Monday, December 19, 2016

AP English Socratic Circle (12/20/16): A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

For today's first socratic circle we will be breaking into two groups: the first will be our "fishbowl," leading a group discussion about Staves 1 and/or 2 of A Christmas Carol; the second will be our audience, observing how discussion is going and if they agree/disagree with the conversation taking place in the middle.

Audience members: in the comments section of this post, make thoughtful observations about the conversation taking place in the "fishbowl."  Good observations will do the following:
  1. Identify when you agree/disagree with observations and specifically state why (ASRApt Specific Reference).  
  2. Observe what specific group members did that helped to "propel" conversation forward, respond to their group members, and provide thoughtful observations.

Fishbowl members: in yesterday's class, you worked with your group members to pick what sections of Staves 1 and 2 you wanted to discuss and what roles you will play (i.e., discussion leader, "Sherlock Holmes," "Librarian," "Matchmaker," etc.).  You also wrote your own Level 1, 2, and 3 questions about your passage(s).  Students receiving a 3, "Meets," on Speaking and Listening 1, will do the following: 
  1. Come to discussion prepared, having read and researched materials beforehand. SL1a
  2. Work with peers to promote a civil, democratic discussion, set clear goals, and establish individual roles. SL1b
  3. Propel conversations forward by posing and asking questions that probe reasoning and ask for evidence. SL1c
  4. Respond thoughtful to diverse perspectives, synthesize (combine) comments, claims, and evidence, resolve contradictions, and investigate meaning. SL1d

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Writing Warmup: "Epic Trick Shot Edition" by Dude Perfect

Writing Warmup:
Dude Perfect is a group of five guys that make YouTube videos. In this video they are making unbelievable sports trick shots.

1. Who is the audience? Who do you think enjoys these videos?
2. What do you think the title "Dude Perfect" means?
3. Did you enjoy the video? Why or why not?

AP English (11/14/16): Socratic Circles Overview

Socratic circles use the idea of two concentric circles: the audience on the outside and the "fishbowl" on the inside.

In Wednesday's class, we briefly discussed socratic circles and how they were set up.
For tomorrow's first socratic circle, we will be breaking into two groups: the first will be our "fishbowl," leading a group discussion about Staves 1 and/or 2 of A Christmas Carol; the second will be our audience, observing how discussion is going and if they agree/disagree with the conversation taking place in the middle.

For today's class, you will prepare for your socratic circles.  First, divide into two groups; then, select what passages you want to discuss from Staves 1, and 2.  When you are ready, assign group members' roles (below) and come up with level 1, 2, and 3 questions for your passage(s).

Possible roles of group members are the following:

  • Explorer: "Let's try a new path or perspective..." 
  • Sherlock Holmes: "I think we have overlooked an important clue (comment/bit of text)..." 
  • Librarian: "Here's a passage in the text that supports your point..." 
  • Matchmaker: "What you are saying is a lot like what Sue said earlier..." 
  • Judge Judy: "Let's see what the argument is between you two and try to settle it..." 
  • Will Rogers: "Let's find a way to make her/his seemingly odd/unpleasant/ incorrect comment more plausible or helpful..."

Friday's socratic circle should take about fifteen minutes with group members giving feedback in the comments section of the blog.  After those fifteen minutes are up, the outer group will give a short overview of their feedback, then switch roles. We will have time to do two socratic circles in class, so be ready to be in the fishbowl and the audience! Good luck! 

Writing Warmup: "Neature Nuggets, Episode 1" by vicscrappyvideos

Writing Warmup:
This video is made to teach people how to be safe out in the wilderness. It also shows people some of the neat things that can be found while walking through the woods.  After watching the video, please answer the following discussion questions below.

Two-to-Three discussion questions.
1) Who is the audience?
2) What is the purpose of this video?
3) Do you think this video could possibly be educational for someone that has never been in the woods?

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Kurt Cobain on identity

Kurt Cobain is a famous influential singer songwriter and guitarist, best known for being the lead singer in the group, Nirvana. Blank on Blank is a channel that has interviews on various famous people talking about specific topics. On this episode of Blank on Blank Kurt talks about his story, personal beliefs, and some of his musical techniques.

Discussion questions:

1. Have you ever had a friend that you weren't able to hang out with anymore based on what your parents thought?

2. Do you think some of the music you listen to is built on sexism?

3. What audience do you think Cobains music speaks to?

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Writing Warmup: "Key & Peele - Andre and Meegan's First Date - Uncensored" & "Key & Peele - Meegan, Come Back" by Comedy Central

Writing Warmup:
Key and Peele are two comedians who created characters named Andre and Meegan. They make a lot of funny videos on Comedy Central's YouTube channel. These videos are called, "Andre and Meegan's First Date," and "Meegan, Come Back."

Two-to-three discussion questions:
1) Who are Meegan and Andre?
2) Why does Meegan act the way she does?
3) Why would people want to keep watching these characters on Comedy Central?
4) Why did Andre chase Meegan so far?
5) Why does Meegan keep leading Andre on?
6) Are there couples like Meegan and Andre in the real world?

Writing Warmup: "Tempt Tales Halloween special Andrew the Seals revenge " by

Writing Warmup:
  O-chang Comics has a series of shows representing people in Maine with a number of different characters. In this episode the creators show "Donny the Grumpy Maine Dad" who expresses his feelings towards kids and power lines.

1)Who is the audience?
2) How would you describe Donny?
3)How does this relate to the way parents act?

AP English Writing Warmup: Charles Dickens's "Preface" to A Christmas Carol

Illustration of Marley's ghost found on page 78 of your editions.
Writing Warmup:
In the "Preface" to A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens writes these famous lines:

I have endeavoured in this Ghostly little book, to raise the Ghost of an Idea, which shall not put my readers out of humour with themselves, with each other, with the season, or with me.  May it haunt their houses pleasantly, and no one wish to lay it.

Their faithful Friend and Servant, 
C. D.
Dec. 1843. (5)

One of the great parts of your "Annotated" editions is that the editors show readers what Dickens meant to say to his readers, and how he interacted with his publishers, Chapman and Hall.  What your annotations don't tell you is why he chose to capitalize certain nouns (e.g., "Ghostly," "Ghost," "Idea," "Friend," and "Servant").

In the comments section below pick one or two of the nouns Dickens chose to capitalize and make "proper."  Then, answer the following questions.

1) Why do you think Dickens chose to capitalize these words?
2) How does the meaning of the word you picked change when it is capitalized?
3) What do you think Dickens means when he says, "Ghost of an Idea?" 
4) Why does he describe A Christmas Carol as a "Ghostly little book?"

Friday, December 9, 2016

Writing Warmup: "DIY SNAPCHAT FILTERS!" by Miranda

Writing Warmup: 
This video is of a woman who named herself "Miranda Sings." Miranda is youtube famous for her very humorous and immature videos. In this video Miranda is showing everyone how to make DIY snapchat filters.

Two-Three discussion questions.
1) Who is the audience?
2) What is the purpose?
3) How does this appeal to you or other viewers?

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Writing Warmup: "How to Make Your Own Kylie Jenner Lip Kit!!" by Miranda Sings

Writing Warmup: 
Coleen Ballinger created a YouTube star named Miranda Sings who brings out a lot of humor in the YouTube world. Miranda's character can best be described as immature, sassy, rude, and childish. In this video, she is going to show people how to make the Kylie Jenner lip kit in her own "unique" way. 

1) Who is watching her videos?
2) Why did she make this video? 
3) What adjectives describe how she acts?

English Essentials Writing Warmup: Oddly Satisfying

A big thank you to Joel for helping create this week's informational writing activity! We would not be thinking about audience, purpose, and meaning without you!!!

Writing Activity:
1) Pick your favorite YouTuber, send Dr. B the video, and she will create a writing prompt based on that video. Note: make sure YouTubers are *appropriate* for school! A lot of them use language or discuss topics that may not be school appropriate.

2) Essential questions: How does this YouTuber bring in and attract audience members? Who is their audience? What is their content about? Why do you watch their videos?

English Essentials Writing Warmup: The Dude Project

Writing Warmup:
A big thank you to Joel for helping create this week's informational writing activity! We would not be thinking about audience, purpose, and meaning without you!!!

Writing Activity:
1) Pick your favorite YouTuber, send Dr. B the video, and she will create a writing prompt based on that video. Note: make sure YouTubers are *appropriate* for school! A lot of them use language or discuss topics that may not be school appropriate.

2) Essential questions: How does this YouTuber bring in and attract audience members? Who is their audience? What is their content about? Why do you watch their videos?

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Creative Writing: "Critical Role" and Complex Characterization

Writing Warmup:
As part of our discussion of role playing games and fantasy genres, it's time to look into the world of role playing games with real people playing real games.  After watching this video, please answer the discussion questions below.

  1. What are the character types portrayed in the show?
  2. How do the actors portray those character types?
  3. What have you learned about roleplaying and characterization?

Writing warmup:"Neature Nuggets" by vicscrappyvideos

Writing warmup:
This video gives comical tips on how to walk through the woods. This also shows the difficulties that might come with nature walks.

1. Who is the audience?
2. What is the purpose?
3. How does this appeal to you or other viewers?

English Essentials: Semicolons and Complex Lists

Bell Ringer Activity:
For today's class, we will talk about the semicolon's other uses: dividing text in complex lists.  Watch this video by Khan Academy and in the comments section below, answer the following questions.

1) How are semicolons used in complex lists?
2) Give one example of a semicolon in a complex list.
3) Reply to a classmate and describe what you like about their example. Tell them how they are using it correctly.

Monday, December 5, 2016

English Essentials Writing Warmup: The Gabbie Show

A big thank you to Joel for helping create this week's informational writing activity! We would not be thinking about audience, purpose, and meaning without you!!!

Writing Activity:
1) Pick your favorite YouTuber, send Dr. B the video, and she will create a writing prompt based on that video. Note: make sure YouTubers are *appropriate* for school! A lot of them use language or discuss topics that may not be school appropriate.

2) Essential questions: How does this YouTuber bring in and attract audience members? Who is their audience? What is their content about? Why do you watch their videos?

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Retakes and Do-Overs? What Do YOU Think?

Bell-Ringer Activity:
Dr. B has been taking a class on Proficiency-Based Education (PBE).  One of the topics that has recently come up is the nature of retaking assessments and what that means.

This got me to thinking: when a student (you, for example) take an assessment in this class, what are you thinking about during that assessment? Are you thinking about things like, "I had better do my best! I better show Dr. B what I know!" Or, are you thinking differently? Asking questions like, "Oh, I can always re-do this in the future."

Here is an awesome video from an educator named Rick Wormeli. In this video, he discusses why it's so important that students have a chance to re-take their assessments. Wormeli argues that learning is a progression, an ongoing part of your lives, and that what you know today may not necessarily represent what you will know as your learning process continues.

For today, please watch Wormeli's video, then, in the comments section below, discuss anything that seems important, relevant, or interesting to you.  If you can find how it connects to your own life as a student or in this classroom, we would love to hear it!

Monday, November 28, 2016

English Essentials: Chapter 20, "Freak," Becoming Nicole by Amy Ellis Nutt

Discussion Questions:
Over the break, we read chapters 18-22 of Becoming Nicole by Amy Ellis Nutt.  "Freak" is one of the most important chapters in Amy Ellis Nutt's book, Becoming Nicole.  For today, you will participate in class discussion electronically by answering the following questions (one at a time) and sharing with the class.
  1. Why does Nutt begin the chapter with the title, "Freak?"
  2. What does "Freak" mean?"
  3. In your own words, describe the "bathroom incident" that lead to Nicole's bullying in this chapter.
  4. What rights does the school have? 
  5. What rights do the parents and Nicole have?

Sunday, November 20, 2016

English Essentials 2, Writing Warmup: Introducing Complex Characters

Bell Ringer Activity:
For today's class, watch the video "Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about Characterization" and take notes on the following terms:

Protagonist vs. Antagonist
Flat vs. Round Character
FOIL Character

(and any other that seem important)

In the comments section below answer the following questions:
1) In J. R. R. Tolkien's The Hobbit, who would be considered a flat character? Give one example and why.
2) Who would be considered a round character? Give one example and why.
3) Who would be considered a FOIL character? Give one example and why.

Answer thoughtfully and with little-to-no-errors in spelling, punctuation, and grammar. You will receive a formative score for RL3, "I can analyze complex characters."

English Essentials: Vocabulary Acquisition & Use

Last week, we started working on our learning targets for Vocabulary Acquisition and Use, really, just a fancy way of saying, "learning new vocabulary words while reading."

One of my (Dr. B's) favorite things about reading is learning new words.  I'm not kidding. Nothing gets me more excited than coming across a word I don't know, circling it, and trying to figure out its meaning. If I could take you all back in time, I would show you fifteen-year-old Dr. Brigman's bookmarks from the ninth grade. Every one of them was covered in new words and their definitions. Back then, I thought having a strong vocabulary meant memorizing tons and tons of new words and their definitions.

Silly Brigman.

Now, I know that learning new vocabulary is actually based on a pretty important skill: your ability to figure out what a word means based on what it is doing in a sentence.  Sure, the definition will always be important, but it's only one part of a puzzle when acquiring new vocabulary.

Here's how it works:

Step 1
First, you take a sentence with a word you don't know.  I'm going to pick a sentence from page 109 from Becoming Nicole.

"The use of public bathrooms is fraught with controversy and anxiety when it comes to transgender people who prefer to use the restroom of their gender with which they identify."

Step 2
Second, you figure out what the word is saying based on context clues (how the word is being used in the sentence).  Since I am very familiar with the issue of using public bathrooms, I can guess that the word "fraught" means "filled with" because it is followed by the phrase, "with controversy and anxiety."

Step 3
Now, I'm going to look the word fraught up in the dictionary.  According to the dictionary at my desk, fraught means, "filled with or destined to result in." 

Step 4
Finally, I'm going to take this textbook definition and apply it back to my original sentence, summarizing what the word means now that I've looked it up.  My summary would be: "The issue of using public bathrooms is filled with (fraught with) all sorts of problems for transgender people such as fear or anxiety. Oftentimes, this leads to lots of public debates around this issue." 

Make sense?

First, I identified a word I didn't know and made an educated guess about its meaning. Then, I looked up the definition and applied it to the original sentence, summarizing the sentence's meaning in my own words. 

In the comments section below, post steps 1-4 for a word you do not know.

Monday, November 14, 2016

"Poor Unfortunate Souls": Reading Disney's Ursula and Hans Christian Anderson's "The Little Mermaid"

Yesterday, we met Ursula, the infamous sea witch and nemesis of Disney's The Little Mermaid.  As you may have noticed, she's remarkably different from the version Hans Christian Anderson created in his original story, "The Little Mermaid" (216-32 of our Norton Critical Edition: The Classic Fairy Tales).

Today, I want you to consider the encounter on pages 225-27 in which Ariel makes a deal with Ursula.

Discussion questions: 
1) How is the deal the sea witch makes with the little mermaid similar/different to the one depicted in the Disney film? (You may wish to consider Ursula's motives and her message. You may also wish to consider the details surrounding how the little mermaid looses her fin.)

2) In the Disney version, what does Ursula mean when she describes "those poor unfortunate souls?"

3) In the Hans Christian Anderson version, does the term "poor unfortunate souls" still apply? Why or why not?

Sunday, November 13, 2016

11/12 Writing Warmup: Think - Puzzle - Explore

Writing Warmup:
In Wednesday's and Thursday's classes, we spent a lot of time discussing introduction paragraphs for your essays. In order to analyze the argument you picked, you need to assume your reader knows nothing so that you, the writer, can clearly explain your topic to them.

This got me to thinking: what do you think you know about the topics you picked for your essays? Is there anything you're unsure of? Is there anything you want to know more about?

In the comments section below, answer the following questions.

1) What do you think you know about your topic?
2) What puzzles (confuses) you about your topic?
3) What do you want to know about your topic?

When you are finished, be ready to discuss your answers with the class. Also be ready to share your intro paragraphs with the class.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

11/12 English: Donald Trump's Election Speech (THURSDAY)

Thursday Bell Ringer:
In Tuesday night's historic election, Republican candidate Donald J. Trump was elected president.  Today, we will watch his election speech and discuss what his main claims for the presidency will be moving forward.

In the comments section below, identify he following:

1) Who is Trump's audience?
2) What is his main claim?
3) What rhetorical appeals (ethos, logos, pathos, and/or logical fallacies) do you hear in his speech? WHERE?

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

English Essentials: Introducing Complex Characters

In yesterday's class, we saw the conversation between Gandalf and Bilbo (above) and talked about the ways the ring changes a character's motivations and choices. Today, I want to introduce the idea of complex characters as we begin our new learning target, "How complex character change over time" (RL3).

For today, watch the video "Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about Characterization."

Then, answer the following questions in the comments section below.

1) Who is the protagonist in The Hobbit?
2) How is he described at the very beginning of the book, The Hobbit?
3) How is he depicted in the scene from the second Hobbit movie we saw yesterday?

USE QUOTES to support you ideas for questions 1 & 2 (MLA format).  Don't forget to discuss your quotes and explain what the quote is saying in your own words and its implied meaning.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

"The Pig King" by Giovanni Francesco Strapola

         The tale begins with the birth of a prince in the form of a pig. The curse was brought upon his mother, Queen Ersilia, when one day she wandered into the garden and fell asleep. Three fairies happened to be flying by when they noticed her there, and with a "scorn" for humanity, contemplated casting a spell on her. The first of them says, "I will that no man shall be able to harm her, and that, the next time she lie with her husband, she may be with child and bear a son who shall not have his equal in all the world for beauty," the second says, "I will that no one shall have power to offend her, and that the prince who shall be born of her shall be gifted with every virtue under the sun," and finally the last of the three says, "And I will that she shall be the wisest among women, but that the son whom she shall conceive shall be born in the skin of a pig, with a pig's ways and manners, and in this state he shall be contained to abide until three times he has taken a women to wife." (pg. 43)
       She goes on to give birth to her child, and though he is in the form of a pig, she loves him equally as much. The king offers to kill the child in order to protect the queen's reputation, but she denies. Both decided to raise him as you would a normal child, but as he grew and began wandering the city, he still showed clear signs of his pig instincts (rolling in the mud). Eventually he began begging to his mother that he wanted to get married and that she needed to find him a wife. At first she is strongly against the idea, but as he continued to beg day after day, she eventually consulted with the king and after thoroughly searching throughout the town, they found a poor mother with three daughters. The queen asked for her eldest daughter to marry the prince, and after a lot of convincing, agreed to marry him. Later on, before the after the wedding, the prince attempts to interact with the new princess, but she pushes him away and insults him and the whole kingdom. That morning he overheard her talking to someone, saying, "What am I to do with this foul beast? This very night, while he lies asleep, I will kill him." (pg. 44) That night, after the princess fell asleep, the pig prince brutally murdered her with his hooves. The queen discovers this in the morning and was outraged, but the prince convinced her if he didn't kill her she would've killed him. The prince then convinces her to ask the mother for the hand of her second daughter, and after even more convincing, they get married. But again, he kills her in her sleep. Her mother scolds him but again but is eventually convinced to ask the last, youngest daughter of the poor mother, Meldina, and surprisingly, the girl is entirely willing to marry him.
        After the marriage the queen tells her that if he tries to touch her, she may push him away, but to this she says, "There are three wise sayings, gracious lady, which I remember having heard. The first is that it is folly to waste time in searching for that which can not be found. The second is that we should not believe anything we hear, except those things which bear the marks of sense and reason. The third is that, when once you have got hold of some rare and precious treasure, prize it well and keep a firm hold upon it." (pg. 46) The prince happened to overhear this, and began to kiss Meldina and her body, and she didn't resist at all. They slept together that night, and in the morning the Queen, expecting to find another corpse, instead finds a mud covered princess "looking pleased and contented" (pg. 46). One night, he told his wife he'd been keeping a secret from everyone, and asked if she is able to keep it. After she convinces him she is, he removes his pig skin and reveals a handsome young man, and they embraced. The next day, the princess couldn't help but tell the Queen, and when she wasn't convinced, she told her to come to her chamber that night. When the time came, the Queen entered to find the pig skin laying on the floor and her son and Meldina in bed. The king and queen are relieved and order the pig skin to be torn to shreds. They all live happily ever after.
            The concept of this tale is similiar to Disney's "Beauty and the Beast" in many ways. For instance, both the Pig King and Beast are both cursed to be "beasts" until they find a certain lover/wife, and both show signs of their beastly attitude and tendencies, such as the pig rolling in the mud and the beast's anger issues and habit of violently smashing things. Both are princes, but don't reveal prince-like personalities. Belle and Meldina also share similarities, like that they both look past the appearance of their partners. Both includes poor families (Belle's family was going bankrupt). But the stories have many differences too. The Pig King goes through two other wives in order to find his true love, but Belle was loyal to the beast alone, though she didn't immediately fall in love with him, like the Pig King with Meldina. The Pig King is also accompanied by his family, while the Beast lives alone in his dark, creepy castle. Disney's version also features an antagonist, the mighty Gaston, a character designed to be a charismatic casanova. The Pig King finds no competition in his search for a wife.

Level 1: Why did the Pig King murder his previous wives?
Level 2: How does Belle relate to Meldina?
Level 3: What does the concept of the Beast say to the children reading/watching?

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

AP English Writing Warmup: "Sonnet 116" by William Shakespeare (11/2/16)

Bell Ringer Activity:
In yesterday's class, we discussed the College Board's tool for "entering a poem": TP-CAASSTT.  Or, Title
Clever Language

For today, you will be working with group members to identify the parts of "TP-CAASSTT in Sonnet 116" by William Shakespeare.  Please paste your group's answers in the comment box below.

Friday, October 28, 2016

English Essentials 1: Out of Print

Bell Ringer Activity:
In Friday's class, we began watching the moving Out of Print (2013), featuring the voice of Meryl Streep. In this film, researchers explain how the Internet has changed the way we engage with print media (books, magazines).

What's one of the biggest way you see technology changing the way you read and write?

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

AP English Writing Reflection: Disney's "The Paperman"

Writing Reflection:
This week, we've learned a lot about the power of Disney studios and how their unique style of animation has reshaped (and recreated!) the fairytales we've read this semester.

At the end of our last presentation, I would like for you all to watch "The Paperman," a 2012 black and white short film Disney produced.  While "The Paperman" isn't a fairytale, it is a story that tells the challenges and successes of one particular couple (think princes and princesses).  As you reflect on the video, think about how this short film is different from the Disney films we have watched and how the storyline is different from a traditional fairytale.

Please respond in the comments section below.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Cinderella by the Brothers Grimm (pgs. 117-22)

Bell Ringer Activity: 
Watch the opening clips from Cinderella (1950) and Cinderella (2015), pick one, and answer the following questions.

1) What is the big difference you see in how "Cinderella" is depicted in the Brothers Grimm version and one of the two Disney variations?
2) What has Disney changed in one of the versions of this story?

Friday, October 21, 2016

11/12 English - The Butterstick

For 11/12 English, we made a rhetorical commercial using ethos, logos, and pathos. We chose the "butterstick," because we wanted our commercial to be humorous, and to make people interested in our product. We were going to do a commercial on a wishbone but we wanted it to be more interesting. The "butterstick,"is a very practical product and something that everybody can use. 

Logos- This commercial is logical by showing how well the product works, especially when you don't have knives and soft butter. 

Ethos- Our commercial is credible because we thought of the idea, "butterstick," and we show how helpful it is, which will make people want to buy our product. 

Pathos- Our commercial is a good example of pathos because it is meant to be funny, which will entertain people in a way where they will want to purchase it. 

Thursday, October 20, 2016

English Essentials Writing Warmup: Becoming Nicole

Bell Ringer Activity:
In yesterday's class, we read an amazing passage from Amy Ellis Nutt's book, Becoming Nicole.  At the end of Chapter 12, Wyatt Maines is performing in the fourth grade Christmas concert, but is faced with a decision: does she wear pants (the uniform of the boys in her class) or a skirt (the girls' uniform)?  Read over the passage below and answer the questions that follow, using the comments section of this post.

But onstage, the girls wore black skirts and white blouses and stood on one side, and the boys, in black pants, white shirt, and a tie, stood on the other.  He [Wyatt Maines] pleaded with his parents to be allowed to wear a skirt.  Wayne wanted no part of the discussion.  Kelly enlisted the help of Lisa Erhardt.

She suggested a solution, a true compromise: Wyatt could wear culottes, the baggy shorts that looked more like a skirt than pants.  On the night of the concert, Wayne, in a rare moment of wanting to please Wyatt, presented him with a bouquet of roses.  Wyatt stood in the girls' section, in his black culottes and white blouse, but whether by design or accident, he also stood right on the seam where the girls' and boys' sides met.  Wyatt was beside himself, beaming with pride and joy throughout the concert.  A transition had begun and no one even seemed to notice.

1) What do you see as the significance of Wyatt standing "right on the seam where the girls' and boys' sides met?"
2) What do you think of Wayne giving young Wyatt flowers? Does he seem to be accepting Wyatt's gender identity?
3) Lastly, the title of this chapter was "Transitions." Look up the definition of the word transitions. How does this definition help you to understand this pivotal scene?

9/10 English Writing Warmup: New Learning in Quarter 1

Writing Reflection:
For those of you who are finished with your test and have responded to the discussion questions on your book, take some time to reflect on what you have learned in quarter 1.  In the comments section below, describe what you believe is your biggest area of improvement in your reading, writing, and speaking.  Be sure to be specific and reference specific learning targets (RL1, RL2, L2).

Bonus: what would you like to learn in quarter 2?

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

11/12 Writing Warmup: "Live Tweet" the Third Presidential Debate

Bell Ringer Activity:
For today, please "live tweet" the third and final presidential debate.  Pay close attention to ethos, logos, pathos, and any logical fallacies ("false logic") that appear in Donald Trump's and Hillary Clinton's rhetoric. Use the comments section below.

Lastly, who do you think won?

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

English Essentials 2 Writing Warmup: The Hobbit and the Hero's Cycle

Bell Ringer Activity:
In yesterday's class, we finished Chapter 4 of J. R. R. Tolkien's The Hobbit and discussed the similarities and differences between the book and the movie.  One of the best ways to understand how the movie makes changes to the original is to look at something known as the "Hero's Journey" (or, "cycle").

For today, complete the EdPuzzle on The Hero's Journey by going to this link.  Dr. B will walk you through the instructions.  You want to watch the video, answer the questions, and demonstrate your comprehension skills.

Learning Targets being assessed:

RL7, "I can analyze multiple interpretations of the same story, evaluating how each version interprets the same source."

L2, "I can spell correctly."

Monday, October 17, 2016

11/12 Writing Warmup: Michelle Obama's Comments on Donald Trump

Bell Ringer Activity:
For today's class, we will be discussing the rhetoric of a very different speaker: Michelle Obama.  After last week's scandal involving Donald Trump and a "hot mic," Obama made a very powerful speech about the way language not only hurts women, but also encourages a culture around the nature of women's bodies, minds, and human rights.

Today, you will be "live tweeting" this powerful speech.  Pay close attention to Obama's use of ethos, logos, and pathos and identify any instances you hear.  Also, feel free to ask questions! Agree with your classmates! Comment on each other's posts! This is a conversation, so have at it.

Note: This is a summative assessment.  Here are the Learning Targets on which you will be scored:

SL1: "I can initiate and collaborate in discussions."

SL3: "I can evaluate a speaker's point of view, reasoning, and use of evidence and rhetoric (ethos, logos, and pathos)."

9/10 Writing Warmup: Fatal Forecast by by Michael J. Togias

Bell Ringer Activity:
Select a passage from the book Fatal Forecast by Michael J. Togias that describes what the crew believes will happen when they leave (before the storm).  What makes them feel so safe in going out? Then, compare this experience with one of your own experiences on a boat.  What similarities/differences do you have with the experiences within the book?

9/10 English Writing Warmup: A Doll's House by Henrik Ibsen

Bell Ringer Activity:
Find a quote from the play in which Torvald uses a nickname (or pet name) to describe Nora. Discuss why Torvald uses this pet names for Nora. What types of characteristics do Torvald's pet names evoke? What is Torvald's attitude toward Nora? 

English Essentials 1 Writing Warmup: Becoming Nicole and Apostrophe Practice

Bell Ringer Activity:
For today's class, we will be applying what we learned about apostrophes yesterday by finding and explaining how apostrophes are used in Becoming Nicole.  

Flip through your copies of Becoming Nicole and give Dr. B one example of each apostrophe rule we discussed in class yesterday.  Explain how that apostrophe works.  How did you know which rule the apostrophe was using?

Quote: "I think she's trying to take the kids.  I'm getting passports" (19).

This particular quote uses two instances of the apostrophe rule involving contractions.  "She's" is a contraction of "She" and "is."  "I'm" is a contraction of "I" and "am."

 Quote: "One of Wayne's friends was surprised by her..." (44).

The quote uses the possessive form "Wayne" by adding an apostrophe "s" to the end.  Because Wayne is singular (there's only one Wayne), the possessive apostrophe rule is to add an apostrophe "s" at the end.  Also, these are friends of Wayne, so the correct spelling is "Wayne's friends" because Wayne has ownership over them.

11/12 English Writing Warmup: "Ethos, Pathos, and Logos in Persuasion/Advertising/Writing"

Writing Warmup:
For today, watch the video, "Ethos, Pathos, and Logos in Persuasion/Advertising/Writing."  After each commercial pause and answer the following questions.

Commercial 1: What jobs/experience does Mr. Peterson tell the audience he has?

Commercial 2: What Makes Allstate a credible/trustworthy company for customers? What might be the emotion (pathos) to which the commercial appeals?

Commercial 3: How is an appeal to reason (logos) being used?

Commercial 4: Today we learn a new term, "logical fallacy," the belief that an idea is a good one simply because a large group of people believe that it is good.  What happens in this video? What makes Mr. Burns happy and why?

English Essentials Writing Warmup: Apostrophes

Bell Ringer Activity:
Today, we will be focusing on conventions--the rules of standard written English, including punctuation, grammar, and mechanics.  Please answer the question below about apostrophes.

1) What is one of the reasons why we use apostrophes?
2) Give an example where you use an apostrophe correctly (complete sentence).  Explain how you are using the apostrophe in this sentence.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Creative Writing: Final Project (Art + Literary Analysis)

Bell Ringer Activity: 
In Wednesday's class, we discussed a final project idea that you will be doing for your summative score in Creative Writing: An Art + Literary Analysis of the paintings you created based on the works of ancient Greek mythology, John Keats, John Milton, and others.

For today, I'd like you to post your pre-writing about your Pandora painting along with a quote from the original myth you'd like to use in your portfolio.  If you'd like another copy of your portfolio assignment sheet, you can download it here.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

AP English Teaching Presentations

For your first major summative assessment in AP English, you will be teaching one (or part of one) an ancillary article from the back of our The Classic Fairytales: Norton Critical Editions (Ed. by Maria Tatar).  To download the full instructions and a list of groups, please click here.

Teaching articles from the book is one of the best ways to master your critical thinking skills! It also helps you to practice your graduation standards in speaking and listening.  For now, here is a list of standards on which you will be assessed:
    • RL1“I can use evidence to support my ideas (literary texts).”
    • RI1: “ I can use evidence to support my ideas (informational texts).”
    • RL2: “I can determine one or more central ideas of a text and summarize key points.”
    • SL1: “I can come to class prepared with key points and textual evidence to contribute to a discussion and stimulate thoughtful well-reasoned exchange of ideas.”
    • SL5: “I can create original digital media presentations to enhance and/or present my ideas.”

Presentation Dates will be Friday, Oct. 21st, 2016—Wednesday, Oct. 26th.

9/10 English Test

For your first major summative assessment in 9/10 English, please write Dr. B two paragraphs (with little-to-no errors in spelling, punctuation, and grammar) that discusses your book's theme and uses two quotes correctly.  Discuss the explicit and implicit meanings of both of your quotes AND use colons and apostrophes correctly.  Students who score a 3 ("Meets") on this assessment will show mastery of the following learning targets:

RL1, "I can use evidence to support my ideas."

RL2, "I can analyze theme."

L2, "I can use colons and apostrophes correctly."

Lastly, don't forget to write neatly and if you can, write in cursive.

AP Writing Warmup: George Gasciogne's "For That He Looked Not upon Her" (10/12/16)

Bell Ringer Activity:
For today's class, you read three AP English essays on George Gasciogne's poem, "For That He Looked Not Upon Her," from the 2015 student essay pool.  I told you yesterday that "one was a high example, one was a low example, and one was a medium example."

In the comments section below, tell us what score you gave each essay and why.  Since our class time is limited, you don't need to describe everything about the essay, just the big things you think the student did right using the scoring rubric I gave you yesterday.

[ Note: I have posted a picture of a constellation above to illustrate the big message I want you to learn about the College Board's policy for scoring AP essays: as a writer, you will be rewarded for what you do right on a whole, not every little thing you did wrong. ]

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

AP English Writing Warmup: The Lady of Shalott and Snow White (10/6/16)

Writing Warmup:
Yesterday, we continued to discuss some of the ways Alfred Lord Tennyson's "The Lady of Shalott" reminded us of the fairytale, "Snow White."  For today, you want to draw connections between the two stories we have read—well, technically, one "story" and one "poem"—by describing any interesting similarities and differences you see between the two texts (don't forget to use textual evidence!).  You may choose whichever story you like from the "Snow White" section of our Norton Anthologies.  Dr. B will play Loreena McKennitt's "The Lady of Shalott" to get you all feeling as magical as possible.

BONUS! Some amazing resources on the history of the Lady of Shalott myth.  
Check them out!

Oh, and did you know the Victorians photographed women posing as the Lady of Shalott? It's kind of amazing:

"The Tigers Bride" by Angela Carter

The story of the The Tiger's Bride is about a young girl, who was gambled away by her father. They had just moved from Russia to Italy, and it is was a tradition in the city that newcomers must play a game with the most powerful figure in the city, the grand seigneur, or the beast. The beast wears a mask with a mans face painted on it. He also wears gloves and cloaks, to cover his body, and an old-fashioned wig. The beast was much better at cards than the father, and soon he had nothing left to offer, besides his only daughter. He was confident in his hand of cards, but the beast had a better hand, and won. The beast and his valet return the next day of her and her belongings. Her father is begging for a rose as forgiveness, and as she breaks the stem she pricks her finger, getting blood on it. The beast's castle was not beautiful, but rather in a secluded area and vacant. His intention were not to keep the girl as prisoner, but to see her undressed one time, and then she would be returned to her father. She agreed to his wishes and was brought to her cell. She finds her maid there, but with a music box where her heart should be. Her maid tells her that no humans live in the castle, and that she is a machine, ready for her service. A few days after she arrives there the beast gets his wishes. She learns that the beast was a tiger underneath his disguise. The beast agreed to let her go after, but she didn't want to return to her father, who didn't miss her, and who had lost her in the first place. She goes to the beast and there, he licks off her skin turning her into a tiger herself.
In the Disney film Belle takes her fathers place as the beast's prisoner. The beast in the movie is not a tiger, and wears no disguise. He has a beautiful castle with many rooms, and many different servants, who are not human. The focus of the movie is the growing relationship between Belle and Beast, and how they eventually fall in love. In The Tiger's Bride the beast only wants to keep her for one night, but the girl chooses to stay with him.

1, 2 & 3 Questions

1.  Why do newcomers have to play the tiger at a game of cards?
2. Why isn't the tiger interested in keeping her as a prisoner?
3. Why does she choose to stay with the tiger even after he sets her free?

Writing Warmup: Kahoot Apostrophe Game

Bell Ringer Activity:
For today's class, we will be doing a Kahoot practice exercise on Apostrophes! Please go to and type in the game code I put on the board.  This is a timed game, so be sure to answer as soon as you know the answer. But, be wary of just "clicking" on a box, because you won't have a second chance to supply the right answer!

Good luck and may the best Kahooter win!

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

11/12 English Writing Warmup: Watch Kids Respond to the Presidential Debate (10/5/16)

Bell Ringer Activity:
Before we finish and present our posters on Donald Trump's rhetoric, I would like for us all to take a moment and think about the little guys (KIDS).  How do you think children would respond to Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton in the presidential debate? Watch the video for today's activity and respond with any thoughts and ideas about today's video.

AP English Writing Warmup: The Lady of Shalott (10/5/16)

William Holman Hunt's The Lady of Shalott (1905).

John William Waterhouse's "I Am Half Sick of Shadows" Said the Lady of Shalott (1915, housed at the Art Gallery of Ontario).
John William Waterhouse's The Lady of Shalott (1888, housed at the Tate Gallery in Great Britain).
Writing Warmup:
Pull out your Graphic Organizer on Alfred Lord Tennyson's poem "The Lady of Shallot" and answer the following questions:

  1. What associations do you have with the word "cracked?"
  2. "Mirror?"
  3. "Curse?"
  4. "Shadows?"

In the comments section below, please explain the meaning of one of the above words in the context of the poem.  You may wish to consider why you think the Lady of Shalott becomes "half sick" of the shadows she sees in her mirror.

When you are finished, listen to selections of Loreena McKennit's "The Lady of Shalott" and follow along with the Lady of Shalott PowerPoint presentation.

Multiple Intelligences Survey (10/4/16)

In the comments section below, describe your "intelligence" score from the Multiple Intelligences quiz we took today.  You can take the quiz here.

Friday, September 30, 2016

9/10 English Review: Apostrophes (10/3/16)

Bell Ringer Activity:
For today's class, we are reviewing the conventions of standard written English by focusing on apostrophes.  As a proficient high school student writer, it is your responsibility to use punctuation and grammar correctly!

1) Watch Kahn Academy's video on apostrophes, here.

2) Complete practice exercises: "Apostrophes and Plurals" and "Practice Choosing between its and it's."

3) Lastly, comment on this post with a reflection.  Describe your errors and your correct responses.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

11/12 Writing Warmup: Ethos, Logos, and Pathos in the Presidential Debate (10/3/16)

Writing Warmup:
Watch the video on ethos, logos, and pathos and review these key terms.  Then, working in small groups, pick one example of ethos, logos, and pathos in Hillary Clinton's debate and Donald Trump's debate from the broadcast we watched last week.  

For example,

Clinton: "I have a plan that will create ## jobs." 
(ethos, because Clinton is telling us she has done her homework and has a plan to create jobs)

Clinton: "I have a feeling that by the end of this night, I'm going to be blamed for everything that has ever happened." 
(logos and pathos because Clinton is pointing out something that is very true: Trump repeatedly blames her for things that she has no control over.  This comment is made funny by the fact that Trump takes himself so seriously and blurts out, "Why not?!" when she made this claim.)

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Writing Warmup: The Hobbit (9/29/16)

Bell Ringer Activity: 
As we watch The Hobbit, "live respond" with similarities and differences between the book and the movie.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

11/12 English, Writing Warmup: "Live Tweet"—The 2016 Presidential Debate (Trump vs. Clinton)

Bell Ringer Activity:
For today, please "live tweet" last night's debate as we watch Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton debate each other's politics.  Use the comments section below.

"Beauty and the Beast" by Jeanne-Marie LePrince De Beaumont

"Beauty and the Beast" by Jeanne-Marie LePrince De Beaumont is a similar retelling of our cultural Disney understanding of the fairytale. The story starts out saying, "once upon a time there was a very wealthy merchant who lived with his children, three boys, and three girls" (32). One of the daughters was so alluring she was known as "the beautiful child." One day, the father unexpectedly lost all his fortune. The family lived in poverty for an entire year before the father received information that a ship containing his merchandise had arrived. Before he left, his two oldest daughters begged for materialistic items while Beauty only asked for a rose. He journeyed to the port only to find out there was a lawsuit over all his merchandise. On his way home, the father got caught in a storm and noticed a light in the distance. Starving and exhausted, he followed the light and found a castle where he let himself in. After falling asleep there, he was ready to leave in the morning but noticed a rose bush and picked one for Beauty. The Beast saw this action occur and said he would only spare the father’s life if he gave up one of his daughters. When Beauty caught news, she told her father that she must go and proceeded to make her way to the castle. The Beast immediately fell in love with Beauty, but it took quite awhile until Beauty felt the same. After proposing almost every time he saw her, Beauty finally accepted and was ready to spend the rest of her life with the Beast. The moment she said yes to his proposal, celebration began and the Beast suddenly turned into a handsome young man. He explained to Beauty how an evil fairy made him stay in that form until he found a beautiful girl to marry him. The story ends with the typical, “happily ever after” and Beauty and him both then lived in perfect happiness.
The Disney portrayal of Beauty and the Beast is different from the Jeanne-Marie Leprince De Beaumont “Beauty and the Beast.” One way is that in the movie, Beauty is an only child, whereas in the book, she has five siblings. Also, in the Disney version, Beauty and her father have never been rich. However, in the book, the kids grew up with a wealthy father.Something particularly different from the books is that in the book Beauty finds he father in the woods lost and sick.In the movie the audience is given a reason why the Beast is turned in to a Beast whereas in the book the reader is never given a reason for being turned in to a Beast. Another major difference between the two is that in the book, there is no character named Gaston. Gaston is a character who is portrayed as a villain and he thinks because he is who he is that he should have Belle who is the “fairest of them all.” The only reason I can think that Gaston’s character was put in the movie was because Disney could not completely follow the story. 

Question 1: Who does Beauty go to see in hopes to save her father? 
Question 2: Why is it so important to Beauty that she goes to the Beast instead of her father? 
Question 3: What are some of the main virtues Beauty shows throughout this story and how do they differ from how children act in the world today? 

By Katrina, Jordan, Rosie, and Hannah

AP English Writing Warmup: Snow White (1937)

Bell Ringer Activity:
For today, you had to read the section on "Snow White" from our Norton Critical Editions.  Please watch the Snow White trailer (from 1937) and the opening scene to Once upon a Time and discuss how these versions of the "Snow White" story relate to readings you did for today.

Monday, September 26, 2016

11/12 English Writing Warmup: Donald Trump vs. Hillary Clinton--Who Will Win?

Bell Ringer Activity:
How do you think Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump will do in tonight's presidential election? Which one do you think will win?

Writing Warmup (9/26/16): The Apostrophe

Bell Ringer Activity:
In Friday's class, one of our students requested we review how to use a little piece of punctuation known as "the apostrophe."  Before I handout a worksheet with rules and practice exercises, please answer the question below.

Instructions: Place the apostrophe in the correct spot for each phrase.

plural (more than one teacher): all my teachers assignments

singular (only one teacher): all my teachers assignments

singular (only one horse): the horses sore legs

plural (more than one horse): the horses sore legs