Monday, November 30, 2009

Monday, Nov. 30

2 new blog pieces due today - most of you did a wonderful job.

In class...

1. We discussed the film "O."
2. We practiced using the I.B. rubric to grade the passage analysis papers.
3. I collected the copies of Othello (bring yours ASAP) and passed out Song of Solomon (come get yours and sign up for it ASAP).
4. We discussed the meaning behind our names, in preparation for the symbolic names in the book.
5. We looked at the first sentence of the book (read the introduction for Toni Morrison's comments on this important first line).

HW: read pages 1-30 + research your allusion (find the assignment here)

Absent students/allusion assignments:
Evilian: Folklore / Myth of Flying Africans
Maria: Jim Crow
Vladimir: Jim Crow
Roman: Racial Profiling

Monday, November 23, 2009

Monday, November 23rd


1. We did an editing workshop on the drafts. If you were absent, you need to exchange with someone to get feedback. These are the questions we used:

A) Does the thesis tie the different categories together effectively? Does it take a specific stance?

B) So far, has the author done a good job of including plenty of quotes to prove his/her points? Are longer quotes introduced with quotation sandwiches? Are there also some shorter quotes just to demonstrate small points?

C) Is anything confusing that needs to be explained further?

D) Simplify / Cut Clutter – help your partner by suggesting alternate word choices for clarity or by cutting extra words

E) Which is the strongest part so far? Copy 1-3 lines and sign your name.

FINAL PAPER – 2 double spaced pages, original title, due upon return from Thanksgiving break.

2. Watched some clips on youtube of past Othello performances. Find them:
Here, here, here, and here.

HW: Final Draft + 2 pieces posted for the Monday after break (no homework for Wednesday)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Wednesday, November 18th

Today, we...

1. Had our final discussion of Othello
2. Signed up for 10-20 line passages and began annotating them in preparation for the Passage Analysis due the day after Thanksgiving Break - you need to see me when you get back to get materials for this assignment and sign up for a passage

The Paper:
2 double spaced pages + a title page with the passage typed on it
should not incorporate any internet research
should cite the passage you have chosen, but no other passages from the play

Also, read the announcements posted below on the blog, especially the one regarding the UCAS application essay.

HW: 1-2 page typed double spaced draft of your passage analysis for Monday

Monday, November 16, 2009

Why I like Othello

Some of you asked me if I like the play Othello, and I told you I got to liking it a lot this past summer when I researched the issue of race in performance. I thought you might be interested to see the paper I wrote about race in performances of the play. It is one example of how to incorporate research into your English papers, which you will need to start doing once you get to college.

To Activate It, Explode It, or Ignore It
Race in Othello Productions of the 20th Century

By Betsy Potash

Many different readings of race lie locked in the script of Shakespeare’s Othello. In one, race hardly matters, as a husband succumbs to jealousy and destroys his wife. In another, racism spreads insidiously from the character of Iago, infecting Brabantio, Roderigo, Emilia and Othello himself. In still another, Othello is simply different, perhaps proudly so, representing in some ways the history of millions of outsiders who try to join a homogenous community. Different generations, different directors, different actors all activate or deactivate race at different levels, depending on their personal and cultural contexts. When it comes to reading Othello, contemporary history is the most relevant factor in the interpretation of race on stage.

Read the rest here if you're interested.


I heard back from the College Guidance Office and you guys are right, they might search your essay and decide you have plagiarized it if they find it on your own portfolio. This is crazy, but we must respect it. For those of you who are applying only to the UK and do not have another kind of essay to post, you may substitute a 400 word paper that somehow relates to your own identity - tell a story of an important event in your life, describe an important relationship, etc. Label this "400 word college."

Just for Fun - graphics for your blog

A few fun things you can do for your blog, if you have EXTRA time.

If you'd like to add a map showing where in the world people have viewed your blog, check out:
Walk through the steps, copy the HTML, and then paste it into the "HTML" gadget you will find if you look under gadgets on the sidebar.

At this site you can manipulate images so that they fit with your writing.
You can create collages, add text to images, etc.

Monday, November 16th

Today we...

1. Discussed and turned in the news articles relating to Othello that you brought in.

2. Looked at a new writing tips sheet - Top 10 Reminders for Senior Papers.

3. Worked on the blog. You need TWO more pieces posted by the end of Thanksgiving vacation. Feel free to look around at what other people are doing and post comments on their work. Keep in mind ALL THE REQUIREMENTS that must be completed by the end of term - if you've forgotten, remember they are linked on the upper right side of this blog. Don't put off the major pieces until the end, start posting your college essays, book reviews, analytical papers, etc. early!

4. HW: read Act V, work on your blog (be sure you have labels up and your language set to English)

Thursday, November 5, 2009


To add labels to your posts, simply put your desired label into the box in the bottom right-hand corner of the post page. Use labels like "400 word essay", "poem", "book review." For extra work, that is not required for the portfolio, use the label "extra."

Once you begin labeling posts, you must also add "Labels" as a gadget on your sidebar. Remember, to input a gadget, simply click "customize" or "layout" and then add a gadget. Within the labels gadget, you may choose to add your labels as a drop down list, as Antoniya has done, or as a word cloud, as Deia has done.

Everyone MUST use labels to organize their final portfolio, so it's best to start now!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Wednesday, November 4th

Today we...

1. Had a reading quiz. You cannot make this up, it neither hurts nor helps your grade.

2. Worked on a scavenger hunt for quotations. You need to find and copy lines from Othello that demonstrate these literary devices: dramatic irony, foreshadowing and a soliloquy that reveals evil. You also need to find and copy lines that reveal these character traits: Othello has been shaped by violence, Iago uses other people, Desdemona has a complete trust in Othello. Please turn this in to me when you return.

3. Worked on writing support paragraphs for a paper based on the idea that Iago is a perfect villain. Everyone had 30 minutes to write. We discussed the logical flow of a support paragraph: main point, transition, introduce situation of the quote, quote, analyze the quote to prove the main point. You should write a minimum of one page/two support paragraphs just as we did in class, and turn this in to me when you return.

HW: Act IV + find and bring in a news article somehow related to a theme from Othello, along with a paragraph explaining how the two are related

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Monday, November 2nd


1. The blog response paragraphs to your partner are due.
2. We discussed the final assessment for Othello - an I.B. passage analysis of a speech in the play. Start looking out for the one you'd like to write about. Find the assignment description here.
3. Listened to several versions of Othello's "Oh My Fair Warrior" speech to Desdemona.
4. Acted p . 91-top of p. 97
5. Had a Harkness discussion, focusing in part on the questions: What makes Iago a good villain? What is his motivation? Cassio focuses on reputation - what is the role of reputation in the play? At ACS? What is the dramatic function of Act I? Act II?

HW: Read Act III