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TOG dialectic literature-comments please

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I am finishing up my 6th year of TOG so I am very familiar with the LG/UG levels. I am moving my oldest into the dialectic stage completely next year. Literature study is something I do not feel completely adequate teaching without a lot of help so I've been thinking I was going to use a seperate literature program from TOG. Lately, I've been thinking about how I'm not using TOG to the fullest and need to streamline some more. I truly LOVE the history aspect of TOG but it has not given me enough help with the literature part in the lower grades.


Can those of you who have older kids share your experiences using the dialectic literature component. I know there are more worksheets and answers in the teacher notes, but is there more explaination, etc.? If it matters, we will be doing year 3 using IEW for writing. Thanks for your help.



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I lead book discussions on them. To prepare, I read each book at least twice beforehand. I do a good bit of research on the historical material and try to bring out significant things. I always find that there is a HUGE amount of material that is (or is not) mentioned in the book that we can talk about.


Here's how we discussed "Adara" (Year 1):


Moderator: Adara was born in Ramoth-Gilead, a small city on the border between Aram and Israel (show map). It was located within the territory of the tribe of Gad. It was one of the six Hebrew "cities of refuge" that had been set up long ago to protect people who accidentally killed someone else. By the time of this story, though, the people spoke Aramean, and most of them worshipped false gods.


The book of the Bible that contains the battle in which Ahab was killed is I Kings 22. It says that Ahab joined forces with King Jehoshaphat of Judah to take Ramoth-Gilead out of the hand of the king of Syria (Aram). False prophets told Ahab that he would be successful, but one true prophet, Micaiah, told the king that he would fall. Arab was so angry that he imprisoned Michaiah and went into the battle. He and Jehosophat traded their royal robes so that Ahab would be disguised. However, the captains of the chariots realized that Jehosophat was not Ahab (even though he was dressed in Ahab's clothing) and did not kill him. Ahab was killed by an archer.


At the beginning of the book, Adara felt that her life was boring. She had some very specific longings. She wanted to learn to (read), she wanted to see the snow on Mt. Hermon, she wanted to see King Ahab's palace, and she wanted to see the Great Sea (the Mediterranean). Does she get her wishes? (Yes, they either come true by the end of the book or will come true in the future)


The Syrians and the Israelites really didn't hate each other. They were fighting to try to get control of the small cities on the border between their two kingdoms so that they could tax them. In fact, in I Kings 20, King Ahab takes pity on King Ben-Hadad (whom he has just conquered) and allows him to go free. There are two places in our book where General Naaman thinks thoughts that show respect for King Ahab. Do you remember where those occurred? (when he hears that the dying Ahab propped himself up in the chariot so his men wouldn't know he was wounded; and in the palace in Samaria when he says King Ahab was ten times the man his son was) What does one of Naaman's officers say about Queen Jezebel? (that she's more of a man than her son the king is -- this is a huge insult)


The Bible says in II Kings 22:39 that King Ahab lived in an ivory house, or palace. What is ivory? (elephant tusk) Where would Ahab have gotten ivory from? (trade)


There's one part of the story of Naaman's healing that the book left out. Did anyone read the story in the Bible and notice that? It's the part where Elisha's servant Gehazi ran after Naaman and asked for the beautiful gifts Naaman had planned to give to Elisha. Gehazi pretended that Elisha had suddenly decided he wanted the gifts, but they were really for himself. Because of this sin, Gehazi was stricken with leprosy. In the book, Elisha's servant is described as "squinty-eyed," but that's all the book really says about him.


It turns out there's another Bible story in the Adara book. It stars B'rinna. Do you remember this story? (B'rinna was the poor widow whose two sons were about to be sold into slavery. Elisha told her to get pots and jars, and the Lord sent oil ffor her to sell to earn money.)


Lady Doronit spoke truly when she said that the people of Israel served Baal and Asherah. There were some people in Israel who still served the true God, but not many. Certainly almost no one in Damascus did. Lady Doronit wasn't at all familiar with Yahweh. So it was a very radical thing for Naaman to go back and live in Damascus and publicly serve the true God.


In the last chapter of the book, Adara visits her father and gives him a bag of silver as the bride price he would have been paid if she had married. In what other books have you read about the bride price? (Hittite Warrior) In the book you'll be reading for next week, To Ride the Gods' Own Stallion (this is one I assigned on my own, not a TOG assignment), you'll see the bride price mentioned again.


Throughout the discussion, the students are adding their comments and questions. It's not a one-sided monologue at all.


These discussions don't really go into depth about literary elements (since we're technically only UG). I don't know if that's the kind of thing you're looking for. I just thought I'd tell how one TOG group discusses the Dialectic books. Hope this helps.

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Can those of you who have older kids share your experiences using the dialectic literature component. I know there are more worksheets and answers in the teacher notes, but is there more explaination, etc.? If it matters, we will be doing year 3 using IEW for writing. Thanks for your help.



I've been posting similar questions on the curriculum board, but haven't really had a hearty endorsement from anyone. I have decided that I will use Teaching The Classics to supplement TOG, as needed. I thought about doing LL, but then thought about the amount of time it would add. I don't really want to add anything else. As you said, I just want to make the most of what I already have with TOG. I hope more will post their experiences.

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