Monday, March 31, 2008

Assertions on the Omnipresent Box

Carefully read the short passage below:

“The omnipresent box sitting somewhere in our homes, workplaces, and just about everywhere else has a much greater hold on our lives than we think.”   – Corbett Trubey from The Argument Against TV

For the quote above, you must provide a clear explanation of the writer's assertion, then defend, challenge, or qualify it, noting the complexity of the issue and acknowledging any possible objections to your point of view.

Limit: 300-400 words
Due: Blog for Tuesday April 1st (this is NOT an April Fool's joke)

As we begin our papers this week, I recommend that you also read pages 129-173 in the Everything's an Argument packets I gave you a couple of weeks ago.  It will help you think more clearly about how you craft and structure your argument.  This does not need to be completed tonight, but it might help you to do it before the weekend.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Ode to the Television -- 2nd Period, don't forget your permission slips!

Oh sweet box of tubes
Oh dulcet LCDs
Bring to me entertainment smooth
and lots and lots of essays to read!

television2.jpgYour lovely homework for this weekend is to read articles 2-5 in the Popular Culture Conversation section beginning on page 777 and running until 787. A mere ten pages. But wait, there's more! Do the questions that go with the essays. It's kind of a lot.  You can do them on paper so you have them for our discussion.  DO NOT do the Entering the Conversation questions on page 787, but do the questions that pertain directly to each essay. We'll discuss as much of those questions as we can on Monday.

Second period, thank you so much for helping Carrie with her project.  She really appreciated it and Charlie had fun flirting with all the ladies (we're going to have to keep an eye on him!).  Also, I totally forgot to give you back your timed writes.  There was definitely improvement!  There were mostly 4's and 5's with a couple of 6's and a couple that fell below this range.  Check the email to see what you got: 65=4; 75=5; and 82=6.  I'll return them on Monday and we'll talk about them a bit then.

Also, don't forget to put the synthesis reminders up on your blog if you volunteered to do that.  Oh, and 2nd period please bring  your picture permission slips on Monday! Here's the file if you lost yours: Picture Permission Slip
Have a great weekend!!!!

Click for pictures!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Watching TV makes you smarter?

Your homework is to read the Steven Johnson article Watching TV Makes You Smarter on page 766 in your books and do the questions at the end.

In other news, my wife is going to come to school tomorrow with Charlie (we'll try to keep him from biting anyone).  I'm not sure yet exactly what time.  She's like some help with a mock ad campaign she's doing for the 30 Hour Famine.  She would like to take a few pictures and will bring forms for you to sign if you'd like to participate.  This is NOT in ANY way required, nor will it be published.

Interested in Idioms?

Idiom Shortage Leaves Nation All Sewed Up In Horse Pies

Idiom Shortage Leaves Nation All Sewed Up In Horse Pies

WASHINGTON—Authorities expect the shortage to subside by April, but until then, urge citizens to skip shy the rickshaw until the flypaper marigolds can waterfall.


Must Read!

Plus, mocking of email forwards for your satiric pleasure!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Easing into Synthesis

  1. Read pages 69-74 in your books tonight. 

  2. Also, looking at the types of support section that begins on page 62, I'd like you to blog examples of two types of support.  Comb the newspaper,, etc for examples of the different types of support noted in our text.  Post two examples that you find, citing where you found each one.  For each example, explain what type of source use it is and how the source is being used in the text and to what effect.

Among other things in class tomorrow, we will do the assignment in the book that runs from page 66-68.  This is important, as we said in class, because the AP test will have some questions concerning the meaning and use of footnotes and I'd like you to think about them.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Discussion and sources

First, reread the Sanctuary/Harry Potter article and think through what you are going to add to our understanding of the text.  Make a list of three observations so if someone else uses your best idea, you have a couple more to fall back on.

Then, in your textbook, read pages 61-66. Make sure you understand the examples.  If not, jot down questions.

See you tomorrow and come prepared to add to our discussion of the Harry Potter essay.

Friday, March 21, 2008


Your homework is the following:elephant.jpg

  • Go over your timed write and annotate it, showing how you would make it better. You will get the opportunity to make it better on Monday.

  • Read Sanctuary: For Harry Potter the Movie in your textbook and blog your interpretation of the essay.  Last semester, people had a bit of difficulty with this one for some reason, so I'd like you to take a stab at interpreting it before class.

Have a great weekend and a wonderful Easter!

Emma and Mackenzie, I know you don't have your essays (because I have them).  Look over the prompt and make some notes on how you might create a thoughtful, supported argument.  Turn that in for your annotated essay and we will do the retake of the timed write for a grade on Monday.  If it will help, your classmates scored both of your essays in the III-IV range.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

a Movie without an Ending

First of all, let's give a big welcome to Joanne Kang!  Hailing from North Pole, AK, Joanne has just joined 1st period.  Here are the instructions to set up your own blog, Joanne.

Due to the exodus of students tomorrow to the college fair, we will move the Phillips timed write redux to Monday.  That means you should have your annotated 1st drafts done by Monday, not tomorrow (unless you read this on Sunday).  

Instead, your homework for tonight is to read Popular Culture in the Aftermath of Sept. 11 Is a Chorus without a Hook, a Movie without an Ending, beginning on page 751 in you textbook.  We will be working with this essay in class tomorrow.  Those of you who will be gone, look over the questions at the end of the piece and develop brilliant, nuanced responses to them in case your classmates choose to quiz you when you return.  No need to blog the answers to these questions.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Corn-Pone Rhetoric

This assignment may prove to be a bit long as there are many questions I'm asking you to consider. 

Blog your responses to the following rhetoric and style questions found on page 721: 1-9, 11

For those of you curious about corn pone, I give you this recipe from

Corn Pone

A simple corn bread, generally made only of meal, water, and salt, without either milk or eggs.


  • 2 cups cornmeal

  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1 tablespoon lard or shortening

  • water, enought to make a stiff dough 


Mix together cornmeal, baking powder, and salt. Cut in lard and add enough milk to make a stiff batter. Form into cakes with hands and place in a greased baking pan. Bake in a preheated 425° oven for 20 to 30 minutes.
Corn bread and corn pone was a staple in the mountaineer diet.  With greens, called "salit greens," meat and of course, cold milk from the spring house, this was good eating and friends were always welcome.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Corn-Pone Opinions

Read Corn-Pone Opinions tonight. Consider how this relates to the Denby essay.  Think about and then write out your thoughts on the discussion questions (don't blog them) as we will talk about some of those tomorrow in class.

Tomorrow, we will talk a bit more about the Denby questions we did for homework last night at the request of 2nd period as well as finish going over the multiple choice selection we started in class today.

PS Those of you getting posting errors should be all right now. They wrote back to my support query and said they had fixed that.

Monday, March 17, 2008

High School Confidential questions

We will finish questions 2-5 in our groups.  On your own, do questions 6-7, 10-12 on page 715 for tomorrow. 

In addition to finishing this essay, we'll be introducing the multiple choice section of the test and talking about that a bit.

Friday, March 14, 2008

High School Confidential

highschoolconfidential195811345_f.jpgHomework for this weekend is to read pages 707-714 in the Language of Composition.  That's it.  Just read (that means you Ryann!).  We'll be doing some work with the essay in on Monday.

The rest of the week, we'll spend a fair bit of time with an introduction to the multiple choice section of the test as well as examining and rewriting our last timed writes.  WASL week was a bit light in class, though you worked hard on your metacognition essays outside of class.  I want this next week to be tightly focused on analyzing text, both our own as well as others.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The Autumn of the Multitaskers

All right folks, if you want to read more on the polar bear article, here is an article from the South Coast Daily that is rather interesting and not long.

Your official homework is to read this article, which is long.

In the course of reading, you may find that you want to comment on a paragraph. If so, click on the callout icon next to paragraph that looks like this pararead.png and it will allow you to leave a comment. You can even reply to other's comments as well. Remember that comments should be school appropriate.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Grrr Arrrhg!

First, read this piece. Most of you have likely seen it before, but take a moment to refresh your memory.  It's short.   Then read the following article that originally appeared in The New Yorker on May 20, 2002.  We'll be discusing and playing with this article in class tomorrow.

Remember that your Metacognition blogs are due by noon Friday. (Nick, your blog is here.  Check your email for your password and login information.)

All I Really Need To Know I Learned By Having My Arms Ripped Off By A Polar Bear

by Andrew Barlow

polar_bears_stand.jpgFor me, wisdom came not at the top of the graduate-school mountain nor buried in the Sunday-school sandpile. For me, wisdom arrived during a visit to the home of our trusted friend the polar bear. Actually, I suppose "trusted friend" is something of a misnomer, because last year I had my arms brutally ripped from my torso by a fifteen-hundred-pound Norwegian polar bear. How and why this happened is an interesting story. For now, though, let's take a look at some fun lessons about our good friend Ursus maritimus, the polar bear. Here's what I learned:

-Share everything. You might be thinking, Really? Even with polar bears? Yes, share especially with polar bears. Actually, the word "share" does not exist in a polar bear's vocabulary, which consists of only about three hundred words. Give everything you have to a polar bear and do not expect him to share it. It did not occur to the polar bear who took my arms from me to share them in any way afterward.

-Polar bears are meticulous about personal cleanliness. A typical polar bear will feast for about twenty to thirty minutes, then leave to wash off in the ocean or an available pool of water. The polar bear who feasted on my arms did exactly this, leaving to scrub up in a nearby lake. Good hygiene is fundamental.

-In nearly all instances where a human has been attacked by a polar bear, the animal has been undernourished or was provoked. In my case, the bear was plump but deranged. Consequently, my attacker bear was spared the execution that typically follows an assault. My proposal-that my polar bear have his arms ripped off by a larger polar bear-was rejected by the authorities. No lesson here, I guess.

-The town of Churchill, Manitoba, is known as the "Polar Bear Capital of the World." According to legend, when a bear ambled into the Royal Canadian Legion hall in Churchill, in 1894, the club steward shouted, "You're not a member! Get out!," and the bear did. This story is almost certainly fictitious. During the first ten minutes that a polar bear was removing my arms from my body, I repeatedly shouted, "Stop!," "Get away from me!," and "Please-oh, my God, this polar bear is going to rip my arms off!," but the animal was unfazed. The lesson in this is that you can't believe everything you hear.

-Beware of blame-shifting. The authorities speculated that the nasty scene may have begun when I grabbed onto the polar bear's fur. At first, I thought, Gee, maybe that's right

-I must have done something to get him so sore. But now I reject this suggestion. Why would I grab his fur?

-Things change. As a child, I used to delight in early-morning "polar-bear swims" at my summer camp. Now I don't even feel like swimming anymore, because I have no arms.

-Summing up: 1. Do not run from a polar bear. 2. Do not fight back. 3. Don't just stand there. Whatever you do, it will teach you a lesson.

-Never judge a book by its cover. Polar bears hate this.

-When a male polar bear and a human are face to face, there occurs a brief kind of magic: an intense, visceral connection between man and beast whose poignancy and import cannot be expressed in mere words. Then he rips your arms off.

Monday, March 10, 2008

You want me to think about what?!

ThinkAfter witnessing the depth of confusion in class today, I'm pushing tonight's homework back. Though it was reading that I believe you'd find deeply amusing, I think you probably need to conserve neurons for the current assignment. Use the time well. If your brain is trying to convince you that you don't have to work on this until tomorrow, your brain is betraying you, perhaps because it's afraid you will discover how it's been manipulating you all these years.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Who's up?

Remember that what's going on assignment?  These are the people who are up for Tuesday:

1st period

  • Ruth

  • Cory

  • Stacey

2nd period

  • Jessica

  • Brian

  • Lucas

Meta-cognition Essay

Using the Golding essay Thinking as a Hobby as a starting point, write an essay examining your own thinking at the current time.  Unlike Golding, do not seek to trace your thinking over time, but deeply examine the state of your thinking now.  Analyze how you deal with pressure, stress, difficult intellectual problems, writing, etc. in order to get at how you think.  You do not need to use Golding's classifications, though you may if you find them helpful.  Word Count: 750-1200

Before you begin to write, you may find it helpful to do a proposed overall arrangement (of course you can use multiple arrangements if needed)

Points: 30 (Papers category)

Grading will focus holistically on the following elements:

  • Depth of analysis

  • Organization

  • Sentence structure

  • Diction/Voice

  • Conventions

Rough draft: not required, but highly recommended for 3/10

Final draft due: Blogged on 3/12  (Nick, click here for instructions on getting a blog)

AP TEST -- Looming Deadline!

If you haven't voted yet to let me know if you're taking the test, PLEASE do so.  We have 19 people that have responded and there are 38 in both classes.  Tests need to be ordered.  Remember that a $15 deposit needs to go to the bookkeeper by March 20th.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Thinking Rhetorically

dylan-halo_400x500.jpgYour homework is to read pages 102-122 of your Everything's an Argument packets. Come to class with questions and issues or parts of the text that you'd like to talk about and understand better. As many of you will be reading this fairly soon before drifting off to dreamland, be thankful the picture of old Bob Dylan on page 103 is too dark to see how disturbing it is.

Don't forget to let me know if you're taking the test in May.  Whether you are or not, please vote here so I can get an accurate count for the AP director.  As of this writing, only 9 out of 47 people in class this semester have voted.  Remember, you need to make a deposit of $15 with the bookkeeper to reserve your spot at the test.  It is not something you can do at the last minute as the tests need to be ordered from the College Board.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Homework and the AP Test

AP Test

The AP Program Director needs to know how many people will be taking the test this on May 14th (that's your only option).  As there are multiple classes and to count the people from last semester, I set up an online poll.  Go here to let me know if you're taking the test or not.

If you are taking the test, you need to put in a deposit of $15 by March 20th.  Don't give me the money; it goes to the bookkeeper.


Based on the Talbot essay, other readings, and your own experience, blog a thoughtful response to the following assertion:
"There is little to no value in recognizing students for academic achievements. Education isn't about competition; the whole purpose of education is to turn mirrors into windows." (the final clause was written by Sydney J. Harris)

As I said in class, we will finish our group proposal arguments tomorrow.  We will present them, possibly arguing vehemently about the relative merits of various proposals depending on how varied your thinking is.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Homework for *Tuesday* Night

Write a Graff template response to Alexie’s essay.  Then read the Talbot essay on p. 113 and blog questions 1-8.

 Hey Nick

I still need a blog address for Nick.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Graff Paper

Your homework is as follows:

  • Finish the Graff template paragraphs for the Prose article

  • Read Sherman Alexie's Superman and Me on page 110 and blog questions 1-8

In class tomorrow we will hear from our first three issue presenters, discuss your Graff paragraphs on Prose, discuss the Alexie essay, and start a Graff template response to Alexie's essay.  Homework will be to finish the Graff template on Alexie and to read the Talbot essay on p. 113 and blog questions 1-8.

I need blog addresses from Anna and Nick.