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Friday, September 5

September 5, 2014

Songwriting: Enjoyed hearing your songs, and the reasons you chose them today! We’ll give everyone a chance to go next week, if we missed you.

For next Friday: your job is to listen to the new tracks that Mr. Cameron posted on our Soundcloud page. Take some notes; I expect everyone to come in with some written thoughts and ideas. What do these tracks make you think of? Do you have any title ideas? Do any of them inspire you to write something new of your own?

Speaking of which, we also want everyone to bring in another piece — poem, story, whatever — next week as well. Poems are probably easier to adapt, but not necessarily.

Critical Reading: Today there were quite a few people absent (6 out of 18… yikes!). We continued the discussion from last Friday – you were broken up into groups and discussing/analyzing either the menu, the infographic, or the restaurant review. You wrote up your observations on choices (content, language, structure) on the board and then each group talked a bit about their observations and eventual interpretation. He’re a little bit of a summary:

Menu – The menu includes descriptions that align with the persona of Guy Fieri – they read almost like he talks on his shows, and the titles are enthusiastic. We talked about the layout of the menu and how it’s designed to draw attention to the more expensive dishes, which are usually found in boxes or have GF initials scribbled next to the title. We also looked at the typography – different fonts and sizes are used for the sections (entrees, salads, etc). These draw the eye and also suggest the content below. We also noted the use of stars to further highlight certain dishes or sections. We ended noting that the whole thing is very “American,” and seems like it would appeal to a middle-aged man who feels an intense need to eat meat (since there is only ONE dish on the whole menu that’s vegetarian). It’s Guy Fieri’s restaurant… made for Guy Fieris.

Infographic – On the surface, this is pretty simple: there are four images of varying families, each accompanied by a series of figures on income and taxes. Looking at these figures, the infographic suggests that taxes are going up and this is a bad, hurtful thing – a sentiment which is bolstered by the depiction of all of these sad, sad people. Even the baby is distraught! But then we talked a bit about what isn’t included in this infographic – for example, all of the families represented here have incomes of six figures – most on the mid- or higher side of six figures. That’s not too shabby compared to the current poverty line (about $12,000 for a single person and about $24,000 for a family of four). There is at least $100,000 separating these represented families from the poverty line… so we talked about what that means. The intended audience for this infographic is people who make this much money or more – it really isn’t relevant at all to those who make less than $180,000 a year. We also talked about the WSJ and who their intended reader might be.

Review – The review is made up of a series of questions directed at Guy Fieri, and contained an array of creative comparisons and digs at him, his restaurant, and his food. It’s a negative review, to be sure, but why is it written in this way? We talked about how the way this piece is written is compelling – it sounds so bad that maybe one might need to see it for herself. The writers seems like a jerk, but a knowledgeable jerk who actually kind of likes Fieri’s other restaurants and just can’t come to terms with how bad this particular experience was. It came up that it seems like the author is giving Fieri a way out – by asking him if he realizes or knows all of these things, it seems like perhaps the author is questioning whether Fieri is actually aware of what’s going on at the restaurant, which also speaks to who Fieri is in the first place – he a persona, a guy with a lot going on, so maybe this is just too much. We also talked a little bit about what the publishing of this review says about the NYT – highbrow, but with a little adventurous streak, and a sense of humor. Probably.

We did not get to talk about Saussure, which is good considering how many people were absent. We’ll be doing it next week, if all goes to plan. There is also homework for next Friday: Critical Reading 9.5.14 – Article Comparison Assignment. This is just the assignment sheet – please see me to get the articles.

Action Hero: Examined the hero’s journey through two films: one, the Pixar short Boundin’,

the other, Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs. We watched about a half-hour of the latter; we’ll continue on Monday.

I gave everyone a handout with the twelve steps of the hero’s journey listed, so you could try to match moments from Cloudy to the various steps. These will be collected at the end of class Monday, so bring them with you and be ready to finish them,

BatCat: Work.

8th Grade: Code-breaking scavenger hunt! (The password is “gravy.”)

Survey: Fiction: [Note: Apologies for the late update – not sure what went wrong!]

Today we started talking about voice, and along with that term you also defined vocabulary, syntax, and diction in your notes. You’re going to keep talking about imagery in Poetry, so we’re moving along so that there isn’t too much overlap, but remember that many of the things you learn in Poetry can also apply to your fiction writing. Remember to be thoughtful when you write – and especially when you revise. Pay attention to your word choices and the connotations that come along with them. 

At the beginning of class there was an in-class exercise: you were to write a brief character sketch of the character you created in your homework for today. Then, on the back of the notecard, you used the voice of that character to describe a picture of a car: 


Your homework for Monday is to write a piece of flash fiction (see guidelines on assignment sheet) in 1st person from the perspective (and using the voice of) this same character. The story can be completely unrelated to what you already wrote, so don’t feel restricted! Critical Reading 9.5.14 – Article Comparison Assignment Make sure to follow the guidelines carefully!!

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