Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Aregash and her Freshmen Sponsors

Inspired by the subject matter of What is the What and Mr. Barth's presentation on Ethiopia, freshman Sarah Tenglin led a grassroots fundraising effort to sponsor a child in Ethiopia. Sarah and her peers have provided 8 year old Aregash Teklay Ekubazgi with schooling, food and health care for an entire year. I am continually impressed by the genorosity of Norton students. They seem to be hit up by a steady stream of charities and solicitations, yet they always seem to give what they can. It is a pleasure to see a book come alive like this.

One of the unique features of this "Wide Horizons for Children" program is our opportunity to begin a correspondence with Aregash. Freshmen- use this post to submit a copy of your homework (correspondence letter) for the week of 5-5. We also spoke about arranging a care package for her; if you are willing to donate items, use this post as a sign-up spot.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The Lance

The Lance, Norton High School's student-run newspaper, is now available online. Click the link below to give it a read.

The Lance

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


1. Describe Harper Lee's diction. Be specific and use quotes to support your response. Compare and contrast her with another familiar author.

2. Visit the New York Times and read the linked article "Harper Lee: Gregarious for a Day". Briefly summarize the article and point out (with quotes) what you learn from reading it.

3. Visit the New York Times and read the linked article "Mockingbird: A Portrait of Harper Lee". Briefly summarize the article and point out (with quotes) what you learn from reading it.

4. With headphones or at home, listen to the NPR broadcast "Harper Lee Emerges". Briefly summarize the report and point out what you learn from listening to it.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

"God Grew Tired of Us" and What is the What

Freshmen- after viewing "God Grew Tired of Us", consider and respond, with highly specific and well articulated analysis, to the following prompts:
1. A benefit of this documentary lies in the opportunity to view our own (American) culture through the eyes of the Dinka. What aspects of our culture, which we may or may not take for granted, are polarized by this different perspective?
2. Construct a "mini-essay" which compares and contrasts the "American Dream" with the "Sudanese-American Dream". Use specific references to the film and the novel.
3. In the film, John is reunited, after 17 years, with his mother. She expresses her elation through a Dinka song and dance, a traditional expression of joy. How does John respond to this? How does this poignant moment illustrate the paradoxical experience of East African immigrants?

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

The Kite Runner Revisited

Seniors- after viewing The Kite Runner movie, consider and respond, with highly specific and well articulated analysis, to the following prompts:

1. What do you think contributed to the film's lack of critical and popular success?
2. How does the character of Baba remain complex and paradoxical in the film? Which particular scenes are key to maintaining his paradoxical nature? Why?
3. Amir is a controversial protagonist. How does the movie further characterize him? Ultimately, is the audience sympathetic, empathetic or apathetic to his plight? Why?
4. A considerable amount of time has passed since our completion of the novel. After revisiting the story via the movie, which elements (plot, motifs, themes, etc.) remain powerful, convincing and meaningful? Explain.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Writing and Visual Imagination: Narrative Preparation

Select an image for the basis of your 3rd narrative of the semester. We're doing a nice job of "showing vs. telling", but we can do more. Today, we'll strip down the process and prepare for our 3rd story. This time, I am asking you to focus on a specific task: developing characterization through imagery.

1. Study the image.
2. Characterization: Create your protagonist. List several qualities of this character. What drives him or her? What fears does he or she have?
3. Write a passage which describes the physicality and psychology of your character. Reveal these qualities through detail so that the reader is left to determine them.
Here's an example: avoid: "Johnny was a roofer from the Midwest who worked really hard. He was sick of his job." The problem? The reader is disengaged from the get-go. Everything is revealed; there is no puzzle, question, or curiosity to compel the reader to move forward. Try something more like this: "His fingers, seasoned by the unmistakable breath of the Dakotan winter, clutched the dusted chrome of the handle. His red '76 Chevy, tinted a faded pink by the glow of twilight, groaned and coughed to a start. He sighed and plucked a cluster of bills from his mottled dungarees and tossed them into the passenger seat among the pile- rusty tools, foam coffee cups, faded receipts. He popped the truck into drive but his boot remained heavy on the break. An orange sliver of the fading sun pulled his gaze to the top of the roof, its shingles a crisp mosaic of sparkling grey. And on this night John sat for a moment, his flesh and bone drooping slowly into the torn fabric of his seat."
4. Post your brainstorming results and a draft of your passage here.