Cardinal Notes

information and reflection about Joseph Case High School

Volume 14, No. 3 *** September 22, 2017

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'OVE' Day at Joseph Case High School

Four years after the success of our pilot 2013 school-wide interdisciplinary day focusing on Thorton Wilder’s Pulitzer prize-winning 1927 classic The Bridge of San Luis Rey followed by the 2014 study of life’s journey in The Alchemist, the controversial non-fictional work Zeitoun in 2015, and 2016’s dystopian Station Eleven, this summer’s novel focused on one grumpy man, Ove.

Now in Year 5, Case faculty members volunteered to read the book over the summer in preparation for an interdisciplinary event in September. Teachers were challenged to come up with an activity linked to a fictional work translated from the Swedish. Some classes chose to spend the period focusing on the work; others looked for supplementary or complementary activities to be done in class, ranging from an entire lesson to one question within the given period.

A Man Called Ove resonated for me in many ways. My mother actually suggested it to me right after the New Year. I dismissed it immediately, but the title constantly found its way to me in conversations and social media. I relented and read it over February break. It became more than a dark comedy of a man who wanted to end his long, grumpy life. I saw that it was a novel about iteration. Ove’s future was shaped by the mistakes and missteps of his past. Even though he was an elderly man, he was still searching for a purpose in life. We also need to surround ourselves with people who are going to push our thinking. And finally, I appreciated the technology-frustrated frame of the novel.

By the end of the school day, Joseph Case High School provided students with multiple opportunities to participate in and bear witness to a true, varied, collaborative and profound interdisciplinary experience.

Our 2017 activities include, but are not limited to:


· Home Owners Help Ove: You are the chair of the local community's HOA responsible for ousting Ove. Provide evidence from the text to support your decision. Students should write down a few reasons in preparation for answers that may be submitted early in the discussion.

· A Community Commitment: Should we commit Ove to an assisted living facility? Class divided based on whether or not they support the relocation. Using the text, students must create a justified argument supporting placement in the facility or continued occupancy of his own home. To keep numbers uniform, some students may be assigned a perspective.

· Capturing the Essence of Ove: Design your own book cover using A Man Called Ove as a model. The book cover should reflect some aspect of your personality, values, influences, etc.

· Ove's Top Ten: Capture some of Ove’s best insults. Make a list of Ove’s top ten. Discuss how Ove uses these insults as a coping mechanism to deal with situations and people he cannot relate to.

· Inclusivity: We are creating a culture of inclusivity. What would you do to include Ove into your neighborhood?

· Literature Circles: Students will be given topics to discuss in circles. Students will gain one point for opinions, two points for evidence and lose a point for an off topic conversation, Lose two for whole group distractions.

· Student Inn-OVE-ations: Some classes will facilitate original games and activities designed by specific cohorts that reflect characters, themes and issues in the novel.


· Department-wide activity: Ove was a handyman, construction worker and carpenter. Math students will look at building principles that Ove was familiar with. Included in the discussion will be trusses. Students will discuss their strengths, construction, and find missing angles using authentic problems.


· US II/World History/Issues in Contemporary America: Ove and the Technology Revolution: Students will list what they consider to be the five most important technological advances of their lifetime. Students will then hypothesis over the jobs "lost" as a result of these technological advances. Next, the teacher will highlight various technological advances through the course of history that altered the nation’s identity. Then, students will discuss how our identity has as a society been altered as a result of these advances. With this, students will discuss the technology that Ove struggles with in the book, yet the other abilities he has the overwhelming majority of us do not. Finally, the class will discuss whether Ove would be as successful growing up in this era as he was during the previous era with his specific skill set.

· Econ How Marketers Convinced Ove a Saab is the best vehicle: The teacher will lead a class discussion about why Ove felt so strongly about driving a Saab. One of the lines from the book was that, “you cannot trust a person who drives a BMW.” The class will have a discussion as to why Ove felt that way throughout the book. Next, the teacher will give students a brief explanation of demographics. Students will then be asked to identify their “top three dream cars”. Students will write the make and models of the car on a sheet of paper. Next, students will be asked to write a one sentence explanation for each car identifying why they chose that automobile.

· Psychology -- A Look at Depression: One of the central themes throughout A Man Called Ove is depression. After losing his wife and being pushed into retirement, we see several attempts at suicide, which is a direct effect of the depression he is feeling. In our Psychology classes we will be collectively looking at depression. The essential topics of research and discussion will include, but are not limited to:

1. What is depression?
2. What causes depression?
3. What parts of the brain are affected by depression? What does this mean for the sufferer?
4. What is happening with the chemicals in the brain for someone who is depressed?
5. How do anti-depressants help someone who is depressed?
6. What other treatments are available for someone who has depression? ​


· Aging on the Cellular Level: What is happening to our cells as we age? What are the major, system-wide effects of aging? What are the new advances on the study of age-related diseases?

· Heat Treatment and Its Effect on the Strength and Flexibility of Steel: For Ove, ownership of a SAAB automobile represented a source of personal and national pride. Started as an aeronautics company, SAAB quality depended on the quality of components, especially steel used to construct its planes and automobiles. We will explore simple ways to manipulate important properties of steel.

· Determining the Forces Involved in Home Construction: For Ove, the reconstruction of his home was important. We will explore some the force questions that he had to understand to reconstruct his home.

Foreign Language

· Students will identify essential terms from Ove that were translated into Spanish. Students will look critically at quotes that were pulled from the text.
Finally, students will answer some questions that will facilitate a class discussion.

· Role play: Students will act out a scene that resembles a theme in the book.

· Character Outline: Students will sketch-out a character outline. The outline will be filled-in with adjectives that can be used to describe character. Students will then write a paragraph about the character in a group. Lastly, students will present/share their paragraph, leaving out the name of the character they are describing. Class has to guess who is being described.

Technology Education

· Digital Ove: Using different computer languages, including JAVA, classes will create digital representations of characters, themes and signs from the novel.

· Home repair: hands-on home repair projects in the spirit of handyman Ove.

· Cars and impressions: Discuss what Ove felt about cars and what cars tell someone about the person driving the car

· Ove movie trailers: Create movie trailers highlighting the novel.

· Ove Posters: Design posters about Ove

Phys Ed / Health

· True Colors: During class we will discuss how people saw Ove as one who sees things as black and white but Sonia was all color, all the color others could not see in Ove. Also how Parvaneh's daughter drew everything in black, except for Ove; she used color when drawing him. It's like she could see his color, his heart when others could not. High schoolers will make an origami heart box and add names of important people in their lives. Also, with reference to the cat, we will discuss reincarnation. Asking, “Do you believe?" Students will need to draw the animal that they would like to become if reincarnated, and provide 3 reasons why they chose that particular animal.

We will watch a video clip about children who believe they have been reincarnated.

· Abilities Day: Ove’s wife was left wheelchair bound after the accident so the students will try two different sports from the perspective of a physically handicapped person. The students will have the opportunity to try volleyball while in the seated position or basketball with the use of scooters to simulate being in a wheelchair.

· Helping Hands: Ove faced many challenges some he persevered for example to create equal access for his wife after fighting with the school who kept denying her he built a ramp so she could follow her passion of being a teacher, so the students will research what is available in the local community to help people who are physically handicapped. The students will also research what resources are available for people who are dealing with depression and possibly suicidal thoughts.

Fine Arts

· Explosion of Color: Parvaneh’s three year old daughter Nasanin draws a picture of Ove with many colors. Students will spray paint Globe Allium seed pods to represent the “veritable explosion of color … a riot of yellow & red & blue & green & orange & purple” that represent Ove.

· Saab Abstract: Students will collaboratively build an abstract Saab motor parts sculpture.

· Ove True Ove: Students will use quotes from A Man Called Ove to create an illustrated Truism, a proposition that states nothing beyond what is implied by any of its terms

· Auto-Biography: Students will use quotes from A Man Called Ove to create an illustrated Truism, a proposition that states nothing beyond what is implied by any of its terms

· Mood: Students will use introductory tools in Adobe Photoshop to create a digital illustration of a passage of the novel.

· I Want Song: The class will discuss the power of an I Want Song in musical theatre. In song, dreaming and reaching for a goal can be expressed in many ways.

· Persuasion: The class will present their own persuasive presentations based on their given OVE topic.

· October: Concert Band class will complete a listening lesson on the piece October by Eric Whitacre. We will then transition into learning this piece for performance. This piece displays sweeping emotional techniques via dynamics, tempos and modality to give the listener a sense of loss, redemption and, finally, belonging. This piece makes great ties to the overarching storyline of Ove in A Man Called Ove as he deals with the loss of his wife, job and life’s purpose only to find new purpose through his involvement in his community who come to accept and love him. I hope to use this piece as an example to the students on how to express emotion through music.

· My Love is Like a Red, Red Rose: Chorus class will do a lyrical analysis of the song/poem “My Love is Like a Red, Red Rose” and draw connections to the sentiment and emotions found within this piece and the love between Ove and Sojna. Connection points include, Sojna representing color in Ove’s life, the pink flowers he brings to her grave, the everlasting love and promise to be together again.


· The Tao of Ove: Students will complete organizers and participate in animated discussions as they dissect and analyze Ove to the very core

· Sweden - Good enough for Ove, good enough for me!: Students will use computers to join their teacher on a guided tour of Sweden; their national pastimes, historic events, famous citizens, demographics, cuisine, industry will be among the topics reviewed.

· Kronor Conversions: Students will research the Internet converting given currencies to American dollars, then identify 5 items from the book and give a cost and convert to Kronor. Students will determine how much Kronor they would need for a typical day in the life of a student.

· I'm not old!!: Students will research the Internet determining what are the factors for a long life? Students will create a written product comparing and contrasting Ove's life relating to the factors identified. Was he healthy ....was he old?


· ARCH students will be making calming bottles as well as discussing themes of black and white thinking and right vs. wrong at school.


We will post the following question on Twitter and on the window outside the guidance department. Twitter responses will use the school wide hashtag #CaseOVE and written responses will be placed in a common box outside of the guidance department. Our expected outcome is to illicit a thoughtful response regarding a theme from the novel.
Question: Ove is a believer in the value of routine - how can following a routine be both a help and a hindrance?

OVE Highlights from September 22, 2017

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Next weekend: CHICAGO at Joseph Case High School

Join me next weekend (September 30 -October 1) for the southeastern Massachusetts high school premiere of this long-running Broadway "killer" musical. Tickets will be on sale at all three lunches next week. Reserve via phone or online. CHICAGO will prove to be one of the most popular musicals ever produced at Joseph Case High School. Congrats to Mr. Jeronimo and all of the students onstage as well as backstage and in the orchestra. Details are found below.
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Late start day on Tuesday, September 26

A reminder that Tuesday, September 26 is a late start day at Joseph Case High School. Students should arrive at school no earlier than 9:45 a.m. for a 10 a.m. start to the day. Buses will pick children up approximately two and a half hours after their usual pick-up time.

The high school will be using this time for department pedagogy study and a study of teaching and learning through a Depth of Knowledge lens in preparation for our decennial accreditation, now rescheduled for 2022.