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Tuesday, Aug. 30

August 30, 2016

Spongebob: Today we did a dream journal exercise in class, and talked about the results (which focused on recurring dreams).

I gave you a handout about Carl Jung: Who Was Jung and we talked about his theory of the collective unconscious — and how his idea of dreams was different than Freud’s. Then we watched the first 10 minutes of Mrs. Doubtfire. You recognized Daniel (Robin Williams’s character) as an example of an Eternal Child — specifically, a Peter Pan (someone who chooses to remain in a childlike state). We’ll talk more Thursday about what marks him as such; there are multiple clues in the first 10 minutes — which, of course, is entirely intentional.

The Eternal Child is also one of the archetypes that Jung identified. We’ll explain his view of this character on Thursday.


Homework for Thursday: I want you to think of three examples of a divine/eternal child that we did not discuss in class. Have them in written form and ready to turn in at the beginning of class.

Critical Reading: Today we spent the first half of class talking about the article you were to read for today (from The Atlantic, about use of “so…”). You got a guided notes sheet (Critical Reading 8.25.16 – GN Day 1) and we started taking notes – what we’re doing in this class, generally, and what the difference is between regular “readers” and “critical reading.” In a nutshell: “readers” take things at face value; “critical readers” acknowledge what that text says and does, and digs into what the text actually means.

When analyzing a text on these three levels, we first restate the text (what does it say? For example, the SNL skit was about a woman named Penelope at an auction). We go on to describe the text (how does it work/how is it made? For the SNL skit, we can talk about things like acting, repetition, patterns, the setting, the costuming, etc.). Finally, the most critical element requires us to interpret the text (what does it mean? For the SNL skit, it’s perhaps a commentary on linguistic pattern trends, or commentary on social status – there’s a lot we could talk about).

Your homework for Thursday is the back of the guided notes: there’s a sentence and Mary Had a Little Lamb. Restate/describe/interpret each of these “texts.” Do the best you can; this will simply be checked for completion, not correctness, and we will be discussing them both in class in detail.

SirenToday we talked about your story ideas, and used them to review the seven qualities that make any story worth covering:

1. Impact: Does this story affect my readers? How many does it affect? Directly or indirectly?

2. Immediacy: Is this story about to happen? Has it already happened? How long ago? Is it old news already, or still relevant?

3. Prominence: Does this story involve a person or people well-known to my readers? (That can mean “local celebrities” — teachers are a good example, in our own community.)

4. Proximity: Is it happening close to my readers? How close, if so?

5. Novelty: How unusual is this? Has it ever happened before? Is it likely to happen again?

6. Conflict: Does this story involve a dispute or disagreement? If not, is it likely to do so?

7. Emotions: Is this story likely to make readers emotional — happy, sad, angry, “Awwwww,” etc.?

Any time you’re considering whether to run (or do) a story, run it mentally through this checklist first. The more boxes you check, the better a story it probably is. (If no boxes are checked, why would you waste time with it?)

Had a meeting with new staff members afterward. We discussed the continuum of stories, from news to reviews:

1. There is a continuum that includes the four main types of pieces you will be writing: news, features, editorials and reviews. News is most objective; reviews are least objective.
2. In news, there is no room for your opinion. Editorials and reviews are almost all your opinion. In features, you should keep your opinions as minimal as possible (although, as we discussed, they may find their way in from time to time).
3. Because of this, in news or features, you will be talking to people: at least two sources per story. You do not need to do original reporting for editorials (although editorials may include previously-used quotes from other sources, like a news story) or reviews.

I gave you a handout on parts of a front page and the parts of a story, which you should look over for Thursday.

In the Style Of: Today some of you shared your Dr. Seuss pieces – thanks to those of you who shared, your participation is very appreciated!

The style for this week is Emily Dickinson. Please read and take notes on the material that was handed out today. These can be handwritten or typed – either way, they’re due at the beginning of class on Thursday. We will have a discussion then.

Reading: Today you began by writing out Prompt 1 (Reading for Writers 8.30.16 – Prompt 1). The theme for this semester will be “The Aftermath.”

In class, you received a copy of one of Salinger’s books (not Catcher in the Rye). These will need to be read by mid-October – later this week I’ll give you a calendar with exact dates.

We watched the first 15 minutes of Jurassic Park, and will continue the viewing on Thursday. We will be discussing this film.

Survey: Poetry: Today we read some poems from Chapter 2 of Three Genres; you chose poems you liked and shared what you liked about them. Lots of good, smart observations — well-done!

For Thursday,  read Chapters 1 and 3 in your textbook.

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