While you read…Brave New World

Using the format of a blog, comment at the end of each reading session on both the substance of your reading and its effects on you.

Record pages or sections on which you are commenting. Record your impressions of characters, events, conflicts, descriptions. Record responses to your own questions. Record questions about the novel as you read. Respond to course focus questions.

Make sure you take the time after, during, or before each reading session to make an entry into your blog. 10-15 sentences per reading session might be enough.

Make each entry interesting, personal, intelligent. Avoid retelling the story or simply “dumbing-down” the text. Write posts that engages your readers in critical thinking, enhances their attention span, and fills them with speculative awe.

Write several short posts per week, once a day at least. Write longer posts when your mood strikes you. Tag each post before publishing. Use categories such as the following to keep your responses organized:

Utopia
Community, Identity, Stability
Science and Technology
Conditioning
Soma
Sensual Pleasures
Religion
Family Life
Death
Skinner
Kohlberg
Piaget
Erikson
Freud
Adler
Thoreau

Track the posts you make and the comments you send and receive in a spreadsheet. Try to spend no more than 15 minutes on the computer per class. If that isn’t enough, do more work at home or during spare time. There is a need for quite, concentrated reading time during your day. Here we go.

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.

My Mother’s Kitchen

  1. Use pencil crayons to draw a picture of your mother’s kitchen.
  2. Put the oven in it, and also something green, and something dead.
  3. Write a poem about your mother’s kitchen.
  4. You are not in this poem, but some female relation – aunt, sister, close friend – must walk into the kitchen during the course of the poem.
  5. Completed poems, with a suitable image(72 dpi, png, lightbox), should appear in your blog and trackback here.

A lesson on single point perspective. Hint: Tiles need an extra diagonal, too.

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?

So I was listening to Music from the Junos . . .(RS25)

The lyrics from K-OS’s, “Heaven Only Knows,” struck a chord with something we had been discussing in class about “mysticism.”

Discuss the following K-OS lyrics based on what we’ve learned when comparing Western and Eastern Mysticism.

Have a careful listen to a variety of current or classic tunes by a variety of recording artists.

Which artists demonstrate our understanding of Western Mysticism, which are clearly Eastern, are any a little of each?

Continue reading “So I was listening to Music from the Junos . . .(RS25)”

Blogging About the News (LA 9)

Students can collect news headlines from a variety of RSS sources using their blog as a news aggregator. Writing about the news is one of the more common uses of a blog throughout the blogosphere. Bloggers blend fact and opinion, rant and satire, sarcasm and criticism, objectivity and subjectivity, style and substance. By reading and commenting about the news we learn two things: something about the news, and something about the blogger.

Trackback/pingback your posts about the news 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.

Plato’s Mimetic Theory of Art(RS 25)

Have a look at this powerpoint file here. Wikipedia additional terms needed to answer the following:

Given that what we experience of reality is merely a simulation in our minds, then all art is a simulation of a simulation.

Is art useless?

In our engineered age, an age of HDTV, megapixels images, colour laser printers, virtual reality, 3D games, are we moving toward or away from art forms that Plato would consider more useful?

What is the future of art?

Can a form of communication, art, be enhanced to the point that it is no more than a mirror of reality?

If art is supposed to mirror reality, wouldn’t a mirror be the cheaper way to go?

Mirrors, we’ve talked about mirrors. Hmmm.

Trackback here.

Personal Universe Lexicon

To construct your Personal Universe Lexicon, start with a new post. You may wish to construct the list with pen and paper first and transfer it to your blog later. Begin by following these instructions:

Write down as many words as you can then sort the words into the categories outlined below. Complete each category. Write as quickly as you can.

Categories:

  • 16 words of each of the five senses (16 x 5 = 80 words). The words must mean, suggest: taste touch, sight, smell, and hearing. For instance, desiccated or frozen might suggest touch to you, or birdsong hearing.
  • 10 words of motion. The words must mean, suggest motion to you. They do not necessarily need to be verbs. Baby could be a motion word for someone, for example.
  • 3 abstractions. Such as love or freedom or truth.
  • 7 anything else. Any word with meaning to you that does not fit into the other categories.

All the words on the list must

  1. have significance to/for you
  2. be specific; that is the word must not be “bird” but “robin,” not “tree” but “aspen.”
  3. sound good to the ear.

Use no adverbs. Use no plurals.

Keep track of the words with your blog. Move them around each other in the list every day for a week. Choose one word at random from the list; write what the word(s) sparks, what the juxtaposition of words builds for you.

Trackback/pinkback your list to this post.

from Staying Human in an Engineered Age.

Will we decide that we’ve grown powerful enough? Can we draw a line and say, “this far and no further”?

How do we control the techno-scientific juggernaut before it dehumanizes our species?

Is it possible for us to refuse to do something that we can do?

Must we forever grow in reach and power? Or can we, should we ever, say, “Enough”?

Is it possible that our technological reach is very nearly sufficient now?

Are our lives sufficiently comfortable?

The question of who will be the first clone is, in the course of things, unimportant; the real issue is what will follow. Who will be that last?

Attempting to alter the human body is nothing new, so why not alter the genes? Once the first step has been taken, why not continue down the road?

Why not inject an embryo with the patented genes of a champion?

Future contests won’t celebrate human excellence, but “who’s got the better biotech sponsor?”

Will the ‘average’ human, once ‘improved’, have no more reason to run marathons?

Compare Somatic Gene Therapy to Germline Gene Therapy

Who wants an ugly baby?

Should scientists treat illnesses the patients do not have?

Who would want exact copies of humans?

Human genome has “slightly more” genes than a mustard weed.

Could you genetically engineer higher intelligence?

What do Jacques, Gordie, and Wayne have in common with a pig?