Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Wednesday, April 21st

Today we took the first part of the I.B. exam. If you were absent, see me to find out the make-up date. If you were there, congratulations on being done!

HW: None

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Monday, April 19th

Today, we...

1. Had a final discussion on TCO.
2. Collected all books - TCO and also any independent plays you might have. There is a list of missing books posted on the wall by the door. You must pay for any books you have lost before I can sign your exit form at the end of the year.
3. Discussed the rubric for the passage commentary - the I.B. exam you'll be taking on Wednesday - and then did some practice.
4. Independent Project groups filled out reviews for their group members, giving each a grade of 1-10 and explaining what each group member contributed to the project.

HW: review the I.B. commentary rubric, bring pens on Wednesday and BE ON TIME for the first portion of your I.B. exam

ALSO, if you have a 4 or below in this class, you may write an optional 3 page paper (topic of your choice) on The Cherry Orchard, due next Monday

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Wednesday, April 14th

Today was the presentation of the final drama projects. Well done presenters!

If you did not attend class, you must get your project to me today, as this represents a major final deadline. One group performance (Gabe, Bilyana) has been postponed until Monday.

HW: Complete The Cherry Orchard and bring the book to turn in

To keep in mind: Next Wednesday is the first portion of the I.B. exam - the unseen passage analysis. You need to be in class on this day unless you are very ill or have some kind of emergency.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Monday, April 12th

Welcome Back!

Today, we...

1. Had final group meetings and check-ins with Ms. Potash about the drama projects. Be prepared not only to turn in your project, but to explain it to others, discussing your goals and purpose, what you discovered, what you consider most successful about your project, what else you would do if you had more time, etc.

2. Did some acting exercises.

3. Discussed Madame Ranevsky's monologue beginning "What is truth?" on p. 32 and performed it.

4. Worked on one assignment from The Cherry Menu. You should choose and complete one option for Wednesday.

HW: Drama Projects due Wednesday, Cherry Menu Assignment

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Wednesday, March 31st

Today, we...

1. Started by doing an I.B. practice for the drama question portion of the exam. Sit down and write for 40 minutes on one of these two questions. Turn it in when you get back (10 points).

A) Dramatic works often explore some kind of transition – historical, personal or cultural. Explore the idea of transition in 2-3 of the dramatic works you have read this semester.

B) Love is a powerful motivation. In the plays we read this semester, many characters make decisions based on love, whether for good or ill. Choose 3 characters from 2-3 different works and discuss the way love impacts their roles in their respective dramas. How does love become a powerful force in shaping the action of these plays?

2. Discussed Act II of the Cherry Orchard, paying close attention to the characters of Charlotte, Trophimov, and Madame Ranevsky.


Have a nice break!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Monday, March 29th

Today, we...

1. Examined the character motivations for: Lopakhin, Dunyasha, Ephikhodof, Firs, Anya, Madame Ranevsky, Barbara, Gayef, and Trophimov. What do they want? What do they not want?

2. Did a short writing exercise which you need to make up. Write or type 3/4 page on these questions, including a quotation in your response. How does this time of transition for one family represent a time of transition for Russia? Which characters represent which social groups/forces?

3. Chose one activity to complete (10 points) from The Cherry Menu. Print this handout for future use, and complete one activity for Wednesday.

HW: Act II, Activity from the menu, Independent Project

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Wednesday, March 24th

Today, we...

1. Took an in-class essay (60 minutes) - you will need to arrange a time to make this up.
2. Collected The Tempest. You need to turn this in as soon as you get back.
3. Passed out The Cherry Orchard, our final play. Please pick this up this week so you can complete the homework.

HW: Act I

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Wednesday, March 16th

Today, we...

1. Turned in the I.B. unseen passage essay intros and the 3 discussion questions (Please stop by to give these to me).

2. Worked on the independent projects. Remember these are DUE APRIL 14TH. THAT IS SOON.

3. Had our final Harkness discussion on The Tempest.

HW: PROJECTS, bring The Tempest to use in an IN-CLASS ESSAY next time and then to turn in (worth 5 points to have it on time), you may also bring your notes on the play for use during the essay

Monday, March 15, 2010

Monday, March 14th

Today, we...

1. Took a reading quiz
2. Did some acting exercises and practiced performing speeches from the play
3. Did a practice for the I.B. unseen passage exam. Stop by to get a copy of the practice test. You will need to write only the INTRODUCTION for an essay.

HW: finish The Tempest, write 3 discussion questions, finish the introduction, bring your independent project work

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Wednesday, March 10th

Today we...

1. Spent one period working on the independent play projects. Keep in mind these are due April 14th which is SOON.

2. Discussed Act III of the Tempest. Considered two possible interpretations of the play:
A) That it focuses on the issues of the age of exploration - how people from far away treat local people, and vis versa.
B) That through Prospero, Shakespeare examines the role of the artist in the world. That, in fact, Shakespeare identifies with Prospero, and the way he shapes and creates situations and solves them.

HW: read Act IV (very short) and WORK ON YOUR INDEPENDENT PROJECT. There just might be a reading quiz on Monday.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Monday, March 8th

Today, we...

1. Did some acting. First, warm-up exercises, then Act II Scene II.

2. Discussed the two halves of the I.B. Exam. There will be one essay for which you choose a question from a list of several and then respond based on your understanding of the plays we read this semester. The other essay is on an unseen passage - you will receive a fiction excerpt and a poem, and can choose to write on either one. Today, we looked at the rubric for both essays and also an example of the unseen passage packet.

HW: read Act III

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Monday, March 1st

Chestita Baba Marta!

Today, we...

1. Collected the Streetcar texts and film analysis papers. Please turn yours in as soon as you get back.

2. Did some acting exercises - we will continue with these the rest of the quarter. Be prepared for fun.

3. Passed out The Tempest and started to read it aloud.

4. HW: Act I of The Tempest

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Wednesday, Feb. 17th (and next week)

Today, we...

1. Acted mini-scenes from the play
2. Had a Harkness discussion about the play as a whole, now that we've finished it
3. Worked on independent projects

HW: write a one page double spaced character analysis paper on the character of your choice. Your paper SHOULD have a thesis. Make a statement about a character and defend it with text. This short analysis will be due on Monday.

NEXT WEEK - I will be gone interviewing in the United States and you will have a substitute teacher. You'll be meeting in the Abbott projector room to watch A Streetcar Named Desire both days. Your Monday sub will collect your character analysis papers and also give you a handout describing a short film analysis paper that will be due Monday, March 1st.

Monday of next week - watch film the entire time (take notes for your film analysis paper)
HW: none

Wednesday of next week - finish film, then discuss it in small groups
HW: complete film analysis paper for March 1st

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Monday, February 5th

Today, we...

1. Took a reading quiz

2. Did small group discussion. Find the questions here - complete them for Wednesday.

3. Did an activity series (choose 4 of the following 6 to turn in on Wednesday)

A) Write a paragraph explaining what you consider to be Blanche’s Greatest Fear.

B) Choose a hero/heroine for Stella, Stanley, and Blanche. Explain the connection.

C) Design Blanche or Mitch’s Online dating profile (background, favorite books, favorite movie, looking for…)

D) Choose the quotation you consider most significant from the play so far and explain why.

E) Sketch the set during the poker game.

F) Write a dialogue between Stella and an advice-giving radio or television show host

HW: Scenes 7-11

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Wednesday, Feb. 10

Announcement: I have now graded all portfolios. Please REMOVE your personal statements from the internet so no one can borrow them next year. Thanks!

Today, we...

1. Discussed the first two scenes of Streetcar.
Consider: What sad thing happened in Blanche's past and why does she react so strongly when Stanley touches her letters? Blanche says "a woman's charm is 50% illusion" - what does she mean by this? How does it fit her character? Which character do you trust most so far? Least?

2. Worked on the play project.

HW: Scenes 3-6

Monday, February 8, 2010

Monday, February 8th

If you missed class today, you need to come and see me to pick up:
A) A copy of A Streetcar Named Desire
B) The handout describing our new second semester play project

HW: read scenes 1 and 2, choose your play project option

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Wednesday, January 27th

The countdown to the final begins now (1 more class day next Monday).

Today, we...

1. Watched any and all remaining performances of the Song of Solomon mini-versions
2. Split into groups to create review questions on the four texts the final will cover (Poetry, Dubliners, Othello, and Song of Solomon)
3. Played Jeopardy with the review questions
4. Discussed the most common paper-writing errors of the semester so far that you can NOT make them next week

HW: STUDY! Especially look over poetry and Dubliners as we studied those longest ago.

Poems you could possibly draw on the final: "Act of Union", "Questions of Travel", "Easter, 1916", "On Being Asked for a War Poem", "Edge", "Mirror"

Monday, January 25, 2010

Monday, January 24th

Today, we...

Watched group performances (for those groups who had all members present). If you were absent today, expect to perform on Wednesday.

Read and turned in the final chapters. Bring yours to me as soon as you return, if you haven't already sent it by way of a friend.

HW: begin reviewing your notes and the texts for the final. Dubliners, Song of Solomon, and Othello are all available online.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Strong Passage Analysis

As I'm sure you remember, your final exam for the semester will be in the same format we've been practicing all semester - an I.B. Passage Analysis.

Here is an example of a strong 6 from the Othello Passage Analysis Assignment.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Wednesday, January 20th

Today we spent the whole period working on the group project we began on Monday. Group performances will take place on Monday - be sure to find out if/when your group is rehearsing so you won't be out of it during the performance.

Monday is the final deadline of the semester, our last day of regular class before we begin review.

HW: complete your creative final chapter for the novel, be prepared for your group performance, be sure you've completed your portfolio by class time on Monday

Monday, January 18, 2010

Monday, January 18th

Today, we...

1. Had a surprise reading quiz. Whoo hoo!
2. Discussed the ending of the book.
3. Started a new project, which we will also work on Wednesday and which will be due on Monday. Read all about it here. It's a group project, and you'll find out on Wednesday when you return who your group members are and what they accomplished today.

HW: work on your creative last chapter and your productions as needed

Remember, the portfolio is DUE NEXT MONDAY.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Wednesday, January 13th

Today, we...

1. Discussed Song of Solomon:

A) What is the significance of the theme of flight in the text? When does it come up?
B) Which characters are round? Flat? Static? Dynamic? Are only the younger characters dynamic?
C) Milkman experiences the "Trials" stage of the heroic journey in the last section of reading. What trials does he encounter? What does he learn?

HW: read p.p. 305-337, start writing your final chapter if you wish, work on your portfolio

Portfolio Deadline for Early Credit: January 15th
Portfolio Final Deadline: January 25th

Image from:

Monday, January 11, 2010

Announcement - U.S. College Essays

After you complete your portfolio and receive your grade, you should take down your college ap essays (those of you who posted U.S. personal statements) so that they cannot be copied by someone else next year.


Monday, January 11th

Today, we...

1. Discussed Joseph Campbell's theory of "The Heroic Monomyth." Check out a short movie introducing the concept at:

2. Worked on maps to document Milkman's journey so far. You need to complete one, so print it from here.

3. Discussed the reading, particularly focusing on Guitar's motivation and the role of Circe.

4. Did some creative writing about the idea of "my people" discussed on p. 129. Write one half page on this prompt: Who are your people? Describe the community you come from, or one of your relatives that you are proud of.

HW: 259-304

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Wednesday, January 6th

Today, we...

1. Turned in the comment paragraphs and current events (turn yours in when you get back).

2. Reviewed the exam format and did some practice passage analysis for paragraphs from Song of Solomon. Remember to include in your analyses: context in the book, context in history, characterization, themes, style, modern connections.

3. Looked at some Sylvia Plath poetry. Be sure to read the two poems a couple of times. Find them here.

HW: 219-258 and work on your portfolio (remember to add the reflection at the end)

Monday, January 4, 2010

Monday, January 4th

Happy New Year!

We started today with some housekeeping items:

New Seating Chart until second semester
Othello Papers Back (finally, phew!)
Reminders: BRING YOUR BOOK AND NOTEBOOK TO CLASS, mark your absent work "absent" so I know it isn't just late
Announcement: Please clean up your garbage and push in your chairs before leaving class. I am doing a lot of cleaning up after you and I shouldn't have to.

And then we...
1. Did an "open mind" exercise for the characters of Guitar, Milkman, Macon Sr., Ruth, Hagar, and Pilate
2. Had a graded Harkness
3. Went to the computer lab to do final responses for partners in Kentucky. You need to write a paragraph comment to your partner if they have posted any new work, otherwise you need to write for the person ABOVE you in the blog links. Print this out and turn it in on Wednesday as well as posting it.

Portfolios will be due Jan. 25th, but anyone turning them in by Jan. 15th will receive 2 free points on the assignment (not to exceed a 100% score). Simply write me an e-mail to let me know when your portfolio is done.

HW: print comment paragraph, read p.p. 187-216, current event article relating to a theme from Song of Solomon + paragraph showing how they relate