Friday, April 28, 2017

Stand Up and Speak: April 28, 2017

Focus: How do I help an audience to think better or differently about something?

1. Warming up with high-velocity responses to the Waiting for Superman guiding questions

2. Analyzing and evaluating Waiting for Superman's use of ethos, logos, and pathos
  • Please turn in your documentary tracking notes when you finish your discussion.
3. Delivering one-minutes speeches with a focus on the rhetorical appeals
  • Have a buddy film you on your cell phone.
  • You need to remain "on stage" for at least 50 seconds, even if you run out of things to say.
4. Self-assessing our speeches with a reflective rubric

HW:
1. If you did not get a chance to watch your speech and complete the reflective rubric, please do this over the weekend and turn in your rubric on Monday.

*If you were absent today or did not give your speech today for whatever reason, you will need to do so on Tuesday.*

2. Assigned book club reading and syllabus for Tuesday, May 2.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Book Clubbing, Day 1: April 27, 2017

Focus: What current American issues are you starting to understand better or differently?

1. Warming up with a little demo of using rhetorical appeals in your one-minutes speeches

2. Offering you a real-life example of one of your first semester syllabi. Remember that you may earn up to 30 points per syllabus:
  • 20 points for a thoughtful, meaningful syllabus that is ready to go before class begins.
  • 10 points for clear and thorough discussion notes on the syllabus.
  • Click HERE to see a 1st semester sample with student discussion notes and my feedback.

3. Book Clubbing, Day 1

4. Wrapping up with your success ticket

HW:
1. If you need to add to your documentary tracking sheet, please do so tonight; I will be collecting them in class tomorrow. If you're going to be absent tomorrow, please turn yours in TODAY.

2. Practice your one-minute speech for TOMORROW. If you're absent tomorrow, prepare to deliver your speech on Tuesday. Click here if you need to see the speech topics.

2. Assigned book club reading and syllabus for Tuesday, May 2.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Waiting for Superman, Day 2: April 26, 2017

Focus: What do we need to understand about public education in the United States?

1. Warming up with a large-class collection of your ethos, logos, and pathos observations

2. Watching the second half of Waiting for Superman with your documentary tracking notes

3. Concluding by investigating what this documentary helped us understand better or differently about American public education;: Returning to your Waiting for Superman pre-writing questions and turning them into post-writing questions

HW:
1. Assigned book club reading and syllabus for TOMORROW. Remember that you may earn up to 30 points per syllabus:

  • 20 points for a thoughtful, meaningful syllabus that is ready to go before class begins.
  • 10 points for clear and thorough discussion notes on the syllabus.
  • Click HERE to see a 1st semester sample with student discussion notes and my feedback.

2. If you did not complete your documentary tracking notes or your post-writing questions, you need to complete them by Friday; this when I will collect/evaluate them.

3. Practice your 1-minute speech for Friday. Click here for the topics. Remember that the first two rows are focusing on pathos, the second two rows are focusing on ethos, and the third two rows are focusing on logos.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Waiting for Superman, Day 1: April 25, 2017

Focus: What do we need to understand about public education in the United States?

1. Warming up with your documentary contract (and 6th hour, possibly Mr. Miles)

2. Questioning American education with high-velocity writing on your Waiting for Superman pre-writing stats
  • You can save this in your shared Book Club Folder.
3. Viewing Waiting for Superman with a focus on ethos, pathos, or logos (tracking sheet given as a handout in class)

HW:
1. Bring in your signed contract as soon as possible (Thursday at the latest).

2. Assigned book club reading and syllabus for TOMORROW. Remember that you may earn up to 30 points per syllabus:

  • 20 points for a thoughtful, meaningful syllabus that is ready to go before class begins.
  • 10 points for clear and thorough discussion notes on the syllabus.
  • Click HERE to see a 1st semester sample with student discussion notes and my feedback.

3. Practice your 1-minute speech for Friday. Click here for the topics. Remember that the first two rows are focusing on pathos, the second two rows are focusing on ethos, and the third two rows are focusing on logos.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Setting the Bar High: April 24, 2017

Focus: How do we set the bar high for our final unit?

I left you a final round of journal feedback on your most recent blog.

1. Warming up with three good things and Mr. Miles!

2. 4th hour: Checking your grades, reflecting on your successes and needs, and making plans
  • Circle any grades that are incorrect and write down why they are incorrect.
  • Circle any recent work that you plan on revising/doing for the first time. Write down your plan/deadline for completing this work.
  • Offer a brief reflection at the bottom of your grades: Do you feel proud of your work this semester in American Lit? Are these grades an accurate reflection of your learning? Why or why not? Any goals for the final stretch?
3. Recommitting to high standards: 
4. Setting your book clubs expectations (please have your signed sheets and books out on your desks):
  • Click HERE to revisit what an excellent syllabus looks like.
  • Fill out the bookmark: Which reading will be due which days? Who will be in charge of the syllabus each day? Please write this on your bookmark AND in your calendars.
  • Create a shared folder called "Book Club Folder." It should be shared with each member of your group and placed inside your Transcendentalism folder. ALL SYLLABI AND CLASSWORK must be placed inside this folder.
5. Starting to read (if time allows)

HW:
1. Share the documentary contract with your parents/guardians and ask them to sign it. Due Wednesday. 

2. Complete your assigned reading/create your syllabus for Thursday.

3. Work on your one-minute speech for Friday (see last Friday's blog if you were absent).

4. If you didn't have your signed letter or book in class today, take care of it immediately. If you have make-up work/late work that you circled on your grade sheet, take care of that as well.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Looking Back to Look Forward: April 21, 2017

Focus: How can we wrap up our last unit and set ourselves up for success in our final unit?

Shortened Class: Spring Assembly
4th ends at 10:44
6th ends at 1:03

1. Warming up (6th hour): Checking your grades, reflecting on your successes and needs, and making plans
  • Circle any grades that are incorrect and write down why they are incorrect.
  • Circle any recent work that you plan on revising/doing for the first time. Write down your plan/deadline for completing this work.
  • Offer a brief reflection at the bottom of your grades: Do you feel proud of your work this semester in American Lit? Are these grades an accurate reflection of your learning? Why or why not? Any goals for the final stretch?

2. Introducing you to the American Lit Final Speech Overview and Rubric (also linked to website)

3. Selecting your one-minute speech topics and recapping Pathos, Ethos, and Logos
  • 1st 2 rows: Pathos (appeal to our emotions / gut reactions)
  • 2nd 2 rows: Ethos (convince us that you're trustworthy and highly qualified to talk about this topic)
  • 3rd 2 rows: Logos (appeal to our sense of logic by giving us facts, numbers, graphs, etc.)
3. Watching the ending of The Great Gatsby with a focus on directorial choices

HW:
1. Make sure your book clubs are finalized; your SIGNED book club letter is due on Monday, April 24. You also need to walk in with the book in your hands on Monday.

2. Turn in your school copies of The Great Gatsby by next Friday, April 28. Or, now.

3. Whatever missing grades, revisions, make-up work, etc. you examined in our warm-up today--please take care of those over the weekend.

4. Start brainstorming ideas for your one-minute speech next Friday.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Writing Your Way to Complexity: April 20, 2017

Focus: How can we write our way to a better understanding of Fitzgerald's themes?

1. Warming up by reading the reminders you wrote to yourself yesterday and rereading the prompt

2. Composing your timed writing (55 minutes)
  • Click here if you need an online version of the prompts and rubric.
3. Using the rubric to edit your essay

4. Submitting your essay to www.turnitin.com

HW:
1. If you had issues submitting your essay to www.turnitin.com, please take care of that tonight by midnight. If you need extra time to finish your essay, please take care of that tonight; cap yourself at 15 minutes.

2. Complete your book club letter and have your book IN YOUR HANDS when you walk in on Monday, April 24. Also, if you're thinking about The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks (so good), it's being turned into an HBO movie. You can check it out here.

3. If you have not yet finished your Gatsby blogs or fishbowl comments, please do so by this Friday at the latest.


Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Forming Book Clubs: April 19, 2017

Focus: What do journalists want us to understand better or differently about America?

1. Warming up with my feedback on your "Road Not Taken" timed writings (5-10 minutes)

Start your document for tomorrow:
  • Call it "Great Gatsby Official Timed Writing."
  • Place it in your "Wealth and Power" or "Gatsby" folder (whatever you called it).
  • Type the reminders below at the top of your document, as well as the individual GOAL from your "Road Not Taken" rubric.

Three tiny reminders:
  • Avoid "you" and "your." Try "we" and "our."
  • Avoid stating "This quote..." Lead out with some literary lingo or a statement about the author's intent.
    • Here's an example: Instead of saying, "This quote reveals that the speaker feels ambivalent," try saying, "The two roads symbolize the speaker's ambivalence," or the "Frost emphasizes the speaker's ambivalence."
  • Show off your newly discovered close reading skills.

2. Offering you an overview of our investigative journalism unit (see website for links to letter, book list, and bookmark)

3. Watching and voting on top American documentaries
  • When you finished watching all of the trailers, click HERE to vote on your top three.

Here are the trailer links:










Hoop Dreams


4. Forming investigative journalism book clubs by selecting your partners and books

HW:
1. Complete your book club letter and have your book IN YOUR HANDS when you walk in on Monday, April 24. Also, if you're thinking about The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks (it's so good), it's being turned into an HBO movie. You can check it out here.

2. If you have not yet finished your Gatsby blogs or fishbowl comments, please do so by this Friday at the latest.

3. Prepare for tomorrow's timed writing by forming your thesis and gathering your three quotations; if you wish, you may also do an outline.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Our Capacity for Wonder: April 18, 2017

Focus: What does Fitzgerald teach us about our capacity for wonder?

Tribe: Slightly shortened class

1. Warming up with musical chairs close readings of passages from Chapter 9

2. Enjoying our final fishbowl discussion of The Great Gatsby, Chapter 9

3. Offering you my current final takeaway from this novel

HW:
1. Prepare for Thursday's timed writing. Feel free to e-mail me your thesis if you'd like feedback ahead of time.

2. Make sure your Chapter 9 Gatsby blog is finalized by the end of the week.

3. Tomorrow, we will be forming book clubs. Check out the links on the website!

Monday, April 17, 2017

Fallen: April 17, 2017

Focus: What facades fall away in the falling action of The Great Gatsby?

1. Warming up with three good things

2. Exploring the falls in Chapter 8 by practicing a close reading together

3. Selecting your timed writing topic; as you finish The Great Gatsby, consider how the novel's ending addresses your topic.

4. Reading the ending of The Great Gatsby and composing your final journal entry

HW:
1. Finish reading Chapter 9 and composing your final blog by TOMORROW for our final Gatsby discussion.

2. Start brainstorming and forming a thesis for your timed writing.

If you're wondering what this week will look like in American Lit, here you go:
  • Tuesday: Fishbowl discussion of Gatsby, Chapter 9
  • Wednesday: Introduction to investigative journalism book clubs
  • Thursday: Timed writing on Gatsby 
  • Friday: Introduction to your American Literature final exam/watch the end of Gatsby

Friday, April 14, 2017

Friday Fishbowl: April 14, 2017

Focus: In The Great Gatsby's climactic chapter, what is destroyed, and how?

1. Warming up with a close reading of the Chapter 8's final sentence

Look up a definition of the word "holocaust," keeping in mind that The Great Gatsby was written long before World War II and wouldn't carry any associations with concentration camps.

Apply that definition to this final sentence. Here are some questions to help guide you:
  • Who has been killed off?
  • What larger ideas have been killed off, and how?
  • What forces are behind the destruction in this chapter and throughout the novel?
  • What ideas and people take the blame for their own self-destruction?
  • What part of Gatsby died before he was murdered?
  • What part of Wilson died before he killed himself?
  • What makes it a "death by fire"?

2. Enjoying our penultimate discussion of The Great Gatsby (Chapter 8)

3. Wrapping up: What word, phrase, or short sentence (besides the final sentence) from Chapter 8 is most central to The Great Gatsby's climax/turning point?

HW:
1. Finish reading The Great Gatsby (and complete your blogs) by Tuesday. We will have Gatsby timed writing on Thursday, so use this weekend to catch up if you've fallen behind.

2. A heads-up: We will be forming nonfiction book clubs next Wednesday. If you'd like a sneak peek of this unit, I have started posting overviews, book choices, permission letters, etc. on the website.




Thursday, April 13, 2017

Can We Repeat the Past?: April 13, 2017

Focus: Can we repeat the past?

1. Warming up with a run-through of the American Lit Writing Checklist

(If you'd like to see how the checklist translates into the rubric I'll use to grade your timed writings, click here.)

2. Finishing "The Road Not Taken" timed writings you started on Monday (20 minutes max)

3. Reading Chapter 8 in The Great Gatsby and preparing for tomorrow's fishbowl discussion

HW:
1. Please read and blog on Chapter 8 by tomorrow, which is when our next fishbowl will take place. You need to finish the book (and your blogs) by Tuesday, which is when our final Gatsby fishbowl will take place.

2. Double check with your partner to make sure your timed writing is complete and shared with me.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Artistic Choices: April 11 or 12, 2017

Focus: How do the director's artistic choices affect your interpretation of The Great Gatsby?

1. Warming up with one directorial choice and how it's affected your interpretation of characters, settings, symbols, and/or themes from The Great Gatsby

Ex: In Fitzgerald's novel, when Daisy sees Gatsby's mansions for the first time and he shows her his wardrobe, Fitzgerald offers no explanation for Daisy' sudden crying. She simply says, "It makes me sad because I've never seen such--such beautiful shirts before."

But in the film version, the dialogue goes like this:
Jay Gatsby: [Daisy cries after Gatsby showers her with fancy shirts] What is it? Daisy, Daisy darling, what is it?
Daisy Buchanan: It... it makes me sad.
Jay Gatsby: Why?
Daisy Buchanan: Because...
Nick Carraway: [narrating] Five lost years struggled on Daisy's lips, but all she could manage was...
Jay Gatsby: Why?
Daisy Buchanan: [laughs] Because I've never seen such beautiful shirts before.

The big difference here is that Lurhmann (the director) includes a voiceover from Nick explaining that she's crying over the five lost years, not the shirts. In the original novel, there's a stronger possibility that her sadness is shallow rather than tragic as she appears to be crying over Gatsby's material possessions. Luhrmann, on the other hand, portrays Daisy as a more complex, empathetic character.

2. Viewing the film version of Chapters 6 and 7 in The Great Gatsby, keeping an eye and ear out for Luhrmann's artistic choices


HW:
1. Please read and blog on Chapter 8 by this Friday, which is when our next fishbowl will take place. You will have some reading time on Thursday.

2. Double check with your partner to make sure your Monday's timed writing is complete.

3. Click HERE for a detailed view of this week's bell schedule.


Sunday, April 9, 2017

The Road Not Taken: April 10, 2017

Focus: Can you repeat the past?

1. Warming up with three good things

2. Reading Robert Frost's "The Road Not Taken" with an MMM approach and completing a partner in-class writing

3. Editing your writing using the American Lit Writing Checklist

HW:
1. Please read and blog on Chapter 8 by this Friday, which is when our next fishbowl will take place. You will have some reading time on Thursday.

2. If you didn't finish today's writing, you have until midnight tonight to add anything you'd like to add. I will be assessing them Tuesday and Wednesday mornings.

3. Click HERE for a detailed view of this week's bell schedule.

Final Friday Freewrite: April 7, 2017

Focus: How is the film adaptation of The Great Gatsby influencing your perception of the novel?

1. Warming up with your final Friday Freewrite (scroll to the two final prompts)

2. Watching the film version of The Great Gatsby with a focus on directorial choices/changes

In a New York Times review of the 2013 film adaptation of The Great Gatsby, A.O. Scott writes the following in his article, "Shimmying Off the Literary Mantle":

"Mr. Luhrmann [the director] sticks close to the details of the story and lifts dialogue and description directly from the novel’s pages. But he has also felt free to make that material his own, bending it according to his artistic sensibility and what he takes to be the mood of the times."

As you watch the film today, consider the following: 

  • How has Baz Luhrmann (the director) made the material his own, and for what purpose? 
  • In other words, what artistic choices has Lurhmann made that differ somewhat from Fitzgerald's, and how do these choices affect your perception of characters, settings, symbols, and/or themes in The Great Gatsby?
  • Please post your response to these questions on today's class blog at the end of class.

3. Wrapping up by posting your responses to the blue questions above on today's blog

HW:
1. Remember that all make-up work from the past six weeks is due today.

2. A heads-up: On Monday, we're doing a partner in-class writing to practice for the literary in-class writing at the end of The Great Gatsby.

3. Our Chapter 8 fishbowl discussion will take place next Friday, April 14. Because of the testing schedule, I will see you Monday, Tuesday OR Wednesday (shortened class), Thursday (shortened class), and Friday. You will have one block of reading time, and that will be on Thursday.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Driving Forces: April 6, 2017

Focus: What are the driving forces behind the death in Chapter 7?

1. Warming up with Henry's cars and a hands-on analysis of Myrtle's vehicular homicide

Each kit contains the following: A yellow car, a blue car, a "Myrtle", and a random car coming from the opposite direction.

Level 1: Reenact what happens in Chapter 7 with the cars. Who's in which car on the way there and the way back? Where are they going and why? Who is driving each car? Why do they switch around?

Level 2: Analyze Fitzgerald's choices here. Why did he make this so complicated? Why does it matter that _________ ran over ________? Why is _________'s car? Why are the car colors symbolic? Why this manner of death?

Level 3: What is Fitzgerald trying to teach us about...recklessness? Love? Lust? Dreams? Respect?

2. Enjoying a fishbowl discussion of Chapter 7

3. Wrapping up:
  • Why did Myrtle have to die?
  • Was her death an intentional murder?
  • What rising conflict lead up to this moment?
HW:
1. Your blog entry for Chapter 7 must be complete by the end of the day on Friday; after this, Chapter 7 blog entries can only receive half-credit.

2. Our fishbowl discussion of Chapter 8 is Friday, April 14.

3. This Friday is the end of 12 weeks; all work from the past 6 weeks is due this Friday by 3:00 pm.




Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Into the Abyss: April 5, 2017

Focus: What is the significance of the Underworld in the hero's journey, and how does this help us understand Chapter 7 in The Great Gatsby?

1. Warming up with the elements of the Abyss/Underworld in the hero's journey
(1st 7 minutes to set up background, then 54:00-1:05 for Underworld scene)
  • What aspects of this setting suggest that it's a symbolic abyss/underworld?
  • What is each hero's greatest fear and/or deepest need? How do they face these fears and needs in the Underworld?
  • To what extent does each hero conquer his/her greatest fear and fulfill his/her deepest need in this scene?
  • What part of each hero dies
  • What part of each hero is reborn / transformed?
2. Reading Chapter 7 with a focus on the Underworld (or the hero's journey in general); as you journal, try using the Underworld questions above to guide you.

TOMORROW'S FISHBOWL LEADERS SHOULD USE THIS TIME TO PREPARE.

HW:
1. If you were absent the Thursday before spring break, please listen to my memoir feedback, fill out the reflective rubric, and return it to me today.

2. Finish reading and blogging on Chapter 7 by tomorrow; leaders should prepare their syllabus for fishbowl.

3. This Friday is the end of 12 weeks; all work from the past 6 weeks is due this Friday by 3:00 pm.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Any Heroes Here?: April 4, 2017

Focus: Is there any potential for heroism in The Great Gatsby?

1. Warming up with SAT Boot Camp, Day 2: "The Original Condition"

2. Recapping Chapters 1-6 by watching your videos and trying out the hero's journey in The Great Gatsby on Nick and Gatsby
  • Quickly recap the different stages of the hero's journey. Look up anything you feel confused about; try this website or this one if you need a quick refresher.
  • Try filling out the hero's journey so far for Nick.
  • Try filling out the hero's journey so far for Gatsby.
  • Draw larger conclusions: Is one character a more convincing hero than the other? Are they both heroes? Why? Is neither a hero? Why not? What might Fitzgerald want us to understand better or differently about the role of heroes in a Modern world?
3. Taking time to read and journal on Chapter 7

HW:
1. If you were absent the Thursday before spring break, please listen to my memoir feedback, fill out the reflective rubric, and return it to me by Wednesday.

2. Read at least the first ten pages of Chapter 7 by tomorrow; start your blog entry. You need to read all of Chapter 7 by Thursday and complete your blog entry (just one for the whole chapter). It's LOOOOOOOOOOOOONGG, so start tonight.

3. This Friday is the end of 12 weeks; all work from the past 6 weeks is due this Friday by 3:00 pm.

Monday, April 3, 2017

The Recap: April 3, 2017

Focus: What do we need to recap before we can move forward?

1. Warming up three good great things!

2. Entering SAT Boot Camp, Day 1: "Gerry's Salamander"

3. Recapping the building conflicts in Chapters 1-6

You and your row are going to create a short video on your phone to recap your assigned chapter.
  • Level 1: Address the FIVE most important plot points of your chapter.
  • Level 2: Address characterization, setting, symbols, motifs, and perhaps even read a passage or two.
  • Ending: Ask a big, cliffhanger kind of question.
  • E-mail me your video when you're done. We're going to watch these at the end of class today (or the beginning of class tomorrow, depending on how long this takes).

Let's see your creativity, enthusiasm, and intellectualism at work here, 

4. Plotting the rising conflicts in Gatsby, Chapters 1-6 together

HW:
1. If you were absent the Thursday before spring break, please listen to my memoir feedback, fill out the reflective rubric, and return it to me by Wednesday.

2. Read at least the first ten pages of Chapter 7 by tomorrow; start your blog entry. You need to read all of Chapter 7 by Thursday and complete your blog entry (just one for the whole chapter). It's LOOOOOOOOOOOOONGG, so start tonight.

3. This Friday is the end of 12 weeks; all work from the past 6 weeks is due this Friday by 3:00 pm.