Saturday, December 29, 2007

Happy Holidays!!!

I'm in Philly with your grades and hope to update Snapgrades soon. Some of you have emailed me with questions about your essays. Please do so. We will be jumping right into A Separate Peace when we return.

This is me before I chopped down my Holiday tree. (Notice the Holden Caulfield hat!)

Monday, December 17, 2007

Grammar Fun and a Way to Help this Holiday Season!

Your explication blog is below. If you have questions, please ask. It is due before the break.

Good luck on your presentations!!!! I can't wait to see them.

On the good news front, no blog over the break. However, you will be doing some writing and I found this great online grammar tool to help you with sentence combining. This is a struggle for us all. Go to this link and have fun!

ALSO - I found a great vocab building website that also donates food to United Nations World Food Program. It is called - Go there and test your knowledge and help a good cause!!! Plus, it's fun! The photos above are ones I took of the rice fields in Bali, Indonesia where I spent a month last summer.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Animal Farm: Propaganda Explication

For your final assignment for Animal Farm, you will complete a focused explication on a passage. You will chose one of Squealer's speeches and analyze how Squealer uses propaganda to influence the animals.

Refer to your notes on propaganda techniques to aid in your analysis and the sheet on elements of style. Here is the wikipedia link on propaganda. If you scroll down, you will find several of the techniques I lectured on.

For the entry, you must type out the paragraph(s) you are explicating and provide the explication below.

Your explication should focus on:
1) What is occurring in the passage? What message is Squealer attempting to oppose?
2) What words, methods, techniques does Squealer use to influence?
3) Why is this important to the story, character, scene, etc.?


You may chose a passage from the following below:

Page 52-53 - The explanation of the milk
Page 69-70 - The explanation of the windmill
Page 96-97 - The explanation of Beasts of England
Page 124-125 - The explanation of Boxer's death

You will be graded on the open response rubric and this is due by 3 p.m. on Friday December 21st.

Watch this interesting video of American-made Anti-communist propaganda:

Sunday, December 9, 2007

A couple of things...

Your blog entry for the week is below.

We are starting to interweave some poetry into our work. I love Billy Collins and Schoolsville is one of the poems you may respond to this week. If you love cool websites as much as I do, check this out: It is a website of animated Billy Collins poems. Awesome stuff!

Also - regarding the poll from last week, I have matched the answers with the political philosophy. You can click on the wiki link to learn more about this. Obviously, these are generalities and by no means, proscriptive.


1) Government should seek to preserve the status quo, while making only gradual or necessary changes. New policies and change should be done by individuals or businesses. (11%) Conservatism

2) Government should minimally interfere with individual rights and government should be limited to maximize liberty. The more government, the less freedom. 19 (54%) Libertarianism

3) Government should work fully and actively, regardless of cost and size, to create equality in economics and other social areas (healthcare, welfare, education, etc.) 9 (25%) Socialism

4) Government should work to change values and traditions as needed. This should apply to values as well as economics. 3 (8%) Liberal Progressivism

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Animal Farm: Making Connections

For this post, I want to focus on discussion. I want you to take a look at several songs and poems that may lend themselves to connections with Animal Farm. I want you to think about these poems and songs and focus on what ideas they are expressing. Some of the poems are very different, so don't get caught up in trying to connect them together. Some of the works may be familiar to you, but it is okay to be critical of the ideas they are expressing.

Talk to one another - This worked well at the beginning of the year, but then we got away from it with assignment-based blogs. Not any more. Discussion is back!!!!

Overall, choose a poem or two to explore. Answer:
1) What is this poem's overall message?
2) What connections, if any, can I make to Animal Farm?
3) What is my opinion of its idea?

I encourage arguments regarding interpretations.

John Lennon's Imagine - This is a popular song, but what is it really saying? Do you agree?
Charlie and the M.T.A. - Be sure to read the history here and look for irony in how this song is currently used.
Billy Collins - Schoolville - One of my favorites
Robert Lax - The Alley Violinist - Scroll down to find this one
Bob Dylan's Maggie Farm - Avoid the obvious connections here
Wallace Stevens' - The Emperor of Ice-Cream - A difficult one, but I remember giving an explication of this poem in my 10th grade Honors class - years and years ago. There are study guides online for this, but I want you to give it a whirl on your own!!! :)

Here is a video for Charlie on the MTA:

Here is a video for John Lennon's Imagine:

good luck - Blog is due Wednesday December 12th.