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Tuesday, April 21

April 22, 2015

Spongebob: Today we had what I guess you would call a free-ranging discussion about archetypal interactions. We went from The Avengers to Shakespeare to the Caillou vine, and I’m not sure how we got there. (OK, I am sure how we got to that last one.)

What started to emerge — and would have more fully if I’d done a better job of leading the discussion (instead of leading it astray) — is that there are fairly predictable patterns that occur when different sets of archetypes interact. Warriors and Swashbucklers (or Charmers) tend to get on one another’s nerves. Protectors tend to seek out Outsiders to mother/look after. Shapeshifters (at least the Tricked kind) generally need guidance from a Sage to become normal again.

We concluded by talking about a specific archetypal pattern: when a hero manages to get the girl but doesn’t really have to change his archetype in the process. We mentioned examples like Scott Pilgrim and Napoleon Dynamite, as well as Peter Venkman in Ghostbusters. This is a thread we’ll follow more on Thursday as we prepare for our Shakespeare experience in the next week or two.

Hitchcock: Today we finished watching Vertigo. We had a brief discussion and I handed out a copy of the production code for you to read over before we get into the next film, which will be North by Northwest. If you missed part of Vertigo or you know that you’ll miss part of class next week, remember that the ball is in your court as far as making up these viewings. You can borrow the DVD during the school day. If this doesn’t work for you, come talk to me about how we can find you a copy.

Your papers or presentations are due on Thursday. Do not forget to bring back your DVD!!

Siren: May stuff again.

Daily Prompt: Notebooks were checked. Activity on Thursday!


8th Grade:

Survey: CNF: Today we talked more about your opinion essays and the struggle to find moments that fit. We introduced two new terms that I want you to remember:

The hook serves a similar purpose in CNF as it does in pop music. A hook is a short motif (instrumental or vocal) that draws you into the song, or “hooks” you. These hooks are usually repeated throughout the song.

Listen to the first 15 seconds of Marina and the Diamonds’ “Blue”:

There are two hooks: the keyboard line, and the repeated vocal “I.” Most people would just say they are “catchy,” which is another way of saying that they get your attention (partly because there are no other prominent elements in those first 15 seconds). They are simple, insistent, and work together to grab you.

Your essays need hooks, as well: things that demand your attention from the outset and let the reader know this isn’t some boring nonfiction piece about the life of someone you could care less about.

How do you get those hooks? Consider what Lee Gutkind calls the “universal chord.” If essays are usually a combination of private ideas (things that happened only to you) and public ideas (things that have happened to everyone), then it helps if you can find a midpoint: strike a “universal chord” that resonates with everyone, whether they have shared your personal experience or not.

For example, let’s use the example of Miss Bett’s essay about college costs being too high. She is concerned about college costs. But most ninth-graders probably aren’t, at least not yet.

How do we get them to pay attention? She gave us a great moment about feeling overwhelmed when she was given some college information. Most of you haven’t felt overwhelmed about college. But you HAVE felt overwhelmed.

That means focusing on the universal experience — feeling overwhelmed — can strike that universal chord with readers. Beginning with the feeling of being overwhelmed — too much information, too confusing — could hook just about any reader who’s ever had a similar feeling, whether they’ve felt it about college or some other experience.

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