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Tuesday, February 7

February 7, 2017

Argument: Today I gave out a practice sheet to help identify types of claims. We reviewed the answers; it seemed to me that most people did pretty well.

A couple of pointers:

  • Definitional claims can be phrased like policy claims; the difference is that we’re not REALLY suggesting an action, but rather, a way of thinking about something. For example, if we say “The Patriots should be called ‘The Team of the Decade’,” we’re not really suggesting that everyone refer to the Patriots as such — only that they be considered that way.
  • Claims of fact can be factual even if the “fact” hasn’t yet occurred. “The Pirates will win the World Series this year” can’t be proven yet — but eventually, we will have an answer.
  • Value claim usually include “value words”: better than, worse then, worthless, greatest, etc. They aren’t merely claims about right and wrong; they also involve valuations of things.

Then we compared some of the claims you created last week, as well as the revised claims you made on the same topic. We talked about which claims would be preferable to defend. The answer is usually specifics. To use one example from class, if you say:

Teen Titans Go is the worst cartoon ever.”

then you’re implicitly stating that you 1) have knowledge of all cartoons ever and 2) are ready to show why TTG is worse than any of them. That’s a big job.

But if you say:

Teen Titans Go is far inferior to the original Teen Titans series.”

then now you’re making a much more specific value claim. You’ve gone from having to cite the entire history of cartoons to a single cartoon. Much less ground to defend.

For homework, I gave you a copy of an essay, “Giving People A Second Chance.” Please read it and:

  1. Restate, in your own words, the primary claim being made. Be specific!!
  2. Tell me what type of claim is being made: fact, definition, cause, value or policy.

You can write your answers on the back of the essay.

Adaptation: Today I handed out four things:

  • An assignment to start on Thursday (due next Tuesday), which also has a list of future readings.
  • Reading 1: Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Needs to be complete by 2/21.
  • Reading 2: What Novels Can Do…. Needs to be complete by 2/23.
  • Reading 3: Twelve Fallacies. Needs to be complete by 2/28.

In class, we finally discussed Benjamin’s Task of the Translator and you handed in your responses.

I’ll see you all next Tuesday; your lists will be due that day! Here is the final Shakespeare assignment list:

  • Sam – Julius Caesar
  • Haley – Macbeth
  • Sarah – Twelfth Night
  • Olivia – Taming of the Shrew
  • Alexa – Much Ado About Nothing
  • Hannah – Romeo and Juliet
  • Ash – The Tempest
  • Chip – Richard III
  • Nova – Othello
  • Emmett – Hamlet
  • Cierra – King Lear
  • Joanie – All’s Well That Ends Well
  • Bailey – As You Like It
  • Cassidy – Antony & Cleopatra
  • Henry – Titus Andronicus
  • Victoria – A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Siren: Today we began a new periodic feature of class: journalism workshop. Thanks to Miss Cianfarano, who suggested this some years back, and has kept reminding me of it. (This is why it pays to be persistent!)

The format will work like this: each week, we will all be assigned a story. Sometimes we’ll all do the same thing, and sometimes we won’t. Whatever we do, we’ll turn these stories in on the SIREN blog a week from the due date, unless otherwise specified. Then we’ll “workshop” the pieces together, giving praise and suggestions where they are due.

Our first assignment was an interview with Music major Nathanael Turner, a junior from Beaver who just got back from playing at Carnegie Hall in New York City. We prepared questions and spoke to him in class. Here’s the audio.

Your job is to turn this interview into a short (let’s say 500-word) piece that you will post on the blog by the beginning of class next Tuesday, Feb. 14. It’s your Valentine’s Day present!

What should your lead be? You tell me. Should you talk to other people? I think you should, but that’s up to you. Do you need to write a headline? Yes. What about a byline? Same as you would for a SIREN story. What about background information? You can use this press release — and that means you can take pieces of it if you wish, without attribution. However, try to limit that as much as possible. Firsthand info is almost always better.

Daily Prompt: Today notebooks were checked and we had an in-class reading.

Note: If you are absent on a Thursday and miss the activity OR if we don’t have class for some reason on a Thursday (snow day, etc.), replace the “activity” prompt with another prompt from the website!

I will not be here on Thursday; I will leave instructions with Mr. LeRoy for Thursday.

Publishing: Nothing at the moment.

Comedy: Today we talked about sound. If you were absent, grab the notes from a classmate. Here’s a brief overview:

  • Silent films were usually accompanied by a live musician (or musicians). Wurlitzer organs, orchestras, pianos, and instruments like the Fotoplayer were common.
  • Music was usually not written specifically for films. Instead, familiar themes and classical music would be recycled from film to film, usually at the discretion of the house musician. Sometimes films would be accompanied by cue sheets.
  • It wasn’t that people weren’t interested in sound film – technological issues prevented films from having recorded sound accompaniments for a few different reasons.
    • Recording technology wasn’t great in the first place.
    • Recorded material was limited in length (records and cylinders could only hold a few minutes worth of material)
    • Projection was an issue – the technology to amplify the sound to fill a hall or theater just wasn’t there yet.
    • Synchronization was the biggest problem of all – getting the recorded sound to match up perfectly to the projected image was extremely difficult given the circumstances.
  • The first partial “talkie” was The Jazz Singer (1927)
  • The first full “talkie” was Lights of New York (1928)

In class, we watched the following:

If you want to know more about the Fotoplayer:

The weird museum in Pittsburgh that has a collection of strange instruments (including those used to accompany silent films) is called The Bayernhof:

Survey: CNF: You wrote a moment about a time when you confronted a fear

Then we created moment trees — essentially, chains of moments related in some way to our main moment. I went over a couple of them in class.

So far, besides the “fear” moment you wrote today, you have written moments about times when you experienced a “first,” and about a time when you discovered something important OR about a time when you learned that adults can’t always be trusted.

Your assignment for Thursday is to create a moment tree for either of the other two moments you have written:

  • the “first” moment
  • the “discovering something important” moment, or
  • the “adults can’t always be trusted” moment.”

I gave you a notecard to write this moment tree on; I will be collecting these at the start of class Thursday.

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