Archive for September, 2014


Hola, s’mores! we’ve got quite a lot to get through this week. We’ll continue looking closely at Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, focusing on how the characters’ feelings about their utopian/dystopian societies change throughout the novel. We’ll also start looking closely at the way in which Bradbury addresses the topic of censorship in the novel. Here’s the plan for the week:

Monday: Our week will start with a short quiz on the weekend reading homework (through page 31). We’ll be starting to look at the topic of censorship this week, and we’ll start off the week with a QFT (Question Formulation Technique) about censorship.

Homework: Read through page 41.

Tuesday: We will be adding the term “allusion” to our literary tool kits, and I have a short lecture about one of Bradbury’s more interesting allusions. Afterwards, we will have a short in-class writing piece about the allusion.

Homework: Read pages 41-48

Wednesday: Our day will start with a short Do Now about entertainment, and during class we will be focusing on what Bradbury is trying to do with the section about the parlor walls. This will be largely focused on what the author’s purpose is, and how he is accomplishing it. Also, because it is Wednesday, and I like to do writing-related things on Wednesday, we will be revisiting the work we did last week with Organization and Analysis. I will be making sure that each of you receives feedback on your previous writing, and we will be (hopefully!) setting goals for the next writing piece.

Homework: Read pages 48-63

Thursday: We will be looking at Captain Beatty’s powerful speech about the importance of censorship and preparing for our Socratic Seminar on Friday. There are a number of set protocols for the Seminar (it is scored, and there are rules), and I need to review them with you.

Homework: Prepare 4 pieces of evidence for our Socratic Seminar. You cannot participate if you come unprepared.

Friday: Seminar Day! The focus of our seminar will be on Beatty’s speech, of course, and whether or not censorship can be justified. I will also be collecting your dialectical journals on Friday. Make sure that for each reading you have at least two responses to the text.

Weekend Reading: 63-68.

Category : 10th Grade | Blog

Monday: We will start working on our first writing piece of the year on Monday. Our first writing piece will focus on examining two pieces of writing and analyzing how each piece makes its argument. You can read the two short pieces here. During class I expect that you will read through the first of the pieces and craft a short analysis of the author’s argument. I will also be collecting your signed Course Overview slips.

Tuesday: After you read the first piece and craft a short response, we’ll spend part of the class on Tuesday examining the first editorial together, looking specifically at some of the rhetorical devices that the author uses to make a point. Our focus will be on rhetorical appeals, such as Logos, Pathos, and Ethos.

Wednesday: In class on Wednesday we will be reading through the second of our articles, taking notes about the author’s main point and about how well it is developed throughout the article. Specifically, we will be examining the ways in which the author uses rhetorical strategies to support the main idea and we will be analyzing how effective (or ineffective) the author’s argument is.

Thursday: Thursday will mark a transition from the beginning of the year activities to our first unit. Over the summer you read Animal Farm, and I have a short exam on the novel. This will also be the final day to turn in your summer reading assignments.

Friday: I will be introducing our first short story of the year, along with our first unit in greater detail. This unit, focusing on Utopian and Dystopian literature, will attempt to help us examine how our definitions of utopian and dystopian societies change depending on who and where we are. In class we will be reading The Portable Phonograph, a short story which takes place shortly after a war has reduced the world to what seems to be a virtually unlivable state. We will be looking at the characters in the novel in particular, and trying to peer into their individual psyche.

Expect homework over the weekend.

Category : 10th Grade | Blog

Well, despite the outrageously hot weather, this week does, in all the truest senses of the word, mark the end of summer. No more sleeping in until noon. No more late nights in Manhattan. And, despite losing these things, I’m excited (you thought I was talking about y’all, didn’t you?). As we begin the final year of the IB Middle Years Program (MYP 5), expect to be challenged, expect to struggle, but above all, expect to grow. I don’t make many promises (only three in the last 5 years), but I’ll make one for you now. If you work hard, if you bear down when things are hard, if you just refuse to give up, you will be successful in this class.

Ok, mushy stuff aside, here’s the bottom line. I’m excited to work with you this year. I’m excited to learn with you this year. And, if we’re being honest (and we should always be honest), I’m excited to have fun with you this year.

Let’s take a quick look at the (super) short first week.

Thursday: Of course, on Thursday we will spend most of our time getting to know each other and looking at the IB Learner Profile. I will also be handing out my Course Overview for the 2014-2015 school year.

Friday: We are going to begin this year by taking a look at some simple argumentative writing. I have two pieces on school dress codes that you’ll be reading and responding to. When and how you respond entirely depends on how many of you vote in the poll on our Edmodo site about homework this weekend.

Here’s a little video from the good folks at IB that helps to explain part of our philosophy here at Brooklyn School for International Studies.

International Baccalaureate Learner Profile from International Baccalaureate on Vimeo.

Category : 10th Grade | Blog