Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Zombieland: Film as Literature

Compose a 4 paragraph response (introduction; parody; satire; conclusion) to the following prompt:

Is Zombieland a satire and/or a parody? What elements of the film qualify as such?

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Film as Literature: "Life is Beautiful" & The Walking Dead

How does the film (“Life is Beautiful”) either live up to or fall short of its title? Explain.

Select 3 moments or scenes from the film that scaffold up to the emotional impact of its resolution. How do these scenes contribute to the audience’s emotional response?

Would the impact of the film have changed if Guido Orifice had survived? Would you have preferred this? Why or why not?

Click here to read 2 articles regarding zombie economics: ARTICLE 1; ARTICLE 2. Do you buy (pun fully intended) the link between economics and zombies? Defend your claim, which should include integrated quotations from the articles.

How does the expositional treatment of The Walking Dead pilot differ from the foundation of many other forms of storytelling? How is it the same?

The allure of horror- with its gore and violence- only lasts so long. What storytelling features do you think maintain The Walking Dead's profound and widespread following? Explain.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Creative Writing: Wednesday, April 1

Hi class! I'll be proctoring the MCAS this morning (and some of you are taking it- good luck!). For those of you in class today, please complete the tasks that follow. Sophomores will need to make up this work by Monday.

1. On our Edline page, you'll find a document entitled "Tone in Song." Please read the directions carefully. You are encouraged to locate YouTube versions of the songs; in fact, listening to the songs may help to uncover the tones. Please use headphones if you choose to do this. For each song, compose a SAPSTONE. Then, use the following template to compose a binary thesis that compares and contrast the 2 songs in regard to the tone of the SPEAKERS or SONGWITERS (your choice- but think through this carefully, as this decision changes everything):

Though both (ARTIST 1)'s "SONG" and (ARTIST 2)'s "SONG" (verb) (1, 2, or 3 modified devices in common), (ARTIST 1) (verb) a/an (adjective) tone to (universal idea/theme) while (ARTIST 2) (verb) a/an (adjective) tone to (universal idea/theme). 

If this format does not suit your interpretation, you may also consider infusing separate devices and/or modifiers. Just be sure that your statement is complete, and includes both songs and their respective tones. Paste the 2 SAPSTONES and your binary thesis as a comment here.

2. Be sure that your Tone Letter and Distillation (from Monday) are both posted to your blog for correction. These may be the last grades of term 3. If you have any missing work, please attend to that now- and email it to me, as grades close this week!

Friday, March 27, 2015

Thursday, March 26, 2015

English IV: Thursday, 3-26

Hi, class. My son is sick today, so I'll be home with him. I have decided to set aside your work time for today for the exclusive purpose of completing and refining your The Kite Runner analyses. Make a good decision: use this generous allotment of time to complete and refine your thinking and writing, which is due tomorrow via turnitin.com.

Be sure that you have access to our class submission page on turnitin.com.

I will be available at 11:30 for live emailing- email me at tkefor@norton.k12.ma.us if you have any questions regarding the essay, and I will respond almost immediately.

Remember: there is always something "else" you can do to improve your essay. Are your quotes fluidly integrated? Do you have smooth transitions at the beginning and end of each supportive paragraph? Have you used the best diction, vocabulary, and syntax possible? Have you removed all unnecessary summary? Have you employed a vast array of sentence types from the Wizardry form? Have you asked a peer, or Mrs. Ardagna, to read your work aloud to you? Have you effectively infused the distillation technique into your writing?

Creative Writing: Thursday, 3-26

Good morning, class. My son is sick today, so I'll be at home taking care of him. Please follow the directions below for today's lesson.

FIRST: Visit Edline to take the Jigsaw Assessment. You may use your notes and an online dictionary for this- you may not use the texts themselves.

1. Click here to read a fascinating and well-written article from Atlantic magazine. The beautiful sentence presented there is 198 words long. Wouldn't it be cool if a sentence was 200 words long? Yes, dear pupil, it would. Compose a 200 word sentence on a topic of your choice. In order to earn credit for this, be sure that the grammar of your sentence demands that it must be a single sentence, and not a clump of smaller sentences or run-on. In other words, craft your sentence in such a way that it contains only one true subject and one true predicate. Below, you'll find a post wherein my AP students took a shot at this. Some of them succeeded, so you're welcome to read these for guidance and inspiration. Have fun with this. Good luck.

2. Visit Teen Ink, an online publisher of teenage writing. After you create an account, select one of your creative writing pieces from our course thus far to submit for publishing.

3. Please edit, proofread, and post your tone letter by the end of the period.

Film as Literature: Thursday, 3-26

Good morning, class. Please complete the following tasks by the end of the block. Submit your work as a comment to this post. Each question demands at least a well-composed paragraph.

1. Describe the point at which Daniel Plainview pivots as a character. In which scene does he begin his transformation from dedicated entrepreneur to a full-fledged miscreant?

2. Why does Plainview leave his son? How does the scene with the Standard Oil men help characterize Plainview's persona?

3. Describe why Plainview becomes suspicious of Henry and how he handles him thereafter.

4. Describe the convergence of religion and capitalism/nihilism in the film. How are these forces integrated and negotiated?

5. Visit our Edline pay and locate the Distillation Rubric. We've mentioned and dealt with this (briefly) before, but the document has been modified recently. Please read through the rubric and samples carefully. Then, compose a distillation (follow the Literature and Film protocol) for There Will Be Blood. Take your time- it's only a 4 sentence analysis, but it requires thought, development, and refinement.

6. Click here to access some critical reviews of the film. Choose 1 to read. Offer a synopsis of the critique and a response to its claims as a paragraph here.

6. If you should finish early, please make up any work that you've missed.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Jiro Dreams of Sushi: Film as Literature

Please offer a clear and thorough response for each question.

1. Apprentices and apprenticeships are common in the realm of Japanese sushi. Identify a discipline in which apprenticeships do not currently exist, and propose the implementation of an apprentice-master system.

2. This documentary is devoid of direct narration. Why do you think the filmmakers did this? What is the effect?

3. Psychologists define flow the mental state of operation in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity. It is clear that sushi preparation and service provides Jiro with this sensation. What hobby, potential career path, or interest provides you with this sensation?

4. Click here and read the review. Would you like to eat at Jiro's restaurant? Why or why not?

AP: Epic Sentences

Advanced Creative Writing: 25% Checkpoint

Click here to access our Google document.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Film as Literature: "Blackfish"

Utilizing your notes regarding the elements of persuasion, respond to the following questions completely and eloquently.

1. Which persuasive tool is most utilized by the filmmakers? Substantiate your claim with specific evidence. Do you think its use is effective?

2. Which persuasive tool is underutilized by the filmmakers? Substantiate your claim with specific evidence. How might this tool have been utilized to make the film more effective?

3. As in journalism, documentaries are invariably assessed on their degree of objectivism. Do you find this documentary objective? Why or why not?

4. Some critics claim that "Blackfish" utilizes purposeful anthropomorphism to establish its pathos. Do you agree? Explain.

5. Is the film about Orcas, exclusively, or could its message be more universal? What larger issues does it bring to the forefront?

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Film as Literature: Good Will Hunting

Select 3 of the prompts below to answer in paragraph form. Be sure to utilize terminology from our glossary and include specific references to elements of the movie. Post your responses as a comment here. 

1. In the film, we encounter a collision of microcultures (a blue-collar brotherhood vs. academic elitism). How does the film negotiate the convergence of these two populations? Is there a pivot or bridge between the two?

2. Typically, protagonists induce a sense of empathy in a reader or viewer. Does Will earn your empathy or do you find it difficult to accept him? Why or why not?

3. The film is laden with local color. Do you feel that this local color is authentic? How is it achieved? If you didn't live in the Boston area, what impression would you arrive at?

4. Watch this video clip, in which Matt Damon challenges the agenda of a trolling journalist. Compare and contrast this real life clip with a scene from Will (the character) in the movie.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Creative Writing: Class Work for 2-26

1. Access “The Plot Sickens” document posted to our Edline page. Read the document and reflect on a) the author’s criticisms of young contemporary writers and b) how your free-write either substantiates, or deviates from, her claim. 

2. Submit your final free-write as a new post to your blog. Below your free-write, offer a paragraph reflection in response to the prompt:  how does your free-write product either substantiate or deviate from the author’s claim regarding the tendencies and flaws of young writers? Include quotes from the Edline piece to assert that you've read and thought carefully. Please title the post: “The Plot Sickens: Free-write & Reflection.” 

3. Please use the remainder of your time to link your peers to your blog if you have not yet done so. Then, visit your peers’ blogs and offer feedback (via comment) to their Self-Deprecation pieces. 

HW: be sure that today’s submission is posted to your blog for grading.

Film as Literature Class Work: 2-26

1. Log into Edline and visit our class page. Read the file: “Keough’s Oz.” As a comment to this post (click “comments” below, identify and explain 3 potential movie selections that you would be able to use for this project. Be sure to sign your comment.

2. Then, begin our collaborative work for a Shared Google document (linked here). As I mentioned, we are going to build a Glossary of Film Terminology. Type your name next to a letter of the alphabet and get started- browse the web for existing glossaries to draw from, and input terms and definitions that you feel are relevant to our course. If you exhaust the options for a particular letter, begin a new one. Keep it going.

Homework: Begin Throwback Assignment (due Tuesday, March 10): students will revisit and re-watch a childhood film and complete a reflective analysis in the style of Keough.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Advanced Creative Writing: COW Work

Before you develop your own “This I Believe” statement, peruse and listen to existing testimonials here. Use the “explore” tab to search for 5 intriguing statements. For each statement, note the following:

1. author/speaker

2. crux or “thesis” of statement

3. 3 observations regarding style, delivery, structure, or other storytelling elements

4. your attitude in relation to the speaker’s

Once you have completed this step, begin constructing and refining your own statement.

Visit “The Moth” site. Select and listen to 3 stories. For each story, note the following:

1. speaker and title

2. theme of the story

3. 3 observations regarding style, delivery, structure, or other storytelling elements

4. your attitude in relation to the speaker’s story

5. a score (based on our rubric)

Then, click here to learn some storytelling tips. Once you have completed this step, begin constructing and refining your own story.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

The Kite Runner: Building Context

(due as a comment to this post; worth a quiz grade; 0 to + holistic scale)

Part A: Click here to visit the CIA's World Fact Book. Peruse the Afghanistan page on this site and respond to the following questions:

1. What are the top eight agricultural products? What product is #1? 
2. What is the life expectancy rate? What is the infant mortality rate? What deeper issues are typically reflected in these statistics?
3. How many kilometers of coastline does Afghanistan possess? How might this number have contributed to the country's history?
4. Identify the transnational issues that Afghanistan faces. 
5. Construct a thesis statement that encapsulates the essence of the Afghan nation (both its assets and its challenges). 

Part BClick here to visit The Boston Globe's "The Big Picture: Afghanistan". View each photograph (use your judgement for the objectionable pieces) and read the corresponding footnotes. Choose the most powerful image to prompt a piece of short fiction. Write a descriptive passage that embodies the "show vs. tell" technique.

Part CArticle: "Hazaras: Afghanistan's Outsiders" (9 pages). Produce a thesis statement that encapsulates the author's message and illuminates the deeper meaning of the text.

Part D: FOR EXTRA CREDIT (QUIZ): Click here to view the Frontline Program: "The Dancing Boys of Afghanistan". Take notes and prepare to participate in a Discussion Facilitation that will include this topic.

If you happen to finish early, please proofread your work carefully. 

Monday, January 26, 2015

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Seniors: Utopian Project Reflections

Please post a paragraph reflecting upon the project process. Identify the strengths and weaknesses of your project and include specific reference to portions for which you were responsible.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Satire & Parody: Creative Writing

Click here to explore "The Onion," a satirical news source. Choose an article to review via the rhetorical distillation format. In your analysis, be sure to acknowledge both the humorous surface and underlying satire (in other words, identify the core criticism or point that is made via the humor) of the article. Post your analysis as a comment here.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Mr. Greene: Spoken Word S.O.A.P.S.

Please post your S.O.A.P.S. as a comment here.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Seniors: Orwellian Parallels

Part A: To supplement our reading of 1984, I am asking you to consider the qualities of both utopian and dystopian societies. Visit the two links below (of course, these are not put forth as actual utopias, but undeniably represent facets of idealistic societies). Offer a brief synopsis of each. Then, discuss the qualities that you identify as synonymous with utopias and dystopias.

Part B: Click here. View the document. Construct a thesis statement connecting the content of this article to 1984.

Part C: Click the links below to explore the images of North Korea on "The Big Picture". Peruse the photographs and read all of the captions. After viewing a number of images from multiple links, choose 3 that you feel echo- or, perhaps, represent distinctions when compared with- 1984. Construct 3 separate theses that identify and articulate between image and text.

Part D: Study the following songs. Analyze the lyrics, and compose a paragraph that pinpoints the relationship between the songs and the novel. Though all of the songs are allusive, their contextualization and universal ideas may differ from Orwell's. To enhance your understanding, you may wish to view the videos while reading/following the lyrics in a separate window.

"Testify" by Rage Against the Machine: audio/video
"Big Brother" by Stevie Wonder: audio/video
"2+2=5" by Radiohead: audio/video

Part E: Search the web for a video clip that makes an allusion to 1984 or George Orwell. Discuss how and why the speaker includes such an allusion, and how the allusion supplements his or her point or argument.

Part F: View this video from RSA Animate. Compose a paragraph that examines the relationship between the lecturer's overview of linguistic nuance and what we've learned about Newspeak and doublethink. 

AP Literature: Metacognitive Reflections (Multiple Choice Sections)

Please post your comments here. 

Monday, November 3, 2014

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Interdisciplinary Arts: Photorealism

Click here to access your image. If you missed out, please come to visit Mr. Kefor on Monday to set up an arrangement.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

AP Literature: Estrella Paragraphs

Please post your paragraph as a comment here. As you offer commendations and criticisms to your peers, please include your name and direct your commentary to the individual author.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Interdisciplinary Arts: Blog Work for Halloween Week

This week, you will progress through the hodgepodge of micro-assignments below and post a comment to this blog containing all of your responses (due prior to Halloween weekend). It is wise to preserve your work in Word or Google Drive as you progress. Enjoy!

WARM-UP: Click here to see the most amazing pumpkin carvings in the history of pumpkins and carving and all things amazing!


1. Click here to visit Stephen Wiltshire's website. Mr. Wiltshire is an artistic savant who is capable of reproducing incredibly detailed landscapes from memory. 1. On the left, click on "My Videos". Watch at least four of the videos and offer a commentary for each.

2. Visit his "Gallery" and browse through his work. Identify his most impressive drawing and his most impressive painting; offer explanation for each.

3. Produce a response (as a comment here) that includes a discussion of artwork by: Julian Beever; Kurt Wenner; Kris Kuksi 

4. View Scott Wadell's tutorial on edging. Offer a synopsis, focusing on his description of edge work in comparison and contrast to your cast drawing experience. 

5. Search the internet for self-portraits by the following artists: Rembrandt van Rijn, Vincent Van Gogh, Kathe Kollwitz, Chuck Close, Lucian Freud, Gregory Gillespie, Edward Hopper, Pablo Picasso, Paul Cezanne, Susanna Coffey, Brett Gamache (my college roommate and good friend). For each artist, record the title, year of completion, and country of origin. Identify three comparable (composition, color, mood, etc.) self-portraits from the list. Construct a paragraph which identifies the parallels between these 3 works.

6. Identify the strongest self-portrait (from #5). In a paragraph, explain its salient elements and defend your claim. 

7. Typically, self-portraits are not lucrative efforts for living artists. Why might an artist choose to focus on self-portraits? What may drive an artist, like Rembrandt, to devote so much time and effort towards depicting himself? Explain in paragraph form.


Virtual Scavenger Hunt: Find the answers to the following questions. These questions will require viewing, reading, and strategic web browsing skills.

1. How many windows are in Andrew Wyeth's "Master Bedroom"? What medium does Wyeth use?
2. Identify the figure depicted in a boat in Michelangelo's "Last Judgement".
3. What pachyderm is distorted in the background of Salvador Dali's "One Second Before Awakening from a Dream Caused by the Flight of a Bee Around a Pomegranate"?
4. What time is it in Vincent van Gogh's "Night Cafe"?
5. Monet and Manet are both Impressionists and have similarities beyond their names. Compare and contrast these two artists.
6. Who is Camille Claudel? Examine her "L'Age Mur" and identify the 3 figures depicted.
7. Identify the works stolen during the infamous Gardner Museum heist. Identify and describe your favorite piece.
8. Summarize the "legend" behind the man with the top hat in Eugene Delacroix's most famous painting.
9. What is David Mach's "Gorilla" made of?
10. Describe your favorite Ron Mueck sculpture.
11. Paul Rahilly is one of Mr. Kefor's former professors. a) What breed of dog is depicted in his "Girl in a Paper Dress"? b) In which of his paintings does one find a chili pepper? c) a brioche?


Review the Metacognitive Reflection rubric (on our Edline page) and begin your reflection.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Cognitive Biases: Journalism

Please post your exercise results as a comment to this post.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

F Block Seniors: "Lost" Thesis Reflections

Reflect on the strengths and weaknesses of your thesis based on the feedback you have received. Which components were successful? Which components do you need to focus on in the future? After reflecting on these questions, please revise your thesis and include it in your comment here. Be sure to include your name.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Journalism: "Generation Like" Reflection

Reflect on the documentary and our class discussion. Then, peruse the linked review of "the Dumbest Generation" and locate 2 of Bauerlein's core points- 1 that you agree with and 1 that you disagree with. Finally, respond to the following prompt as a comment to this post:

How would you encapsulate your final thoughts regarding how your generation is perceived and defined? Which criticisms do you side with? Which do you contest? Why?

Monday, September 29, 2014

Journalism 9-30: Higher Order Thinking Question Sets

As a comment here, post a carefully designed "Generation Like" discussion question for each type.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Beowulf & The Canterbury Tales

You will utilize this post to complete an online unit regarding Beowulf and Chaucer. As you complete your work, be sure to save it as a Word or Google Document. This unit will take some time, so be sure to work incrementally and manage your time well. Some students find it helpful to copy and paste this post onto their document for convenience. You will submit your completed unit (as a comment to this post) no later than midnight on Monday, 10-13. Please be sure to identify which "part" is which. You will be graded holistically on the + to - scale as 2 quiz grades (AP) or 1 test grade (Level 1 College).
For Beowulf

Click here to link to a full-text online translation of Beowulf. I do not expect you to read the entire work, but you must "sample" enough of it to get a feel for Old English and respond to the following:
B1. What is a caesura? Find an example of a caesura from the text and defend your selection (paragraph).
B2. What is kenning? Find 3 examples of kenning and defend your selections (paragraph).
B3. Beowulf is indicative of Old English and is infused with a curious blend of the traditions and values of Anglo-Saxon culture and the rise of Christianity. Quote and discuss passages from the text that represent this unique dynamic. 

For The Canterbury Tales:

C1: Click here to access the text.  Read The Prologue and the Introduction in their entirety. Chaucer will introduce you to each of his pilgrims; choose 3 of them (one must be The Pardoner). Then, use this link to read the descriptions of characters. Discuss how Chaucer characterizes them: their class, appearance, character, etc. (3 paragraphs).
C2: Click here to check out a dope rap version of The Prologue. Describe the attire of the MC's to verify your visit.
C3: Click here to hear an audio recording of The Prologue in Middle English. Describe the narrator's voice and your impressions regarding how pronunciation, accent and emphasis help you decode the passage. 
C4: Click here to access the Pardoner's Tale. Read his tale (lines 375-682).Compose a response to the following prompt: How is the Pardoner's Tale, in relation to the Pardoner's persona and role, painfully ironic? How does this irony conflict or complement the irony within the Tale itself? How might you characterize Chaucer's tone as echoed through his juxtaposition of the Pardoner's story and personality? What might we conclude about Chaucer's attitude toward religion and morality?
C5: Click here to access a link to Hieronymous Bosch's painting "The Garden of Earthly Delights". Synthesis prompt: Bosch is a Dutch painter who lived and worked shortly after the publication of the Tales. You will be able to zoom in a bit. Examine the triptych and respond to the following questions in paragraph form. 1. What scenes are being depicted in each panel? 2. Create a conversation (RAFT style) between Chaucer and the Pardoner as they discuss the image (particularly the right panel).