Sunday, February 11, 2018

IB English: HoD Final Graphic Project

The summative project for the Heart of Darkness unit is a graphic project.

The student will select one quote from the novella which encapsulates one of the themes. Then the student will find an image (from the Internet or a book, et cetera) that he or she feels illustrates the quote from the novella; center the image and caption it with the selected quote from the novella. On the back of the page, the student will properly cite the source of the image  as well as the quote from the novella (MLA format).

Students will present their graphic projects to the class on Thursday, February 22, 2018.

An example is below:

"[The Jungle] whispered things to him, things about himself that he didn't know until he was out there alone. That whisper echoed loudly inside him because he was hollow." (Conrad, 68)

IB English: Mandala Project

This mandala project is due Wednesday, February 21, 2018.
 Mandala is a Sanskrit word meaning center and circle. It conveys the notion that any center is tied to its circumference and any circumference is always determined by its center. Together they represent wholeness. The character mandala project represents the student's analysis of the whole character in The Heart of Darkness.

After choosing your character, consider what traits that character displays and what happens to him/her in the story. Using the color symbolism chart, color the mandala according to the characteristics you have determined about your character. Whichever traits/characteristics are the most important or most evident should be represented by the corresponding colors from the chart and be dominant on the mandala. Any character you choose should have at least three characteristics and/or traits, and those colors should be evident on your mandala. Under the mandala, write the name of your character. On a separate page, type one paragraph about your character by first introducing him/her, followed by an explanation of what each color represents, the significance of their placement, and textual evidence and personal commentary for support of each characteristic you displayed. Conclude your paragraph with a theme statement of the selection. Be prepared to present your finished product to the class. Yes, you will have to read your paragraph.

The completed project should meet these criteria:

  1. a choice of characteristics appropriate to the character showing careful, close reading,
  2. a pattern of colors that are pleasing to the eye (or meaningfully harsh) and represent the characteristics the colors symbolize,
  3. effective paragraph organization, sentence fluency, word choice, and attention to conventions,
  4. and appropriate evidence correctly notated.

Friday, January 5, 2018

IB Literature: Individual Oral Commentary

The internal assessment for "Part 4: Options" is a presentation that you complete in response to one or more of your Part 4 works. Unlike the individual oral commentary, the presentation is based on a topic that you can choose and prepare--this makes the individual oral presentation slightly less intimidating. This is where you can be creative about a topic that interests you. As Tim Gunn would say, make it work.

What is it?
This assessment is a prepared oral presentation that lasts between 10 and 15 minutes. The topic and format are up to you. On the day of your presentation, you will present your topic with no interruptions from me or the class, though there may be questions to answer at the end.

What is my topic?

There are a variety of potential areas of focus to address according to the official subject guide:
  • Cultural setting of the work(s) and related issues
  • Thematic focus
  • Characterization
  • Techniques and style
  • Author's attitude to particular elements of the work such as character(s) or subject matter
  • Interpretation of particular elements from different perspectives
Your idea may come from one of these, or a combination of them. However, please keep in mind that your topic should be defined and specific. You will be demonstrating a detailed understanding of the work, and there is an emphasis on independent thinking.

So what should I do?

Well, what do you want to do? A formal analysis or critique of a particular idea or theme, or a more informal approach involving artistry and interpretation? These approaches are some of the ones deemed appropriate by IB:
  • An explanation of a particular aspect of an author's work
  • The examination of a particular interpretation of the work
  • The setting of a particular writer's work against another body of material, such as social or economic background, or political views
  • A commentary on the use of a particular image, idea or symbol in a text or in an author's work
  • A commentary on an extract from a work studied in class, which has been prepared at home
  • The presentation of two opposing readings of a work
  • A monologue or dialogue by a character at an important part of the work
  • An author's reaction to a particular interpretation of elements of their work in a given context (e.g., a critical defense of the work against a charge of subversion, or immorality, before a censorship board)
***Remember: this is your exploration of a topic. Play to your strengths, but be open to getting into things you haven't done before. If you're good at performance or drama, great! If you're not so good at the performance thing, no problem! Ultimately, this is literary course; marks will be awarded to you based on the extent to which you demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the texts we studied and your ability to offer an interpretation of them.***

How do I bring film into this thing?

Some interesting presentation ideas follow:
  • The relationship between types of camera shots and narrative points of view
  • The cinematic representation of inner monologue
  • Adaptations of novels/short stories/plays and what they left out
  • Narrative voice in film
  • 'Updating' a narrative to a contemporary setting and how it affects the thematic message of the text
  •  Cinema's effect on the structure of the written text
  • Symbolism in written and visual text
  • How soundtracks and sound effects in a film adaptation change the written text
When is this due?

Ultimately, that is also up to you. We have three texts and three six-week grading periods. Heart of Darkness and A Streetcar Named Desire are sooner than Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, but DADoES? will come at the end of the semester when people are doing IAs and end of year exams like the AP. It may not necessarily be a bad thing to go first.
  • January 19, 2018: Novel to be Presented 
  • January 29, 2017: Presentation Topic Due
  • February 12, 2018HoD Presentations Begin
Internal Assessment Criteria: Individual Oral Presentation (HL)

Knowledge and understanding
·  How much knowledge and understanding does the student show of the work(s) used in the presentation?
Does not reach minimum standard
There is little knowledge or understanding of the content of the work(s) presented.
There is some knowledge and superficial understanding of the content of the work(s)   presented.
There is adequate knowledge and understanding of the content and some of the implications of the work(s) presented.

There is very good knowledge and understanding of the content and most of the implications of the work(s) presented.
There is excellent knowledge and understanding of the content and the implications of
the work(s) presented.
·  How much attention has been given to making the delivery effective and appropriate to the presentation?
·  To what extent are strategies used to interest the audience (for example, audibility, eye contact, gesture, effective use of supporting material)?

Does not reach minimum standard
Delivery of the presentation is seldom appropriate, with little attempt to interest the audience.
Delivery of the presentation is sometimes appropriate, with some attempt to interest the audience.
Delivery of the presentation is appropriate, with a clear intention to interest the audience.
Delivery of the presentation is effective, with suitable strategies used to interest the audience.
Delivery of the presentation is highly effective, with purposeful strategies used to interest the audience.
·  How clear, varied and accurate is the language?
·  How well is the register and style suited to a Socratic Seminar? (“Register” refers, in this context, to the student’s use of elements such as vocabulary, tone, sentence structure and terminology appropriate to the commentary.)?
Does not reach minimum standard
The language is rarely appropriate, with a very limited attempt to suit register and style to the choice of presentation.
The language is sometimes appropriate, with some attempt to suit register and style to the choice of presentation.
The language is mostly clear and appropriate, with some attention paid to register and style that is suited to the choice of presentation.

The language is clear and appropriate, with register and style consistently suited to the choice of presentation.
The language is very clear and entirely appropriate, with register and style consistently effective and suited to the choice of presentation.

IB Film: Directors Project and Presentation

This six weeks, we are going to explore the idea of intentionality in film. You will choose three (3) directors to study for the six weeks. You may select your absolute favorite director for one paper. At least one of these directors must be from a “culture other than your own,” a phrase that has some wiggle-room in it, to say the least. Ideally, your selection of directors will include at least one person of whom you have never heard, much less studied. Go ahead and pick someone at random if you'd like, or pick a culture and go from there. Branch out.

Step 1: Pick directors
Step 2: Watch two movies by that director
Step 4: Profit!

After you have selected your directors and films, the assignments will be due one per week each Friday on The written assignment will be a 250 – 300-word overview identifying the style of a selected director. Your paper should include:
  • A VERY short bio (birth/death/country of origin/etc)
  • A summary of the director’s style
  • Examples from two (2) of the director’s films which demonstrate the director’s intended style
  • An analytical commentary on the examples provided
  • Some recognition of the effects of era, technology, studio, genre, culture, and/or audience on the director’s style (note: in an ideal world, this commentary would be embedded all along throughout the report)
Due Dates: 
Submit your paper online to by 11:59pm on the due date.
  • Feb 2 - Director One
  • Feb 9 - Director Two
  • Feb 16 - Director Three
List of Pre-Approved Directors:

Adoor Gopalakrishnan
Agnes Varda *
Akira Kurosawa
Alejandro González Iñárritu
Alfonso Cuaron
Amy Heckerling *
Ann Hui *
Arthur Penn
Bernardo Bertolucci
Billy Wilder
Bimal Roy
Brian De Palma
Cecil B. DeMille
Claire Denis *
Clint Eastwood
David Lean
Elia Kazan
Ernst Lubitsch
Federico Fellini
Francis Ford Coppola
Franco Zeffireli
Francois Truffaut
Frank Capra
George Lucas
Guillermo del Toro
Guru Dutt
Hou Hsiao-hsien
Howard Hawks
Hrishikesh Mukherjee
Ida Lupino *
Jackie Chan
Jacques Tati
Jean Cocteau
Jean Renoir
Jean-Luc Goddard
Jean-Poerre Melville
Joel and Ethan Coen
John Cassavetes
John Huston
John Woo
Joseph L. Mankiewicz
Julie Taymor *
Kathryn Bigelow *
Kenji Mizoguchi
Kevin Smith
Louis Malle
Luc Besson
Luis Bunuel
Martin Scorsese
Masaki Kobayashi
Mel Brooks
Miguel Arteta
Mike Nichols
Mikio Naruse
Mrinal Sen
Nora Ephron *
Oliver Stone
Orson Welles
Otto Preminger
Pedro Almodovar
Penny Marshall *
Peter Jackson
Preston Sturges
Quentin Tarantino
Raj Kapoor
Ridley Scott
Ritwik Ghatak
Robert Altman
Roberto Benigni
Roberto Rodriguez
Roberto Rosselini
Roman Polanski
Salvador Dali
Sam Peckinpah
Sam Raimi
Satyajit Ra
Seijun Suzuki
Sergio Leone
Sophia Coppola *
Spike Lee
Stanley Kubrick
Stephen Spielberg
Tim Burton
Vincente Minnelli
Vittorio De Sica
William Castle
Woody Allen
Yasujiro Ozu
Zhang Yimou
...just to name a few. If you have another director you would like to research, let me know.

Note: an asterisk denotes a female director.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

IB Lit: Transgression and Redemption Final 2017

  1. How does the city serve simultaneously as a symbol of society and of Raskolnikov's state of mind?
  2. How do the living spaces reflect and enhance our understanding of the characters and the plot?
  3. How does the novel function as an allegory for Russian Orthodox Christian's journey?
  4. How should the reader reconcile Svidrigailov's charitable gestures at the end of the novel with his violent confrontation of Dunya during the same time frame; does his eventual suicide affect the response?

Prep all four; draw on exam day. You will use your prepped notes and your novel to answer the question you draw.

Monday, October 23, 2017

IB Lit: Infernal Exam Topics

Four Questions:
  • Discuss how the Pilgrim's journey in general and his gradual change in reaction to the sinners as he ventures deeper into Hell can be read allegorically.
  • Discuss why Dante the Pilgrim gets this peculiar chance at redemption.
  • Discuss the allegorical relationship between “The Inferno” and Classical literature.
  • Discuss the significance of Cocytus, the frozen lake at the bottom of Hell.