Monday, April 25, 2016

What's Going on in Room 205

Here we are.  It's mid quarter of the final quarter of the year.  You know I can remember the first day of school like it was yesterday too . . .

In College Comp 2 we are half way through reading Carmine Gallo's Talk Like TED.  Students have had their fill of watching TED Talks - like the one below, which is one of my favorites - and analyzing them.

While they probably can't take watching any more public presentations, they aren't exactly beating down the door to present their own TED Talks next week.

When I first had students do their own TED Talks - spring semester last year - they were okay.  Some were great; others were below average.  Fall semester of this year, though, the kids hit them out of the park.  They were all above average and several were absolutely outstanding.

I cannot wait to see what this class is able to do!  Here is a list of past topics presented for our LHS TED Talks.

Once the LHS TED Talks are done, we will move to my all-time favorite work, Seth Godin's Linchpin.  After that students will write their multi-genre research papers.  Then the class will take their final test as an exit interview out at Digi Key, and I'll hand out my senior letters and the school year is in the books!  Wow.

In my two College Comp classes we are analyzing literature.

We began with Shirley Jackson's iconic "The Lottery," which won't be featured anymore in College Comp since it is now taught in our new 10th grade curriculum.  But it's not hard to find another excellent piece of literature to replace it with, but I'll miss seeing the impact of it on my students.

Then we read a modern classic, "Doe Season" by David Kaplan, which is a deep, coming of age story with multiple perspectives.  Then we read Faulkner's classic, "A Rose for Emily."  It was so much fun seeing the implications of the final section dawn on the students when I re-read it to them.  Loved it.

Last week, we just finished reading and re-reading Charlotte Perkins Gilman's horror story, "The Yellow Wallpaper."  I break this up into two readings because on the initial read, the true implications of the horror of the story aren't picked up by the students.  It's only after we listen to it and re-read it closely, do they start to see the possibilities in the text.  And that is a true highlight of my year.

Here is a depictions one of my artistic students drew during the climax of the story.

Plus, students were able to apply some of the literary theories we have been learning about, such as formalism, reader response, gender theory, and post-modernism to name a few, to the story.

Today students are writing an analytical paragraph on it, focusing on a theme I assigned them and they will examine how the theme works in the story through an example of either character, plot, setting, or symbolism.

After that, students will read my second favorite Hemingway story of all time (next to "Hills Like White Elephants," which is covered in AP): "The Short, Happy Life of Francis Macomber."  I love analyzing Hemingway's style in this piece and then examining how he portrays the iconic "Hemingway Hero" in this story.

Finally, we will conclude our literary analysis with - in my opinion - the greatest American short story of all time: Nathaniel Hawthorne's "Young Goodman Brown."

Can't wait for that!

Once the literary analysis is done, students will work on a film review and then their major research paper (comparing three themes between two novels).  And that should bring the year to an end.

Which means there must be approximately 133 days until next year!

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