Saturday, September 22, 2007

Reflections on Assignment #2

3rd Hour

GREAT job! Some of the prompts you came up with I plan to use:
What drives your life? (Bethany)
What problems in your life do you blame other people for? (Michelle)
Do you need to understand a song to enjoy it? (Jakub)
Can you really do anything if you put your mind to it? (Tyler from Canada)
When has someone else made an impact in your life? (Natalie P.)

Most of you wrote about lyrics from songs that really have struck you: Free Bird by Lynyrd Skynyrd (Tyler K), Almost Lover (Kathryn), and Bubbly (Mackenzie). Some mentioned books, plays and poems: Animal Crackers (A poem from Natalie I.), Power of One (Tyler), and Much Ado About Nothing (Pat). Jamie wrote about a poem her mom had written when she was in high school!

5th Hour

You had great pieces of writing. Many of you mentioned books: The Hardy Boys (from David's childhood), To Kill a Mockingbird (Tyler), and Lois Lowry books (Katie). Poetry and songs were also mentioned by many: Bob Dylan (Zoe), Dave Matthews (David), R Kelly (Rimma), Bright Eyes (Steff). Yujie wrote about Jabberwocky.

Also, some of your prompts were wonderful:

What is a good deed you have done for someone? (Bri- relating it to The Giving Tree)
Is there a line when literature becomes vulgar? What is that line? (Claire, relating it to The Gas We pass- a book from her childhood)
When have you changed yourself for someone else? (Steff)

Assignment #3

1. Pick two of your strongest poems. These should be poems that you would consider contributing to the exchange with the art students.
2. Put each one on your blog.
3. Visit the blogs of the people in your group.
4. Read their poems.

FOR EACH POEM leave comments that address the following:
1. Write out your initial impression of the piece. What is the poem about in your opinion?
2. Write out what you think to be the strongest, most vivid line in the poem.
3. Write out one line or selection from the piece that could use a little help. Be GENTLE but HONEST in your critique. Maybe they have too many words (words like really, very, totally are not good things!). Maybe they have a cliche ("hungry like a wolf") that is just too overused.
4. State which poem appeals to you the most of the two and explain why. Do you connect to it personally? Do you just like the choice of words and images?

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Things Remembered + Assignment #2

I think that is the name of a store in Southdale, too, but in this case, you were asked to find a piece of writing that has had some kind of impact on your life. It should be a piece of writing that you have remembered or will remember as being important to you.

Almost eight years ago, after my first year of teaching, I participated in a summer workshop in Massachusetts with about 20 other teachers from around the nation. We all came together to study Herman Melville, who is best know for his novel Moby Dick which is about a somewhat crazy ship captain who is in pursuit of one single white whale who bit his leg off. I really had no love of Melville at the time, I just applied to go because it was a free trip to New England, and it sounded fun. We toured New England, slept on a whale ship, and ate lobster. I figured I could get though the book in order to do all this.

When I started to read the gigantic novel (550 pages in my edition), however, I fell in love with the first page. In the chapter called Loomings, the narrator states:

"....Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul; whenever I find myself involuntarily pausing before coffin warehouses, and bringing up the rear of every funeral I meet; and especially whenever my hypos get such an upper hand of me that it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from deliberately stepping into the street, and methodically knocking people's hats off- then I account it high time to get to the sea as soon as I can" (Melville 1).

Who hasn't felt this way at some time? I think the image of the "dark, drizzly November in my soul" is perfect in describing what it feels like to be alone or confused or just sad. The book was written 150 years ago but speaks to a human condition that is very present today.

Your Prompt: Select ONE of the following and respond briefly (leave a post):
1. Briefly (four-five sentences) describe a time when you have been surprised that you have liked a book or specific piece of writing (or type of music). Describe why it was surprising.
2. When it is a "dark, drizzly November" in your soul, what do you do to get out of that state? Do you even try to make yourself feel better or do you prefer to let your feelings come and go without putting forth effort to change them (four-five sentences)?

After you have left a post.....

Using my entry about Moby Dick as a model, write a brief description of the piece of writing you brought into class today:
1. Tell the story of the writing (When did you first read it? Were you a little kid? Was it just recently? Who introduced you to it?).
2. Then, explain why it "hits" you the way it does.
3. Include a brief passage from the piece and explain its significance.
4. Come up with a one or two writing prompts about the passage. This could be tough, so look back at the ones I provided about Moby Dick.
5. Visit the blogs of the three-four other people who you been grouped with. Read ALL of the entries.
6. Read their entries specifically from today and respond to their prompts. Post a comment on each of their sites. Comments should be four-five sentences each.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

First Assignment

Once you have successfully set up your blog and decided what templates you will have on your page, complete the following:
1. Write out your username, password, and url. I suggest that you keep this on a word document and save it on your file folder rather than on a loose sheet of paper.
2. in your first post, write a brief autobiography of yourself that includes the following:
a. Your personal writing interests. What kinds of writing do you like to do? What do you want to spend time on over the next four months?
b. A brief description of a writer (or a few writers) whose work you appreciate or find interesting to read. Explain why you enjoy his/her writing style.
c. A sample of your own writing. This may be the metaphor poem you have written, another poem, a prompt you wrote in class, or another creative piece.
3. Visit and leave a comment on at least two other people's blog.