Friday, December 31, 2010

Revising your paper

Hey, how 'bout them Dawgs!!!!!!
  1. Open your original. 
  2. On the File menu choose Make a copy... That will make a copy. 
  3. Give the new version the same title and add "Revision" to the end. 
  4. Close the original and edit the new one. 
Remember, go for substantive revisions. Last minute changes of syntax, diction, and punctuation will not garner a better grade, unless of course I noted that the preponderance of errors was so distracting it engendered the low grade in the first place.*

Remember the rewrites are due before we get back.

Best of luck and Happy New Year!

*I hope you all remembered to study your vocab a bit.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Happy Break!!!!

Since we didn't watch it in class today and some of you didn't see it elsewhere, here is the "Holiday TTV."

I hope you all have a wonderful break, a very Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year!

And to those of us that will be grading (me) and writing (many of you), may our responsibilities not drag on and get in the way of holiday festivities and watching too much college football.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Anecdote Paper

I spoke with several people today who misunderstood what an anecdote was and essentially wrote a reflection paper. Like I said in class, please look to the model as a model and think creative writing / show, don't tell. Each anecdote may not convey your whole purpose, but all of them together should say something. Just as in Indian Education, if you read the first anecdote by itself, you assume the paper is about learning to fight and stand up for himself. When it's put in context with the rest of the stories, it takes on additional meaning.

I thought things were clear, but since they obviously were not, let's push the paper back 24 hours to Friday to give people time to rework things if they need to.

Not everyone will see this. I'll send the same thing out in email, but please use your social networking powers to get word out to the rest of your classmates.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

A Swiftian Parody

We'll see if this really works as it wouldn't work at school, but this is the Colbert video where he alludes to the Modest Proposal.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Your Education

This writing assignment is focused on your effective use of anecdotes to make claims and tell your story. Alexie Sherman’s Indian Education is effective because it is true and because it tells a compelling story about his life and the life of his community. In the midst of that, he powerfully makes a number of different overall claims about education through his own story. The anecdotes are short and tight without extraneous (extra) details. Even so, he gives us enough details to make us feel like we we’re almost there with him.

So your task is to create your version of Indian Education using your own life. Use Alexie’s piece as a model. That said, your story/argument need not be semi-tragic like his was, just honest. I’m not looking for 12 grades like he has (you’re still in your 11th anyway). Instead, try to hit the major stages. If you’ve been in Fife all your life, have a section for Primary, one for Intermediate, one for SLMS, one for CJH, and one for FHS. If you haven’t, sometimes moves can define major epochs in your life. Shoot for about 5 or 6 sections.

This assignment will be graded for the way each anecdote makes a point/claim that builds to an overall point/claim. Also I will look for the general style, conventions, voice, organization, and development that we always consider.

Due December 16th at 11:59 PM

Monday, December 6, 2010

All Work and No Play Makes Jack a Nerd

For those interested, the letter below was written in response to the Leonid Fridman article we wrote on in class yesterday.

Published: January 28, 1990 in the New York Times letters section

To the Editor:

While ''America Needs Its Nerds'' (Op-Ed, Jan. 11) by Leonid Fridman, a Harvard student, may be correct in its message that Americans should treat intellectualism with greater respect, his identification of the ''nerd'' as guardian of this intellectual tradition is misguided.

Mr. Fridman maintains that anti-intellectualism runs rampant across this country, even at the ''prestigious academic institution'' he attends. However, he confuses a distaste for narrow-mindedness with anti-intellectualism. Just as Harvard, as a whole, reflects diversity in the racial, ethnic and religious backgrounds of its students, each student should reflect a diversity of interest as well.

A ''nerd'' or ''geek'' is distinguished by a lack of diverse interests, rather than by a presence of intellectualism. Thus, a nerd or geek is not, as Mr. Fridman states, a student ''for whom pursuing knowledge is the top priority'' but a student for whom pursuing knowledge is the sole objective. A nerd becomes socially maladjusted because he doesn't participate in social activities or even intellectual activities involving other people. As a result, a nerd is less the intellectual champion of Mr. Fridman's descriptions than a person whose intelligence is not focused and enhanced by contact with fellow students. Constant study renders such social learning impossible.

For a large majority at Harvard, academic pursuit is the highest goal; a limited number, however, refuse to partake in activities other than study. Only these select few are the targets of the geek label. Continuous study, like any other obsession, is not a habit to be lauded. Every student, no matter how ''intellectually curious,'' ought to take a little time to pursue social knowledge through activities other than study.

Mr. Fridman's analysis demonstrates further flaws in his reference to Japan. He comments that ''in East Asia, a kid who studies hard is lauded and held up as an example to other students,'' while in the United States he or she is ostracized. This is an unfair comparison because Mr. Fridman's first reference is to how the East Asian child is viewed by teachers, while his second reference is to how the American child is viewed by fellow students. Mr. Fridman is equating two distinct perspectives on the student to substantiate a broad generalization on which he has no factual data.

Nerdism may also be criticized because it often leads to the pursuit of knowledge not for its own sake, but for the sake of grades. Nerds are well versed in the type of intellectual trivia that may help in obtaining A's, but has little or no relevance to the real world. A true definition of intellectualism ought to include social knowledge.

While we in no way condone the terms ''nerds'' and ''geeks'' as insults, we also cannot condone the isolationist intellectualism Mr. Fridman advocates.

David Lessing

David Herne

Cambridge, Mass., Jan. 12, 1990

The writers are members of Harvard's class of '93.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Weekend Homework

Sherman Alexie
Sorry that I wasn't in class today. After spending the day in that frigid room, I ended up with a sore throat, stuffy nose, earache, yadda, yadda, yadda. Anyway, we'll go over the timed writes on Monday and you'll get them back then. Overall, they are pretty good. Mostly fives and sixes with a couple of sevens in each class. For the most part, your grades went up or stayed the same. Some of you saw multi-percentage jumps. :)

All right, hopefully the copies got made. If not, or you were gone (Kelli),  here is the essay.
Likely you did this in class, so it should be easy. Blog:
  • Your conclusions about his overall argument.
  • How effective is his technique of using a string of anecdotes?
Have a good weekend and please don't forget to name your Google documents correctly.

Our next wee, little writing assignment will be to create something similar to Mr. Alexie (not that long). Anecdotes are pretty useful in arguments and this will give us some practice with them. Details forthcoming.

Side note:
Papers submitted after 11 PM by class:
3rd period - 5
5th period - 10!
Wow! You guys really know how to put a project off!