Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Poetry Out Loud

Here is the overview that everyone at MHS will be getting:

"Poetry Out Loud is the national poetry recitation contest; Malden High has sent students to the state finals for all but one year that the contest has existed. Last year, we committed to having every student in the school take part in the contest."

The basic process:

  • Student select poems from the Poetry Out Loud collections (in print and online) to study, memorize and perform.
  • Teachers support students’ selection, study, and performance.
  • Each class holds a class contest by the end of December. We will have our contest on December 21st & 22nd, 2010.
  • Class winners will compete in the period contest in January.
  • Period winners will compete in the school contest shortly after the period contest. Period winners will need to select a second poem
  • The school winner will compete in the state semi-finals in early March.
And here are the Scoring Guides that we were given:

Malden High School's Poetry Out Loud Analytic Rubric

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Assignment for annotated bibliography for Camus’ THE STRANGER

Assignment and Scoring Guide for Annotated Bibliography for Camus

Independent reading books for Cycle 2

A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri

Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert

A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest J. Gaines

In Cold Blood: A True Account of a Multiple Murder and Its Consequences by Truman Capote

For this assignment, you will produce 100 post-it notes that include commentary which draws from the reading strategies from the “WAYS TO ANALYZE FICTION” handout (you can find it in google docs.)

You will need to be complete ½ this assignment before you leave for winter break. You will turn in your book (with post-its) or Reader’s Notebook on January 3rd and answer a question 3 prompt in class.

For posterity, post a comment as to which book you are choosing to read and why.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Literary Analysis Paper for Camus’ The Stranger

Photo of Camus from Life

Your purpose for this paper is to develop a thesis on a topic in Camus’ The Stranger and show how it is developed throughout the novel. You will use your passage explication from Part I and your passage explication from Part II to show how this idea is developed from the beginning of the novel to the end.

  • Introduction >
  • Passage Explication from Part 1 >
  • Transition >
  • Passage Explication from Part 2 >
  • Conclusion

This should be 4 – 5 pages, proper MLA formatting and will be turned in on Monday, Dec. 6th. You will need an electronic copy of the essay in class and can print in class if needed.

Literary Analysis Paper Rubric

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Welcome to 2nd quarter! Agenda for week of 11.1.10

Elif Shafak on Fiction

We are going to watch this in class today, but I am also posting this so that you can watch it again and take better notes. Treat this like a text that you need to read and mark up. We will begin class tomorrow with a Student-Run Discussion on this video, so please make sure you can use your notes to help you say something specific and sophisticated.
  • Clarifying questions about a concept that is confusing to you. Try and answer, but phrase in a way that will prompt your classmates to respond.
  • Deep questions about the meaning of what is being discussed.
  • A reaction: how do you feel about what's being said. And why?
  • Connections to other texts or events.
  • Observations on how the speaker chooses to present her ideas.
By Friday 11.5.10 Post your in-class essay on your independent reading book.

Friday, October 22, 2010

The Schedule for the week of 10.25.10:

Your final rewrites of the Analytical Essay and the rewrites of College Essay should now be emailed to me as attachments with proper MLA formatting. These are a substantial part of your first quarter grade, since they should represent the best of your writing for the quarter.

Monday 10.25.10, Finish Independent Reading book.

The rest of the schedule is To Be Announced. For the meantime, make sure all of your work is complete. I will be on Professional Development on Tuesday and Wednesday of next week and will try to have your grades done by Thursday.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Schedule for the week of 10.18.10:

The Schedule for the week of 10.18.10:

  • Tuesday 10.19.10, Day 1.. This is the first day of a four day, intensive writing workshop. I will plan little mini lessons to open each class and then be able to work with each of you individually
  • Wednesday 10.20.10, Day 7. Writing workshop continued.
  • Thursday 10.21.10, Day 6. Writing workshop continued.
  • Friday 10.22.10, Day 5. Long Block. Writing workshop continued. Final rewrites of Analytical Essay due by the end of the day. Final rewrites of College Essay also due by the end of the day.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Agenda for Week of 10.11.10

image: Rupert Garcia

You should be reading your Independent Reading Book.  You are to finish the book on October 25th.

10.11.10: Columbus Day: No School

10.12.10: Day 5: Long Block: Homework: D.J.s on “Plum Plum Pickers” by Raymond Barrio.  Class on “Plum Plum Pickers” by Raymond Barrio.

10.13.10: Get Ahead Day: No Class.

10.14.10: Day 3: Long Block: Homework: D.J.s on “Plum Plum Pickers” by Raymond Barrio.  Class on “Plum Plum Pickers” by Raymond Barrio.

10.15.10: Day 2: No Class.

Next Week:
10.18.10: Late Entry: Long Block: In-class essay  on “Plum Plum Pickers” by Raymond Barrio 

Monday, October 4, 2010

Agenda for week of 10.4.10

Image: Mahoning 1956, by Franz Kline Oil and paper collage on canvas, 203.2 x 254 cm —Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, Purchase, with funds from the Friends of the Whitney Museum of American Art. © 2009 The Franz Kline Estate/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

10.4.10 Day 3: Finish reading 1st third of Independent Reading.  In class, I will explain the Reader’s Notebook Entries.  They are due on 10.6.10 and will be graded on The Reader’s Notebook Rubric.

10.5.10 Day 2: No Class Due to Rotation.

10.6.10 Day 1: Reader’s Notebooks are due.  In class we will have the guidance department present.

10.7.10 Day 7: In class: “Plum Plum Pickers” by Raymond Barrio.

10.8.10 Day 6: College Essay Due.  In class: “Plum Plum Pickers” by Raymond Barrio.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Agenda for week of 9.27.10

9.27.10 Day 1, Homework: Turn in selection of independent readingClick here for the assignment details.  In class we will be looking at the last in-class essays you wrote, as well as the scoring guide that went with it, and developing strategies to make theme more complex and sophisticated in your writing.

9.28.10 Day 7, Class # 2 on “Red Shift” by Ted Berrigan as well as review of "Poetry Explication Handout."

9.29.10 Day 6, Poem Explication on Ted Berrigan’s “Red Shift” (In-class).  Click here for handout on Poetry Explication.  Click here for Scoring Guide on essay.

9.30.10 Day 5: Long Block, We will begin updating your  blogs and will have in class time for independent reading time.

10.1.10 Day 4, We will begin updating your  blogs and will have in class time for independent reading time.
I expect that you will use your time "at home" to read your independent reading book.
Next week:
10.4.10 Day 3, Need to be finish first 1/3 of independent reading book.  Notebook Entries will be due.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Independent Reading Project: 1st person narratives

portrait of LL Cool J by Kehinde Wiley
My biggest goal this year (since it is your senior year) is to transition you to life beyond high school--in other words, to make myself unnecessary in your life (in less than ten months.) So, I must hand over much of the responsibility of the class to you. In addition to what we study as "whole class texts," you will also be reading books in literature circles as well as independently this year. Our first "unit" (obviously with the college essay in mind) will cover 1st person narratives (fiction or non-fiction). As you choose a book, you may also want to start to consider what "topic" you are interested in, because we will develop reading plans for ourselves after this first memoir. Here's a short list of suggestions, but it is up to you to do the research on the books and make sure they fit your criteria. My criteria is that they should be at least 200 pages long. 

Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi
Chasing Ghosts by Paul Rieckhoff
Chronicles by Bob Dylan
Lipstick Jihad by Azadeh Moaveni
Kafir Boy by Mark Mathabane
Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson
Dead Man Walking by Sister Helen Prejean
Gray's Anatomy by Spalding Gray (or anything by Spalding Gray)
Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim by David Sedaris (or anything by David Sedaris)
When I Was Cool by Sam Kashner
The Autobiography of Malcolm X (as told to Alex Haley)

And some other first person narratives (fiction):
Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest Gaines
On the Road by Jack Kerouac (or any number of his novels)
Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden
Snow Country by Yasunari Kawabata
The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan
Nadja by Andre Breton
Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut
Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
Native Son by Richard Wright
A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess

You will need a copy of the book you choose on Monday, September 27th in class.  I would also like you to post the title of your book in the comment stream below (for posterity) with a 1-2 sentence explanation of why you picked it.

College Essay Scoring Guide

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 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 Prompts

image: Jay DeFeo The Veronica, 1957; painting; oil on canvas, 132 in. x 42 3/8 in. (335.28 cm x 107.63 cm); Collection SFMOMA, Gift of Irving Blum; © Estate of Jay DeFeo / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

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:

Personal Essay: "Please write an essay (250 words minimum) on a topic of your choice or on one of the options listed below, and attach it to your application before submission. Please indicate your topic by checking the appropriate box. This personal essay helps us become acquainted with you as a person and student, apart from courses, grades, test scores, and other objective data. It will also demonstrate your ability to organize your thoughts and express yourself."
  • 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 explain 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.
  • Topic of your choice.

Image of Jay Defeo working on an early draft of "The Rose."

Monday, September 20, 2010

Agenda for week of 9.20.10

image of William Carlos Williams

9.20.10, Day 6: Class discussion on developing universal theme and thesis statements.

9.21.10, Day 5: Long Block: In class synthesis essay.

9.22.10, Day 4: Introduction to independent reading.  Introduction to college essay.

9.23.10, Day 3: Class on “Red Shift” by Ted Berrigan.

9.24.10, Day 2: No Class.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Agenda for week of 9.13.10

Artist: Swoon

9.13.10 (shortened period, block 5)
  • Homework Due: finish "Letter to Me."
  • Opening activity, notebook set-up & SAT prep. (10 minutes)
  • Explain D.J. / Reader’s notebook entries on Ovid’s “The Story of Daedalus and Icarus.”
9.14.10 (meet in the Computer Loft, block 6)
  • Homework Due: D.J. / Reader’s notebook entries on Ovid’s “The story of Daedalus and Icarus.”
  • Set-up blogger accounts, make blog posts
9.15.10: No Class due to rotation.

9.16.10 (Block 1)
  • Homework due: 500 word description of Breugel’s “Landscape with the Fall of Icarus” posted on blog
  • Opening activity, notebook set-up & SAT prep. (10 minutes)
  • Class discussion on Breugel’s “Landscape with the Fall of Icarus”
    • What was Breugel saying about the myth?
    • Class / Jigsaw discussion of Ovid’s “The story of Daedalus and Icarus.”
9.17.10 (Block 2)
  • No written homework due.
  • Opening activity, notebook set-up & SAT prep. (10 minutes)
  • Williams’ “Landscape with the Fall of Icarus”
    • What is Williams saying about the painting?

Blog Assignment # 2: Bruegel's "Landscape with the Fall of Icarus"

Landscape with the Fall of Icarus  by Pieter Bruegel
Assignment due: 8:00 a.m Thursday morning, 9.16.10.

Assignment: A 500 word description of the above painting is to be posted in the comment stream.  I am only interested in what you see, in your own words.  You will be graded solely on your completion of the assignment.  All late posts are subject to a loss of one letter grade per day.

Beginning the year with a blog assignment (Step 1)

image by Swoon, image found at The Brooklyn Museum
Date: 9.14.10 (Computer Loft)

Topic: Setting up your blogger accounts.

Objective: SWBAT post their objectives for the year on this blog, as well as their own blog.

  • This blog will be an area for me to post agenda for the week, resources for the class, and a place to gather homework assignments.

  • Your blog will be your portfolio of work for the year.

In order to complete Step 1 of this class, you need to make a comment on this blog post that states your objective for English class this year.  When you are done, post the same message on your own blog.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Frank O'Hara's "Having a Coke with You" & your first homework assignment


This is a fairly simple assignment, but requires you to follow directions.  I expect you to come after if you need help or computer access.
  1. Email me at ryanseangallagher AT gmail DOT com.  Make sure your email is "professional".  In the subject title, please put "Senior CP".  You will be required to use and check this email often for this class.
Due by class-time Wednesday.  I will also check to make sure you have a notebook and binder for the year.

Syllabus for 2010 - 2011

Gallagher 12 CP Syllabus 2010 - 2011                                                            

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The Namesake Week Two Homework Worksheet

Due Dates:
  • For CP 2: Two questions completed for Student Run Discussion on Wednesday, 5/5. All six questions complete by Thursday, 5/6.
  • For CP 6: All six questions completed for Student Run Discussion on Friday, 5/7.

Namesake Handout

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Namesake Journal Entry 1 (Due 4/30)

Step 1

Choose a paragraph or a passage from Chapter 3 of The Namesake that you feel is the most important. How you decide what paragraph is important can be based on anything, really, but here are some examples of how you
might decide:
  • Which paragraph best speaks to you personally, or gives you the clearest image in your mind as you read it?
  • Which paragraph moves the novel’s plot forward the most, based on how you’ve interpreted the author’s use of foreshadowing?
  • Which paragraph most develops the novel’s central character, or a character you particularly like?
  • Which paragraph do you think is most interestingly or beautifully written? Why? What words and sentences make that paragraph so powerful?
  • Which paragraph makes the best use of the literary techniques we’ve discussed so far (characterization, point of view, narrative chronology, or foreshadowing)?
  • Which paragraph best develops the essential themes you see in the novel so far?
  • Any other academically valid reason you find a paragraph interesting or notable.
Step 2

Write a journal entry of about 500 words (usually four paragraphs) that explains your chosen paragraph or passage, and why you chose it. You should summarize the section you choose (explain what happens), analyze the section’s strengths (explain what works well), find specific examples from the text and explain how they relate to your analysis, and finally explain this passage’s relationship to the chapter, and the book so far.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

April Break Homework

We'll be spending most of our time in fourth quarter reading The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri. The book is fantastic, and we're going to have a lot of fun reading it. Unfortunately, we won't have enough time to finish reading it if we don't start over break, so I'm assigning the first three chapters of the book (pages 1-71) for reading over the break.

The Reading Quiz
We will be having a reading quiz during the first week after break. But here's the catch: you get to decide what questions will be asked on the quiz. Your homework assignment is to come up with three reading comprehensions questions per chapter (nine total). Here are some guidelines to help you generate your questions:

Your Questions need to be Specific to The Namesake
In other words, you'll need to come up with questions that can't be asked about another book. For instance, the question, "What happens in the first paragraph of chapter one?" could be asked about almost any book, and thus wouldn't be an appropriate question.

Your Questions should Not be Too Specific
Your questions should be general enough that anyone who has read The Namesake carefully should be able to answer them. For instance, "What color is the jacket that Gogol is wearing when he first meets Ruth?" would be too specific.

This homework grade will be worth the equivalent of a week's assignments, and will have a significant impact on your grade. If you turn in nine questions that all meet the above criteria, you'll get a 100. If you only complete a third of the assignment, you'll only receive a third of the credit. Questions that are submitted but do not meet the above criteria will be given half credit. I will be reading online study guide questions, and any assignments with questions plagiarized from these sites will receive an automatic zero.

The Advantage of Submitting Good Questions
If you turn in your homework with several good questions, there is a good chance that I'll use them when I write the quiz for that week. For this reason, if you come up with a list of nine solid questions that are specific enough and that you know the answers to, you'll be in great shape for the quiz, because you'll probably be answering your own questions.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Short Story Unit: Toni Morrison's "Recitatif"

We'll be reading Toni Morrison's "Recitatif" in class as part of our short story unit. You can find a (semi-accurate) version of the story here.

Your first homework assignment is (complete both):

1) Complete a dialectical journal (DJ) in your reader's notebook, analyzing Roberta's character. Find three quotations from the section we read in class that describe Roberta's character. You should find one quotation for each method of characterization:
  • Character Action
  • Dialogue
  • Direct Description
2) Twyla is the story's narrator. How much older do you think Twyla is now that she's narrating the story, compared to how old she and Roberta are when the story begins? How does this help develop Twyla's character? Why do you think Morrison chose to use Twyla as a Narrator, and to jump around the time line, instead of using a more straightforward narrator?

Due Dates for this assignment are:
  • CP 2 - Beginning of class 3/29
  • CP 6 - Beginning of class 3/30

Research Paper Due dates

March 26th: Annotated Bibliography due. Minimum of 15 sources, no more than 5 internet sources--(unless you have been granted special permission.)

March 31st: first 2 pages of paper (biography and thesis), properly formatted and cited. Outline for rest of paper due.

April 5th: Paper due!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Developing a Thesis

Julie Mehretu
Stadia II, 2004
ink and acrylic on canvas

At some point during your research, preferably sooner than later (but after you feel comfortable with your subject), you want to develop a thesis so that you can focus your research. Otherwise, you are wasting valuable time.

It may help to start with a group of paintings that share a common thread—the dates they were crafted, titles, subject matter, they may be a part of a series, or you may find a interesting thread on your own.

Your thesis must tie the work together (what is in common) as well as argue a theory about the significance of the work. Your research should help prove your thesis.

When developing a thesis, think of big questions: How do these paintings explain a perception of the universe? How is the artist’s own life or philosophy portrayed in the paintings? How does the artist ask her audience to view the paintings (or the universe)?

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Artist Research Paper (Week One)

Thursday, March 11th, 2010: Meet in the Computer Loft.

Overview: You will be choosing one artist, either from the following list or a contemporary artist of equal historic merit--(he or she must have adequate primary and secondary source material from which to research). The research you gather will help you prove your thesis about specific pieces of art (1-5). Choose an artist whose work you like, and even more importantly, who you think makes an interesting statement through his or her artwork that you think you can explain for about 10 pages.

Here are two model papers from previous years:

Philip Guston

Sandy Skogland

You should read these papers to understand where this process is going.

Step 1: I have set up hyperlinks for more than 60 artists. Spend the next hour or so choosing an artist that you would like to focus on for the next few weeks. (You will want to have a back-up choice or two for various reasons.) I know a bit about each of these artists and have an idea of what you will face if you choose to research any of them. I’ll be around to answer questions. Enjoy.
For some of these artists, it is just as easy to do an image search.

Painters and Artists:

Noriko Ambe

Louise Bourgeois

Francis Bacon


Jean Michel Basquiat

Romare Bearden

Wallace Berman

Norbert Bisky

Joe Brainard

Chuck Close

Jess (Collins) (Just as easy to do an image search.)

Joseph Cornell

Jay DeFeo

Willem De Kooning (Image search has more variety of his work.)

Jorge de la Vega

Jim Dine

Aaron Douglas

Marcel Duchamp (Just as easy to do an image search.)

Max Ernst (Just as easy to do an image search.)

Shepard Fairey

Tony Fitzpatrick

Lucien Freud

Jeffrey Gibson

Arshile Gorky (Image search has more variety of his work.)

Tim Hawkinson

David Hockney

Hans Hofmann

Damien Hurst (Image search has more variety of his work.)

Jasper Johns (Image search has more variety of his work.)

Wolfgang Kals

Alex Katz

Anselm Kiefer

Edward Kienholz

Franz Kline (Just as easy to do an image search.)

Lee Krasner (Just as easy to do an image search.)

Sol Lewitt

Roy Lichtenstien (Just as easy to do an image search.)

Julie Mehretu

Joan Mitchell (Easier to do an image search.)

Robert Motherwell (Easier to do an image search.)

Vik Muniz

Wangechi Mutu (Just as easy to do an image search.)

Takashi Murakami

Alice Neel

Caleb Neelon

Damian Ortega

Erik Parker

Yana Payusova

Raymond Pettibon

Tom Phillips

Robert Rauschenberg (Just as easy to do an image search.)

Gerhard Richter

Larry Rivers

James Siena

Amy Sillman

Shinique Smith

Frank Stella (Just as easy to do an image search.) He was born in Malden!

Yves Tanguy (Just as easy to do an image search.)

Mickalene Thomas

Cy Twombly (Easier to do an image search.)

Raissa Venables

Kara Walker

Phoebe Washburn

Lee Waisler

Kehinde Wiley

Trevor Winkfield

White Cube also has a good list of contemporary artists.

So does this PBS site.

I chose these artists because they should be easy enough to find research on but have not been written on endlessly. If you have an artist in mind, I’d be happy to add him or her to the list.


Step 2: Due Friday, March 12th 2010: Choose an artist. First come, first serve.

Step 3: Due Monday, March 15th, 2010: email me ryanseangallagher AT gmail DOT com and Mr. Weir alecgweir AT gmail DOT com a 1,000 word description of a piece of art.

Choose 1 – 2 paintings and try to describe them to the best of your ability. “Paint a replica of the image with your own words.” Can you make your reader “see” what you are seeing.

This is an important step in the process of writing this research paper for a few reasons:

  • First, you will need this descriptive writing in your essay to aid your analysis.
  • Second, you will learn things about the piece of art by forcing yourself to stare at it with the attention needed to describe it.
  • Last, what you see may be different from what others do, not just the abstract work, but what are your eyes drawn to first? You will never be able to get this moment back--what your eyes noticed when you were first drawn to the painting / or piece of art. You will need this writing when you start to compile your formal research paper.