr. Bruno

3486, 3813, 6995, 7152, 7773, 8111, 8745, 8932, 9015, 9190, 9450, 9749, 10,737, 11,102, 12,598, 13,028,
Dalai Lama—To say that humility is an essential ingredient in our pursuit of spiritual transformation may seem to be at odds with what I have said about the need for confidence. But there is clearly a distinction to be made between valid confidence or self-esteem, and conceit - which we can describe as an inflated sense of importance, grounded in a false image of self.
Post edited by Unknown User on
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Comments

  • LizardLizard So CalPosts: 11,982
    Wow!

    Interesting read---thanks for that. Wonderful exposing kids that age in such depth.


    But you might want to re-think posting those #s on a public forum. ;)
    Is it over yet? #ITMFA  #ETTD
  • Flannel ShirtFlannel Shirt Posts: 1,021
    wow dude. those kids are lucky to be in your class. I mean, Shane is a cool book when your in fifth grade, and Flowers for Algernon is a good story, but hell, it doesnt get better than this.
    All that's sacred, comes from youth....dedications, naive and true.
  • Lizard wrote:
    Wow!

    Interesting read---thanks for that. Wonderful exposing kids that age in such depth.


    But you might want to re-think posting those #s on a public forum. ;)

    Lizard,

    It's the school's number...not my home number..so its ok.
    Dalai Lama—To say that humility is an essential ingredient in our pursuit of spiritual transformation may seem to be at odds with what I have said about the need for confidence. But there is clearly a distinction to be made between valid confidence or self-esteem, and conceit - which we can describe as an inflated sense of importance, grounded in a false image of self.
  • wow dude. those kids are lucky to be in you class. I mean, Shane is a cool book when you in fifth grade, and Flowers for Algernon is a good story, but hell, it doesnt get better than this.

    Flannel Shirt, you rock! Thanks for the vote of confidence!

    Mr. B
    Dalai Lama—To say that humility is an essential ingredient in our pursuit of spiritual transformation may seem to be at odds with what I have said about the need for confidence. But there is clearly a distinction to be made between valid confidence or self-esteem, and conceit - which we can describe as an inflated sense of importance, grounded in a false image of self.
  • wow! that was a great level of interpretation for 8th graders. wonderful stuff!
    IF YOU WANT A PLATE OF MY BEEF SWELLINGTON, YOU'RE GOING TO HAVE TO PAY THE COVERCHARGE.
  • well, first let me say that this is a great idea n probably a great way to reach out to a misguided youth..

    what did the children say when they heard the song?????

    did any of them search for more lyrics by PJ?

    all in all --- very greatful to read a great post

    thanks, n keep on rockin!!!!
    If I knew where it was.....I WOULD TAKE YOU THERE! THERES MUCH MORE THAN THIS!
  • Really, really awesome.
    Come on pilgrim you know he loves you..

    http://www.wishlistfoundation.org

    Oh my, they dropped the leash.



    Morgan Freeman/Clint Eastwood 08' for President!

    "Make our day"
  • Those kids are lucky to have you!

    Try Given to Fly on for size.
    Be Sound...
  • brain of cbrain of c Posts: 5,213
    i like the death metal version.
  • wow, that post gave me goose bumps. You are so right when you said that "Black is one of the most powerful pieces of poetry in the textbook that is our world."

    It might even be a good idea for your students to listen to a live recording of Black or to see it played on a DVD to get the full experience of the emotion that is carried through the song.
    9/16/96, 7/18/98, 11/02/00, 08/4/01, 12/08/02, 4/13/03, 10/22/03, 9/24/04, 3/18/05, 9/01/05, 9/02/05, 7/06/06, 7/07/06, 7/09/06, 7/10/06, 7/20/06
    7/22/06, 7/23/06, 04/07/07, 8/3/07
  • I read the whole letter and omg you dont know how badly i would love to have a teacher to share the love :] for english class Ive written a pj essay and thats as good as it gets.... btw i had to read flowers for algernon this year :]
    www.myspace.com/saveyou23
  • Deadlee74Deadlee74 Posts: 146
    This is very cool, and I hope the band hears about this. I think they would be impressed.
    I'm wondering, about wondering...
    My PJ Art Gallery
    http://www.angelfire.com/il3/leespjartpage/index.htm
  • oceanfloweroceanflower Posts: 101
    That's the way to get kids exited about learning! I have 2 sons in middle school and a daughter in high school who would be thrilled with that assignment. Keep up the good work!
    Liz

    Those who dance are called insane
    by those who don't hear the music.
    ~ Eddie Vedder
  • DavanitaDavanita Posts: 854
    my god how i would have loved to have a teacher like you.....
    great work.

    btw - dumb question from a non-American; what age are we talking about when speaking of 8th grade..?
    Jon Stewart: "[about Russia's new president]...Dmitri Medevvvevv.... Dmitri Meh..... Dmitri M.! Or... as George W. Bush would probably pronounce it... Eddie Vedder."
    __________________________________
    http://www.myspace.com/pearl_jamn_it
  • josevolutionjosevolution Posts: 23,993
    Dear Mr. Vedder,

    My name is Mr. Bruno. I'm a Maryland English Teacher.
    On behalf of my three 8th grade classes, we have a story to share.

    For the past three years, I have included the lyrics to your song
    "Black" as part of my Journey Through Genres unit. Initially, I
    introduce "Black" as a poem. In the end of the Journeys Through
    Genres unit, I ask the kids if they want to hear "Black" being "read,"
    and I play your song. They always seem stunned when they realize that a
    song is really nothing more than poetry married to rhythm.

    I must admit that teaching "Black" is one of the highlights of my
    year, and the kids love it, too. My students actually whined when I
    took the lyrics back from them (too much to go over during a 45 minute
    block of time). They wanted to know how the "poem" ended: I only
    let them examine the song stanza by stanza, and we only got through the
    first two stanzas during the first day. Never before have I seen them so
    hungry for more. One promising young student even asked for a copy of
    the lyrics. As a teacher, those moments are pure gold. It makes me
    proud to be an educator.

    When we review "Black" we treat it to literary analysis: we go
    over Imagery, Metaphor, Mood, Tone, and Symbolism. In addition, we
    examine the emotional temperature of the piece. The kids seemed to be
    right-on-the-money with respect to the mood of "Black." They both
    felt and appreciated the Narrator's pain as he laments the loss of a
    girlfriend.

    Here's what we came up with.

    Empty canvas and untouched sheets of clay suggest that something is
    incomplete in the Narrator's life, contrasting the two aspects of his
    life. When she was in his life, the Narrator/artist was able to produce
    his work. Now that the relationship is over, he lacks the steam
    required to continue his art. The words empty and untouched suggest a
    barren, austere emotional climate. They illuminate potential that goes
    empty and untouched.

    Comparing the Antagonist to the sun suggests that she provides heat,
    warmth, and life to the Narrator, the proper "earthen bed" required
    to nourish and promote the flower of happiness, growth, and
    self-actualization. In short, she was everything to him. She completed
    him. This totality can be seen in the fact that the word everything is
    repeated several times during the subsequent portions of the song. The
    line, "Now the air I tasted and breathed, has taken a turn" sharply
    marks Tone. It is the Narrator dropping his mask and speaking directly
    to us about how he feels about his loss. Not only was she his sun, she
    was the air that sustained him. And with the souring of the
    relationship, so sours the air. With the souring of the air comes the
    souring of the Narrator. He gasps for breath, choking on his situation.
    This slow, emotional suffocation is mute testimony to the honesty of his
    pain, his loss, and the slow fragmentation of his security. The
    Narrator can no longer breathe without suffering, and every breath
    haunts him. The fact that he is required to breathe this sour air is an
    ever-present reminder of the Narrator's all-consuming pain.

    When we reviewed the lines, "And all I taught her was everything / I
    know she gave me all that she wore," a few students echoed some of my
    private thoughts. Those lines read as if a young art professor had
    fallen in love with one of his students. Several students from
    different classes came up with that interpretation. The bitter hands
    chafing is testimony to the Narrator rubbing his hands together in a
    compulsive attempt to cope with his loss. The "washing" of the
    pictures is a metaphor depicting the destruction of what was once a
    beautiful relationship. The image of destroying a painting is a
    powerful symbol showing how one feels when love decays. The loss of
    that loved one feels like the destruction of a beautiful work of art.
    The reference to a tattoo suggests that the Narrator's pain is
    permanent. The pain is being compared to a tattoo's ink. Even though
    that pain will fade/run over time, the Narrator feels that it will
    always be there, just like a tattoo.

    I feel that, "I take a walk outside / I"m surrounded by some kids
    at play / I can feel their laughter, so why do I sear?" is one of the
    most powerful lines in literary history. Those words capture the slow
    burn endured by those who are haunted by the fading echoes of true love.
    It's as if the pain is both amplified by and juxtaposed with the
    reminder that everyone around the Narrator has permission to be happy,
    yet he is condemned to what he sees as an eternity of suffering,
    slow-roasting over the white-hot coals of what was, and taunted by what
    will never be. The juxtaposition of beautiful laughter and paralytic
    pain eclipses the Narrator's happiness, highlighting his angst all the
    more.

    The 'twisted thoughts' can be thought of as the manic replaying of
    what the Narrator could have done/should have done to salvage the
    relationship, second-guessing himself and dooming himself to torturous
    self-examination. This self-questioning erodes the Narrator's
    stability, leaving him reeling from his efforts.

    As the Antagonist is being compared to his sun, the line, "How quick
    the sun can drop away" shows a bitter, clipped Tone, capturing the
    sarcastic hemorrhage felt by the Narrator. The sun's dropping is
    testimony to the fact that the relationship is over. Love's glow has
    faded. In her absence, in the sun's absence, the image created is
    that of a man trying to scratch out an existence in a bleak word devoid
    of warmth, light, love, and hope. Trapped within the bleak ruins of his
    own emotional wasteland, the Narrator feels that he is at risk of drying
    out and shriveling up. The Narrator identifies with Sisyphus, condemned
    to an eternity of rolling his emotional boulder up life's steep
    inclines.

    If the antagonist can be referred to a precious glass statue, then the,
    "bitter hands that cradle broken glass," shows how the Narrator
    cannot heal, despite the end of the relationship. The image created is
    that of a masochist who cannot release the sharp fragments of something
    that was once dear to him, trapped within a vicious cycle of
    self-injury: he holds love's broken pieces, and they lacerate him.
    Going against both intuition and friends' sound advice, he hugs it
    again, perpetuating the cycle of self-mutilation. The word cradle
    suggests that the Narrator will pursue any hope, however fleeting, of
    resuscitating the relationship. The fact that the relationship keeps
    slicing him is as powerful as it is self-defeating.

    When the Narrator's world turns to black, he bears his soul, naked to
    the world. He allows the readers a rare glimpse into the true depth of
    his woe. This hurt, this emotional tattoo, ruins all that he sees, all
    that he is, and all that he will ever be. This pain is symbolized by
    the tattoo. His pain is so pervasive that he sees this grief has having
    amputated part of his future, pillorying hope for what tomorrow could
    bring.

    "Black" ends with a failed coup-de-grace. Unable to admit defeat
    and move on, the Narrator cannot shake hands and walk away. While the
    Narrator recognizes that the Antagonist will be the star in someone
    else's sky, he laments that she will not be the star in his sky,
    agonizing over the fact that it wasn't meant to be. "Why can't it
    be mine?" eliminates any chance of moving on, uprooting any growth
    made towards closure. Buried within the wasteland of his heart, the
    Narrator cannot see that he cannot see beyond the immediacy of it all.


    "Black" captures all the emptiness, all the ache, and all the doom
    felt by most young people when they look back on their clumsy first
    attempts at love. It is my opinion that "Black" is one of the most
    powerful pieces of poetry in the textbook that is our world.

    My 8th grade classes are deeply interested in knowing what inspired
    "Black." From where did it come? From what? That, and they
    just wanted thank the person who found a voice for those who had
    previously suffered in silence.

    Sincerely,

    Mr. Bruno


    whoa if i would of had one teacher like your self i would of been extremly lucky i hope your students realize this if not now then in the future that they were fortunate to have a teacher like your self ,i wish my 2 kids get to be taught by someone as yourself keep up the great work.....
    jesus greets me looks just like me ....
  • OMG!! I am balling my eyes out! That is one of the most beautiful things i have ever had the pleasure to read. I am so touched by the reaction of the 8th graders. It is so heartwarming to know that you are touching the hearts and souls of these children. And, i hope that because of your bringing pearl jam to these children, that they will be curious enough to listen to other songs and i hope that they can be as touched by this band as i am and inspired to be loving considerate human beings and try to make this a better world. You are an inspiration as well. How I wish i had a teacher like you when i was in school. YOU are making a difference. PLEASE keep up the great work.

    Sincerely.
  • Great stuff. I often use my English Language "skills" to analyse songs like that. Keep up the good work.
  • chadwickchadwick up my assPosts: 21,157
    I am speechless after reading about your 8th grade classes.
    As well as i am speechless to you as a teacher and a human-being.
    You are without a dought one great inspirational teacher, human-being.
    May your students be led down a floral path of beauty with you as their
    gifted immaculate guide.
    As i read your thread i could have cried, i actually probably should have.
    But i was reading aloud so i could share this story with my mom.
    So i held back a few tears.
    How i wish you were in my life when i was an 8th grader.
    For me 8th grade is when i started smoking pot and partying.
    This led my life into many long years of nothingness.


    "Black"

    Hey...oooh...
    Sheets of empty canvas, untouched sheets of clay
    Were laid spread out before me as her body once did
    All five horizons revolved around her soul
    As the earth to the sun
    Now the air I tasted and breathed has taken a turn
    Ooh, and all I taught her was everything
    Ooh, I know she gave me all that she wore
    And now my bitter hands chafe beneath the clouds
    Of what was everything?
    Oh, the pictures have all been washed in black, tattooed Everything...

    I take a walk outside
    I'm surrounded by some kids at play
    I can feel their laughter, so why do I sear
    Oh, and twisted thoughts that spin round my head
    I'm spinning, oh, I'm spinning
    How quick the sun can, drop away
    And now my bitter hands cradle broken glass
    Of what was everything
    All the pictures have all been washed in black, tattooed everything...
    All the love gone bad turned my world to black
    Tattooed all I see, all that I am, all I will be...yeah...
    Uh huh...uh huh...ooh...
    I know someday you'll have a beautiful life, I know you'll be a star
    In somebody else's sky, but why, why, why
    Can't it be, can't it be mine
    for poetry through the ceiling. ISBN: 1 4241 8840 7

    "Hear me, my chiefs!
    I am tired; my heart is
    sick and sad. From where
    the sun stands I will fight
    no more forever."

    Chief Joseph - Nez Perce
  • Wow that was incredible! Good work analyzing all of that and putting it into such good words! I remember for a juxtaposition project in English 12 I decided to use the song Black, it's just absolutely incredible in terms of symbolism and metaphors and all of those literary terms. It was the first review of a poem where I got an A, it just had so much to write about and everything. Too bad I never had a teacher like you for that though, I'm really jealous of your students. Keep up the awesome work, and maybe some of them will be converted into major Pearl Jam fans! :D
    Vancouver 9/2/05
    Gorge 7/23/06
  • mdigenakismdigenakis Posts: 1,337
    Thats why we go into education. Hopefully when i find a job as a Social Studies teacher in NYC i can write a thank you letter to both Vedder and Maryland Teacher for a similar, and hopefully as successful, lesson (or unit) as this turned out to be.

    P.S.: Hopefully the curriculum dosen't keep me from preparing such a lesson.
    "Don't let the darkness eat you up..."

    -Greg Dulli

  • brain of c wrote:
    i like the death metal version.
    lolz.

    never leave this board man, it wouldn't be the same.
    Come on pilgrim you know he loves you..

    http://www.wishlistfoundation.org

    Oh my, they dropped the leash.



    Morgan Freeman/Clint Eastwood 08' for President!

    "Make our day"
  • wow! that was a great level of interpretation for 8th graders. wonderful stuff!


    failedpersephone,

    Most of that analysis is mine....however, a few really sharp students did echo a few of my thoughts. All seemed to identify Black's painful mood.

    Thanks for your support,

    Matt Bruno
    Dalai Lama—To say that humility is an essential ingredient in our pursuit of spiritual transformation may seem to be at odds with what I have said about the need for confidence. But there is clearly a distinction to be made between valid confidence or self-esteem, and conceit - which we can describe as an inflated sense of importance, grounded in a false image of self.
  • Crawldad,

    I'm hoping that I can inspire my students, and yes, many of them are misguided. Fifty percent of my school's children qualify for Free-And-Reduced-Meals. Most have rough family lives. I'm hoping to cut through all that fog. I want them to learn to think, to see scratch below the surface.

    The children have not heard the song yet. They will hear it tomorrow after we have completed Black's final stanza. After that, I will guide them through a half-dozen different really cool activities.

    Thanks for your support,

    Mr. Bruno
    Dalai Lama—To say that humility is an essential ingredient in our pursuit of spiritual transformation may seem to be at odds with what I have said about the need for confidence. But there is clearly a distinction to be made between valid confidence or self-esteem, and conceit - which we can describe as an inflated sense of importance, grounded in a false image of self.
  • Really, really awesome.

    Pearl Jam and toast,

    Thanks for your kind words.

    Mr. Bruno
    Dalai Lama—To say that humility is an essential ingredient in our pursuit of spiritual transformation may seem to be at odds with what I have said about the need for confidence. But there is clearly a distinction to be made between valid confidence or self-esteem, and conceit - which we can describe as an inflated sense of importance, grounded in a false image of self.
  • Delivered_Wings,

    Thanks. I'm lucky to have them, too.

    I don't know Given to Fly. Is it a book? A song?

    Mr. Bruno
    Dalai Lama—To say that humility is an essential ingredient in our pursuit of spiritual transformation may seem to be at odds with what I have said about the need for confidence. But there is clearly a distinction to be made between valid confidence or self-esteem, and conceit - which we can describe as an inflated sense of importance, grounded in a false image of self.
  • upina2001upina2001 IndianaPosts: 763
    Delivered_Wings,

    Thanks. I'm lucky to have them, too.

    I don't know Given to Fly. Is it a book? A song?

    Mr. Bruno


    Its a song off Yield....(the best PJ album)

    9/22/96, 6/26/98, 8/17/98, 8/18/00, 8/20/00, 8/21/00, 4/18/03, 4/23/03, 6/22/03, 5/16/06, 8/5/07, 6/11/08, 6/12/08, 8/22/08(Ed Solo), 8/23/09, 5/6/10, 5/7/10, 7/19/2013, 10/1/2014, 4/26/2016, 8/20/2018, 9/4/2018

  • wow, that post gave me goose bumps. You are so right when you said that "Black is one of the most powerful pieces of poetry in the textbook that is our world."

    It might even be a good idea for your students to listen to a live recording of Black or to see it played on a DVD to get the full experience of the emotion that is carried through the song.

    ledbetteroregon,

    Goosebumps, eh? I don't think you fully realize the depth of the compliment you gave me.

    I wish I had a live version on DvD...I would love to share that, so long as it had no cursing....can't do that. ; )
    Dalai Lama—To say that humility is an essential ingredient in our pursuit of spiritual transformation may seem to be at odds with what I have said about the need for confidence. But there is clearly a distinction to be made between valid confidence or self-esteem, and conceit - which we can describe as an inflated sense of importance, grounded in a false image of self.
  • I read the whole letter and omg you dont know how badly i would love to have a teacher to share the love :] for english class Ive written a pj essay and thats as good as it gets.... btw i had to read flowers for algernon this year :]

    who_doesnt_like_pj,

    I have heard of flowers for algernon, but I must admit that I have read it. Perhaps I should check it out.

    Several bloggers have shared that they wish they had had a teacher who loved rock. I'm glad that I can be the fun teacher. I try to bring my zeal for music into the room. The kids seem to like it.

    Mr. Bruno
    Dalai Lama—To say that humility is an essential ingredient in our pursuit of spiritual transformation may seem to be at odds with what I have said about the need for confidence. But there is clearly a distinction to be made between valid confidence or self-esteem, and conceit - which we can describe as an inflated sense of importance, grounded in a false image of self.
  • Deadlee74 wrote:
    This is very cool, and I hope the band hears about this. I think they would be impressed.

    Deadlee74,

    I'm very much hoping that PJ will hear about this posting. My students want to hear from Eddie. They want to hear firsthand about what motivated him to create "Black."

    Perhaps if the thread gets large enough, then PJ can contact my school. Keep your fingers crossed.

    Mr. Bruno
    Dalai Lama—To say that humility is an essential ingredient in our pursuit of spiritual transformation may seem to be at odds with what I have said about the need for confidence. But there is clearly a distinction to be made between valid confidence or self-esteem, and conceit - which we can describe as an inflated sense of importance, grounded in a false image of self.
  • That's the way to get kids exited about learning! I have 2 sons in middle school and a daughter in high school who would be thrilled with that assignment. Keep up the good work!

    oceanflower,

    The kids do seem to be interested in the subject matter. Many can relate to the pain in Black because many of them have suffered some form of loss: parent leaving, death of a loved one, etc.

    They actually whined again today when I took the lyrics back from them (before we had completed the song). I haven't let them read the final stanza. It's part of a reading/predicting/reaction teaching style that I use. They are hungry for more....can you imagine what will happen when I actully allow them to hear a "reading" of the poem "Black?"

    Keep your fingers crossed,

    Mr. Bruno
    Dalai Lama—To say that humility is an essential ingredient in our pursuit of spiritual transformation may seem to be at odds with what I have said about the need for confidence. But there is clearly a distinction to be made between valid confidence or self-esteem, and conceit - which we can describe as an inflated sense of importance, grounded in a false image of self.
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