Monday, March 31, 2014

AP Lit Nerds: March 31, 2014

Focus: What larger themes, tone, and shifts become visible at the end of your novel?

Please turn in your poetry response if it's finished and help yourself to a new packet.

1. And now we shall celebrate the elusive Mike C.

2. Warming up: Prompting you to think thematically about you book club novel

Please highlight THREE prompts that speak directly to your novel (and write your book club title at the top of the prompt sheet you turn in).  I will select one for your Tuesday writing tomorrow.

3. Enjoying your final discussions of your books...remember to think about how the final scene partners with the opening scene (What has shifted? What have the characters come to realize?)

4. Developing your big question blog posts

Please remember to bring in specific passages, specific symbols, moments, words, etc; the more specific you get, the better the close readings and the more complex the themes.

1. Finish your big question blog; tomorrow will be your Tuesday writing on your book club book.  

2. If you have your copy of Waiting for Godot, start bringing it to class on Wednesday (we begin waiting on Wednesday).

Friday, March 21, 2014

ADD Lit Nerds: March 21, 2014

Focus: What important patterns, shifts, and themes are evolving as you near the end of your book?

1. Warming up: Taking a moment to "rewire" your brain for happiness (remember that TED talk?)

  • Three gratitudes (thank you notes)
  • Journaling  (positive things that have happened in the past 24 hours for which you are grateful)
  • Exercise
  • Meditation
  • Random acts of kindness

2. Celebrating Mike :)

From Mrs. Korn: Students like Mike are what make my job so rewarding and one of the reasons I continue to teach. He is the kind of person that my 5th hour students look forward to seeing in class each day. He is smart, funny, and acts as a big brother to each and every one of his peers. He is the type of person that each of us strives to become - not selfish, sincere, and kind!

From Mrs. Levi: Mike is kind, intelligent, and has a great sense of humor.  He is a leader among his peers, and makes others feel respected.  Last, but not least, he never takes himself too seriously (but not in a bad way :))--this is a quality that makes him fun to be around and brings joy to others.

From Mrs. Lee: I have so many things to say about Mike it's hard to sum it up in a sentence or two...


Of  my many favorite qualities about you, chief among them are your giving nature, your work ethic, and your willingness to laugh at yourself.  I'll never forget the generosity you've shown those less fortunate than you through your Toys for Tots contributions nor your Harlem Renaissance exhibit featuring Michael & Alex-taught dance lessons, which will remain a favorite.  What a treasure to know you and have you in class. 

From Mr. Trotter: Mike Carlson a.k.a. "DJ" was my freshmen baseball captain a few years ago.  He was the only baseball player we have had at the freshmen level that was unanimously voted to serve as team captain.  Mike humbly asked if he could vote for himself.  The coaches agreed, and he assumed the role.  Mike taught me how to act in a servile manner. I am grateful for Mike's compassionate example. 

From Mrs. Moritz: From the first day in class, his freshman year, Michael have always been enthusiastic about everything he does. From 9th Honors English, to Link Crew, he carries with him a natural energy that draws others to him. I appreciate his ability to adapt to any situation, regardless of how bleak it may appear, into something positive. I truly hope that one day, my own son, will be just like Michael.

From Mom: Mike is my first born, so we have always told him that we make all of our parenting mistakes with him and are better with his brother and sister. Mike has always been a joy to have around. He never crawled, only rolled, until he stood up and walked at 10 months old; he was the smallest walking human ever. He jumped out of his crib at 17 months old when the pediatrician had assured me that his height made it physically impossible for him to escape. Mike never talked "baby talk," clear words and full sentences came out of his mouth from the beginning. He can do anything he sets his mind to, and we love him up to the moon and back (a million times).

3. Enjoying your book clubs; please remember that the Monday after spring break will the final day of book clubs, and you will be asked to select possible writing prompts that day. You will also be given the opportunity to develop a blog post.

4. Wrapping up

1. Poetry response due Monday(ish)...or sometime next week.
2. Finish your book club book if you have not already done so.
3. Take care of your happiness.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

A.P. Lit Narcs: March 20, 2014

Focus: What are our strengths and weakness as timed writers, and how can we improve?

1. Warming up: Discussing the little, itty bitty hero's quest in Johnny Got His Gun

a. Who is the quester?
b. Where is he going?
c. What is his stated reason?
d. What challenges and trials does he encounter en route?
e. What is real reason for this quest?

Which passages did you select for close readings, and what did you have to say about them?

2. Perusing the official rubric for this prompt and a few student samples

3. Peer editing, musical chairs style (or large group read aloud's--your choice)

1. Poetry response due Monday(ish) after spring break, but feel free to turn it in tomorrow.

2. Assigned book club reading for tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

A.P. Lit Nerds: Mach 19, 2014

Focus: How can we read our book club novels like professors?

1. Warming up with a little Foster...

"The [hero's] quest consists of five things:

(a) a quester
(b) a place to go
(c) a stated reason to go there
(d) challenges and trials en route
(e) a real reason to go there" (3)

Let's try it with Sam's favorite movie: Finding Nemo

As you come to the end of your book club books, trying pairing an early scene with an ending scene and see what it reveals about the transformation of characters, symbols, settings, and other motifs.

2. Meeting your book clubs and (possibly) considering the nature of the quest in your novels

3. Wrapping up

1. Assigned book club reading for Friday

2. Poetry response due Monday after spring break (or this week if you'd like to get it done with).

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

A.P. Lit Nerds: March 18, 2014

Focus: How can we translate our prose discussion skills into timed writing skills?

1. Warming up: Celebrating James!

From Mrs. Little: James is very conscientious. I notice that he is current with his work and listens attentively (at least that is my impression) in class. He has provided my 5th hour class with insights into the differences 
in Eastern and Western cultures with regard to understanding self, traditions for marriage, and importance of family honor. He also is quiet, but will participate in a meaningful way when asked.

From Mr. Loptien: I think it is so great that James does so well with his handicap of not using glasses to see the front board. Walking up to get close every three minutes is a much more effective way to function. Wear out those shoes James!

From James' dad: As James' dad, I am really proud of his accomplishment and his willing to learn new things, especially in literature.  He has known and learned more than I learned in all my college years.

From James' mom: James is an adventurous soul with big dreams! He is caring,loving,bold and passionate in all of his adventures.

From Mr. Kuhlmann: Meet James--a pleasant young man, optimistic, brilliant beyond measure, and dapper dresser. But be careful; it's all a deceptive facade. James runs has a knack of running with the wrong crowd. In ninth grade, he had, in his words,  "assembled a crew to run the streets." When pressed about what streets his eyes narrowed, he glanced from side-to-side to make sure no narc was eavesdropping, and said, "cul-de-sacs, mostly."

Now, four years later, James is still assembling his crew, spitting rhymes, and planning to take-over the world. This is a quick excerpt from a letter I wrote warning institutions interested in having him join their crews:

"I have never taught a more genuinely humorous, kind, thoughtful, and self-possessed student who maturely and deliberately calculates risks and seeks out diversity--of cultures, of language, of aesthetics, of literature, of social cliques, etc. In the assignments we have written in class and the conversations I have had with him outside of academia, I have witnessed James thrive on the freedom and happiness he derives from his explorations of difference."

And I mean it. Last spring, when I asked James what he wants to do after college, he smiled and said with utter sincerity, "I want to find happiness in the form of friendship and help others do the same." Isn't this amazing? I've never lost a student so completely to literature and an optimistic practice of rhetoric. I've also never lost a student to the pages of Brave New World like I have James (I prefer to think that he was interested in more than just what happens behind the bushes during centrifugal bumble-puppy). 

James's crew is growing and so is his danger, though his rapping skills remain quite reprehensible. James is armed with deep academic passions, unabashed risk-taking, and everything he's learned from "the streets" to catalyze and make shine everyone and everything he encounters. (Mic drop)

2. Composing a Tuesday writing with a prose prompt

3. Picking up a new poetry packet on your way out.

1. Assigned book club reading for Wednesday.

2. Poetry response for the Monday after spring break (or the Friday before spring break if you'd like not to worry about it over spring break).

Monday, March 17, 2014

A.P. Lit Nerds: March 17, 2014

Focus: What kind of heroes are emerging in your book club books?

1. Considering Crime and Punishment...the comic book?

Perusing different types of literary heroes and creating an "absurd hero" slide

2. Enjoying book clubs: Day 6...what kind of hero does your book feature?

3. Wrapping up

1. Assigned book club reading for Wednesday

2. You will have a prose timed writing tomorrow.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

A.P. Lit Nerds: March 14, 2014

Focus:  What is the absurd hero?

1. Warming up with our final poetry project presentation(s)

2. Enjoying a little freewriting:

"It was like some beautiful bird flapped into our drab little cage and made those walls dissolve away, and for the briefest of moments, every last man at Shawshank felt free."

"Get busy living or get busy dying."

"Hope is a dangerous thing." 

"Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies."

3. Reading Albert Camus' "The Myth of Sisyphus"

  • What is the absurd hero?
  • What is the nature of his struggle?
  • What makes him tragic?
  • What makes him happy?
  • What is the nature of his freedom?

4. Considering yourself as a tragic hero (or not)

What does your mountain consist of? What about your boulder?  Your endless sky?

What makes you pause at the top, and what do you think of?

What makes you pause at the bottom, and what do you think of?

What compels you to push the boulder up the hill once again?

Prepare for Monday's book club meeting.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

A.P. Lit Nerds: March 12, 2014

Focus: What can we learn about poetry through each other's creativity?

1. Warming up: Random acts of kindness

2. Enjoying project presentations!

Try out some of the "happiness strategies" from yesterday's Ted Talk:

Write down three new things for which you are grateful every day for the next three weeks.

Journal one positive experience you have had each day for the next three weeks and read over it to re-live the experience.

Take time each day to reflect.  Focus on the positive---your being safe, good relationships, being loved and more.

Exercise---take a simple lap around the outside of school to clear your head.

Consciously commit Random Acts of Kindness every day.

Send one email, text, message of thanks to someone every day.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

A.P. Lit Nerds: March 11, 2014

Focus: What can learn about poetry through each other's creative approaches?

TCAP: Shortened Class

1. Warming up: The Happy Secret to Better Work

2. Enjoying each other's poetry project presentations

Please follow yesterday's homework guidelines quite carefully.

Monday, March 10, 2014

A.P. Lit Nerds: March 10, 2014

Focus: How can our own creativity shed light on tricky poems?

1. Thinking about how to share your poem with the class (since I neglected to make packets)

2. Establishing the order of project presentations

(Tuesday's class will be kind of short; Wednesday classes will be really short)

3. Enjoying your poetry projects!

4. Explaining your homework this week

1. Please follow the homework handout very carefully.  Click HERE if you did not receive a hard copy in class today.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

AP Lit Nerds: March 6, 2014

Focus: How can we help our understanding of poetry evolve?

1. Warming up: Animated Billy Collins poetry

2. Using a different part of your brain by trying out "left-handed poetry" (or "right-handed poetry," if your left hand is your dominant hand)

3. Taking on the poetry drill with two sample poems

4. If time allows, trying out the poetry drill with your own paper/project poem

1. Poetry essays/projects due Monday.

2. No poetry response or book club meetings next week.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

We're AP Lit Nerds and Loving It: March 5, 2014

Focus: What can we learn about language through our book club books?

1. Warming up: Taking a moment to enjoy James Joyce's euphonic words

2. Engaging in day 5 of our book clubs (it's the last meeting for a week and a half)

3. Wrapping up with what's gone well thus far

1. Working on poetry essays and projects (due March 10)

2. Assigned book club reading

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

We're AP Lit Nerds and Loving It: March 4, 2014

Focus: How do I start on my poetry paper or project?

1. Taking a moment to peruse my feedback on your metacognitives

2. Project people: Trying out the proposal by clicking HERE; when/if you feel ready, try out the rubric (linked to the top of the class website)

3. Paper people: Reviewing the essay overview and perhaps a sample or two (all linked to the top of the class website)

4. Working on your paper or project and getting help from me/each other

1. This paper/project is due...March 10. Yikes.

2. Assigned book club reading (tomorrow is your last meeting for a little while).

Monday, March 3, 2014

We're AP Lit Nerds and Loving It: March 3, 2014

Focus: What are your book club authors revealing about human nature through their characters?

Help yourself to a new poetry packet!

1. Warming up with Ian McEwan's thoughts on human nature

2. Enjoying book clubs, day 4

3. Wrapping up: Sharing the best of the best

1. Tomorrow, we will be working on our poetry projects and papers. 

2. Assigned book club reading for Wednesday.