Thursday, March 25, 2010

Blogging, Blogging, Blogging...WHEN can I watch some TV!?

girl_watching_tv_400I know I've said this in class, but let's make it official on the blog. We are blogging the answers to all of the questions on essays 1-5 in the conversation section of the pop culture section of our textbook (Holy prepositional phrases, Batman!). Please blog each set of questions in their own post. If I were you, I would do this before Spring Break so you don't have to worry about them. I will be checking for them when we get back on Monday (I'm having Spring Break too...ahhhh!). Maybe I'll watch some TV... :)

IMPORTANT: 2nd Period and Trae, don't forget DGP! We'll be having our test the week we get back. How does Monday sound? Oh, that would be evil, but would impact your papers the least. Maybe we'll vote tomorrow.  3rd period is pretty stoked that they beat 1st period's percentage. They had quite a few people outright ace this test. So, don't forget to study for it. Work your way through the tutorials. DO them before looking at the answers. That is the way to learn this, DGP Padawans.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Timed Writes and TV

Blog the answers to the questions for the Corbett Trubey article (#2) and read the next essay (#3). We'll discuss and work on the questions in class tomorrow.

Also take another look at the timed writes I handed back today. What did you do well? What didn't work so well? What can you do next time to improve? Please blog the answers to those three questions in a separate blog post or under their own heading.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Echoes of Gender in Pop Culture

This is an interesting article that relates to a couple of themes we've explored lately.  Take a look if you like...

Monday, March 22, 2010

TV is making you smarter...No it's not!

[caption id="attachment_1059" align="alignright" width="142" caption="I'm going to read a fun book over Spring Break...I can hardly wait! Oh yeah, and I will likely watch a fair bit of TV...shhhh."]no-tv[/caption]

Blog the answers to questions 1-5 on page 776 about Steven Johnson's essay Watching TV Makes You Smarter.

Then read The Argument Against TV by Corbett Trubey on page 777 for Wednesday. Meaning that Tuesday will be devoted to a timed write or some multiple choice practice.  Hmmm, which should it be...?

Ah, I know.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Pop Culture: Crazy Mess or Amazing Restorative

Your task is this: defend, challenge, or qualify the following assertion in 300-400 words. Feel free to use any of the pop culture essays or videos that we have read thus far to help inform your argument.
Robert Thompson, professor of media and culture at Syracuse University, said, "We may be surprised how capable American popular culture is of dissolving even the most horrible of historical events."

In doing so, American popular culture does not necessarily distort history as some would contend, but helps Americans overcome psychic and moral trauma, restoring America's optimism and futurist[1. Look up this word.] outlook.

Due Monday, March 22nd. Please blog this. :)

televisionYour $15 deposit for the AP test is due Tuesday March 23rd! If you have an issue with making that deadline, please talk to me.

Speaking of crazy messes, also read Watching TV Makes You Smarter by Steven Johnson on page 766 of our textbooks for Monday.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Emily Dickinson and Elvis Presley in Heaven

ELVIS PRESLEYemily-dickinsonWhat is the argument that this poem is making about pop culture? Consider everything you can think of, including the context and setting. Please blog your answer.

Oh and if you're going to breakfast, please remember to leave enough time for it to be busier than normal and for a group of 7 to ask for separate checks. :)

Friday, March 12, 2010

2nd Period and Trae :)

[caption id="attachment_1038" align="alignright" width="150" caption="Opening sentence of Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott"]dialit8[/caption]

Hey all you DGPers! I know you've been missing it and are likely feeling a bit insecure that 1st, 3rd, and 4th periods have all passed and you have not. :(  That said, it's been a while since you've been given an opportunity. In fact, it's been so long that maybe you've forgotten all that you've learned.

Well have no fear! Mr. Reiser took the English 11 classes back to the basics since they had not been doing their homework and desperately needed it. They tasted sweet success, scoring over 82% as a class (both of them), which was .4% higher than 1st period. He used a way back to basics approach that is available to you too.

Go to and work through the The Basics of Sentence Diagramming (Part One and Part Two). You might also find the Anatomy of a Sentence to be helpful.

Do you think you can do this one? What if I just flat out told you it would be on the test? Kidding.

Start using this in conjunction with your DGP packet to master the structure of a sentence. Your test will be shortly, very shortly, after Spring Break.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The dialectical relationship of the self to society

bergers-dialecticBased on our discussions of the dialectic to the right, blog your thoughts on this “feedback loop” between the self and society.  Use Frontline’s video essay Merchants of Cool as a basis for your arguments. You may wish to consider the following questions in your write-up.

  • What do you think of the premise put forth by Frontline and by the dialectic model above?

  • Do you see an authentic way to take control of your relationship between the, or rather your, self and society?

This post is due Friday.

If you were gone with the Jazz Band or Cheer or Basketball, you can watch all or part of the video at the PBS website.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Rules of the Herd

Carefully read the short passage below.

The black philosopher’s idea was that a man is not independent, and cannot afford views which might interfere with his bread and butter. If he would prosper, he must train with the majority; in matters of large moment, like politics and religion, he must think and feel with the bulk of his neighbors, or suffer damage in his social standing and in his business prosperities. – Mark Twain from Corn-Pone Opinions

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 posted to the blog

Also, 2nd period needs to blog the answers to questions 2, 5, 6, 9.  If the groups in 1st period didn't turn them in, have someone blog the answers with the names of everyone in your group.

Both of these are due on Wednesday.

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.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Extra Credit and the AP Exam

Don't forget to see the post below for your actual homework if Mr. Reiser didn't show it to you this morning.

For extra credit, analyze this advertisement and consider why it is effective. When my wife saw this the other night, she totally cracked up and said it was the best commercial she has ever seen. Why? Think about audience, cultural context, and all of the rhetorical strategies you can muster on this one. It is brilliant.

In other news, it's time to decide if you're really taking the AP test and step up to the plate. The test is $86 this year and a deposit of $15 is due to the bookkeeper by March 22. The remainder is due before you take the test May 12th, or you can pay the whole thing now.

I know $86 is a chunk of change, but if you pass and get credit for a class in college it can save you a lot of money. At a community college, it will save you about $115 and at a private school like UPS or PLU it will save you about $4000. Also see the colored flyer on the yellow cabinet in the class for another perspective, keeping in mind of course that it was put out by the College Board and data can be made to say a lot of things -- perhaps we'll analyze that flyer in class sometime. It could prove interesting.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Watching Mean Girls in AP? That is so fetch!

Mean Girls

Now that you have watched these cutouts of high school royalty crash through their school creating angst-filled drama wherever they go, it’s time to analyze what’s going on.

Remember the rhetorical triangle, context, and purpose. Though several Saturday Night Live alums have roles in the movie, Tina Fey[1. she wrote the screenplay] takes the film far beyond the typical SNL star vehicle[2. way deeper, but not nearly so funny as Tommy Boy]. What is she doing in relation to the Denby article? How does this movie fit in with what we’ve read? Go beyond matching up characteristics of the movie to the article to real rhetorical analysis.

If you have time after the film in class today, you might find it useful to have a little discussion about this (if Mr. Reiser reads his email and shows this to you). Your homework this weekend is to write a blog post analyzing this film in the terms discussed above. Have fun!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Help with Mr. Giddings' National Boards and a little business

If the blog has helped you in this class or made it easier for you to do your work or helped you learn AP material in any way, could you email me and explain how it has done so?  We can do critiques later if you would like, but for the purposes of my national boards requirements, I need some thoughts on what about the blog has worked well to improve your learning.  Thanks in advance if you are able to do this.

I cannot offer extra credit if you do this as that would violate the ethical standards of national boards. Thanks again for your thoughts.

As far as extra credit goes, though, we are almost out of the Kleenex supplied by last year's students and myself.  We have almost made it out of cold season, but are heading into allergy season for many of us. If you would like to contribute to the class stash of facial tissue to maintain our good hygiene, I will offer extra credit for up to two (2) boxes of tissue.