Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Diving into The Color of Water: January 31, 2017

Focus: What do the first two chapters reveal about The Color of Water?

Please grab a book and a bookmark on your way in.

1. Warming up with a 5-minute preview the book (on your blog):
  • Freewrite on the title.
  • Explore the images on the cover and inside pages.
  • Check out the chapter titles.
  • Read the dedication.
Level 1: This book seems to be about...

Level 2: Some of the conflicts in this book might include...

Level 3: Here's the central question I think this book will try to answer:

2. Having a look at your blogging/journalling options for The Color of Water: Click HERE.

3. Experimenting with a metacognitive on Chapter 1 (15-20 minutes)
  • Don't let your pen leave the page/your fingers leave the keys.
  • Bring in words and phrases from the text.
  • Try to end in a better place than you started.
Group follow-up: How many meanings can you find behind this chapter's title?

4. Trying out a dialectical journal entry for Chapter 2 (20 + minutes)
  • Think of it as a conversation with the book.
  • Try to end in a better place than you started.
Group follow-up: How many meanings can you find behind this chapter's title?

HW:
1. You will need to read Chapters 2, 3, 4, and 5 for Thursday. You need ONE metacognitive or ONE dialectical journal for these chapters combined. Please note that you will have 30 minutes of in-class reading/blogging time between now and Thursday's discussion.

2. Renaissance Little Projects due Feb 10. You will have work time on Wednesday.

3. Grammar #4: Modifiers "quiz" on Friday. 

Monday, January 30, 2017

Developing Your Theme: January 30, 2017

Focus: How can the Harlem Renaissance help you discover your own theme?

If you did not turn in your documentary reflections last Friday, please turn them in today.

1. Warming up with three good things and virtue chart reflections

Level 1: How'd you do? What were your successes and failures? What was the process like for you?

Level 2: Franklin believed the charting his virtues in a rational, scientific manner improved his moral character. Are you a better person now than you were before you started this chart? Explain your thinking.

Level 3: Our semester focus is about power: Who has power, and how is power obtained? Can you make any larger connections between this virtue chart and individual/social power?

If you handwrote your chart, please either turn it in now or take a picture and share it with me.

2. Enjoying Grammar You Must Know, Lesson #4: Modifiers

3. Working on your Renaissance Little Projects (due February 10th)
  • The poetry, art, and music of your project should connect to each other to reveal a larger theme.
  • Keep track of your sources; you will need a Works Cited.
  • Remember that something must be narrated in the background, whether you're composing your own poem/prose or using somebody else's poem/prose.
  • If you'd like more background on the Harlem Renaissance, click HERE for a 10-minute crash course.
4. Distributing The Color of Water and reading schedules

HW:
1. Bring The Color of Water to class with you tomorrow. We will be reading the first two chapters in class.

2. Your next project work day is Wednesday; bring with you any materials you might need.

3. This Friday, we will have a "quiz" on modifiers (Grammar Lesson #4).

Friday, January 27, 2017

Discovering Your Theme: January 27, 2017

Focus: What's your theme?

Winter Assembly: Shortened Class

1. Warming up with your reflections on "Making a Way out of No Way"

2. Understanding Langston Hughes' "Theme for English B"

3. Composing your own "Theme for English B" on your blogs; commenting on what the "theme" is in others' poems

4. Taking your theme and running with it: Working on your Renaissance Little Projects

Extra help: If you still feel iffy on the Harlem Renaissance, click HERE for a 10-minute crash course.

HW:
1. By Monday, make sure you know which part(s) of this project you're going to create with your own two hands (poetry, art, or music), and which parts you will need to research. Renaissance Little Project due by February 10.

2. If you're planning to use your own copy of The Color of Water, start bringing it to class on Tuesday.

3. If you could not complete the reflection sheet today, watch the documentary over the weekend and turn in your reflection sheet no later than Monday.


Thursday, January 26, 2017

Contemplating Your Theme: January 26, 2017

Focus: What's your theme?

1. Warming up byexploring the multidimensional message your poem might become!

Watching a commercial example.
  • What's the first part of this poem/commercial about?
  • What's the shift?
  • What's the overall message, and how do the photos contribute to it?
Perusing the overview of this mini-project.

2. Investigating "Song of the Towers" by Aaron Douglas (my favorite) with an MMM approach and extra step: Which figure is you? Why?

Song of the Towers, by Aaron Douglas (1934)


3. Exploring other Harlem Renaissance artists you may wish to use in your Renaissance Little Project

Aaron Douglas
Jacob Lawrence
Palmer Hayden
Lois Mailou Jones

Your goal: Use your blog today to start collecting paintings that you might want to use in your Renaissance Little Project. Maybe they relate to the poem you wrote yesterday. Maybe they remind you of something we've watched/read/talked about this semester. Maybe you just like the look of it.

  • Paste the paintings and their links into your blog. 
  • Be sure to include their titles, artists, and if possible, dates.
  • For at least THREE of the paintings, try an MMM approach (moments, movements, meanings). You can type this on your blog underneath the paintings.

4. Enjoying Grammar You Must Know, Lesson #4: Modifiers

HW:
By tomorrow, please watch the Harlem Renaissance documentary linked below. It will give you the background on the Harlem Renaissance that you need to succeed this week. You can start the documentary 15 minutes into it

*WARNING: If you choose to watch the first 15 minutes (not required), there are upsetting photographs of lynchings between minutes 5 and 7.*

Documentary link: Making a Way Out of No Way

Tomorrow, you will be asked to take about 15 minutes to fill out a reflection sheet on the documentary. It will be divided into Level 1, 2, and 3 thinking. As long as you watched the documentary, you will be just fine. No need to memorize anything.

2. We will have an open-note, open-friend "quiz" on modifiers next Tuesday, Jan 31.

3. Renaissance Little Projects due February 10.



Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Writing Your Verse: January 25, 2017

Focus: What will your verse be? 

PLC: Shortened class today.

1. Adjusting the titles of your Transcendentalism blogs to become "American Lit" blogs and enjoying a quick partner breakdown of "I, Too" (if you were absent yesterday, click HERE)

2. Composing your own response poem:
  • Start a new document inside your "Race and Power" folder; call it "I Hear" or "I, Too."
  • Start your poem with "I hear...." OR "I, too..." as your opening line.
  • Feel free to imitate either Whitman's or Hughes' style, or take on a style that's completely your own. Go with your gut; worry about perfectionism on some other assignment.
3. Exploring the multidimensional message your poem might become!

Watching a commercial example.
  • What's the first part of this poem/commercial about?
  • What's the shift?
  • What's the overall message, and how do the photos contribute to it?
Perusing the overview of this mini-project.

HW:
By Friday, please watch the Harlem Renaissance documentary linked below. It will give you the background on the Harlem Renaissance that you need to succeed this week. You can start the documentary 15 minutes into it

*WARNING: If you choose to watch the first 15 minutes (not required), there are upsetting photographs of lynchings between minutes 5 and 7.*

So you could watch about 15 minutes a night, you could watch it all in one gloriously informative off hour, or you could FLIP class--you can watch parts of the film in class and do the in-class stuff for homework. Do what works for you and your schedule.

Documentary link: Making a Way Out of No Way

On Friday, you will be asked to take about 15 minutes to fill out a reflection sheet on the documentary. It will be divided into Level 1, 2, and 3 thinking. As long as you watched the documentary, you will be just fine. No need to memorize anything.

What Will Your Verse Be?

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

You, Too: January 24, 2017

Focus: What will your verse be?

Tribe: Slightly shortened class.

1. Warming up with a musical chairs in response to yesterday's reflections

Round 1: Highlight a line or two that resonates with something you wrote. Offer a comment.

Round 2: Highlight a line or two and pose a follow-up discussion question.

Round 3: You need your blue packet for this one. Highlight a line or two and insert a phrase or line from "The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain" that relates.

Follow-up: What did you learn yesterday that's important?

2. Contemplating Whitman's "I Hear America Singing" and Hughes' "I, Too"



HW:
By Friday, please watch the Harlem Renaissance documentary linked below. It will give you the background on the Harlem Renaissance that you need to succeed this week. You can start the documentary 15 minutes into it

*WARNING: If you choose to watch the first 15 minutes (not required), there are upsetting photographs of lynchings between minutes 5 and 7.*

So you could watch about 15 minutes a night, you could watch it all in one gloriously informative off hour, or you could FLIP class--you can watch parts of the film in class and do the in-class stuff for homework. Do what works for you and your schedule.

Documentary link: Making a Way Out of No Way

On Friday, you will be asked to take about 15 minutes to fill out a reflection sheet on the documentary. It will be divided into Level 1, 2, and 3 thinking. As long as you watched the documentary, you will be just fine. No need to memorize anything.




Sunday, January 22, 2017

Power and Self-Perception: January 23, 2017

Focus: How does social power affect the way we see ourselves?

1. Warming up with three good things and virtue chart updates

2. Reading Ms. Leclaire's letter:

Hello!

I'm sorry I can't be there today. I have a little guy with a high temp who needs me. However, I set up class today so that you can still do everything we were going to do; you will simply be working independently. Please follow the steps below, completing THIS GUIDE as you go. 

THIS GUIDE will be worth 30 points and will be the first grade in your Growth category. Please take a moment right now to make a copy and save it your "Race and Power" folder. Complete it thoughtfully and carefully. I will be grading not just for completion but for genuine, reflective, analytical thought.

If you do not finish the guide in class, you must finish it as homework tonight. If you finish it in class, you do not have homework tonight in American Lit.

Please be your friendly, focused, respectful selves, and I will see you tomorrow. E-mail me if you have any questions.

With much love
Ms. Leclaire

3. Reflecting on race, social power, and self-perception using the guide linked above (could I seriously link this in any more places?)

HW:
1. New: Please complete the guide BEFORE CLASS tomorrow if you did not finish in class.

2. Old: Make sure your packet has been read, annotated, and labeled with a tone word; if you typed your Ethnic Notions reflection sheet, make sure it's in your shared folder. I'll hold mini-conferences with you starting tomorrow on these.





Friday, January 20, 2017

How To Rise, Part 2: January 20, 2017

Focus: What is the best way to rise in social power?

1. Warming up with tone vocabulary, tabata-style

Round 1: Definition
Round 2: Draw a picture that represents the word
Round 3: Explain how the picture represents the word
Round 4: Ask a question using the word.
Round 5: Answer the question using the word.
Round 6: What animal do you associate with this word and why?
Round 7: I feel ___________ (your word) when _____________.
Round 8: Turn your body into a statue that expresses this word.

2. Revisiting yesterday's speeches by Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. DuBois, snowball-style

Find a partner who read the same thing you read yesterday. Talk through it together:

  • Which parts did you understand? Explain them to each other.
  • Which parts confused you? Form questions about them and talk through them.
  • Which THREE lines were the most central to this text? Why?

Become a group of four with a partnership who read the other speech; we'll use mental jousting to teach each other the speeches and discuss them.

3. Reading Langston Hughes' "The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain"; making it personal with a little memoir writing, Hughes-style.

Click HERE for the memoir-starters.

4. Cooling down with a "quiz" on tone vocabulary, tabata-style

HW:
Make sure your packet (except for the very last essay) has been read and annotated;if you typed your Ethnic Notions reflection sheet, make sure it's in your shared folder. I'll hold mini-conferences with you next week on these.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

How to Rise: January 19, 2017

Focus: What's the best way to rise up in social power?

1. Warming up with  modern discussions of "whiteness" and "blackness":

The Cosby Show

Try to locate both sides of the race controversy in question here:

The Cosby Show helped society progress because ______________________; however, it also might have reinforced negative stereotypes by ___________________________.

2. Reading Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. DuBois
  • Before you read: Just looking at the titles, what do you predict Washington and DuBois are each going to argue? How will their arguments oppose each other?
  • As you read, mark up any lines that respond to our focus question of the day: What's the best way to rise up in social power?
    • Click HERE to listen to Washington deliver the "Atlanta Compromise."
  • After you read, summarize Washington's or Dubois' argument in a single sentence. What's his purpose in writing this speech/essay?

3. Mental jousting in concentric circles

HW:
Make sure your packet (except for the very last essay) has been read and annotated;if you typed your Ethnic Notions reflection sheet, make sure it's in your shared folder. I'll hold mini-conferences with you next week on these.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Confronting Dangerous Stereotypes: January 18, 2017

Focus: What power do 19th century stereotypes hold?

1. Warming up with a 1st Semester Grammar Recap

2. Testing your pre-existing background knowledge on 19th century stereotypes
  • Turn to the Ethnic Notions reflection sheet on page 19 in your blue packet.
  • Or, if you'd prefer to type, click here, make a copy, and save in your folder.
  • What do you already know about these stereotypes?
3. Viewing an award-winning documentary and understanding the underlying dangers of black stereotypes
  • Warning of graphic image 20 and 22 minutes in, after "offense to civilization" and watermelon images.
  • Skip from 26 to 42 min.

4.  Discussing historical stereotypes in small groups


HW:
Finish responding to the questions at the bottom of your Ethnic Notions reflection sheet if yo did not finish in class.

If you're feeling stuck, here are some links that might help get you thinking:
Comments on Michelle Obama
2016 Prison Statistics
Aunt Jemima and other Commercial Objects
Little Black Sambo (look at what it's used for and the comments underneath)
Tom and Jerry cartoon and discussion of Amazon warning
Children's Songs with Racist Histories


Tuesday, January 17, 2017

The Myth of the Happy Slave: January 17, 2017

Focus: What is the power in telling your own story?

1. Warming up with the three good things

2. Questioning the myth of the happy slave

The myth of the happy slave: 19th century and early 20th century images

  • Make a copy of this and save it in your "Race and Power" folder.
  • Look carefully at the depictions of slaves in these images. What details strike you?
  • What story of slavery do these images tell, and how?
  • Why do you think these images were so popular (well into the 20th century)?
  • Open the slavery images from last week. Flip back and forth between those images and these. What is problematic about the myth of the happy slave?

Frederick Douglass addresses the danger of the "happy slave" image

Children's book promotes the happy slave

3. Discussing "Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl" in grid groups (click HERE if you'd prefer to type)

Topic #1: Myth vs. Reality
Each member of the group picks one line from Harriet Jacobs' narrative that undercuts (exposes the falseness) of one of the images from the warm-up. Read the lines aloud, look at the images, and discuss what happens when the myth is partnered with the reality.

Topic #2: Your Questions
Pose a Level 1, 2, or 3 question about "Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl" to your group. Focus on the parts of the text you most wish to discuss.

Topic #3: The Power of Telling Your Own Story
Brainstorm as many reasons as you can as to why it was significant that Douglass and Jacobs told their own stories. What is the power of their particular narratives, and of all slave narratives?

4. Updating your virtue charts--how'd you do over the long weekend?

HW:
If you fell behind in the reading or rushed through it, please (re)read any pages from Douglass and Jacobs that you missed. After today, hopefully the importance of reading their narratives is beginning to sink in.

Friday, January 13, 2017

From Slave to Man: January 13, 2017

Focus: How does a person reclaim power?

1. Warming up with a painting by a different Douglas: "Into Bondage," by Aaron Douglas



*Make yourself a document for "In-class Thoughts" and place it inside your "Race and Power" folder.

Which part of the painting is your eye drawn to? In other words, what's the focal point? Why?

How would you describe the patterns of color in this painting?

If this painting tells a story, what's the story?

Describe one aspect of the painting you find symbolic and explain what you think it symbolizes.

Which figure in this painting best captures Frederick Douglass before his battle with Mr. Covey? How so? Find one line from Chapter 10 that shows your thinking here.

Which figure in this painting best captures Douglass after his battle with Mr. Covey? How so? Find one line from Chapter 10 that shows your thinking here (be ready to read your line out loud).


2. Understanding how Douglass empowered others: Check out what he did after he escaped!

History (video)
Bio (video)
Frederick Douglass Honor Society (website--scroll down a little)

3. Observing the life of a female slave: Reading Harriet Jacobs' "Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl" and marking up lines that reveal anything about power dynamics:
  • How is Harriet (the narrator) disempowered? 
  • Why is she disempowered?
  • How are the master and mistress empowered? How are they disempowered?
  • According to Jacobs, "Slavery is bad for men, but it is far more terrible for women." What do you think she means by this? How does her narrative compare to Douglass's?
4. Ending with a brief grammar recap from first semester and a virtue chart update.

HW:
Please finish reading and annotating Harriet Jacobs' "Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl" by Tuesday.



Thursday, January 12, 2017

From Man to Slave: January 12, 2017

Focus: What does it take to disempower a human?

Please turn in your signed class policies.

1. Warming up with original excerpts from slaves, slave owners, 19th century documents, and historians (travelling groups of 3-4) with this reflection sheet

2. Following up with discussions of yesterday's images, today's quotations, and last night's Douglass reading:
  • How were slaves physically disempowered?
  • How were slaves socially disempowered?
  • How were slaves mentally/emotionally disempowered?
  • Tricky question: How did slavery also disempower slave masters? In other words, what did the practice of slavery take away from the slave owners? Take a look at Chapter 6 in Douglass.
3. Getting set up for Chapter 10 by exploring at least 4 definitions of the word "root"

4. Reading Chapter 10 together, marking up lines that reference...
  • The root: Which definition best applies to the root's role in this chapter?
  • Power lost and gained
5. Quick exit ticket: Completing your virtue chart

HW:
If we did not finish reading and annotating Chapter 10 in Douglass, please finish it tonight.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Powerful Narratives of the Disempowered: January 11, 2017

Focus: What does it take to disempower a human?

1. Warming up: Watching the Harvard 2016 graduation speech (a spoken-word poem by Donovan Livingston)
  • "Education is no equalizer; rather, it is the sleep that precedes the American Dream."
  • "I've been the black hole in the classroom for far too long, absorbing everything without allowing my light to escape. But those days are done. I belong among the stars, and so do you."
  • Understand: What do these lines mean? What do they mean to you? 
  • Analyze: What patterns are you noticing in his poem? What kinds of things does he reference, and what do these references mean?
  • Reflect: Is your education empowering you or disempowering you? Did it empower your parents? Your grandparents? Your great-grandparents? In general, is public education (did)empowering America? To your knowledge, how has race historically factored into education?
2. Observing images of slavery

Inside your 2nd semester folder, make a folder that has the words "race" and "power" somewhere in the title.

Inside that folder, save the Google slide presentation above (images of slavery).

Peruse the images at your own speed. Underneath each one, make some notes on your specific observations of each image:
  • What are you looking at in each one? What details strike you? What story is being told here?
  • Which images surprise you/are new to you?
  • What is your reaction to each one?
  • What does each image reveal about the practice of slavery?
  • What do the images reveal about specific ways in which slaves were disempowered?
3. Starting the first chapter of Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass
  • Mark up lines that connect to the images/quotations from today's class.
  • Mark up lines that respond to our focus question: What does it take to disempower a human being?

4. Quick exit ticket: Filling in the Tuesday column of your virtue chart.

HW:
1. Signed class syllabus due tomorrow (Thursday, Jan 12).

2. Finish reading the Chapters 1 and 6 in Douglass (through page 5 in your packet) annotating for passages that reveal something about power, disempowerment, and/or hegemony in the practice of slavery.


Monday, January 9, 2017

Kicking Off the New Year! January 10, 2017

Focus: Where does our power come from?

1. Warming up with three good things (or more)

2. Enjoying a lightening round of "Yes, No, Maybe"

  • Do your choices empower or disempower you?

3. Witnessing Benjamin Franklin's attempt to find power in perfection: Rationalism and Franklin's 13 virtues

4. Setting up your own virtue charts, which you'll be keeping until January 30
  • Set up a 2nd Semester folder inside your American Lit folder.
  • Start a document called "Virtue Chart" and place it in your 2nd semester folder.
  • Click here to check out mine (feel free to use it as a template if you wish).
  • A few suggestions on your virtue charts:
    • When choosing verbs, go with "I will..." (studies show this leads to greater success in attaining goals).
    • Explain carefully what each goal personally means to you.
    • Be specific in your expectations; make them as measurable as you can.
5. Perusing the second semester syllabus and website

6. Watching the Harvard 2016 graduation speech (a spoken-word poem by Donovan Livingston)

  • "Education is no equalizer; rather, it is the sleep that precedes the American Dream."
  • "I've been the black hole in the classroom for far too long, absorbing everything without allowing my light to escape. But those days are done. I belong among the stars, and so do you."
  • Understand: What do these lines mean? What do they mean to you?
  • Reflect: Is your education empowering you or disempowering you? Did it empower your parents? Your grandparents? Your great-grandparents? In general, is public education (did)empowering America?

HW:
1. Please have your parents/guardians sign the class syllabus. Due Thursday, Jan 12.

2. Consider purchasing your own copies of The Color of Water (James McBride) and The Great Gatsby (F. Scott Fitzgerald).