Skip to content

Wednesday, September 28

September 28, 2016

CNF Workshop:

Screenwriting Workshop: Today we workshopped Cassidy and Payton. Rachel and Ash are for Friday – have your annotations ready and comments posted online by 8:50 am.

Good job today – every single person had something to say for both pieces, which is really wonderful. I really appreciate the focus of your comments and the way you listened to one another. Let’s keep it up!

Public Speaking: 

BatCat: On Friday, we will be discussing all of the submissions currently labeled “ALL READ” on Submittable. If you haven’t read all of them, DO IT!🙂


Survey: Fiction: Today you handed in Assignment #1. As I mentioned in class, if what you handed in today is problematic in some way (no MLA header, no double spacing, etc), you may hand it in again tomorrow for full credit with those issues corrected. I will not come to you for this – if you decide to redo it, bring it to me at your earliest convenience.

In class you took a quiz on The Jilting of Granny Weatherall, which we will be talking more about next week (so don’t forget everything about it, please!).

The rest of class was spent outside, working on Prompt #5, which is due on Monday in your notebooks. I will be checking for completion. Here is the link to file again if you need it: fiction-9-26-16-prompt-5-voice-persona.

There is no other new homework for Monday, aside from Prompt #5.

Tuesday, September 27

September 27, 2016

Critical Reading & Spongebob: Guest speaker Madison Taylor.

Siren: Madison Taylor joined us for some additional Q&A and helped us edit October copy. Remember what we discussed about when it’s appropriate to fact-check someone’s quotes, and when you should use verbs like “claimed” and “alleged.”

Style: Today you shared and handed in your Elizabeth Barrett Browning sonnets. The style for this week is Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People. Read it and take notes for Thursday!

Reading for Writers: First day of presentations. We will continue on Thursday.

Survey: Poetry: Today we reviewed stuff from Chapter 5. I gave you a prequiz, which covered the following:

  1. The four non-rhyming sound devices: alliteration, assonance, consonance and onomatopoeia.
  2. Types of rhyme: true rhyme, slant (or off) rhyme and eye rhyme, as well as end rhyme and internal rhyme.
  3. The difference between end-stopping and enjambment.
  4. Although the prequiz didn’t cover it, we also talked again about euphony and cacophony.

Those 13 terms will be the subject of a for-real quiz Thursday.

I also gave you your first official poem-writing assignment. For next Tuesday, you are to write a poem on any subject. The poem must

  1. have no fewer than 10 and no more than 12 lines.
  2. have a tenor (in other words, a main idea) and a vehicle (in other words, at least one strong image) to express it.
  3. have at least one example of assonance, consonance or alliteration.
  4. have at least one example of either end-stopping or enjambment (you could use both, of course).

This poem may be typewritten or handwritten, but it must be ready at the beginning of class Tuesday. (If you need it printed, please take care of that ahead of time.)

It must also be accompanied by the poem creation checklist I gave you today (see me if you were absent).

Don’t forget our guest speaker tomorrow…

September 26, 2016

…Literary Arts alum Madison Taylor, who’ll be here Block 1 Tuesday to talk about successful blogging and journalism (print and broadcast).

Here’s her blog:

No first block classes tomorrow. Miss Taylor will also be here Block 2 to talk with SIREN staffers.


Monday, September 26

September 26, 2016

CNF Workshop: Today: Koscinski and Kashuba.

Held over so far: Kasper and Adamson. We’ll try to start with those two essays Wednesday.

For Wednesday: comments and annotations for Hulick and LeRoy.

Screenwriting Workshop: Today you got Payton & Cassidy’s screenplays, and we went over commenting expectations and guidelines. Both of these screenplay need to be read, annotated, and digitally (on the blog) commented upon for Wednesday. Comments are due by 8:50 am; annotations will be checked before workshop begins.

Remember your due dates, and remember to post your work by 8 am on your given due date!

Public Speaking: I get it — it was a pretty rough day.

We just have to move on and do better next time. I gave out the next packet of poems. (See me if you were absent.) You had to pick one, and you had to choose five words for your notecard.

If you didn’t go today, you will recite Wednesday. One other thing you already know — but should have seen confirmed today: when I give you time in class to practice, you HAVE to use it. This is not the kind of thing you can just learn on the bus on the way to school.

My theory — unconfirmed — is that there’s no way you can hope to really deliver a piece effectively unless you’ve practiced it at least 50 times. (Preferably more than that.) My other theory — more or less confirmed — is that if you’re working diligently, you could run through one of these pieces at least 25 or 3o times in an average class. Maybe more. So that’s what you should be trying to do.

BatCat: We are officially on the books for a workshop at Carlow on January 7th (it’s a Saturday). This is a lot of advance notice, and I expect that most, if not all, staff members will attend. Note that we will be RUNNING the workshop; the participants will be MFA students from Carlow. This is a great and very unique opportunity.

Our next event is the Frostburg Indie Lit Festival on Oct. 15. A couple people are coming – more are encouraged and welcome!

Horror: We took our third Pet Sematary quiz and discussed it afterward.

We then went over your answers to the Twilight Zone episode we watched Friday. We got through almost all of it — though not quite all. We’ll continue that discussion Wednesday when we finish the second episode we began today: “The After Hours.”

Reading assignment for next Monday: Chapters 28 to 35. In other words, up to Part Two of the book.

Middle School Rotation: Spelling quiz retakes. Talked about Friday’s Bert Bertram Show.

Middle School Literary Arts Enrichment: Quiz on Chapters 5-6 in Neverwhere.

We talked about why Chapter 6 might be a little less engaging: because there’s less action and more description.

Partner activity: you thought of a place you know well and told it to your partner, who attempted to capture it in words.

For next week: read Chapters 7, 8 and 9.

Survey: Fiction: Today you handed in your A&P analysis sheets from last Wednesday, and then many of your shared your “opposite twin” answers. I think we all learned a little something about one another…

In class, you got notes on vocab, syntax, diction, voice (3 definitions), and persona. Prompt 5 (fiction-9-26-16-prompt-5-voice-persona) was handed out but IS NOT homework. You’ll have time to work on it on Wednesday!

Assignment #1 is DUE on Wednesday. Please print ahead of time (come up to the department in the morning, or print at Mrs. Grafton’s station earlier in the day) as we will not be in the same room as the printer, and therefore you won’t be able to print in class. This is worth a lot of points – so make every effort possible to have it done, and done well, on time.

Homework for Wednesday: read The Jilting of Granny Weatherall (675 in the Norton Anthology). There will be a quiz, as usual.

Friday, September 23

September 23, 2016

CNF Workshop: Today: Bullock.

For Monday: Koscinski/Kashuba/Adamson.

Screenwriting Workshop: Today was the last day for small group workshop. Payton and Cassidy are due to post Monday and will be workshopped on Wednesday. Everyone: please make sure you are aware of your due date. Also be aware that you must REVISE your screenplay before submitting it to the full workshop – that was the whole point of small groups!

Remember that you already also have the guidelines for Round 2, and should definitely be getting started on that as well.

We will be doing something in class on Monday; it will not be a work day.

Public Speaking: You had all block to rehearse your piece for Monday.

BatCat: There are 8 submissions labeled “ALL READ,” and only two of them have been read and rated by all. Please have these all covered by Monday!

Horror: I gave you this handout history-of-horror-what-weve-done-so-far-sept-2016 to summarize what we’ve covered in class so far.

We talked about the fourth item on our list of “Stuff That Scares Us” — mystical objects. Examples: the monkey’s paw, Aladdin’s lamp, and any object that seems to have a supernatural power. We gave the example of a magic stapler that goes around granting wishes. Most of us would probably not accept these wishes because we’ve seen how this story usually ends: even when people win their wishes fair and square, the wishes don’t usually go the way we hope they’ll go.

Then we watched the Twilight Zone episode “Living Doll” and tried to identify the four things on our list in this show (they’re all in there), plus one new one.

Survey: Combined: Today we went over submission information. See the link at the top of this page for the links to the websites we covered in class.

You worked on your songs for Poetry and handed them in at the end of the block.

Remember for Monday: bring in both your A&P analysis worksheet as well as both of your Q&A sheets (one in your voice, the other as your “opposite twin”).

Thursday, September 22

September 22, 2016

Spongebob: Today we discussed our fifth archetype: the one we saw in opening of Take the Money and Run, played by Woody Allen’s character, Virgil Starkwell. He is an Outsider, a character who is set apart in some way from others, a character who can’t (or won’t) fit in. The key is the apart-ness here.

If, like Virgil, he is a character who tries but FAILS to fit in, we can call him a Misfit. Other Misfits: Napoleon Dynamite, Charlie Brown, Luke Skywalker, Ariel in The Little Mermaid, Cinderella, Harry Potter (the last three begin this way, before evolving into something else).

If the Outsider tries NOT to fit in, then he or she is a Bad Boy/Girl. Examples: James Dean in Rebel Without a Cause, Bender from The Breakfast Club, Janis Ian from Mean Girls.

Homework for Thursday (no class Tuesday because of our guest speaker, Madison Taylor):

Pick a book, a TV show or a film. Try to identify at least four of the five archetypres we’ve identified in this single work. Give the subarchetype. Also give at least a couple of lines of defense: why is this character the archetype (and subarchetype) you chose? (This is especially important if you choose a work I’m not familiar with, which is certainly possible.)

Critical Reading: Today we crawled out of the rabbit hole that is Saussure and talked more about what critical read is, and what some goals of it ought to be. If you were absent, get these notes from a classmate. In your notes, you added “context” and “filter.”

In class we did an in-class activity involving Louis Wain’s cat paintings. The point of this was to see how some outside information (context) can affect the way you view and interpret a text – in this case, three cat paintings.

Your homework is to research Flannery O’Connor’s life and work. This should remain a primarily biographical inquiry, as we will first be looking at one of her stories through a biographical filter. You do not need to read any of her work – just research her life and her career for now. Type or write down your findings in your own words. Please do not simply copy and paste material from a website, tempting though I’m sure it is.

 Siren: Editing first edition copy. Remember the stuff about quotes. Get them up high and don’t be afraid to set them up with a preceding graf. E.g.

But other students felt that punishment should be given to their peers who fail to stand for the pledge.

“I’d like to see those pinko freaks lit on fire,” said junior Al Anon. “They make me sick.”

Style: Today we talked about Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s Sonnets from the Portuguese. Here are the board notes:


Your assignment for Tuesday is a little more dictated than usual: write 4 Italian sonnets that are connected in some way. Tonally and linguistically they may be quite different from EBB, but the rhyme scheme should be the same. Typed, as usual, due at the beginning of class on Tuesday.

Reading for Writers: Today we set the order for next week’s presentations. Here’s the list:

  1. Karis
  2. Jay
  3. Faith
  4. Patrick
  5. Sam
  6. Marena
  7. Cecil
  8. Ziv
  9. Cora
  10. Kayla
  11. Liv
  12. Carter
  13. Nova
  14. Sara
  15. Eliot
  16. Hannah M.
  17. Bailey
  18. Hannah A.

The rest of class was yours to work on either your presentation, or to read your Salinger book, which must be read by October 11.

Survey: Poetry: We reviewed the four non-rhyming sound devices. A few people earned extra credit.

Then you got a partner and started writing a song, to show me you understand true rhyme, slant rhyme and internal rhyme — as well as how to count syllables. Please bring them back tomorrow — you’ll have time to work on them in class, and I’ll be collecting them at the end.

Wednesday, September 21

September 21, 2016

CNF Workshop: Reading quiz. Then I gave out the second round packets. The schedule looks like this (please note the change for Friday, since Miss Hall will be absent):

Friday, Sept. 23: Bullock and Kasper

Monday, Sept. 26: Koscinski/Kashuba/Adamson

Wednesday, Sept. 28: Hulick and LeRoy

Friday, Sept. 30: Pilch and Hall

Monday, Oct. 3: Kennedy/McDanel/Bowser

Wednesday, Oct. 5: Mckinzie/reading quiz/Third round essay due

Screenwriting Workshop: Today was a continuation of your small group discussions. We set the due dates for Round 1. Here they are:

Due Monday, 9/26: Payton, Cassidy (Workshop 9/28)

Due Wednesday, 9/28: Rachel, Ash (Workshop 9/30)

Due Friday, 9/30: Alexa, Patrick (Workshop 10/3)

Due Monday, 10/3: Olivia, Sarah B. (Workshop 10/5)

Due Wednesday, 10/5: Sara H., Spencer (Workshop 10/7)

Due Friday, 10/7: Joanie, Haley (Workshop 10/12)

Due Wednesday, 10/12: Henry, Layla (Workshop 10/14)

For those that are new, I just want to remind you that the due dates listed above are for when you are to post your work to the blog (by 8:00 am; I will then print your work and have it ready to hand out in class). The workshop date (which is always the next class meeting after your due date) is when everyone else has to do annotations and post their online comments on your work by 8:45 am.

Public Speaking: We re-watched the least popular speaker from Monday, Phillip Zimabardo, and “The Demise of Guys.” We went through it piece-by-piece, and arrived at a few conclusions:

  1. He killed the talk 30 seconds in when he dumped a boatload of statistics on us. There were so many numbers — without any visuals — that the effect was overwhelming.
  2. He used a PowerPoint, but he didn’t use it in a way that would be helpful. There were no visual representations of abstract concepts. Thus, it became distracting, rather than helpful.
  3. Clearly, he knew his subject. A lot about it, in fact. But he tried to compress far too much information into such a short talk. It wasn’t that it was “all over the place,” so much — there was just too much material. Had he focused on one or two key concepts — what about this “rewiring of the brain” he talked about? — it would have been a more memorable speech. (As an aside, he made a lot of assumptions that his audience would understand authors and references — “As you know…” That can make people feel stupid, and can be a turn-off.)

I gave you a choice of three poems for next week’s recitation. Your homework for Friday is to pick a poem, and then write your 10 words down on a notecard, which you will give to me at the start of class.


Horror: Today we talked about:

  1. the backstory of Dr. Caligari. It was based on a true story about a girl who was murdered at a fair in Hamburg, as well as a strongman who appeared at a different local fair who appeared to be hypnotized and predicted the future.
  2. the fact that the frame story was grafted onto the original screenplay by the director, Robert Weine. The authors hated it, and no wonder: it changed everything. Instead of a horror story about a mad scientist who must ultimately pay for his boundary crossing by being institutionalized, it changed into a lunatic’s silly dream. The doctor ends up being noble and wise, and the whole thing is a big letdown.
  3. Expressionism, a style of art in which reality is depicted subjectively. That means, as it feels, rather than as it is objectively. Edvard Munch’s famous painting “The Scream” (1893) is an example of this art form. The sets and scenery of Dr. Caligari are expressionist; they depict a twisted, confusing and topsy-turvy world.
  4. the fact that this was no accident. Post-WWI, Germany was economically depressed and its national pride was severely wounded. However, in the post-war Weimar Republic, restrictions on censorship were lifted, and artists could depict previously taboo subjects in film, writing and visual art. There was also a campaign to get homosexuality decriminalized. Some people thought this was all exciting. Others didn’t. Jews were often blamed for much of this alleged post-war erosion of morals, a hostility that would find fuller expression shortly.
  5. Surrealism, a style of art in which reality is viewed through the prism of the unconscious mind. The idea is to give the unconscious mind freedom, in the belief that it can offer us a better picture of the truth. In practice, it’s led to lots and lots of confusing, ill-conceived and poorly-executed art. We did watch the beginning of a 1928 surrealist film, Un Chien Andalou, to give you an idea (and remind you that the power of the body to frighten and disturb us is immense).

For Monday: Chapters 21 through 27 in Pet Sematary.

Survey: Fiction: Sorry for the late update! Everyone was present in class, so there’s nothing new. Here’s the recap anyway:

You took a quiz on A&P, and then, with a partner, did an analysis of the voice of the story. The sheet can be found here: fiction-9-22-16-in-class-ap-voice-analysis. I did not collect this today, but I WILL collect it on Monday. I’m giving you this extra time to finish it (if you didn’t in class) and to make it better. Redo it if necessary. Remember to make an observation or cite a specific example, explain it if necessary, and then talk about what this example suggests or connotes. How does it add to the voice?

After that, we went on to part 2 of what we started on Monday. Here is the “opposite twin” question sheet. Remember that you should answer all of these questions, including the first, in the voice of your opposite twin. If you naturally write in short, choppy sentences, your twin should write in long, flowing, complex sentences. If you have an upbeat personality that shines through in your writing, your twin should be downcast and subdued. Remember that the point is to NOT sound like yourself.🙂

Have fun with the opposite twin questions (“In Other Words”); these are due on Monday and will be collected with the original question list (“In Your Own Words”).