Monday, August 28, 2017

IB Lit: Short Story List and Presentation Assignment

Our list of short stories for the first six weeks in the order we will read them. 
  • Capote (handout)
    • "My Side of the Matter"
  • Murakami (from The Elephant Vanishes)
    •  "The Second Bakery Attack"
    • "On Seeing the 100% Perfect Girl One Beautiful April Morning"
    • "Barn Burning"
    • "The Little Green Monster"
    • "Family Affair"
    • "The Last Lawn of the Afternoon"
    • "The Elephant Vanishes"

Group Presentation Topics: Japanese Literature and Culture
  • Murakami's Biography
  • The Salaryman
  • Group v. Individual
  • Women
  • Hierarchies
  • Cosmology
  • Superstition
  • Magical Realism as a Genre
  • Other (must be approved in advance by McGhee)

Presentation Parameters:
  • Each presentation team is comprised of 3-4 partners
  • Each partner is responsible for an equal share of the work
  • Each partner is responsible for no less than three (3) minutes' worth of the presentation
  • Each presentation is to be 9-15 minutes in length
  • Visuals are acceptable and encouraged (PowerPoint, Prezi, etc)

Rubric ____/30 points possible
  • Knowledge and Understanding: 0-5 points
    • How well does the candidate know and understand the content of the work(s)? 
  • Interpretation and Personal Response: 0-10 points 
    • How valid is the candidate’s interpretation of the work(s)?
    • To what extent does the candidate’s response show critical thinking and originality?
  • Presentation: 0-10 points
    • How effective and convincing is the candidate’s presentation?
  • Use of Language: 0-5 points
    • How accurate, clear, and precise is the language used by the candidate?

Some websites that may help you to create your presentation

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Woodrow Wilson Red Hot Summer Read-a-thon 2017 ***Updated***

Here they are, the 2017 Summer Reading selections for incoming Woodrow students. Depending upon which class you are in, there may be more than one book, so be sure to verify what you need to read on the list that follows the cover images. These books can all be purchased locally at a Dallas bookseller, or from a used-book store such as Half-Price Books or Lucky Dog Books, or online, or you could visit your local branch of the Dallas Library. In any case, while covers may vary, students are advised to purchase the complete, unabridged versions of the novels.

Incoming Freshmen:

English I On-level

English I Pre-AP

English I IS

English I Pre-AP

Incoming Sophomores:

English II on-level

English II Pre-AP

English II IS

English II IS

Incoming Juniors:
(Link to Assignments)

***(Link to On-level/AP assignments)***

English III on-level

English III AP English Language and Composition

English III IB Literature

English III IB Literature

Incoming Seniors:

English IV on-level
Part 1: "The Sword in the Stone"

English IV AP Literature and Composition

English IV AP Literature and Composition

English IV IB Literature

English IV IB Literature

So, to recap...

English I on level         - In Cold Blood by: Truman Capote
English I pre-AP         - In Cold Blood by: Truman Capote
                                     - I am Malala by: Malala Yousafzai and Christina Lamb
English I IS                 - In Cold Blood by: Truman Capote

English II on level       - The Absolute True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by: Sherman Alexie
English II pre-AP        - The Absolute True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by: Sherman Alexie
English II IS                - The Absolute True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by: Sherman Alexie
                                    - Lord of the Flies by: William Golding

English III on level      - Catcher in the Rye by: J. D. Salinger
English III AP             - The Tipping Point by: Malcolm Gladwell
English III IB              - The Wizard of Oz by: Frank Baum
                                    - How to Read Literature like a Professor by: Thomas Foster

English IV on level     - Part I “The Sword in the Stone” of The Once and Future King
  by: T.H. White
English IV AP            - The Handmaid’s Tale by: Margaret Atwood
                                    - Raw Shark Texts by: Steven Hall
English IV IB              - Raw Shark Texts by: Steven Hall
                                    - V for Vendetta by: Alan Moore

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Woodrow 11th Grade Summer Reading Explosaganza 2017!

IB English III

Howdy. It is with great fanfare and drum and the shofar that I present the summer reading assignment for IB English 3 for 2017. Two books--one to read over the summer and one to have ready for the fall semester:

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum

Yes, the original. This book is an exceptionally simple read. It was, after all, written for children; however, there is a lot more going on. You know how Animal Farm is an allegory for the rise of Soviet socialism in Russia, and Harry Potter is an allegory for the global "War on Terror"? This novel is a detailed snapshot of politics in the late 19th century in America.

Yes, really. I'm dead serious. This will also give you a fairly reasonable idea of how we're going to look at not only the art of the writing but also the context of the novel.

Your version of this cover may vary, but you need to pick up the UNABRIDGED version. You do not need to pick up the version with Denslow's original illustrations, but it's pleasant to have.

How to Read Literature Like a Professor by Thomas C. Foster

We will use this book as a framework for the exploration and explication of the novels and other readings for our IB Literature A class. The text is actually kind of interesting, if academic, so feel free to read ahead if you like. HtRLLaP is on quite a few short lists of books for successful college and IB students alike

There may be some incoming seniors and/or graduating seniors who may be willing to part with their copy if you are particularly persuasive, and some of them were really good about keeping notes in the margins....

Both of these books can be found online from and the like, but they can also be found at Half-Price Books and Lucky Dog Books locally.

Please note that students (ie, incoming IB English juniors at Woodrow Wilson) should possess both books and have the novel read by the start of the fall semester 2017-2018; students should further anticipate that there will be a diagnostic exam based on the material for the purpose of figuring out approximately your skill level and potential needs.

IB Film

  1. WATCH SOME MOVIES! Keep a journal on everything you watch. No, really, every movie. Not just the ones you go to an actual movie theater but also ones you might watch at home. If it's the first time you've seen that movie, journal it. Log the title, date, director, principal talent, and anything else that strikes you about the movie from a filmmaking point of view. While you're at it, review this short interview in terms of formatting your journal. (By the way, I will be doing the same thing, too, watching and writing about movies. We'll compare notes.)
    • up to 7 minutes of dialogue and action
    • needs to be formatted as a script, not as a short story
    • will be "pitched" by you to the whole class during the first week of school
    • subject matter to be determined by you, but it must fit within the parameters of the final IB Film project

Your script will be due the first day of the first week of school. Period. No exceptions, unless it is a REALLY good one, and even then I reserve the right to call shenanigans and say no.


Actually, a short series of assignments:

  1.  Please read this short interview about American Cinema and film criticism. This should give you a fairly straightforward account of the way we will view and comment upon film in our class. It will also give you a model for how to complete the reflections that will be required of you for this summer assignment. Pay close attention to the commentary--both what they care to observe and how they comment upon it.
  2. WATCH SOME MOVIES! You must watch a total of five (5) films over the summer. This part of the assignment is more enjoyable if you actually watch them with other people, perhaps your fellow film students or even <gasp!> your parental units. You will need to watch the following:
    • Film Noir from the 1940s - 50s;
    • Sci Fi classic from the 1930s - 60s;
    • Western;
    • a film by a foreign director such as: Pedro Almodovar, Federico Fellini, Roberto Rossellini, Jean Paul Melville, Masaki Kobayashi, Werner Herzog, Akira Kurosawa, John Woo, or Francois Truffaut;
    • and another movie from the genre or era or country of your choice.
  3. Written Assignment: You will turn in a 3x5 reflection card for each film you watch, written within two days of seeing the film. 
    • Side A of this reflection card should include:
    1. Title and year of release.
    2. Director's name
    3. Principle actors' names
    4. Production company's name (e.g.Warner Bros., Toho, Universal, etc.)
    5. Country of origin
    •  Side B (the lined side) is where you BRIEFLY discuss your analytical, interpretive and evaluative thoughts about the film. (Again, read the link above in #1 for an example of what I'm talking about.)
    I originally thought this went without saying, but try to watch movies that you have not seen before. I know it doesn't' say specifically what you have to watch; ultimately, it's your option. However, even if you sample something that you've tasted a thousand times, I hope that you'll look at it in a more critical light than that to which you are accustomed.

    There are a number of decent websites with "must see" lists of films for film students. Here are a couple I would recommend:

    The assignment will be due the Friday of the first week of school. Period. No exceptions, unless it is a REALLY good one, and even then I reserve the right to call shenanigans and say no. 

    AP English III

    There is a reading assignment for AP English III as well. 

    The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference by Malcolm Gladwell

    Gladwell defines a tipping point as "the moment of critical mass, the threshold, the boiling point." The book seeks to explain and describe the "mysterious" sociological changes that mark everyday life. The following assignment will be due when you return; the exact day will be announced on day one, but anticipate that it will be due by the end of the first week.

    Assignment: Analysis Paper

    In The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference, Malcolm Gladwell discusses the causes and effects of seemingly spontaneous events. Read the text of The Tipping Point carefully. Then write an essay in which you analyze the rhetorical strategies Gladwell uses to convey his message about the sociological changes we experience in our daily lives. Support your analysis with specific references to the text.


    • Typed
    • 600-800 words
    • 12-point, Times-New-Roman font
    • Double spaced, one-inch margins
    • Parenthetical citations; e.g. (p123), etc.
    • MLA format

    Have a great summer. If you need to contact me with any questions, feel free to drop me a line at:

    Tuesday, April 25, 2017

    IB Film: Reverse Script Assignment

    There are two parts to this assignment:

    Part One: Audio
    • create a script, word for word, for everything the Narrator says, and
    • be sure to include the audio from the clips, word for word, as they form a kind of dialogue with the Narrator
    • this is due May 5
    Part Two: Video
    • create a script, shot for shot, for everything that is shown in the video
    • include how much time each image stays on screen, and whether it jump cuts, fades, irises, or however it transitions from shot to shot
    • this is due May 8

    Monday, April 24, 2017

    IB Film: List of Summer 2017 Movie Release Dates

    (The following interactive list originated here.)

    MAY 2017
    May 5 (Friday)
    Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
    3 Generations (Limited)
    Chuck (Limited)
    The Dinner (Limited)
    The Lovers (Limited)
    May 12 (Friday)
    May 19 (Friday)
    May 25 (Thursday)
    May 26 (Friday)
    JUNE 2017
    June 2 (Friday)
    June 9 (Friday)
    June 16 (Friday)
    June 23 (Friday)
    June 28 (Wednesday)
    June 30 (Friday)
    JULY 2017
    July 7 (Friday)
    July 14 (Friday)
    July 21 (Friday)
    July 28 (Friday)
    AUGUST 2017
    August 4 (Friday)
    August 11 (Friday)
    August 18 (Friday)
    August 25 (Friday)

    And we're back in school, or about to be, by this point.