Wednesday, October 29, 2008

End of First Quarter Reminders

Can you believe the year is one-fourth of the way to the end?

College Essay rewrites and Memoir Projects are due in class tomorrow. (Thursday, Oct. 31st.)

Format requirements:

Type the following in the upper left (not in the header) and single space:
  • Your Name
  • My Name (Please spell it correctly.)
  • English 12 CP, Period _
  • Due Date

Page Setup:

  • 1 inch margins
  • Insert page numbers, top right. Click box to not show number on first page. Add last name to header with page number and align right.


  • Times New Roman, 12 pt. font, align left, double-spaced.

Staple rough drafts to back of College Essay.

I will not accept papers until / unless all the above requirements are met.

I will give you time in class to "finish" your final three D.J.s.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Some Model Metas

Here's some good model student work for some metas:

For example, look at Ashley's insight (with detailed specifics that refer to the book) for each song on her "soundtrack."

Jenny does the same thing; her meta is not by song, but is more of a personal-prose-reflection.
Both are well done. Pick a style that works for you--but please make sure the quality and depth remains.

Also, here are some nice covers with links to metas from

Independent Reading Assignments (Memoir)

Painting Title: Study for a Portrait of Van Gogh V 1957
Francis Bacon (Even great artists imitate other great artists.)
Due in class on Thursday, Oct. 30th (with final version of College Essay and Reader's Notebook Entries):
You must complete two out of five assignments. They are worth 30 points a piece. The meta-cognition will be worth 40 points—this is where you will be able to “explain a lot of your choices”, so develop all of your ideas completely.

1. Design a cover. You will be graded on the following items:
15 points: Your cover should show creativity, depth in thought, and visually represent important events, themes, or symbols throughout the book. The cover should look professionally and carefully constructed. You may draw or use the computer, but be careful not to commit the visual equivalence of plagiarism.If you use someone else’s images, change or collage them until they are your own.Make sure you have a front and back cover as well as a spine.Spelling the author’s name wrong would be about the worst thing you could do!
15 points: You should provide a 100 word description of the book on the back cover. WARNING: DO NOT PLAGIARIZE THIS!—you will risk a zero for an easy part of the requirements. Remember: the point of a 100 word description on the back of a book is to convince someone in a store to buy the book. Remember this when you write the blurb. Why should someone buy this?
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2. Write a “filler page”. In other words, write what happens in between two chapters or pages or rewrite a page.
15 points: The details and facts in your story are factually and contextually accurate in relation to the existing story. This includes the setting and historical time frame!
15 points: You successfully capture the tone and style of your author.[1]
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3. Rewrite a page, but include yourself. In other words, use the author’s style to write your own memoir.

30 points: You successfully capture the tone and style of your author.[2]
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4. Passage Explication Assignment
30 Points. Please refer to Passage Explication handout.
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5. Mix CD: The Memoir’s Soundtrack
30 Points . Choose 10 songs that you think best fit the memoir (explained in “meta”), whether a connection to lyrics, the tone of mood of the song, etc. Make sure you provide me with a CD.

If you have another creative idea, propose it to me with criteria on which you would like to be graded. I must approve this first.
[1] (which includes, but is not limited to: how author presents dialogue, appropriate word choice, symbols, etc.)[2] (which includes, but is not limited to: how author presents dialogue, appropriate word choice, symbols, etc.)

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

College Essay Scoring Guide

Image: Jay Defeo Mirage
1989 oil on linen16 x 20 inches
Estate no. E1232

50 points--Grammar, mechanics, typos, spelling, & usage.
Remember, this is your only impression to show yourself through language. No matter the content of your essay, careless mistakes make you seem--well, careless. And you do not want the college admissions team to think you are apathetic. I expect you to make sure the essay is flawless. I would be happy to suggest how to phrase things grammatically better, but I should not be spending my time fixing your careless typos and spelling errors (and I won't).

50 points--Writer demonstrates control of sentence structure, grammar and usage.
40 points--Errors do not interfere with communication. There are few errors relative to length.
30 points--Errors interfere with communication.

50 points--Insight and creativity, readability, and is your essay compelling?
A note to remember your audience here and the purpose of your essay: All writers do this on some level--we consistently look at audience and purpose when we analyze writing. If you are using this to apply to college, keep in mind that the admissions officers are looking for intelligent and motivated students who will be successful at their school. Your essay should:
  • Be personal (instead of general)
  • Be concrete (instead of abstract--can you make your reader "see" your world?)
  • Include anecdote (instead of summary--this is not a resume)
  • Include a hook or lead
  • Have sophisticated and / or subtle organization
  • Show a sophisticated or subtle mastery of language


College Essay Guidelines

Jay De Feo 1958, one of my favorite painters, standing in front of her painting The Rose--a really amazing piece that you have to stand in front of to appreciate the intensity of it.

The prompts provided are often a starting point—it’s not really about which prompt you choose to answer, but HOW you use the topic to write an essay.

Remember Borges, “people tend to prefer the personal to the general, the concrete to the abstract”. You will notice that the questions are vague, repetitive, and general. You could almost adapt any good essay to fit a prompt.
Anyway, here are the common application prompts*

  • Evaluate a significant experience, achievement, risk you have taken, or ethical dilemma you have faced and its impact on you.
  • Discuss some issue of personal, local, national, or international concern and its importance to you.
  • Indicate a person who has had a significant influence on you, and describe that influence.
  • Describe a character in fiction, a historical figure, or a creative work (as in art, music, science, etc.) that has had an influence on you, and describe that influence.
  • A range of academic interests, personal perspectives, and life experiences adds much to the educational mix. Given your personal background, describe an experience that illustrates what you would bring to the diversity in a college community, or an encounter that demonstrated the importance of diversity to you.
  • A prompt of your choice is another option.

I’m going to break into my I’m older than you persona now: “when I applied to college I actually had to write a separate essay for each school because each school had a question—oh, and life was (of course) harder back then—we suffered like you kids nowadays have no idea of….”(Kidding of course).

Also, we will be doing some creative writing and modeling in the next couple of weeks--many students often end up using these "experiments" as their "personal essays