16 December 2009

Gamma Rays and dreams

This blog homework posting is due by the end of the day on Friday, Dec. 18

The play The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds focuses on the Hunsdorfer family – Beatrice, Ruth, and Tillie.

The poet Langston Hughes wrote two poems about dreams which may relate to what we’re reading. Read both of the following poems – "Dreams" and "A Dream Deferred." Select the one poem you think most speaks to the situation in the play. What is Hughes saying about dreams that can be applied to the larger ideas in The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds? Explain your connections with direct references from the play. To earn full credit, each post must be between 150-200 words, written in standard conventional English, and fully explore the requirements of the prompt.

Hold fast to dreams
For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird
That cannot fly.
Hold fast to dreams
For when dreams go
Life is a barren field
Frozen with snow.

- by Langston Hughes

A Dream Deferred*
What happens to a dream deferred*?
Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore--
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over--
like a syrupy sweet?
Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?

- by Langston Hughes

*to put off action, delay

05 November 2009

War and Peace

This is the second blog posting for the A Separate Peace unit and is due before class starts on Tuesday, Nov. 10.

A Separate Peace
takes place during the beginning of World War II. In chapter six, Gene declares that "Peace had deserted Devon."

Just what does that mean? How does the war play a significant role in the novel? How about peace?

For your assignment, you need to write a response to those questions in the comments. Your response should explain what you believe that passage to mean in context of the novel and a discussion of how war and peace play a role in the novel.

For students who have read The Kite Runner, you have an option with this response. You can write about A Separate Peace or apply those questions to The Kite Runner.

19 October 2009

Competition and friendship

As we begin reading A Separate Peace, we will be exploring the different components of friendship, competition, and jealousy.

To help us get started, we'll explore how competition can affect friendship. For this prompt, write a response of about 150 words that discusses how competition might affect a friendship. What happens when friends compete with one another? What impact does it have on the relationship. Use examples you might know from your own life, from television shows, movies, or any literature.

Remember to proofread your response before submitting it.

30 September 2009

What was your favorite story we read

This is the third blog posting for the short story unit and is due before class starts on Friday, Oct. 2.

Now that we've read all the stories in the unit, we'd like to know which was your favorite and why. Select one of the stories we've read and explain what made it the favorite. Why did you like it? Make sure you point to specific examples from the story to support your reasons.

For your reference, here are the stories we've read: "The Moustache," "Through the Tunnel," "Initiation," "Marigolds," and "Rules of the Game."

26 September 2009

Ranking the characters

This is the second blog posting for the short story unit and is due before class starts on Wednesday, Sept. 30.

So far, we've read about several teenage protagonists - Michael in "The Moustache," Jerry in "Through the Tunnel," and Millicent in "Initiation." Each have their own challenges and ways of overcoming them. Who had the most difficult decision? Take those three characters and rank them in order of who made the most difficult decision. In your response, rank the three characters and then explain why you put them in the order you did. Make specific references to the conflicts the characters faced and how they overcame them.

Remember, your response should be written in standard English with conventional punctuation and grammar. Put your first name only at the bottom of your entry.

20 September 2009

What kind of person is Jerry?

We've begun reading several coming of age short stories, including "Through the Tunnel" by Doris Lessing. The story focuses on Jerry, a young boy vacationing with his mother, who envies a group of older boys swimming through an underwater tunnel.

As you know from our discussions and class notes, a coming of age story involves a young protagonist who begins the story as youthful and immature. The protagonist grows up during the story and undergoes a change. The above slide show contains the notes about the coming of age stories.

To get us started, let's take another look at Jerry from the beginning of "Through the Tunnel." How would you describe him? What is it about him that makes him immature or youthful? What are some examples from the text of his youthfulness? What does he need to do to grow up? Select a telling passage from the opening pages that helps illustrate how he is immature.

Write your answer in the comments section of this blog entry. Your answer should be a well-developed paragraph that fully answers the prompt and make direct references to the text and directly quote from the telling passage you selected. I suggest writing your response on a word processing program such as Word so you can spell check it and edit it before posting it to the comments section.

10 September 2009

Welcome to Miller's English Blog

Hello English 10 students.

Welcome to our English 10 blog. This site was created several years ago as a way for me to use technology and forge new connections with our reading and writing. We will use this site in several ways.

Often, I will post a prompt as a new blog entry and ask that you write an answer in the comments section. Doing this will allow us to better share ideas and opinions about what we are doing in class. Just remember, I still expect you to follow all the typical rules of composition and writing. This is no place for text-message abbreviations or sloppy writing.

Another way we will use this site is as a central resource for the class. If you look around you will find almost everything you may need for the class. There are links to the calendar of due dates, ongoing vocabulary lists, and our classroom wiki page (more on that later). For those pursuing the honors option, there is also a link to the honors option web site.

Finally, you need to remember that what we say and do here is available for any of us to read - teachers, classmates, parents, members of the community, even others in the world. Look at that map of the world to the right and see where some of the visitors are from.

Keep this site bookmarked and refer to it regularly. Again, good luck this year.

19 June 2009

Farewell English 10 classes

I hope everyone had a good year in English 10 this year. I certainly enjoyed all the work we did together, from our short story unit to our iSearch papers. Reading your final portfolios, I witnessed a lot of growth in your writing throughout the year.

Enjoy the summer and hope to see you next year!

19 April 2009

Fools in love - Midsummer Posting #6

This is the 6th posting for A Midsummer Night's Dream and is due before the end of the day on Wednesday, April 22.

Throughout Shakespeare's play, A Midsummer Night's Dream, we've seen a variety of characters acting in some foolish ways, mostly as a result of their emotions. Such behavior mirrors many of the same foolish behaviors you probably experience almost everyday. In an earlier post, you were asked to respond which character acted the most foolish. This response requires you to provide an example of some real-life love-inspired foolish behavior you've experienced.

What is an example of some real-life foolish behavior caused by love? How have people you know acted like a "fool" in love? What happened? How is the behavior you've seen typical of human behavior? How does it connect to A Midsummer Night's Dream? What is it that we can learn about human nature from such behavior?

To earn full credit, your response should fully answer the prompt questions and be relatively free of sloppy mechanical and grammatical errors. Proofread what you write before you post.

08 April 2009

Lovers, madmen and poets - Midsummer posting #5

This is the 5th and final posting for A Midsummer Night's Dream and is due before the end of the day on Friday, April 10.

This will be a longer, more formal answer so make sure it's written with minimal errors and you fully answer all parts of the prompt.

In A Midsummer Night's Dream, Shakespeare presents us with an unusual and fantastic series of events as fairies and mortals mix in the mysterious woods just outside Athens. The four lovers and Nick Bottom each undergo their own experience with the fairy world. However, different characters provide varying takes on the night's strange happenings. Consider the following three reactions/explanations by different characters:

  • Nick Bottom awakes from his dream, his "most rare vision," and offers one explanation at the end of Act IV, scene 1.
  • At the beginning Act V, Duke Theseus explains to Hippolyta what he thinks of the situation in the woods.
  • And finally, Puck re-appears with his own suggestion for the audience in the closing lines of Act V.

Of the three reactions/explanations, choose one that you believe the most significant or closest to how you might try to explain what happened in the woods. Whom do you believe the most? Bottom, Theseus, or Puck? What is it about their explanation that makes sense to you? Why? Point to specific lines from the play to help make your point.

05 April 2009

The power of love - Midsummer post #4

This is the fourth Midsummer post and is due before class starts on Tuesday, April 7.

In the middle of A Midsummer Night's Dream, the four Athenian lovers have found themselves all mixed up due to the love spell two of them are under. As a result, they bicker, beg, fight, plead for love, and do many seemingly "crazy" things all in the name of their love. During the mayhem, Puck shouts "Lord, what fools these mortals be!" The lovers don't notice it, but for any outside observer - like the fairies who take on the role of an audience in this scene - the foolishness is readily apparent.

So far in the play, what do you think has been the most "foolish" thing one of the lovers has said or done? Now think about people you know in your life: is the Midsummer lover's "foolish" action realistic for someone under the spell of love? How is the lover's action like or not like people you know? What does Shakespeare seem to be saying about the power of love?

Reminder: Your responses need to be in complete sentences and relatively free of mechanical and spelling mistakes. Many of you have gotten pretty sloppy with your responses.

01 April 2009

What's so funny? - Midsummer post #3

This is the third Midsummer blog response and is due before class starts Friday, April 3.

A Midsummer Night's Dream is a comedy, which is something that today's television viewers should know a little something about. According to Scholastic Scope magazine, Shakespeare included three kinds of classic mix-ups to help generate some comedy: 1) mistaken identity, 2) love triangles, and 3) strange coincidences. Each of these classic mix-ups are staples on 21st Century comedy shows, or sitcoms. The next time you watch your favorite sitcom or re-run, look for one of those classic mix-ups involving the characters.

Assignment: Select one (1) of the classic mix-ups from above and find an example of it from a popular sitcom you watch. First, describe the mix-up from the sitcom, and then explain how the humor of the mixed-up situation helps increase your enjoyment and appreciation of the show. What makes it so funny?

As with all of these assignments, it is a good practice to write your response in a word processing program so you can better edit and proofread your entry before submitting it. Take heed, this is formal writing and should be treated as such. Don't spurn the capital letter or ignore the necessary punctuation. Be thoughtful of your friend the complete sentence.

Good luck and enjoy!

Finally, if you complete this assignment using something besides a desktop or laptop computer, (say an Itouch or other handheld device) let me know! Announce it at the end of your entry.

29 March 2009

Figuring out the characters - Midsummer posting #2

This is the second Midsummer blog response and is due before class starts on April 1.

There are many memorable and interesting characters in Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream. From the love-crazed antics of the young Athenians to the meddling of the magical fairies, Shakespeare has created a fascinating cast of characters.

Who is the one character that interests you the most? What makes him or her interesting? If you had the opportunity to talk to the character, what would you talk about and why? Your blog response should answer these questions in a well-crafted paragraph that makes direct references to events and quotes from the play.

Like with all our blog responses, your response should be of published quality work with minimal errors and all the conventions of formal English. Use full sentences. Capitalize the beginnings of sentences. Avoid the informal language you might use in e-mail, on IM or Facebook.

23 March 2009

Lord What Fools These Mortals Be! - Midsummer Posting #1

This is the first Midsummer blog response assignment. It is due before class starts on Thursday, March 26.

We are starting A Midsummer Night's Dream, which is a complex, fanciful play that lays bare the humor and foibles of young love.

To get us started, we tackled the twisted, complex plot. You have been given a basic summary of the storyline of the play, (titled "Lord, what fools these mortals be!"), which covers the play up to the end of Act III. For your reference, there is a version of the summary here.Your assignment now is to take this mixed-up love mess and bring it to a conclusion with a happy ending. As it stands right now, everything is messed up and needs resolution. Assume the role of a narrator and finish the story. This is your chance to control how this all turns out before we see Shakespeare's version in the play.

A couple things to remember before completing your posting: 1) your story must have a happy ending, just like a Shakespearean comedy would. 2) you must come up with a way to solve the problems of a majority of the characters. 3) your creative ending must be in the form of a story, continuing the storyline you've been given. Try to be creative and come up with an original, even outrageous, way to wrap up this storyline. As with all entries, you might consider writing on a word processing program first so you can proofread, edit, and continuously save before your final posting. Saving it in a word processing program will also cover you in case there's a problem posting.

13 January 2009

Warnings from 1984 and Fahrenheit 451

The response to this blog posting is due before class starts on Friday, Jan. 16

Both 1984 and Fahrenheit 451 are dystopian novels set in the future. However, one purpose of a dystopian novel is to warn readers about a flaw or problem in today's society today. Based on the first few pages of each novel, what flaw or problem do you think the author is trying to warn us about?

Select an example from one of the excerpts - either 1984 or Fahrenheit 451 - and use it to predict what you think the author is trying to warn us about. What is the problem in the futuristic society and how can it be connected to real problems that exist in our own world today? In your answer, you must use a specific passage or quote from the novel.

If it helps, think about the discussions we've had leading up to the novel about technology.

10 January 2009

Linking your Google docs essay to the wiki page

This assignment is due before class starts on Tuesday, Jan. 13

This assignment should be done after you have completed your Privacy Issues Mini-essay on Google documents. For this assignment, I am asking that you do the following to share your essay with the class and with others. Here is what you need to do:

  1. Publish your document
  2. Add a link to your document on the class wiki page.
Here are the directions for doing each of the tasks above.

To publish your document, open your essay on Google docs and click the share button in the upper right hand corner. There will be an option there to "Publish as web page." Click it.

To add the link, you need to get the html address of your published document. With your document still open, click share again and select "View as webpage." Once you see it as a web page, highlight the address. Your address should look something like this: http://docs.google.com/Doc?id=dgqgx5g5_122c59mntfm

Next, go to the class wiki page and find the page called - Student Privacy Essays. You can access it directly here. It did a sample entry to show you how it should look.

Log in to the wiki (using your username and password with the animals, numbers, and fruit). Write your name and underneath it, paste your essay address. Save the changes and you are done.