Sunday, November 30, 2008

Theme Reflections

Freshmen: Now that you have completed your first theme, reflect on the process. What specific things will you do differently to enhance the quality of your next formal writing piece? What have you learned in general about how to approach formal writing assignments?

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Reflections of Culture in Popular Music

After analyzing the greatest songs of all time, we now turn to the most popular songs of the moment. You have 25 minutes to respond to the following prompt. Type your response as a Word document and be sure to proofread and edit before you paste and post. You will be assessed using the English Department's Short Essay Response Rubric.

Consider the subject matter, content and point of view of today's top songs and identify lines which contain poetic merit. What do these songs, as a whole, say about our modern American culture? In particular, what do these songs say about your generation as the greatest consumers of music media? How are gender roles represented in popular music? How is success measured?

Sunday, November 16, 2008

POS: Your Own Top 4

We analyzed Rolling Stone's top 4 songs of all time. Post your top 4 here with: 1. an explanation of your general criteria 2. a list of your song selections 3. a brief explanation of each selection.

Seniors: What is the What

This week, per your syllabus, you will complete several supplemental assignments related to your reading of What is the What. All of your work for this week should be completed, proofread and posted here as a comment before Thanksgiving break. Make sure to include your name. Your collective responses will be graded as a quest.

Assignment A: Eggers/Deng Interview. Click the link (below right) to the Valentino Achack Deng Foundation. Under "Book", select "Interview with Dave Eggers and Valentino Achak Deng". Read the interview and respond to the following questions (include direct quotations): 1. Describe the unique approach to the development of the book. 2. Do you agree with the choice of format and point of view? If not, do you think the book would be more successful as a work of non-fiction?

Assignment B: CBS Interactive: Click here to visit the CBS page. Click on and explore the Interactive Icon "Struggle in Sudan" and respond to the following: 1. Identify the State Representatives from the photographs under "Darfur Outrage". 2. What is the per capita income of Sudan? How does this compare to the U.S.'s per capita income? 3. What is Sudan's population? How does this compare to the U.S. population? 4. What is the life expectancy in Sudan? How does this compare to an American's life expectancy? 5. Which countries share a border with Sudan? 6. Under "Millions Displaced", identify a photograph which captures your attention. Describe the image in detail. What is depicted? Why do you find it moving?

Assignment C: Click the link (below right) to the Valentino Achack Deng Foundation. Click "Take Action". Read numbers 1 and 2. Click on On the top left of the page, enter your zip code to view ratings of how our state representatives have responded to the situation in Darfur. I will award a "100" quiz grade to those students who write a letter to a state representative as described on this page.

Assignment D: Time Magazine Article: Include direct quotations in your answers the following questions: 1. What do you think of Colin Powell's response to the situation in Sudan? How about Condoleeza Rice's response? How about the President's response? 2. Describe how the geological and geographical makeup of Sudan complicates the current situation. 3. Relate some of the horrifying anecdotes (particularly those of Melkha Musa Haroun), to content from What is the What.

Time Magazine Article

Thursday, November 13, 2008

POS: War Songs

We analyzed 8 war-related songs in class. Choose 2 of these songs to discuss in an edited, proofread comment to this post. Consider: 1. the historical and political context of the songs; 2. the point of view of each artist as reflected by the content; 3. the artists' use of figurative language; 4. the poetic qualities of the lyrics.