Thursday, May 29, 2008

Steinbeck's Imagery

The first few pages of Of Mice and Men establish the seemingly idyllic setting through a stream of carefully crafted imagery. Revisit these passages and note Steinbeck's attention to plants, animals and sensory images. Steinbeck was clearly very familiar with this area of California. For this assignment I am asking you to describe, through vivid imagery and the "zoom in" technique we discussed in class, the town you are so familiar with- Norton. Create, develop and edit a passage which gives the reader a true sense of the town you live in.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Writing and Visual Imagination: Images and the Media

We've looked at examples of imagery in the media. Using the information from your analysis forms, respond to the following:

1. How might you characterize images of women in modern media? Do you think these images, as a whole, objectify or empower women and girls? Use specific images to defend your position.

2. How might you characterize images of men in modern media? Whom do you think these images are intended to target? Use specific images to defend your position.

3. What products are typically pitched through images of humans? Give some examples.

4. Overall, how does this analysis of commercials strengthen or alter your assimilation of commercials targeted towards you? Does the practice of studying fine art offer any correlation to the study of these images? Why or why not?

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Seniors: Hosseni, McCarthy and Eggers

Hosseini Students: Link to Kabul by Saib-e-Tabrizi to analyze the poem which inspired the title A Thousand Splendid Suns. What makes Kabul a paradox and why do you think Hosseini chose this particular title for his novel? Use quotes. 2. By the time Laila is taken from her novel by Rasheed and Mariam, Mariam’s marriage has crumbled under neglect and abuse. Yet when she realizes that Rasheed intends to marry Laila, she reacts with outrage. Given that Laila’s presence actually squelches Rasheed’s abuse, why is Mariam so hostile toward her?

McCarthy Students: 1. McCarthy is purposely and purposefully ambiguous: his characters are ambiguously labeled; his setting is ambiguous; the apocalyptic circumstances which precede the plot are ambiguous. How does this add to and/or detract from the reading experience? Be specific. 2. Link to Bob Dylan's lyrics to "Ain't Talkin'". Examine the lyrics in their entirety. Note any parallels to The Road and note Dylan's use of literary terms. Use quotes.

Eggers Students: 1. Link to and read the Rolling Stone article on Sudanese rapper Emmanuel Jal. How are Valentino's and Emmanuel's lives similar? Different? 2. Read to page 5 of the What is the What readers' guide and print yourself a copy of the character list.

Asphalt Artists

Check out Julian Beever and Kurt Wenner, two artists whose choice of media includes sidewalk chalk.

Julian Beever

Kurt Wenner

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

To Kill a Mockingbird and Race in America

To Kill a Mockingbird deals directly with issues of race, gender and equality in the United States. To further explore these topics, complete the following:

1. To Kill a Mockingbird has been a source of significant controversy since being the subject of classroom study as early as 1963. The book's racial slurs, profanity, and frank discussion of assault have led people to challenge its appropriateness in libraries and classrooms across America. The American Library Association reported that To Kill a Mockingbird was #41 of the 100 most frequently challenged books of 1990–2000. Why do you feel the novel has and continues to cause such upheaval? Does it belong in the classroom? Why or why not?

2. Visit Mr. Barth's blog and read his post entitled "Despite the Warnings...". Offer a comment to Mr. Barth's post.

3. To Kill a Mockingbird was written and published amidst the most significant and conflict-ridden social change in the South since the Civil War and Reconstruction. Despite its mid-1930s setting the story voices the conflicts, tensions, and fears induced by this transition. Research the dawn of the civil rights movement and identify and describe 3 specific events which you feel motivated Harper Lee to develop such a socially-conscious book. Make sure you read all published posts to avoid duplicate responses.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

The Island Riddle

I took a math class in college called Math, Logic, and Knowledge. To my surprise, my professor began the first day of course with a riddle. We could not leave class until we solved it. It was only after students began to work cooperatively that we began to make real progress. There are many variations of this riddle; here is my version:

You are stranded on an island. You want to leave this island. You come to a clearing in the brush and find two paths in front of you. You know that one of these paths leads to freedom and the other to certain death, but you don't know which is which. In front of each path stands a man. You know that one of these men is a liar and the other a truth-teller, but you don't know who is who. You are allowed to ask ONE of the men ONE question; the answer to this question will give you the information necessary to choose the right path.* What is the question?

The thing I enjoy about this particular riddle is the fact that the answer isn't cheap or gimmicky. It takes some genuine reasoning to answer it.

*The liar does not necessarily stand in front of the "bad" path, nor does the truth-teller necessarily stand in front of the "good" path; this association is unsystematic.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Freshmen: Colorado Speaks

As you know, my friend, Mr. Niedringhaus, teaches history in Colorado. One of his classes is studying Darfur and had a chance to visit and critique your blogs. Check out the student feeback by clicking here.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Freshmen: Atticus Finch

Atticus' decision to defend an African-American man in a racially divisive community fuels the second half of the novel. With his actions in mind, consider the following: should our morals be the ultimate determinant in our decisions or are there circumstances under which the safety and well-being of ourselves and our families comes first? Defend your response with specific arguments and examples.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Check out, a vocabulary challenge website where each correct answer sends 20 grains of rice to the U.N. food program. So far, this program has generated 20 billion grains of rice- enough to feed nearly a million people for a day.

Thanks to Tess R. for sharing this site with me.