Friday, September 11, 2009

If LIfe Were Fair, They'd Call It "Fair"

What do you feel or believe is unfair or unjust in your world today? Explain.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Huck Finn Hiatus

Currently wrapping up the great American novel, Huck Finn, leads us into more modern writing work at Writers Week, the last week in February. After that, "Death of a Salesman," Spring Break, and, my favorite, The Great Gatsby. Immediate class question should first go to Mr. Ziols, while I am available still, daily, in the department before and after school (as of 3/2) and during the school day.
ACT prep is heavy in the next month or two, starting with Friday's half day of testing for juniors in room 241/242; writing prep. for the ACT is the first week in March, and early April hosts a reading and English workshop for prep. Further test prep is available after school on Tuesdays and Thursday (math and English) through Fremd, and all are welcome.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Group Work

Students in all groups are working diligently. Interview write ups are due Wednesday. A group grade is issued for each member turning his/her interview write up in on time or earlier; an individual grade is issued for the content of the write up. Surveys must be complete and tallied by Friday. Presentations start next Monday.
Remember, too, our reading schedule of three chapters per evening, so that we finish the novel by Friday.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Group Work and Ordinary People

As we just start the group research project , which ends in a major group presentations, students are encouraged to explore group dynamics. The majority of the points in this project are group points, with each individual receiving the same points as a group. For success, students MUST communicate within their groups; they MUST hold one another accountable; they MUST help one another find individually success for the group's (and consequently their own) success.
This is new. This may be uncomfortable.
So far, I have seen most groups step up to the challenge. However, a group, or two, has yet to recognize that individually "blowing off" group time will lead to disaster. Worse, the group allowing that, even laughing at that, will crash.
GROUPS, start and continue to assign, check, and do work. Create and follow your plan. On the plus of all of this, there is dramatic freedom of choice in content, development, and style. Instead of resisting all that responsibility, embrace it as an opportunity to finally do what YOU want in school. Then do it.
Ordinary People reading schedule is also out. The final pages are due next Friday, and the test is the 19th, following the presentations that start the 15th.
Before you know it, we're at Winter Break!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Past the Life Philosophy

Now that everyone has turned in his or her life philosophy paper, I look forward to reading them. While I'm working on that, we are reading the novel, Ordinary People. Already, we are finishing chapter 9, and will have a t/f quiz on chapters 1-9 next week, early.
This unit includes a major group and research project. This is big. HUGE. Ultimately, students will be presenting findings to the class in a 30 minute presentation. To be successful, collaboration my also be successful. Work together toward the common goal. Achieve more than you could by yourself.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Transcending to the test and Dark Romantics

In mid Thoreau and with voting yesterday, I posed Thoreau's statement after our discussion on "Walden": That government which governs best, governs least. Students reacted with their opinions about that thought and applied it to the day at hand. Our "Walden" discussion clarified answers to questions, compared mankind to elements of observed nature, such as the ant battle between ants of two colors, that was brutal (can we say "civil war"?), and spun into provoking comments about man's nature. I liked how Chris put it: man's "refined brutality". Ladybug
The test is moved to this Friday. Students went home to read Thoreau's biography and complete some last questions on "Walden" before we watch the Dark Romantic's, Nathaniel Hawthorne, story, "Rappuccini's Daughter". IF a student misses a day, the text is available on-line from a link on my web page. Here we will see what happens when man tries to play God and control nature. Flowers

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


The past few class days have included a great deal of lecture on what Transcendentalism is, from the philosophy, to the religion, to the literary theory. It is a new way of thinking that students may not agree with, but should understand. It truly is a way of thinking that very much still exists today (like all of our other -isms). A modern "transcendental" thinker would be Dr. Wayne Dyer, as well as others like those behind 'the secret'.
Students have worked in small groups on a worksheet on Emerson's "On Nature" (having read it last week individually) and have jigsawed his "Self-Reliance". Wednesday is a pop quiz on "Self Reliance" (main ideas include: trust thyself, non-conformity, society is against the individual, work to your full potential, and to be great is to be misunderstood).
Following that, we'll move into Thoreau's "Walden" selection in the text book. In fact, Thursday is the vocabulary quiz on the list of words and definitions I provided students. I expect that Friday we'll watch a National Geographic video with Leslie Neilson that very much mimics Thoreau. GardeningIt's both gross and beautiful, the essence of nature for transcendentalists, who see all as beautiful if a person is really looking closely.