Prepare for English Language Arts Finals

For those in the midst, or looking ahead at finals in my LA classes(9, 10-1, 20-1, 20-2, 30-1, 30-2).

Consider the outcomes we’ve tried to achieve.

Enhancing the artistry of communication has been a strong technical focus. Skills mastered include using online blogging tools, Word Processing, Spreadsheets, even graphical enhancements using Photoshop or audio/video podcasting tools have been included where time permitted and initiative taken. Participation on an online forum has generated a myriad of useful tips/reminders, questions/answers. There will be no speadsheets on the final, the use of Word will be necessary for English 30.

Each course has been structured around Focus Questions and related questions: English 10, English 9.

Emphasis on social networking, peer review/support/criticism has been critical for developing critical thought and reflection for writers defending an idea.

Each course has a reading list: English 10, English 30. Not every title has been studied intensively(or at all), but the proportion of attention paid to those pieces that were studied in class deserve the same level of attention on the final. Of course, those who choose additional literature from the list to focus on in the final deserve to have that initiative rewarded as well. If you choose to focus on Shakespeare, your audience gets tougher, I’ve noticed.

An English 30 paper looking at how the images/symbols/archetypes of Sophocles and Kingsolver relate to personal freedom to would be intriguing. Why not an English 10 paper discussing the threat of fanaticism by comparing the speeches of Mark Antony, Joseph Strorm, and Eamon De valera? What does Søren Kierkegaard have to do with every page you’ve ever read or written?

Extras, everyone should be able to link to Wikipedia for literary terms, difficult vocabulary, or just the odd or eccentric idea; can anyone incorporate the Hayflick Limit into their paper? Everyone has seen video and heard an mp3, but are any daring enough to Podcast their final essay? A carefully edited U2 mp3 snip, an embedded flash video of Ophelia Simpson, a slideshow?

rubric.pngThe only limit is to abide the first line of every rubric you’ve ever attached to any assignment:

I _________________ honestly declare that the work is what I have done. In circumstances when I have quoted a certain authority, I have clearly indicated what is a quote and the author. 

A Blogger’s Code of Ethics contains truths far older than the phenomenon of blogging.

English 30s will have no access to internet, filesharing, etc etc. English 10s can have it all.

To Make a Dadaist Poem

  1. Take a news article (from your RSS aggregator, for example)
  2. Take some scissors
  3. Print the article
  4. Get a small bag (pencil case, ziplock, lunch bag)
  5. Cut the article into bits, one word per bit.
  6. Put the bits into the bag
  7. Shake gently(the bag, duh!)
  8. Take out each bit one by one and copy conscientiously in the order each bit left the bag
  9. The poem will resemble you

And there you are – an infinitely original author of charming sensibility, even though unappreciated by the vulgar herd.

BTW: Dada, Dadaism, Dadaist

After Act 5 (English 30)

Respond to one of the following:

  1. Do you think Rosencrantz and Guildenstern deserved to be put to death? What alternatives might Hamlet have taken? Examine Hamlet’s reasoning and consider whether you think Hamlet was seeking justice or revenge?
  2. Why does Horatio tell Hamlet he will lose the contest? Why is Horatio correct?
  3. Throughout most of the play Hamlet has seemed unwilling to do what he knows he must do. Is it only in the final scene that Hamlet seems fully willing to accept his destiny? What do you think has caused this change in Hamlet?
  4. Death is personified twice in the final scene: a police officer(by Hamlet) and a hunter(by Fortinbras). Why has Shakespeare chosen these two particular occupations. What other jobs could death, as a person, perform?

I wish to dwell on Ophelia (Eng. 30)

Many scholars discuss the significance of Ophelia only as far as she impacts the development of the character of Hamlet. I hate that. Ophelia is far more important than the 5 scenes in which she appears. The tragedy of Ophelia deserves more considered attention. Write about the life and death of Ophelia. Write about the effect others have had on Ophelia. What makes her unique, distinctive? What ideals does she hold? What are her doubts and fears? What brings her joy, inspiration, fulfillment?

Hazlitt says, “Ophelia is a character almost too exquisitely touching to be dwelt upon.”

Dwell on her I say, dwell now.

Trackback here.

An Interpretation of Hamlet

(30-1) For hundreds of years, scholars have written about problems of interpreting this play. Complete any of the following statements and develop your thoughts in an entry in your blog. Trackback, SVP.

  • What puzzles me most about Hamlet’s behaviour is . . .
  • I don’t understand why Shakespeare included (didn’t include) . . .
  • My first impression of _________ has changed because . . .
  • I’m not sure whether . . .
  • There seems to be a contradiction . . .

(30-2) In your blog, write about a time when, under pressure, you acted in a way that surprised you.