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Tuesday, March 14

March 14, 2017

Argument: Quiz I. Quiz II. Pseudoproofs. I’ll try to have these ready to give back Thursday (no promises, though), so that we can retest if necessary.

I gave you an essay called “Dear Mom,” by Taryn Barnett. Your job is to read it for Thursday and, in the space provided on the back page, write a one-paragraph response answering this question: How is this essay different from the other kinds of argument we have seen this semester? (Because it is.)

Adaptation: Today we continued to screen Into the Woods. We made it to just after the Baker’s Wife sings “Moments in the Woods,” in case you need to catch up. We have about 40 minutes left to go, which means that you’ll have about 30 minutes on Thursday to work in your groups.

The first response for Into the Woods (Response 5) was handed out today (Adaptation 3.14.17 – Response 5, Into the Woods 1); this is due Thursday, March 23, which will be our first discussion day for the musical. You also ought to read the “meaning” reading assignment that was passed out last week to correspond to this discussion.

Siren: Fog Index II. I’m pretty skeptical about the numbers most of you guys came up with for this — we’re going to need to do it again — but if they’re anything close, we need to work on lowering our Fog Index numbers. Remember: the number signifies the grade level for which you are writing. And in journalism, that number generally needs to be between six and seven.

There are really two ways to lower the number:

  1. Use less words with three or more syllables. You can do this sometimes — for example, why not good old “said,” rather than “concluded” or “indicated”? — but at other times, context will dictate things. You couldn’t very well write the Nathanael Turner story and not say “violin,” right?
  2. That’s why the thing you can more easily control is sentence length. You want short, punchy sentences that are as clear as you can get them. Semicolons should be a matter of last resort. If you have two independent clauses, you have two sentences, at least in journalism.
  3. Related: get in the habit of starting quotes with their own grafs. A one-line, one-quote graf might seem a little strange, but it’s common in journalism.

Prompt: Please read the article about teaching cursive in school.

Publishing: Haiku stuff. If you have a chance to set your type outside of class, before Thursday, that would be great – hint, hint. 🙂

Comedy: Today we finished watching The Bandwagon. Mr. LeRoy has a digital copy of it, if you should need to catch up. Or, you know, watch it again. And again.

Your Great Dictator papers are due tomorrow. Please format as a paper, with an MLA header, double spaced, etc.

Middle School Lit Arts: Hi All! Just a reminder that the Peripheral Person essay will be the last assignment I will accept late. If you did not turn it in today, I will accept it Monday. The rubric is attached.Rubric Sydney Chapter 2-Peripheral Thanks! Have a great rest of the week.

Survey: CNF: Today I collected your transcripts. I gave out and reviewed “Five Dos and Don’ts of Interviewing,” which, as the handout says, is testable material. (See me to get a copy if you were absent.)

So are the four things you need to do to build a biographical sketch:

  • Research (research, research)
  • Interviewing the subject
  • Interviewing people close to the subject
  • Observing the subject in his or her natural habitat

We’re going to do all of these things with our biographical sketch subject, Mr. Goodman. Here’s the schedule:

Thursday, March 16: Research about Mr. Goodman in class (you’re certainly free to start earlier), using your phone, laptop, etc. Everyone will contribute a list of 20 (good) questions, minimum, by the end of class.

Tuesday, March 21: We will order the questions, assign them to different individuals, and get prepared for our interview.

Thursday, March 23: We will interview Mr. Goodman as a group. If you are absent, you will miss out on a pretty important opportunity, so plan accordingly.

Sometime prior to spring break: We will visit one of Mr. Goodman’s classes as a group to observe him. Again, if you’re absent, you miss an opportunity.

Sometime prior to spring break, on your own time: You will interview people close to Mr. Goodman for use in your sketch.

The first drafts of these biographical sketches will be due (probably) on April 6, the Thursday before spring break. I will give them back after break with revision guidelines; the revisions will be due (probably) by the end of April. This will be a significant part of your grade in this class.

And remember the other thing we discussed in class today: a good biographical sketch gives the illusion that the writer is very close to the subject (even if they probably aren’t). To give that illusion, you have to have an eye for intimate detail, a term we’ll be discussing more.

To have that eye, you have to be observant. That means, able to focus, intensely, for long periods of time. If you are easily distracted, this assignment is going to be very, very difficult. So do keep this in mind.


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