27 March 2008

Predicting what your books will be about.

One way to get started with our new books is by making predictions about how we think the stories will turn out. Depending on which book you are reading - Black Boy, Frankenstein, The Color of Water - Please complete the following prediction quiz:

Make a prediction about the book based on a specific passage from the first section. Select a passage that has something to do with one of the main characters. Explain how that passage illustrates something significant about that character. How will the character change over the course of the story? What lessons will he/she learn. Use the passage as the starting point for your response.

24 March 2008

Alienation & Isolation

Our next unit of study will focus on the idea of alienation and isolation, and specifically how those concepts are reflected in one of three novels, either Frankenstein, The Color of Water, and Black Boy.

To get us started, we will read the first chapter or chapters of each novel, then use that to help you decide which novel you'd like to read in its entirety. Although each of the novels is quite different, All three novels address these concepts in various ways. The following slideshow helps provide an overview of alienation and isolation.

12 March 2008

What do you fear most? Public speaking? You're not alone

Throughout the film Dead Poets Society, Mr. Keating teaches his students the importance of finding their own voice - a lesson that Todd Anderson took to heart. In the spirit of the film, you have been assigned to make a speech to the class on one of three topics. (See assignment here)

Unfortunately, getting up in front of an audience - especially your classmates - is not as easy as it seems on the big screen. The fear of public speaking is one of the most common phobias that people have, right up there with death and divorce.

To prepare for next week's speech we will discuss some of the different characteristics of effective presentations. We will talk about what makes a speech good, what kind of preparation can be done, and how we can work to improve our public speaking. Read this article from The Guardian newspaper and this one from Forbes magazine, both of which deal with the fear of public speaking and how to overcome it.

What can we do to make our speeches strong and memorable? What are the criteria of a good speech? Develop a list of five criteria of a good speech. Briefly describe each one and be ready to present it to the class so we can use it to develop a scoring rubric for the speeches. Remember, speeches start Monday, March 17.

photo credit: Public Speaking for Success by wardomatic on Flickr

11 March 2008

Seize the day - and this assignment!

As part of our unit on "Dead Poets Society," you are being asked to find your own voice and make a creative speech in front of your classmates. The assignment, with the three options, is linked here (as a Microsoft Word document.)

In addition, if you are interested in selecting one of the poems, here is a page with links and brief explanations for each.

Above all, this is an assignment that will test your abilities to prepare and present a speech in front of your classmates. Like Mr. Keating taught his students in the film, find your voice and don't let your work be ordinary.

07 March 2008

Dead Poets Society and vocabulary

As we watch "Dead Poets Society," we will be using some of the following vocabulary to help us understand and analyze the film. Once we finish, we will all give speeches in front of the class as we seek to find our own voices.

The following embedded presentation contains all the vocabulary, definitions, and questions you are being asked as part of the film. If you click on the square below, you will be able to view the presentation.

You can also view the presentation here as a 2007 PowerPoint file.

02 March 2008

Getting ready for the CAPT

For the last several weeks, the state's mandated CAPT for all 10th graders has been at the forefront of our classroom work and discussion. We've read a variety of literature and non-fiction, prepared for the different assessments that face you, and discussed numerous different strategies to read and write.

You have also written to plenty of prompts, not just in the last few weeks, but throughout the year. I hope that what we've done will prepare you for what's ahead.

But before we officially send you off into hours of standardized testing, let's look back on two of the major reading and writing tasks that you will face - the Response to Literature and Interdisciplinary Letter tests. We are using the two slideshows below in class as part of learning activity to provide an overview of the two tests and review the writing done in class up to this point.