Friday, May 25, 2018

Goodbye, Woodrow

Author William S. Burroughs observes:

"This is a war universe. War all the time. That is its nature. There may be other universes based on all sorts of other principles, but ours seems to be based on war and games." 

Within an infinite set of universes, there must exist a particular universe in which the events in your life are being watched as a TV show.

You are hereby challenged to live the kind of life that gets high ratings.

Good luck,

Thursday, March 29, 2018

IB Film: Summer Movies Checklist 2018

Here's a list of movies coming out this summer. All of the dates except July 4th are Fridays. This list is not exhaustive, but it is representative of the major Hollywood push for this summer season.

May 4
  • Avengers: Infinity War

May 11
  • Life of the Party

May 18
  • Deadpool 2
  • On Chesil Beach

May 25
  • Solo: A Star Wars Story
  • June 1
  • Action Point
  • American Animals

June 8
  • Ocean’s 8
  • Won’t You Be My Neighbor?
  • Hereditary

June 15
  • Incredibles 2
  • Tag

June 22
  • Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

June 29
  • Sicario 2: Soldado
  • Sorry to Bother You
  • The Hustle
  • Leave No Trace (limited)

July 4
  • The First Purge

July 6
  • Ant-Man and the Wasp

July 13
  • Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation
  • Skyscraper
  • Don’t Worry He Won’t Get Far on Foot

July 20
  • Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again!

Mile 22
  • The Equalizer 2

July 27
  • Mission: Impossible – Fallout
  • Teen Titans Go! To the Movies
  • Blindspotting

August 3
  • Christopher Robin
  • The Spy Who Dumped Me

August 10
  • The Meg

August 17
  • Captive State
  • Crazy Rich Asians
  • The Happytime Murders
  • White Boy Rick

August 24
  • Cadaver
  • Slenderman
  • Replicas

August 31

  • The Little Stranger

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

IB Lit - Diagnosis: Blanche D.

In order to prescribe an appropriate therapy, the medical staff of Central Louisiana State Hospital need your help in establishing a background for their newest patient, Miss Blanche D______ (redacted for patient confidentiality purposes).

Students will adopt the perspective of a psychotherapist and prepare a brief case study (350-750 words) of Miss Blanche. The task is to describe the habits and behaviors which drove the patient to the asylum; specifically, students must address the following:
  • what are the patient's symptoms?
  • what patterns of dysfunctional behaviors may have contributed to committing the patient to the asylum?
  • are their any specific circumstances or events that may have precipitated her arrival?
  • and finally, based on these patterns of behaviors and circumstances, is recovery possible in the immediate future, or is the patient to be committed for a long term (or even permanent) care?
Please note that this is not a typical book report, and as such students should not simply summarize the events of the play. The central question to answer (using the bulleted questions above as a guide) is how did the patient come to arrive at the asylum, and why.

Due Date
30 Mar 2018
by 6:00 pm CST

Monday, February 26, 2018

IB Film: Paired Analysis Project Assignments

DUE DATE: 19 March 2018

Film Noir - Ford and Kendyl
  • The Big Sleep (1946) 
  • The Big Lebowski (1998)
Monster Symbolism - Francisco and Robert Bu.
  • Gojira (1954) Japan
  • Godzilla (2014) USA
German Expressionism - 
  • Das Cabinet Des Dr. Caligari (1920) Germany
  • Edward Scissorhands (1990) USA
Vampires - Ashley and Natalia
  • The Horror of Dracula (1958) UK
  • What We Do in the Shadows (2014) New Zealand
Star-crossed Lovers - Leslye and Jenitze
  • Devdas (2002) India
  • Romeo and Juliet (1968) UK/Italy
Horror - Desimarie and Olivia
  • Night of the Living Dead (1968) USA
  • 28 Days Later (2002) UK
Cyberpunk- Simon and Trace
  •  Akira (1988) Japan
  •  Blade Runner 2049 (2017) USA/UK/Hungary/Canada 
Cyberpunk - Sami and Jake
  • Ghost in the Shell (1996) Japan
  • The Matrix (1999) USA
Adaptation: Chambara/Western - Thomas N. and Hal
  • Yojimbo (1961) Japan
  • Fistful of Dollars (1967) Italy/USA
Adaptation: Chambara/Comedy - Dominique and Victoria
  • The Seven Samurai (1954) Japan
  • A Bug's Life (1998) USA
Forest Metaphor - Kayleigh and Demi
  • Beauty and the Beast <La belle et la bete> (1946) France
  • The Two Towers (2002) USA
Relative Quality of Truth - Taylor and Robert G.
  • Rashomon (1950) Japan
  • Hero (2002) Hong Kong
Dystopian Sci Fi - Nio and Thomas B.
  • Logan's Run (1976) USA
  • Children of Men (2006) UK/USA/Japan

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.