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). 


Friday, September 26, 2014

Interdisciplinary Arts: 9-26

1. Click here to view a drawing demonstration by David Kassan. On Kassan's YouTube site, watch at least 2 more- be sure that at least one clip is a time-lapse video. For each video, articulate a) the parallels to course instruction and b) the distinctions (what he does differently, or adds to the process).

2. Link to Mr. Kefor's Academic Writing (linked on the left). Read the Pestalozzi Essay and take notes, focusing on the parallels between the claims of the essay and the content of this course thus far.  You will be quizzed on this next week.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Journalism: 9-26

1. Post your plans for your bucket list achievement here. Which item will you address? When? How will you provide evidence of its completion?

2. As a new post to your blog, answer the following question (an opinion piece) in well-developed paragraphs:

a) How do incentives govern human behavior? What is the best incentive to motivate people? Why?
b) Describe an "aesthetic experience" (Robinson) you've had, and how it has affected you.  

Monday, September 22, 2014

Interdisciplinary Arts: 9-22

1. Locate 3 works of art- 1 still life, 1 portrait, and 1 figure that employ the fundamental behavior of light that we have studied in regard to the sphere. For each piece, compose a paragraph that identifies the key elements of light behavior in the given piece. Be sure to include a link to the artwork, or identify the artist and title.

2. After completing the Aristides reading (Edline), find 3 parallels between her teaching approach and the approach of Anthony Ryder. Identify these parallels and substantiate your claims with direct quotes or excerpts. Then, focus on the distinctions between the two authors/artists and repeat the process.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Interdisciplinary Arts: 9-18 Blog Work

Directions: Follow the steps below, developing a document to post as a comment by the end of the period. Be sure to proofread.

1. Visit the Grand Central Academy Blog. Peruse the blog, being sure to access older posts via the "older" option at the bottom of the post scroll. Locate 3 different images that depict only the block-in stage of the drawing process. Identify each artist and describe the composition as you did in your compositional analyses.

2. Click here to access a video tutorial regarding the edging process. Offer a brief synopsis that includes at least 3 take-aways from the video. Please use headphones if you have them with you.

3. Click here to see more work from Anthony Ryder. Locate a drawing that exemplifies his process as covered in your homework reading. Defend your selection with precision and specificity.

3. For the remainder of class, search the web for cast drawing sites and videos. Post 3 useful resources for your classmates and teacher to consider as we look forward to the next unit.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Interdisciplinary Arts

Please post your Compositional Analysis here. Be sure to include your name and a link to the image.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Journalism: Homework Reading Response

In a carefully constructed paragraph, evaluate the author's ability to convey his position through the literary and rhetorical techniques he chooses. Please remember to include your name in your post.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

D Block English I-H: Lord of the Flies & Jung's Shadow

Please click here to read an article regarding Carl Jung's "shadow" concept. You are also free to visit any other sites you deem worthy. Once you have a solid understanding of the concept, answer the prompt below in a well-developed response. Paste and post your response as a comment to this post. The AP timed response rubric will be used for grading.

How is Jung's shadow represented in the text? How does Golding utilize this representation to reflect his thinking about humanity in general (allegory)?

The Poetry of Song 6-13: Backmasking & Reverse Speech in Music

Backward messaging in music (commonly known as backmasking) has been a controversy ever since the late 1960s, when messages were found backwards on some Beatles' albums, hinting that Paul McCartney had died. Some of these subliminal messages have been identified as purposeful while some are apparently inadvertent. Some believe that many of these backward messages were in fact examples of "Reverse Speech" in music. Speech reversals occur naturally in all forms of speech, sung or spoken. Explore some of the links and sites regarding this subject and offer your opinion on at least 10 specific examples. Do you buy into the theory of Reverse Speech or is it all a bunch of hogwash?


(1) Human speech has two distinctive yet complementary functions and modes. The Overt mode is spoken forwards and is primarily under conscious control. The Covert mode is spoken backward and is not under conscious control. The backward mode of speech occurs simultaneously with the forward mode and is a reversal of the forward speech sounds.

(2) These two modes of speech, forward and backward, are dependent upon each other and form an integral part of human communication. One mode cannot be fully understood without the other mode. In the dynamics of interpersonal communication, both modes of speech combined communicate the total psyche of the person, conscious as well as unconscious.

(3) Covert speech develops before overt speech. Children speak backwards before they do forwards. Then, as forward speech commences, the two modes of speech gradually combine into one, forming an overall bi-level communication process.

List of Backmasked/Reverse Speech Songs

Jeff Milner's Site

Reverse Speech Site

Click here to hear a well known sample of backmasking from Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven". This audio file will play both forward (original context) and backward (backmasking revealed).

Post a reflection that a) discusses your opinion of backmasking and reverse speech, b) assesses the validity of the examples you experienced. I expect direct, specific references to songs, artists and lyrics. Be sure to demonstrate the level of your investigation by being precise and thorough. (3-5 paragraphs)

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

5-15 Substitute Plans: English I:H D

1. Choose 3 devices that Golding employs, with success, in Lord of the Flies thus far. One device must be linguistic (diction, syntax, etc.). As a comment here, offer a concise (short paragraph) analysis of each. Include specific examples, and discuss how Golding’s handling of each device is representative of his authorial voice and style.

2. Propose 3 potential scenarios for your RAFT by commenting here. Use the acronym to frame your scenario.

3. For the last half of class, read, annotate, develop, and post a response to the AP poem prompt. This will be graded with the AP rubric as a quiz.

5-15 Substitute Plans: The Poetry of Song

1. Due to my absence today, the “Soundtrack of My Life Presentations” will be pushed to Monday and Wednesday of next week. Be prepared to present on Monday, and be sure that you’ve emailed me a Power Point attachment ( by the end of the block. Make sure the files are free of any grammatical, punctuation, or capitalization errors.

2. If you are one of the several students who have not submitted a tonal analysis for ½ (late) credit, you need to complete it now. Submissions received after today will not be scored, and missing a test grade will likely result in an F for term 4. If you choose to complete it today, email a copy to Mr. Kefor.

3. Review the SSRS form- if you’ve misplaced your copy, you can download one from Edline. Locate 3 devices that a) we haven’t covered in class or b) you are still confused about. As a comment to this post, type the terms and their definitions; locate an example (quote) from a song we’ve covered in class (note the title and artist); and offer a statement explaining how the sample exemplifies the term.

4. Finally, after looking carefully at the dynamics of the SSRS, attempt to locate a song (any song) that you believe could potentially outscore any other song when cycled through the form’s tabulation. In other words, locate what you believe is the most poetic song out there. Post the lyrics to your blog under the heading “SSRS Throwdown: Proposed Lyrics.” Beginning next week, we will have an SSRS Throwdown, whereby teams select a song, evaluate it based on the SSRS, and go head-to-head to make their case. Grades are based on your song’s performance and your group’s ability to identify its elements and devices.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Seniors: Sharing our Stories

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. Over the course of the next week or so (check the syllabus for specific timelines), you will listen to 5 Mole 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, April 16, 2014

The Poetry of Song: Review of Devices & Elements

Below is a list of the devices that we have covered thus far in the course. For each device, develop a review bank based on the following template. Absentees must be sure to obtain active listening notes and instruction from peers or Mr. Kefor. You will have an objective test, for which you will be accountable for all of these terms, on Thursday, May 1.

Device: definition. Artist’s “Song Title from Active Listening”; Artist’s “Song Title from Elsewhere”; (example).

imagery, hyperbole, allegory, alliteration, assonance, consonance, local color, double entendre, oxymoron, irony, paradox, tone, point of view

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Mr. Milliken's B Block Honors English IV: Literary Theory Research & Annotated Bibliographies

Annotated bibliographies are a very useful tool for sorting out ideas and beginning to write a daunting paper using many sources. It allows you to begin collecting meaningful quotes and analyzing before you're required to formalize your thoughts into a final paper. Your goal for today is to complete one complete citation as described on the Annotated Bibliography assignment sheet.

Citation generator: this site will create a citation in MLA format for you if you give it a title which it recognizes. Make sure you check this citation against the publication information provided in your specific copy. There is also a "cite manually" option, where you fill in a form and the site formats the information for you. This latter function is one I use more often, and I have not run into issues/mistakes going through Easybib. For you own peace of mind the first time using Easybib or any other citation generator, check it against a scholarly source like the Purdue OWL.

Scholarly search engine. Use this as a search engine when researching. It will provide only scholarly articles and allow you to be confident in your source. Remember to vary search terms if you find that one approach does not provide the content you hoped for. Going forward, any college will want you to be familiar with this skill, but their platform will look slightly different. For instance, Wheaton College uses JSTOR instead of Gale.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The Poetry of Song: Plagiarism in Song and Music

Musical plagiarism is complex, subjective, and a bit confusing. For decades, blues musicians have covered or restructured older songs as homage to past musicians. An artist may borrow lines, make allusions, or sample. Occasionally, artists take issue with this "borrowing" and sue.

For blog-work this week, research and listen to some examples of musical plagiarism. Identify: 1) the definition of plagiarism 2) at least one example of a truly plagiarized song (paragraph explanation) and 3) at least one example of a coincidental relationship between 2 songs (paragraph explanation). Discuss your findings here.

 In the spirit of avoiding plagiarism and associated transgressions, you must cite (MLA format) at least 3 sources for each argument. Citations will also allow you to incorporate periodicals and other resources that may offer some direct evidence to support your claims. On the left side of this blog, you will find some of the many useful citation tools available to you.

Some notable instances include (listed as original/supposed plagiarism): Chiffon's "He's So Fine"/George Harrison's "My Sweet Lord"; Tom Petty's "Mary Jane's Last Dance"/The Red Hot Chili Peppers' "Dani California"; Queen's "Under Pressure"/Vanilla Ice's "Ice, Ice Baby" , Joe Satriani's "If I Could Fly"/Coldplay's "Viva La Vida" and, more recently, Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven"/The Black Keys' "Little Black Submarines," Bob Dylan's "Fourth Time Around" and Fleet Foxes' "Lorelai,"and Pink Floyd's "Breathe"/Dave Matthews Band's "Drunken Soldier." You are not limited to these examples, so feel free to find your own.

Monday, March 31, 2014

AP Book Club Groups

The Picture of Dorian Gray
Tyler Fairbairn
The Handmaid's Tale
One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest
Invisible Man

The Poetry of Song: Class Work for Tuesday, 4-1

A double entendre is a figure of speech in which a spoken phrase is devised to be understood in either of two ways. Often the first meaning is straightforward, while the second meaning is less so: often risqué, inappropriate, or ironic. The Oxford English Dictionary defines a double entendre as especially being used to "convey an indelicate meaning". It is often used to express potentially offensive opinions without the risks of explicitly doing so. A double entendre may exploit puns to convey the second meaning, but puns are more often used in sentences that do not have a second meaning. Double entendres tend to rely more on multiple meanings of words, or different interpretations of the same primary meaning; they often exploit ambiguity and may be used to introduce it deliberately in a text.

For active listening, please locate the lyrics to: 

“Mary Jane’s Last Dance” by Tom Petty

1. In the Petty song, "Mary Jane" serves as a double entendre. Describe both feasible interpretations of this term and include specific language from the song that is suggestive of these respective interpretations. Why do you think Petty utilized this double entendre? (one paragraph)

Allegory is a figurative mode of representation conveying a meaning other than the literal. Allegory teaches a lesson through symbolism. Allegory communicates its message by means of symbolic figures, actions or symbolic representation. Allegory is generally treated as a figure of rhetoric, but an allegory does not have to be expressed in language: it may be addressed to the eye, and is often found in realistic painting, sculpture or some other form of mimetic, or representative art. Simply put, an allegory is a device that can be presented in literary form, such as a poem or novel, or in visual form, such as in painting or sculpture. As a literary device, an allegory in its most general sense is an extended metaphor. As an artistic device, an allegory is a visual symbolic representation. An example of a simple visual allegory is the image of the grim reaper. Viewers understand that the image of the grim reaper is a symbolic representation of death. Nevertheless, images and fictions with several possible interpretations are not allegories in the true sense. Furthermore, not every fiction with general application is an allegory.

For active listening, please locate the lyrics to: 

"Animal Planet" by The GZA (Genius)
"The Trees" by Rush
"Right in Two" by Tool

2. For each allegory, construct a breakdown (a short paragraph) that includes: a) the identification of the literal/superficial framework, b) the identification of the figurative (allegorical) framework, and c) the effect or message that this allegorical scenario conveys (the "why"). 

3. Peruse your peers' blogs. Post the name of your nominee for this week's "Blog of the Week." 

4. If you haven't yet posted your binary thesis, please do so.