Archive for October, 2009

27
Oct

Tuesday, October 28th.

Darn it. I am postponing Comma Day once more today (slaps self!). I now have purchased the necessary trophies, and made most of the games, but we need to finish our work with the in-class writing prompt from yesterday. I’ll be redistributing the introductions from yesterday as well as giving some feedback on how to construct a rock-solid on-demand essay.

Category : 10th Grade | Blog
25
Oct

I’m going to repost my thoughts about this week from the 10th Grade post. I think they’re still pertinent.

@10th Grade, Week 8

Week 8 has come about as quickly as I can imagine. Two months into school already? Amazing. As begin this week, I have a few short thoughts to share about homecoming. First, I sincerely hope that the week is a positive experience for us; I often find that students become so enamored with the pageantry of the week that they find it difficult to focus on the learning that should be taking place. Please, keep your bearings about you– this is a fun week, of course, but we still have plenty of work to do. Second, I want to encourage you all, as citizens of this learning community, to rise above the petty class rivalries that seem to become more and more accentuated during the run-up the Homecoming. Instead of becoming divided over something as silly and ephemeral as class, let us come together under the banner of something much more lasting, that of students at MTHS. Make this week count.

There. I said it. Let’s check out the week.

Monday: We’ll be discussing S5 thus far. I have a brief worksheet covering Chapter 2 that should be helpful in beginning to form an understand of the text. It will be due by the end of class– it is a fair amount of work, so we’ll be allowing for partners, of course.

Tuesday: Tuesday will be dedicated to an in-class writing prompt around the following question:

In chapter four, Billie Pilgrim narrates a war film that is played entirely in reverse. Please explain the significance of this, taking into account how that changes the meaning of the film. How might this film be related to Vonnegut’s purpose in writing this text? In your response please bring in at least two other pieces of textual evidence.

Here’s the .pdf of the prompt.

Wednesday: Proposals are due! Mentor information sheets are due! While I’ll be accepting proposals all week, if you want it back by Friday, I need it by Wednesday. No exceptions. This is the last chance for me to give you feedback on your Standards of Competence. Students who fail to turn in mentor information sheets will elicit calls home.

We’ll also be working on S5, discussing the in-class prompt from Tuesday.

Thursday: Roughly twice per novel I give a mini-quiz. I call them checkpoints. They are designed to make sure that you’re keeping up on the reading. We’ll have on one S5 on Thursday. Make sure to have read through Chapter 6.

Friday: Okay, I’ll be honest… Friday is still up in the air. I’m not quite sure what we’ll need to be doing then– and there is an assembly. Stay tuned for more information.

Category : 12th Grade | Blog
25
Oct

Week 8 has come about as quickly as I can imagine. Two months into school already? Amazing. As begin this week, I have a few short thoughts to share about homecoming. First, I sincerely hope that the week is a positive experience for us; I often find that students become so enamored with the pageantry of the week that they find it difficult to focus on the learning that should be taking place. Please, keep your bearings about you– this is a fun week, of course, but we still have plenty of work to do. Second, I want to encourage you all, as citizens of this learning community, to rise above the petty class rivalries that seem to become more and more accentuated during the run-up the Homecoming. Instead of becoming divided over something as silly and ephemeral as class, let us come together under the banner of something much more lasting, that of students at MTHS. Make this week count.

Okay, that’s off my chest. Here’s the week:

Monday: We’ll be doing a grammar warm-up to start the day, as per normal. The difference is that we’ll be picking up where we left off last week with commas and their usage. Make sure that you have your warm-up sheet from last week ready to go. After the warm-up we’ll have an in-class writing activity (we’ll actually be writing, not typing… the computer labs weren’t available). If you’re absent here’s the prompt:

In his interviews with Bill Moyers author Joseph Campbell claimed that “a hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself.” Do you believe that any of the characters we have read about in our study of mythology (Bellerophon, Perseus, Hercules) represent a true hero? Why or why not?

Please include an introduction, a thesis, and at least two body paragraphs with evidence to support your claim.

Tuesday: Comma Day! (For real, this time). We’ll be skipping our warm-up and instead doing an activity that will have us up and moving about, centered entirely around comma usage. Sweet.

Wednesday: Starting Wednesday we’ll begin our viewing of Christopher Nolan’s 2005 film Batman Begins after a brief warm-up. Check out the page about the film for more information.

Thursday: Continue Batman Begins. Make sure that you download the viewing notes worksheet so that you can keep track of the film and receive credit for viewing.

Friday: We’ll finish the film on Friday. If time allows we’ll begin a conversation about our modern mythology and Dr. Carl Jung’s theory of the shadow self.

Weekend Homework: Read Edgar Allen Poe’s classic story William Wilson. You can download a .pdf of it here, or you can find it online here.


Category : 10th Grade | Blog
22
Oct

We’re rearranging the schedule a little bit this week. I know that today is supposed to be comma day, but I feel like we have to reschedule a bit in order to make sure that the seminar on Heracles is a success. Here’s the revised schedule:

Thursday: Today we’ll be checking out one last scene from Disney’s Hercules and comparing the film and the myth. We’ll also be preparing a handful of questions and responses for our seminar tomorrow.

Friday: Our seminar on heroism and Hercules will happen today. To participate in the seminar you must have prepared responses to the questions pertaining to Hercules. If these aren’t done, you’ll be asked to complete a seminar make-up form.

Here is the presentation comparing the film and the actual myth.

Here’s the actual Hercules myth, in case you lost it.

Category : 12th Grade | Blog
18
Oct

Week 7 already? My, my, where has this year gone to? As I ponder that (not s0) important philosophical question, I’ll let you ponder the week’s schedule.

(An aside: I’m working at Cupcake Royale and they just started playing the first record by the Brooklyn-based duo Ratatat. Seriously amazing stuff. Two dudes, a drum machine, and a whole lot of harmonized guitar. Check it out.)

Monday: We’ll jump into our Grammar mini-unit on comma use this week. This unit will (almost) certainly last us more than one week, as comma usage is one of the more difficult things for students to wrap their heads around. There are about a billion rules dictating what is okay and what isn’t. I’ll do my best to help us wade through this sticky issue, and we’ll go so far as to spend an entire day on the subject.

Also, we’ll be having a Socratic Seminar on the myths of Perseus and Bellerophon. If you haven’t read them yet, or if you haven’t done this weekend’s homework, be prepared to spend the period doing a make-up activity that is way less fun than just chatting about some myths.

Due: This weekend’s paragraph on Perseus and Bellerophon.

Tuesday: We’ll wrap up our conversation on Perseus and Bellerophon and transition into a mini-unit on Hercules (or Heracles, as the Greeks called him). Make sure that you print out the myth before class, because I’ll be giving you some time to read during the period. Read through Labor 5 on page 222.

Wednesday: I’ll be showing some excerpts from Disney’s Hercules in class, and there will be an activity that asks students to compare the tasks and deeds he must accomplish in the myth against the deeds he must accomplish in the film. You’ll be asked to write about whether Hercules in the film is as much a hero as Hercules in the text by analyzing his “road of trials,” so to speak.

Homework: Finish reading Hercules by Friday.

Thursday: I’ll be dedicating all of Thursday to comma usage. We’ll be parsing through (pun intended) a number of examples of comma use, and I’ll be asking students to bring in some examples of comma use for discussion. More on this to follow, so stay tuned.

Homework: Come up with two questions you have about Hercules, as well as an answer to this question: Was Hercules a hero?

Friday: After a quiz on comma usage we’ll be having a discussion about Hercules, heroes, and modernity (yeah, I know how academic that sounds). The discussion will be done in seminar form, and students will be required to come with questions prepared for discussion or they will not be eligible to participate. The seminar will center around the question of whether or not Hercules was actually a hero, and will likely transition into a discussion of whether or not it is even possible to be a “true” hero (whatever that means).

One last note: We’ll be having a grammar warm-up every day. If you’re absent, make sure to check under the (Almost) Daily Grammar Warm-Up section of the site to see what you’ve missed. You can’t get full credit on the warm-ups if you haven’t completed them.

Category : 10th Grade | Blog
18
Oct

Is it seriously the seventh week of school already? I feel like this time has flown by, and yet I am completely exhausted by it. This weekend has gone too fast, my football teams have done too poorly, and I am out of coffee. Something must be done about all of these things, but first, let us learn. Here’s the plan for the week…

Monday: As promised, we’ll be reviewing and peer editing our Personal Narratives on Monday. This will be an interesting experience, because I’m sure that we’ll each learn a little something about each other as we delve into our Narratives. (I tried to find my college admissions essay, but couldn’t). We’ll be using a specific reviewing protocol that asks us to find three positive things about each essay, as well as three things that can be improved upon. Additionally, each student will be “graded” by his or her peers.

Tuesday: We’ll jump into the classic Kurt Vonnegut novel Slaughterhouse Five on Tuesday. I’ll be presenting a brief lecture on WWII, the bombing of Dresden, and Kurt Vonnegut. Additionally, students will be expected to have read chapter one of the novel in order to complete a short in-class assignment about the text.

Wednesday: We’ve got an activity on tap that might help to illustrate exactly what happened in Dresden, as well as a discussion of our basic beliefs about military action. Because Vonnegut addresses this issue so blatantly in the novel, I feel that it is important to address our own notions of the necessity of military action and the use of force. Interestingly, my good friend BJ Myers will be joining us for the conversation. He is has flown in bombing missions in Iraq, and is currently a King County Sheriff. This promises to be a very interesting conversation.

Homework: Read through chapter 2 in Slaughterhouse Five.

Due: A working draft of the Proposal.

Thursday: I imagine that we will have to recap our conversation from Wednesday, but we will also be doing an activity that takes us outside. We’ll be doing it rain or shine, so make sure to dress appropriately. It looks like it might be raining. Check the forecast here.

Friday: I’ll be redistributing the proposals on Friday, complete with written feedback for individuals and general feedback for the class. Remember, the final date for proposals to be turned in is November 5th. My class will be turning them slightly earlier. Stay tuned for a concrete due date.

Homework: Read through chapter 6 in Slaughterhouse Five for Monday.



Category : 12th Grade | Blog
16
Oct

If you didn’t manage to read the Perseus myth before class today, here is the writing prompt to compare the two pieces. It is due before class starts on Monday.

The Prompt

In your professional opinion, are either Bellerophon or Perseus better examples of a hero? Be sure to cite at least two textual examples and reference Joseph Campbell’s steps of the Hero’s Journey to support your response.

The Requirements

• At least 1 paragraph in length.

• At least two textual examples.

• Discussion of at least one of Campbell’s steps. See the Hero’s Journey Poster or the video some students did if you need reminders. This is another really cool example using Lord of the Rings clips. This is a pretty cool PowerPoint detailing each of the steps done by a few students.

Category : 10th Grade | Blog
15
Oct

So, as we’ve been getting ready for our quiz on direct and indirect objects tomorrow a number of students have asked me for additional practice sentences on direct and indirect objects. I thought about making a whole new sheet, but instead I’m going to post a killer link, instead.

For extra practice, check out dailygrammar.com. There are seriously 35 practice sentences, with answers, here.

Also, here is the quick version of my chart to remember subjects, objects, and indirect objects.

Subjects = the doer

Direct Objects = the “done-to-er’s”

Indirect Objects = answer the question “to whom/what was it done?”

So here’s a sample sentence:

Isakson brought a bouquet of flowers to his fianceé.

In this sentence Isakson is the doer, the subject. He’s bringing flowers to his fianceé. The bouquet was brought somewhere, so it had an action done to it, making it the direct object. The indirect object is his fianceé, to whom the flowers were brought.

Hope that helps.

Category : 10th Grade | Blog
13
Oct

We’ve had a bit of a setback as it pertains to our schedule this week. Go ahead and bump everything forward one day. This will, of course, make the Narrative due on Monday. The only thing that will remain the same will be that we will still check out <em>Slaughterhouse Five</em> on Friday.

Not that it was really a setback, of course. Julie Petterson (sp?), one of our splendid counselors came in and did a presentation on various things that seniors should be up to date on. You can find a copy of her presentation below.

English class PowerPoint newest version.key.

Category : 12th Grade | Blog
11
Oct

Sunday night has come extraordinarily fast this weekend. Between a doing photo shoot, two separate band practices, working on pre-production for an EP, planning a wedding, two shows, and trying to get my laundry done I feel like I’ve done everything I have to do– except finish grading. Grades will be updated this week. After I teach guitar. And get addresses for wedding invitations.

All that said, here’s the skinny for this week. We’re still running along three distinct tracks. Senior project will be moving towards the completion of the proposal, we’ll be continuing with our unit on satire with a few more short stories and a novel, and the Personal Narrative will be coming due at the start of next week.
Monday: As we continue our unit on satire as a literary genre we’ll be discussing Thursday’s episode of the Simpsons in a seminar. Come with your response papers done and some comments ready. I’ll be collecting the responses, as well as distributing a copy of Kurt Vonnegut’s story Harrison Bergeron. A one page response will be due on Wednesday, so make sure that you’re thinking about things that strike you as you read the text.
Tuesday: We’ll be working on our Personal Narratives some more on Tuesday by brainstorming possible anecdotes that illustrate exactly how awesome and amazing each of you are. If you already know that you are going to be applying a school that isn’t the UW or Western, feel free to pull that school’s admissions prompts. I’m quite sure they’ll work fine. A first draft will be due on Thursday.
Wednesday: We’ll be having a final seminar on the introduction to satire as we discuss Harrison Bergeron. Again, responses will be due at the start of class, and participation is required for credit.
Thursday: We’ll be reviewing and peer editing Personal Narratives for the first half of class, then transitioning to a discussion of the Standards of Competence (Product Standards) and Project Rubrics. I’ve got some basic tips here to reiterate, as well as a little bit of new information to clue you in to.
Friday: Friday is a little chaotic; we’ll be turning in the first draft of the Personal Narrative, checking out Kurt Vonnegut’s novel Slaughterhouse Five, discussing the historical context of the novel, and beginning to read the text. By Monday you’ll need to have read through chapter 1.

So, there you have it. An absolutely jam-packed, actionful (new word!) week. Hang on, because it gets crazy from here…

Category : 12th Grade | Blog