Monday, November 14, 2011
One word of warning: the one titled "Voodooz Movie" is exceptionally creepy, so watch this one in a happy place and remember that good satire--really good satire--gets un-funny fast.
The following movies are presented in no particular order, so please don't read anything into the sequence in which I posted them; I am proud of each.
So, without further ado:
Tuesday, November 1, 2011
Now that you've finished reading Candide and are familiar with satire and the techniques used to create it, you now have the chance to be a modern satirist, like Voltaire, using humor to criticize human vice and folly in order to effect change. You have an open opportunity to make fun of society in order to change it!
The world is yours to mock!
Any and all of the taboo subjects are available for your mocking. I challenge you to create a Satirical Comic Book that clearly and effectively mocks some aspect of your world.
Your Satirical Comic Book must include clear and properly executed examples of:
- Situational and/or dramatic irony
- Verbal Irony in the form of sarcasm
- Understatement and/or exaggeration (Litotes and/or Hyperbole)
- Pun or oxymoron
- Humorous metaphor or simile
- Caricature and/or Burlesque
Remember, the point of satire is to call the readers attention to some problem in order to change it; therefore, it should also do the following:
- It should clearly mock something—society in general, school, government, teachers, parents, etc.
- It should be long enough to effectively mock the thing in question.
- It should use original photos, drawings, or other art to demonstrate creativity and originality.
- It can use a program such as Comic Life, ToonDo, Xtranormal, or any other computer program you like. Or you can do a "low tech" comic if you prefer.
It must be submitted by November 11, 2011 at 4:30pm CST in one of the following manners:
- A link to the work online via email sent to email@example.com (be certain to verify that I have received it by the assigned date and time)
- A thumb-drive/memory stick/DVD/portable data-saving device containing a copy of the project
- A full-color, frame by frame printout of the comic in hard-copy format
- An old-school “funny book”
Wednesday, October 5, 2011
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
For the record (and for studying purposes), we have already read:
Henry's Speech at the Virginia Convention
The titles, in order, are:
The Declaration of Independence
Lincoln's Letter to Horace Greeley
The Gettysburg Address
Letter to Mrs. Bixby
Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address
What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?
Kennedy's Inaugural Address
Statement by Alabama Clergymen
Letter from a Birmingham Jail
I Have a Dream
People Get Ready
Ballad of Birmingham
Eulogy for the Martyred Children
RFK's Eulogy for MLK
The Ballot or the Bullet
We may add more at a later date, but that will be announced well in advance of using any additional texts in class or on a quiz.
Sunday, August 28, 2011
So, READ! (Or, re-read.)
And, while you are reading, consider the following questions, any of which would make an excellent essay question for the summer reading test this week (hint, hint):
- Both Fitzgerald and Hamid offer a dim view of the archetypal American Dream by the end of their novels. If Gatsby's 'rags to riches' story reflects the idea that any kid from Middle America, no matter how poor, can aspire to wealth while Changez' version reflects the same story from the immigrant's perspective, then what are these authors saying about the American Dream? Do these authors view it as dead, or do they offer some hope for it? Discuss the state of the American Dream as presented in The Great Gatsby and The Reluctant Fundamentalist.
- Over the course of his monologue, Changez delivers more than a few critical appraisals of American life, culture, society, values, and politics. Is it fair to say that these criticisms grow sharper—or cut deeper—as the story progresses? Why or why not? Identify a few such criticisms, explaining why you do or don’t agree with them.
- Who is most responsible for Gatsby's death: Tom, Daisy, Myrtle, or Gatsby himself? Using examples from the text, present a case which establishes not only the moral responsibility of the guilty party but exonerates the other characters.
List 1 (due wk2)
List 2 (wk3)
List 3 (wk4)
List 4 (wk5)
List 5 (wk6)
Remember: your flash cards should have the word on one side of the card, and the definition, part of speech, one synonym, and one sentence on the reverse side. Whichever day you have class, A or B, your cards are always due on the first day of the week we meet, and the quiz is always on the last day of the week we meet. Yes, that means sometimes you get the whole week to study and sometimes you don't. It will all balance out in the end.
Adapted from the Smith and Dewar's SAT Vocabulary set designed for the District's AP program.
Sunday, August 21, 2011
The following materials are required for this course:
- Sourcebook (spiral notebook or composition for use as a journal) 
- Three-ring binder 
- Loose-leaf paper
- Pens (black or blue ink) 
- Sticky notes 
- Email account (for communication purposes)
Note that the above materials are required for daily in-class use. The following items are optional but highly recommended:
- USB drive 
- Collegiate level dictionary (can be found for free at http://www.merriam-webster.com/)
- The MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers 
- You are going to write a lot, whether it be notes or essays or journals or responses, so you may want to go get more than one.
- I am not picky here, and I am fully aware that binders now are even more expensive than Trapper Keepers were when I was a kid--even the lame lime-green one that my mom bought for me to use instead of the exceptionally boss navy blue one. If you plan to economize (and who doesn't need to do that?), my recommendation is that you buy one of the bigger ones and split the English binder with another subject that won't be taking up your notes for a grade. If every other class demands that you turn in a binder for review, then buy one of the cheapest binders you can find for English, like one of those technicality binders that looks like it's made out of the 3 ring mechanism from a nice binder and some plastic wrap. (For the record, I'm investigating the legality of offering extra credit for anyone who shows up with an actual Trapper Keeper from the 1980s. Bonus points for one with a picture of prancing ponies.)
- There are only two colors of ink: black and blue. Everything else is a magic marker, and magic markers are for arts and crafts. We will be writing essays, not weaving oven-mitts.
- This is for the books we issue. I would prefer that you did not write in the books unless you have purchased your own copy. The little square ones will probably be better than those small skinny ones as you can actually write something substantive on the square ones.
- This is just in case your printer "goes out" on the night before your paper is due (which apparently happens more often than you would think). This will afford you the opportunity to find a computer lab or a library computer where you can print out your paper. Alternatively, if you haven't had time to find a printer before class, you can dump a copy on my computer to prove to the powers that be that you have, indeed, completed your assignment on time.
- If you invest in this, invest in the most current edition. The information in the MLA handbooks don't change very often, and it is entirely possible that this one will be perfectly serviceable for you on into college, even if a brand new one comes out next fall. Further, there are some websites that will format your paper for you, but these things inevitably have a catch--your info may end up on a mailing list, or a spam list, or your essay may end up being sold to semi-literate slackers who are too lazy to do their own work. I don't know that for certain, but all of those mediocre papers being sold out there on the Internet have to come from somewhere. But seriously, the pre-9/11 edition that I possess now looks an awful lot like the one that I used in college, and the one published prior to the most current has some updated Internet citation material but little else.
Saturday, May 28, 2011
Please feel free to log in or post questions anonymously. I moderate the comments, but I will post and answer any and all appropriate questions. So, if you want to know something about the curriculum or the books or whatever, I'll see you in the comments.
Monday, May 16, 2011
11th Grade Year:
Part 1: Works in Translation (3 works from PLT)
- The Inferno by Dante Alighieri ISBN 9780451531391
- Candide by Voltaire (Norton Critical Edition) ISBN 9780393960587
- Crime and Punishment by Dostoevsky (Norton Edition) ISBN 9780393956238
Part 2: Detailed Study (3 works from different genres from PLA)
- Macbeth by Wm. Shakespeare (Folger Library Ed.) ISBN 0743477103
- The Poetry of William Blake (Blake’s Poetry & Designs—Norton Critical Ed.) 9780393924985
- Walden by Thoreau (Modern Library Classics Ed.) ISBN 0679783342
12th Grade Year:
Part 4: Options (3 works freely chosen)
- The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli (Bantam Classics Ed.) ISBN 9780553212785
- The Art of War by Sun Tzu ISBN 9780195014761
- The Complete Short Stories by Flannery O’Connor ISBN 9780374515362
Part 3: Literary Genres (4 works from any genre from PLA)
- The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood ISBN 9780307264602
- Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad (Norton Critical Ed.) ISBN 9780393926361
- The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien ISBN 9780318706419
- Frankenstein by Mary Shelley (Penguin Classics Ed) ISBN 9780143105039
Please note that students (ie, incoming IB and AP English juniors at Woodrow Wilson) should have both novels read by the start of the fall semester 2011-2012; 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.
The following books are the "official" summer reading books for both IB and AP Language:
The Great Gatsby is the classic "Lost Generation" novel of post-WWI disillusionment with the American Dream and all its wretched excess. Yes, there is a movie for this one, but no, I would not bother watching it in spite of its cinematic heritage. This book has gangsters, rum-runners, war-heroes, flappers, golfers, debutantes, Old and New Money... You can only aspire to be as cool as the people in this novel.
The Reluctant Fundamentalist is the second novel by Pakistani author Mohsin Hamid, and it is not the story you anticipate. I will fully admit that I was skeptical upon opening the book, but I was quickly disabused of any concerns--in fact, I couldn't put it down. A political thriller, this novella is a classic story of post-9/11 disillusionment with the American Dream and all its wretched excess. Part-spy-thriller, part-romance, this story will make you think.
The books are available at most of the area bookstores, both retail and resale. Enjoy!