27 May 2007

End of year assignments

The end of the year is fast upon us, which means it is important you keep track of the expectations and assignments for the 4th quarter and final exam. You should have completed all six blog entries for your novel - 1984 or Fahrenheit 451. That is spelled out here.

What I'm noticing as I read your entries is that many of you have spelling, grammatical, or mechanical mistakes in your postings. Treat your blogs like a final essay - proofread and edit. Even published items can be revised. Do it.

The following information should be helpful to you in keeping track what is expected of you to wrap up English 10 this year. All of this is also listed on the class calendar, which should be visible on the right side of this page.

4th quarter assignments:

Final exam assignments:
Good luck and let me know if you have any questions. Either leave a comment, send me an e-mail, or simply come up to me in class and talk to me.

24 May 2007

Final blog checklist

To keep track of where you stand on the assignments for 1984 and Fahrenheit 451, use the following checklist. By Friday, you should have completed:

  • Six blog entries - initial thoughts on the novel, safe blogging, thoughts from your discussion, important ideas from the novel, and two postings of your choice. One option could also be from the one posted below about "How do they not know?"
  • Four comments on classmates' blogs
  • One blog entry that references and links to another classmate's blog. Put in a hyperlink like this. This entry could be one of the postings of your choice from above.
With all blogs, you will be graded on...
  • Originality of ideas based on the novel
  • Development of ideas with support from the novel
  • Focus
  • Grammar/mechnanics

23 May 2007

How do they not know?

One question that seems to have come up during the discussions of your novels is wondering how the people in 1984 and Fahrenheit 451 could be so unaware of the reality of their society. That's a good question and one worth completing a blog entry on.

How could they not know? What is it about their daily existence that makes it so they don't know? How is the government in the novel able to make it so the common citizens don't know? What is the most effective method they utilize?

Post your comments on your blog. To earn full credit for your response, you must provide a logical answer and use a quote from the text in your answer. Remember, this is a writing assignment so your quotes should be incorporated into your writing.

In all postings, you need to remember the following:

  1. Come up with an interesting title - or headline - that relates to what you are writing about.
  2. Proofread. Proofread. Proofread. These are school assignments and should be treated as such, with proper punctuation, grammar, and spelling.
  3. Write more than one paragraph.
  4. In your first paragraph, include a sentence that states clearly what it is you are writing about.

20 May 2007

Commenting on each other's work

One powerful features of a blog is the ability to leave comments on postings written by someone else. We have done this for class assignments, when you submitted your answers via the comment section of the class blog. Now, I'd like you to read several of your classmates' blog postings and respond to their ideas. The purpose of this assignment is to promote conversation from your blogs which we can hopefully use as part of a class discussion Wednesday.

There is no one way to comment on a blog. For our class purposes, however, it is important that we make the most out of our reading and commenting. Our comments will be more effective if we follow several guidelines.

First, begin your comment by mentioning something interesting/powerful/positive from the blog posting you have just read. It may help to even repeat and quote from the posting. This way, the response is focused on the ideas in the posting.

Next, provide some transition from what the blog writer is saying and the ideas or points you'd like to make. This is where you could politely disagree or find a place to expand upon the thinking by making a connection.

Finally, end your comment with a strong idea, or clincher. It could be a question or a powerful restatement of the ideas raised in the blog. Think of these like questions or comments you might use during a discussion to keep the conversation going.

Some sentence starters to assist you could include:

  • I agree with you when you say "blah, blah, blah..." and I think _____
  • In your post you say "blah, blah, blah..." but I wonder if ______
  • You write in your post "blah, blah, blah..." and that reminds me of _____
  • In your post you mention from the book "blah, blah, blah..." and I'd like to add _____

18 May 2007

Another blog posting

This assignment is due before class starts on Monday, May 21

Please post your thoughts or ideas that arise from your reading to your blogs. This could be pointing out a significant quote or idea from the story; or you could reflect on larger ideas you encounter; or raise an important question that you also attempt to answer.

In all postings, you need to remember the following:

  1. Come up with an interesting title - or headline - that relates to what you are writing about.
  2. Proofread. Proofread. Proofread. These are school assignments and should be treated as such, with proper punctuation, grammar, and spelling.
  3. Write more than one paragraph.
  4. In your first paragraph, include a sentence that states clearly what it is you are writing about.

If you have any questions or suggestions, feel free to leave a comment.

15 May 2007

English 10 Blog assignment

This assignment is due on your individual blogs Wednesday, May 16.

By now, you all should be familiar with how to compose and publish a blog posting on your own blogs. (Look for your listing at the bottom right of this page) And all of you should have published at least two entries - one on your initial thoughts about the novel and one about responsible blogging.

For your next posting, you have several options:

  • Take one of the non-numbered questions I have given you and expand upon one of those in a blog entry. Make references to specific portions of the text.
  • Pull out an important idea that you discussed in class and explain how or why it is significant to larger ideas in your novel. Make references to specific portions of the text.
  • Use one of the thought questions or journal prompts on the question sheet as a starter to write your blog entry. Make references to specific portions of the text.
  • Come up with something on your own related to ideas in the novel. Make references to specific portions of the text.
No matter which option you choose, please remember to do the following:
  1. Come up with an interesting title - or headline - that relates to what you are writing about.
  2. Proofread. Proofread. Proofread. These are school assignments and should be treated as such, with proper punctuation, grammar, and spelling.
  3. Write more than one paragraph.
  4. In your first paragraph, include a sentence that states clearly what it is you are writing about.

14 May 2007

Responsible blogging

Hello English 10 students...

I have read and reviewed your postings from Monday's assignment. There were many great ideas brought forth from your blog postings, and I have compiled them here as part of our new classroom policy on blogging. Several of you referred to the blog policy of Mr. Hunt in Colorado, which we used as a guideline in drafting ours.

From reading your postings, it seems like we agree on the following general guidelines:

  • No personal information (last names, contact information, pictures, etc...) should be included anywhere in your blog. This parallels what the school district's policy is regarding these matters. Even e-mail addresses should not be made public on the blog.
  • Information and ideas on the blog should only be on school-related topics. More specifically, your blogs should deal with ideas related to the novels you are reading. These blogs are not places to socialize or meet other people.
  • All students - and teachers - should be careful and conscious about what they write because their blog exists on the internet, which is a public place. Only post what you want the world to know. This means that all writing should be school-appropriate, respectful, and free from harmful, hateful, or offensive language.
  • Students and teachers have the right to delete any comments posted by someone else on their blogs that they do not feel comfortable with. Students can also restrict the settings on their blog to prevent comments if they feel it is necessary.

In addition to the policies, many of you posted some valuable ideas and thoughts about our work blogging. Here are some excerpts that I thought might be of interest:

Tori mentioned a concern that is relevant to a lot of things when it comes to technology, whether it's computers or video games. She writes, "Another danger that was not discussed is the fact that some teens get so involved with their pages, that they spend all their time inside on the computer."

John wrote about how there are dangers in a lot of activities, but that doesn't mean we should ban them, only that we need to be safe about it. He writes, "I like in the 2ND text, how they say bad thing happen [in other activities for example]. "You could get hurt in a sport, whats the difference with the online thing" the teacher explains. Some good rules would be to consistently check your blog, and if any comments come up that you don't know who they are, report it to a teacher right away."

Shane writes, "Also you want to make sure that anything you write in a blog or link to your blog is something that you understand and want to be associated with."

Morgan writes, "On a website I recently read, it said that you should be sure that anything you write you are proud of, it can and will come back to get you if you don't. I found this very interesting, but right. In the future, if you were to be looking for a job, it might be possible for an employer to discover some immature things posted when you were younger. I'm sure that nobody would want this to happen, but it will if unnecessary things are written."

And finally, George writes, "One shouldn't try to make friends as if it were myspace, attracting the wrong type of people. The key to safe blogging is to use your own good judgement in what you say or do."

I agree. Thank you for your efforts and in class, and please let me know if you have any comments, concerns, or suggestions.

13 May 2007

What does it mean to blog responsibly?

This posting is an assignment to be completed IN CLASS on Monday, May 14

As we get started using our class blogs for posting our writing and ideas, it is important to fully understand the medium we are using. Many of you may be familiar with such technology if you've used sites such as MySpace or Facebook. Those, typically, are geared towards social networking and meeting friends. Our purpose here is to use a blog as a learning tool first, not a place to socialize.

With that in mind, your first task today should be to make sure there is no personal information on your blog or blog profile. Make sure you do not show your e-mail address on your profile. I would recommend also that you name your blog and give it a description that easily identifies it as a school assignment blog.

Once you do that, you are ready for today's lesson. By the end of class today, students should recognize the potential dangers of irresponsible blogging, and contribute to an "acceptable blog use" policy for English 10.

Your assignment is to read the following texts:
Schools grapple with policing students' online journals from USA Today.
"More on Safety" from teacher Mr. Hunt in Colorado
"Student blogging handbook" from Mr. Hunt's class
After reading them, write a post on your blog that explores the following questions:

What are some of the potential dangers of blogging discussed in these texts? Which of these concerns are legitimate? Why or why not? What other dangers are there in blogging that were not discussed in the texts? What should students keep in mind in order to practice responsible blogging? Suggest 2-3 rules you think would be appropriate for the class to follow as part of a blog policy.

Start your own post by linking back to this posting via a hyperlink like this.

When you are done, I will compile your responses from your posts.

09 May 2007

Beginning a new venture to write online

As we begin our new unit with 1984 and Fahrenheit 451, we will also be undertaking a new venture to do more of our writing and responding to the texts online. In the past, we have used this blog as a way for me to post a prompt and for you to respond to it in the comment section. However, that method limited your ability to revise your writing and to comment on one another's ideas. That, to me, are two important components of an English classroom.

For this unit, you will create your own personal blog. You will be in charge of regularly posting ideas and thoughts related to the novels. This space - Miller's English 10 Homework blog - will become the area you will receive your assignments and information.

With a blog, you can post your thoughts and responses to the novels, allowing your classmates to read what you've written and to build on your ideas. Likewise, you will read the writing of your classmates and be able to connect to their thinking and ideas. On a more individual note, the blog will become the primary area where you will maintain a record of your thinking and writing. In a sense it will become an online notebook that will be graded, both for content and writing quality.

Like almost everything we've done this year, I ask you to keep an open mind. It may be foreign to you at first, but do not give up. One skill that's going to make you successful in this world is the ability to adapt and adjust to new situations. Maybe this is one of them.

To get started, click the "create blog" link in the upper right hand corner of this page. If you already have a Google log-in (for example if you have a g-mail account) use that to sign in and name your blog. If not, use your school e-mail address and create a free account. The name of your blog should be something you can remember and I can easily identify as yours.

Once you create your blog, cut and paste the address into the comment section of this post so I can begin compiling all the student blogs in one place. Good luck.