Monday, June 15, 2015

Creative Writing: Picture Perfect Winners

1. Brooklynn Porter's "That Looks Dope"
2. Kerri Weber's "August in NewYork"
3. Nicholas Joyce's "Wispy Fog"
4. Hannah Patalano's "Walk Through the Mountains"
5. Kaylin McMahon's "Her Words"
6. Alison Whitman's "A Shriveled Toothless Creature"

Monday, June 8, 2015

Film as Literature: Alien Film List

If an alien asked you to compile a list of films that represent the breadth and depth of human experience, which movies would you include? Why would you select those movies?

Objective: Students will compose an annotated list (10+) of landmark films. Students should include at least one film from our Film as Literature offerings.

Consider: How does each film selection reflect an essential aspect of the human experience? How can you justify each selection? What thematic elements reinforce their value? Your annotations should defend your selection and articulate the themes and nuances that make your film so valuable.

Assessment: You will submit your annotated list as a blog comment to this post. Your teacher will focus on how you defend and articulate your selections and the depth of your reasoning. 

Monday, June 1, 2015

Film as Literature: Dystopias Part 2

1. Consider The Truman Show as compared to our previous Dystopian films. Which is more representative of a true dystopia- a visible totalitarian force or an invisible orchestration of control? In other words, which is scarier- a force you can see or a force you cannot? Defend your claim.

2. Do you think that the level and extent of invasiveness exemplified in The Truman Show is possible? Is there evidence of this type of fixation in media today?

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Advanced Creative Writing: Feedback for Seniors

Underclassmen: please offer feedback to senior presenters regarding their body of work from the semester and their final examination presentations.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Advanced Creative Writing: Prompt List Development

I'm working on developing an "ultimate" list of creative writing prompts. Today, I'd like your help and input for this. Please develop and post at least 3 unique creative writing prompts here. Then, peruse the internet for 3 worthy writing prompts and post them separately.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

F Block Seniors: Rhetorical Distillation Article

Click here. 

Film as Literature: Dystopian Unit (Part 1)

1. V says that "people should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people." How do you feel about this statement? Why do you feel this way?

2. Click here to read an article exploring the popularity of the Guy Fawkes mask. In what ways does the mask reflect its historical origins? In what ways has it taken on new meaning or connotation?

3. Which dystopia do you find more plausible? Defend your position.

4. How do the two films' aesthetics differ? Which film is more successful aesthetically? Defend your position.

5. What does each film say about the writers'  and filmmakers' attitude(s) toward the direction of our society? What fears are represented in each film?

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Creative Writing & Advanced Creative Writing: Preparation for Final Examination

Objectives: Students will develop and share a portfolio of their work from this semester. Process: Select a medium through which your work is best showcased (PowerPoint, Prezi, etc.). Then, build a reflective showcase of your work. You should also devote time to revision and polishing. Include excerpts, pertinent images, and reflective contextualization. Be sure to include (and read) samples- strengths, weaknesses and areas of improvement (drafts are useful for this). Your showcase should be balanced- expose the breadth of your work but take time to explore particular items in depth. Your presentation should last at least 10 minutes and must be accessible/displayable in class on the due date. Assessment: The ubiquitous creative writing rubric will be used to assess the quality of your writing as a whole.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Creative Writing: Irony (Eggers)

1. After reading the first Chapter of What is the What, identify 3 excerpts from narration or dialogue that contain irony. For each selection, compose a statement that defends your observation of the irony within.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Seniors: Class Poem

Seniors- submit your class poem here! Your teachers will select the best poem, and that poet gets to read his or her work at graduation!

Monday, May 11, 2015

AP Seniors: "This I Believe" & "The Moth"

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.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Film as Literature: "Killings" and "In The Bedroom"

Please respond to the following short answer questions:

1. First, refine and post your answers to the SMARTboard ("Killings") questions from Tuesday.

2. Which character differs most from story-to-film? How so? Defend your claim.

3. In order to generate a complete film, the screenwriter and filmmakers needed to expand or inflate the short story, which is relatively concise. How did they manage this expansion? Would you have handled it the same way? Explain.

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

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

I will be available at 11:30 for live emailing- email me at 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.