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.