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Self-Hate December 1, 2009

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Today after your viewing of the race video we discussed this issue of self-hate and how many people are conditioned to hate certain things about themselves.  One of the sources utilized to achieve such a goal as indicated by you is the media. 

Here is a link to an article on why we picture Santa as we picture him today: http://www.thecoca-colacompany.com/heritage/cokelore_santa.html

It should strike you as frightening at how adept the media is in infiltrating what we see as “the world” or reality. 

Remember to read sonnet 30 and post comments and questions related to your readings under your hour’s tab.


Shakespeare’s Othello and Cognitive Perseverance November 29, 2009

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I’ve completed checking everyone’s paper (everyone who has turned it in on time).  Only a handful of students earned beyond the 25 points.  The average grade, however, was 16 points out of 25.  Every student had a rubric which detailed exactly what was sought in this paper: greater detail, clearer thesis, topic sentences, etc.  But a vast majority decided to talk with friends in class for even 1 of the four days instead of work feverishly on their paper.  Sobeit and herein lies the consequence.

I write to you to tell you that you will be reading Shakespeare for the month of December.  I have purchased for you and you will pay me back so you can own a copy of a Shakespearean play for this reason: For you to again take my challenge of CHALLENGING yourselves literally.  Shakespeare is not an easy fellow to read and this unit will require you to demonstrate cognitive perseverance: the ability to withstand long stands of deep, critical thought. 

The greatest skill a teacher can teach his/her students is to not need a teacher–to be a self-learner.  If every one of you started focusing on the process of learning and not the final grade, the grade would follow. 

Video on racism: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MqSFqnUFOns

Watch the above video and be prepared to engage in a discussion in class tomorrow.

Grading of Essay Rewrites November 17, 2009

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For every mistake you make (grammatical and otherwise indicated on the rubric), you will lose 1 point.  This grade will REPLACE the old essay grade.  If you do worse than you did last time, this grade will bring your score down.  If you do better, congratulations. 

I would recommend that you have a typed draft with a paragraph ready to be read by me tomorrow (Wednesday).  I will complete my individual meetings with students and make my rounds.  I will ask you to show me your thesis and one of your body paragraphs.  Make sure you are prepared to work hard these next couple of days.

Everything, stapled and ready will be collected Friday at the start of class.  All late assignments will receive a 10 point deduction since I will not receive them until after vacation break. 

Remember an “A” shows mastery of skills and objectives.

Essay Rewrites November 14, 2009

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As you know, you will spend all of next week editing the literary analysis essays you typed and turned in several weeks ago (the only typed essay you’ve done this year).  I recommend you spend this weekend reviewing your grammar packet and mastering the skills we went over this week in preparation for their application in your writing. 

I am not expecting you to just polish your essays; I expect nothing short of brand-new essays that will make college professors weep with pride.  This means adding more details, adding more textual proof, following all format rules, adding more explanations–etc. 

Remember, effort does not guarantee quality.  Mastery of skills is the end goal here and this takes sacrificial discipline.  I expect to see you in enrichment if you fear you don’t understand something. 

Here’s the New York Times article that explains what I mean by “mastery of skills”: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/18/education/18college.html?_r=1

Waldorf Education November 9, 2009

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In sixth hour, we had a short conversation on Waldorf schools: schools that do not test students and do not give students grades.  If you’re interested in more information, please read about these schools and ask why this would work or wouldn’t work at Fordson. 

Are you a Waldorf learner?


P.S. The post below provides you the link to the grammar website where you can start testing yourself on the grammar skills we’re learning this week.

Grammar Bootcamp November 5, 2009

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Next week, we’ll be starting on 4 basic grammatical rules that are ranked among the top 4 mistakes made by students. 

The four rules deal with comma splices and run-ons, pronoun-antecedent agreements, subject-verb agreements, and quotation marks. 

If you click on the link below, it will take you to a website where you cannot only read about the rules, you can also take online quizzes on them.  Make sure to change between the grammatical categories by clicking through the drop-down list at the top of the website. 

Here’s the link: http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/runons.htm

MOC and Notebook Exam November 2, 2009

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This week, we will be learning about and applying the methods of characterization: how authors bring their characters to life for their readers.  You will receive the terms today and you will apply them during the week. 

On Friday, you will be tested on all the information you have taken notes on in class and all the stories we have read in class since we started.  The notes include (but are NOT limited to) notes on: format, elements of fiction, parts of speech and the methods of characterization.  The stories include “Casey at the Bat,” “Cask of Amontillado,” “The Necklace” and “The Interlopers.”

This exam will be a 40 point summative exam.  There will also be a 10 question section on grammar which will not be graded but will assess your abilities for my knowledge as your teacher.

“The Necklace” October 27, 2009

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This week, we’re working on our analysis and synthesis skills.  Remember you need to research a non-fiction piece of news or history which connects to the themes found in both the song and the story we’ve looked at in class.  Your Elements of Fiction sheet is due tomorrow for 10 points.

On Wednesday, you will choose your groups to work on the 50 point summative Literature Circles which you will present on Friday.  Choose your teammates wisely. 

Here’s a link to the short story:


Here’s a link to the song:


Here’s a link to the lyrics:


“The Interlopers” October 22, 2009

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Here’s a link to the story for anyone who wants to get a head start on the summative assessment you’ll be having tomorrow.  You’ll be applying the skills of deduction in order to correctly identify the four elements of fiction in this story and support with textual proof.

The story: http://www.eastoftheweb.com/short-stories/UBooks/Inte.shtml

Your Generation October 20, 2009

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A fabulous video about your generation my fabulous students who will decide to change the world for the better: