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