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Tuesday, December 2

December 2, 2014

Welcome back!

Argument: Today I gave back exam #2, and we reviewed them. When combined with the extra credit you earned, these went pretty well.

Then we began preparing to spar on Thursday. We divided into two groups: those who believe we should have a valedictorian/public class rankings, and those who think we should not (as is the current policy).

You came up with some supports for your position in your group. I recommend you do a little research on this topic for homework, as everyone will have to speak in class Thursday.

New Media: Today we went back to revisit the “7 Great Debates,” which were the seven questions from the first big reading of the semester. These are questions like, “Should media literacy education protect kids from negative media influences?” and “Should media literacy have an explicit political or ideological agenda?”

We discussed briefly how this ties in to what we’re talking about now, which is media messages. In a nutshell, these questions are being asked in the first place because of the power of media messaging. We talked about the “6 core concepts” when it comes to analyzing media messages: first, acknowledge that the message has been constructed by someone (an individual, or perhaps an organization/corporation). Second, acknowledge that there is a specific “language” to the medium in which the message has been constructed (books have chapters and follow the rules of grammar and punctuation; film has angles, shots, editing; etc.). Third, acknowledge that the message was created for a reason – there is a purpose to it, whether you know what that purpose is or not. Fourth, acknowledge that the creator is biased and has some kind of agenda (not necessarily to be taken as negative). Fifth, acknowledge that you, the consumer/reader/watcher, also bring bias and your own personal experience to the table, therefore doing a unique interpretation of the message which may or may not be what the creator intended. And finally, sixth, acknowledge that media messages have power – you can never “unread” or “unwatch” something.

Sorry, that was a lot of information! But it’s all laid out nicely in the “Core Concepts” section of the reading, so go over that part again if you’re confused.

We also started talking about reality television, a relatively new genre that has – as shown on the board – exploded. This is what we’re going to be talking about at length over the next couple weeks. Here’s the assignment for Thursday: New Media 12.2.14 – Adopt a Reality Show Part I.

Here’s the board:


Siren: Both classes reviewed the November issue of the newspaper — what worked, what didn’t? One common theme seems to be that all stories need to provide their own context. Why are we writing about this? Some good points in the downstairs group, in particular. (I’m sure there were some upstairs, as well.)

Remember: the deadline for December copy is a week from today — Dec. 9.

Style: Today you shared your Charlie Brown pieces – nice job, everyone! Very creative.

The style for this week is Reality Television. We watch most of an episode of Masterchef Junior in class – you can either take notes on that or watch any episode of your choice to take notes on at home. Notes are due, as always, on Thursday.

8th Grade:

Survey: Poetry: Today we watched this video:

to begin discussing irony. Yes, we know that really none of the examples in this song really rise to the level of irony, which normally involves a reversal of expectations.

It’s the distance between what’s expected and what actually happens that accounts for whether something is legitimately ironic, though. For example, “rain on your wedding day” might be unexpected (or at least not ideal), but it happens all the time and really isn’t a huge reversal. A 98-year-old winning the lottery and then dying is unusual and probably tragic, but hardly unexpected. (they’re 98 years old after all.) An Olympic swimmer drowning in the bathtub, on the other hand, offers a rare juxtaposition between what we expect to happen, and what actually occurs.

We talked about three different types of irony:

a. Verbal irony (sarcasm — when you say something that is the opposite of what you mean.)
b. Situational irony (when an event has an outcome that is the exact opposite of what was expected. For example, the Olympic swimmer drowning in his bathtub. Or, let’s say, a couple who go to divorce court end up falling back in love during the divorce proceedings.)
c. Dramatic irony (when the audience/reader knows something that a character does not.)

Then we talked about some other, somewhat related, terms from Chapter 10:

Paradox: A statement that seems contradictory or even impossible but which carries some deeper meaning (as when Jesus said, “They have ears, but hear not.”)

Satire: poking fun at powerful people, things or ideas — for example, politicians, institutions, traditions, etc.

Farce: A more over-the-top version of satire. It may be more crude, or could involve slapstick humor or ridiculous, improbable situations. (Sometimes the term is just used to describe very physical comedy.)

Coincidence: A random juxtaposition of events. “Rain on your wedding day,” to quote the popular song, is really just coincidence. Yes, you might expect that wedding days will be sunny, but of course, lots of them aren’t. That’s really not a sharp enough contrast between expected and actual outcome to qualify as irony. If you’re surprised to meet your friend at the mall, even though you didn’t plan it, it isn’t ironic — it’s coincidence. That sort of thing happens all the time too.

Next, I showed you this sample PowerPoint presentation of the poetry of Sir John Betjeman. We talked about your final presentations, which are due Dec. 11. Remember: you are also responsible for turning in copies of the poems you use. You need a minimum of four poems — I recommend more. And you need to find multiple examples of each element you choose.

For next Tuesday: You drew a theme slip from the jar. Your assignment is to write a poem of at least eight lines on this theme, using at least one image to illustrate it, and also including:

Two elements from Chapters 4, 5 and 6

One external organizer from Chapter 8

One internal organizer from Chapter 9.

You MUST identify, somewhere on the same sheet, the elements and organizers you have used.

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