Following on from my last post about differentiation, I’d like to touch upon ‘bespoke teaching‘. This isn’t a fancy buzzword doing the rounds on LinkedIn and Twitter… not that I’d know; it’s something I just made up. I like the idea of designing curriculum to best fit an immediate audience. To illustrate this point, a couple of years ago, my team and I created an English text to specifically stretch our students. It is set in a familiar environment, an independent Melbourne school, to help the students ease into somewhat unfamiliar concepts e.g. academic preoccupations such as the influence of Shakespeare upon language and culture, and thematic concerns such as self-imposed limitations arising from prejudice.
A month ago, I finished penning a speedrun version of the book, leaving me with time to do something a little creative these holidays. Encouraged by my own children, I decided to recreate the entire cast of Sycorax as Funko Pop characters. I want to help my students visualise the novel so they can more quickly get to the tricky parts where the deeper learning resides. It seems to me that if I can get students to see the landscape and inhabitants of the world of Sycorax in their collective mind’s eye, I will be afforded more opportunities to investigate the book’s nuances in the classes I teach.
So, with a little help from Adobe’s Photoshop and over 100 photos I took over the past few years, I present to you the characters of Sycorax!
I will be printing an HD version of the image above as a poster to adorn the English classroom, but I also made a digital reference book to be downloaded to devices. The images are also online e.g. over here on Flickr.
BTW: If you’re wondering why they’re called Fnarko Pops instead of Funko Pop, here’s a snippet from the book that should explicate the seemingly inexplicable.
‘Give us a quote, Iago.’
‘That’s not a quote. That’s not even a word.’
Horace ran his hands through his hair in exasperation. ‘Why do you say fnark? If you want to swear, just swear.’
I gave the answer I always gave. ‘People who swear show a lack of linguistic ability. I will not lower my standards to be like you monosyllabic, foul-mouthed hedge-pigs.’
‘Fnark is monosyllabic,’ Horace observed.
‘But it’s a word of my creation. I am the unquestioned Bard of Somerset. If a word does not exist to serve my purpose, I will invent one.’pg. 22, Stewart, PF. (2022). Sycorax. Amazon