You Are In: American Studies 2010-11
Feminism, Flight, and Final Projects/Seminars
Monday, June 20 RIP Clarence Clemons
We had a bigger turnout than I'd anticipated for the last half day of classes, and with 40 minutes together we were able to listen to songs that connected to the curriculum in some way, shape, or form:
Phil Ochs' "Love Me, I'm a Liberal" and "Outside of a Small Circle of Friends";
Tom Lehrer's "National Brotherhood Week" (and the guy who plays Harry Potter singing "The Elements" on some BBC show);
"Lola" by The Kinks but performed by The Raincoats;
some song from Mulan about how to be a man;
a transgender song from Pink Martini;
and "The Christians and The Pagans."
Yep, we made it through both periods without playing any Prince, Talking Head, Dylan, Bruce, or Elvis (though Costello has plenty to say about America).
4th and 5th also had an honest conversation with us about what worked and what did not in the class this trimester. Mixed opinions prevailed.
Grades are due on Friday morning. I will be working on them all week and will be happy to return work to you on Friday between 9 and 10.
Thursday, June 15
Group C from our morning classes presented the engaging new colloquium, "History Minutes," in which a panel of experts hold forth on a variety of American political, economic, historic, and socio-cultural phenomena. Professor Featherstone moderated a smart set of opinionated professors who dressed to impress and spoke from the chest. After a somewhat heady seminar, we kicked back to watch a FASCINATING and PROVOCATIVE hour of the documentary, SCHOOLING THE WORLD
, which only made us want to sit forward.
Tuesday, June 14
1st & 2nd rehearsed and timed their presentations. We read a critical article about sexism in One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest and then watched a propaganda video for gay marriage
and one that expressed why the Catholic Church is opposed to gay marriage
without hating gay people in the least.
4th/5th: Began with time to rehearse presentations. Group E presented a "memory game" in the theater on Santayana's quote: "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." Group C offered a sort of "Jeopardy" take on Walt Whitman's belief that the genius of the United States is found most in its common people. Then the groups ran what will count as our first seminar for the week.
Students turned in their evidence outlines today. The only work left is to come to class and participate in the interpretive projects and seminars.
Monday, June 13
Mr. Denlinger substituted for me today. Students were given time to prepare their final project presentations during class today. Remaining time was to be used for finishing "The Things They Carried" question set, going over the American Indian Movement handout, and reading more from Betty Friedan's The Feminine Mystique
Tonight: Revise and edit your final project's evidence outline. Use the format we provided with the instructions. Those who read a novel other than Flight
also have their written responses due at the start of class tomorrow.
Friday, June 10
Scored Discussions and Fishbowls all day long (except for a chance to teach plurals vs. possessives and West Side Story to a Freshman English class 3rd period). Students made MANY interesting connections to popular songs and American literature. The Beatles, Radiohead, Fort Minor, The Dispatch, Doris Day, Atmosphere, Kanye and Katy Perry, Bob Dylan (the songwriter of "Blowing n the Wind"), Portugal the Man, Florence and the Machine, Johnny Cash, Ludacris twice, and Papa Roach thrice. Connections to Lieutenant Jimmy Cross, James Gatsby, The Yellow Wallpaper, Chief Bromden, R.P. McMurphy, Joe Bonham (200 times), Tom Joad, Charlie Howard, Dr. Sasaki, but no Mary Matsuda or Mamie.
This weekend: Finalize your sources and refine your thesis for the final project. Know how you will argue the relevance of your sources to your thesis and be sure your thesis responds to the prompt. Students in 5th period were kind enough to say they would post their musical connections to a Moodle forum
. If 4th period could do the same for the literary connections, that would be amazing and helpful though I know that I did not
mention it in class on Friday. Thank you.
Thursday, June 9
We read "Mixed Blood" by Michael Dorris. 1st & 2nd read more about AIM. Students wrote thank yous to John Owen from NAMI on a homemade card. Thanks to Peri for drawing her artistic rendering of a birdhouse on that card! Listen to this song by They Might Be Giants
regarding your soul and the birdhouse you could make of it. We talked about being biracial in the U.S. and more about tomorrow's fishbowl/scored discussion.
Tonight: Prepare for tomorrow's assessment on Flight
by Sherman Alexie. Here is a radio program on which Sherman Alexie discusses the novel
. Thanks to Olivia Chesney for mentioning this. And was it Jesse, too?
Wednesday, June 8
1st & 2nd read about the American Indian Movement. ALL CLASSES watched the video collage on gay civil rights movement (see links) and discussed gay rights in the U.S. I gave out the Flight fishbowl topics
and the writing prompts for those who are reading
one of the novels other than Flight. AVALON: You will write your responses to the Flight fishbowl prompts. I have assigned you #4A, but you will also do short responses to 1, 2, and 3.
Tonight: Refine your interpretive project thesis and find evidence to support it. Finish reading Flight
or keep reading in your other novel.
Tuesday, June 7
1st & 2nd finished Alexie's "Indian Education," watched a scene from Pocahantas
, a couple clips from Schooling the World
, and talked about all of those as well as the Westboro Church. They met in their groups, too.
4th & 5th read "Indian Education" and the Mark Doty poem, "Charlie Howard's Descent
." They also met in their project groups.
1st & 2nd complete the Dear Sisters question set. 1st, 2nd, 4th, and 5th: Read to p. 123 in Flight
and continue finding evidence for your final project.
This year the F-Bulding BBQ came over to the Realm of the A to bestow their generosity and I got to take a photo with Christina, Leah, and Sammy. These girls love American Studies, what can I say.
Monday, June 6
1st & 2nd answered a question set about Flight. They also read Mark Doty's poem about Charlie Howard and Sherman Alexie's story, "Indian Education."
They met in their project groups to determine individual theses and the glue that will keep them together. Also, here is the BBC documentary Money told us about in class
this morning regarding the Westboro Baptist Church. Warning: this is truly mystifying (to me) and upsetting.
4th & 5th also met in their project groups. They went over vocabulary and read "A Rose for Charlie"
Tonight: Read your novel. In Flight, get to pg. 87. Work on your project either by refining your thesis or finding sources. 4th & 5th need to complete this question set on the Dear Sisters reading
you did last Thursday night.
TAKING THE SAT on Saturday? Time yourself on the essay. Give yourself time to reread and edit what you have written. Remember to review the most common errors used on the ERROR ID section, and to follow the direction of the sentence in the SENTENCE-COMPLETION. There are hints worth reading or rereading in the packet I gave you a month or so ago that will help you on SAT Saturday.
Friday, June 3
1st & 2nd read "A Rose for Charlie"
and then discussed homophobia in the U.S. today, including the "It Gets Better" campaign
, started by Seattle's (and formerly Vashon's) own Dan Savage, editor of the alternative weekly, The Stranger. Checked Dear Sisters notes and gave out schedule of interpretive projects.
4th and 5th heard John Owen present his story to us in the theater and also presented information about onset, diagnosis, acceptance, treatment, coping skills, and successfully living with a mental illness. Students asked him several questions and he addressed each with sincerity and honesty.
All students received books for our final read of the year.
This weekend: Complete the Moodle Gender forum
by responding to one of your peers if you have yet to do so.
Read in your novel. Flight readers, read the first 4 chapters, up to p. 42, I believe.
Start reviewing sources for applicable evidence to your thesis for the final interpretive project.
Money moonlights as Jim in The Office
: The Japanese Language Edition.
Thursday, June 2
I introduced the novel choice that students will have, if they get the this parent letter and permission slip
signed tonight. Otherwise, they will read the board sanctioned novel, A Yellow Raft in Blue Water
. I expect most students will choose Sherman Alexie's Flight
and Mrs. Woodard will be gearing some of her lessons next week to Native American history so as to facilitate your understanding of that novel. Other options are The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
by Junot Diaz or the plays "Angels in America" by Tony Kushner and "Top Dog/Underdog" by Suzan-Lori Parks.
Students took the vocab test on sets 1-5 and the SAT. Most did very well on this test--the grades have been entered. I announced which groups students are in for the final interpretive project.
4th period watched the video for Dar Williams' song, When I Was a Boy
Here are the GROUPS
and here is the SCHEDULE for our final interpretive projects
Tonight: Read and take 5+ interactive notes on the excerpts from Dear Sisters
. Get the permission slip signed. Remember (though I failed to remind you in class) that the Moodle forum response was to be due tomorrow. I will extend that until Monday because I did not mention it in class today. You are still welcome to take care of it tonight if you'd rather not deal with it this weekend.
Wednesday, June 1
Students shared aspects of their My America essays, which were turned in today. Mrs. Woodard and I introduced theinterpretive project and evidence outline
that will serve as students' final exam. We gave written explanations and the rubrics that we will use to assess both the presentations and the evidence outlines. After we listened to the songs below, we discussed them as a class. Then we read Shirley Chisholm's speech on the ERA from 1969. Mrs. Woodard also wanted you to have the text of the Obama speech on race
Tonight: Study for tomorrow's vocabulary test on sets 1-5 and the SAT error id, sentence completion, and improving sentences section.
If the Song Fits....
Tupac Shakur: Keep Ya Head Up
No Doubt (Gwen Stefani's old band): I'm Just a Girl
John Lennon: Women Is the Nigger of the World
Laurie Anderson's "Beautiful Red Dress" includes this stanza:
Little sips from time to time I've got some bright red drop dead lips I've got a little red card and mechanical hips I've got a hundred and five fever!!! ok! ok! hold it! I just want to say something you know, for every dollar a man makes a woman makes 63 cents. now, fifty years ago that was 62 cents. so, with that kind of luck, it'll be the year 3,888 before we make a buck. but hey, girl
Tuesday, May 31
I went over what we will cover this week. I failed to mention that I have successfully set up a speaker from NAMI (National Alliance for the Mentally Ill) for this Friday during 4th period in the theater. (1st/2nd period students are invited but will need to get a prearranged absence signed by their 4th period teacher.) We listened to interpretations of the Burt Bacharach and Hal David song, "Wives and Lovers." We then discussed the song's lyrics
, the articles you read over the weekend, and a variety of ideas related to gender and gender roles. Then we read the first few pages of "The Problem That Has No Name," i.e., Chapter 1 of Betty Friedan's The Feminine Mystique
Helen Reddy's song "I Am Woman" is almost sung more as a parody, sometimes I hear myself sing it facetiously, but in its time, it was a battle cry for some women, a veritable anthem of proto-feminism:
"Yes, I am wise, but it's wisdom for the pain
Yes, I've paid the price, but look how much I've gained,
If I have to, I can do anything,
I am strong, I am invincible, I am Woman."
Continue revising and seeking feedback on your My America essay. Here is the peer editing sheet
. Here is the list of common errors
that you ought to look for in your final stages of editing the paper.
Use your flashcards and vocabulary sheets/quizzes to start reviewing for Thursday's vocab test.
Songs, Plays, and Stories from the Vietnam War Era
Monday, May 30
Memorial Day. Remember what Dalton Trumbo accused us of in his preface to Johnny Got his Gun
? Take some time to remember those who have died in service to our country.
FRIDAY, May 27
RANTS and RAVES
Introduced and gave out the article "X: A Fabulous Child's Story
," which students will read this weekend. Here is a recent example of a couple trying to do something similar
; some people call it gender neutral parenting. 2nd period we went to the band room to hear the poet Larry Matsuda share his work. 4th and 5th discussed "The Things They Carried" questions, heard student recoding, and briefly debriefed the Matsuda mystery--why many found they had plenty of room when packing a small bag to go away for an undetermined amount.
This long weekend:
Take some time to think about why we take Monday off. What does Memorial Day mean to you? What do you do about it?
Read "X: A Fabulous Child's Story," then go to Moodle
to complete the assignment in the new Gender forum. Revise your essay by paying attention to transitions between the paragraphs
. If you are one who did not read the Vietnam Poem Set, please do so.
It's Vashon Poetry Festival this weekend. Go check out Open Mic on Saturday afternoon , Slam poets on Saturday night, and Sam Hamill on The Poet at War on Monday afternoon.
THURSDAY, May 26
Gave out some writing hints from E.B. White's The Elements of Style
. We spent time completing an exercise that prepared us for Larry Matsuda's presentation tomorrow and compiled our results. Students then shared their recoding from Set 5. We read the poem "APO 96225" and started completingthis question set on "The Things They Carried
Tonight: Read the Vietnam poem set I gave out in class. Revise one body section of your My America essay with one of the ideas from The Elements of Style
in mind. 1st & 2nd--here is the Larry Matsuda Extra Credit Assignment
some of you wanted to complete for tomorrow. Bring in your suitcase and carry-on.
WEDNESDAY, May 25
I began class today with Nina Simone's "Mississippi Goddam"
and students readily saw its connections to what they had learned in the Civil Rights. We focused on writing effective introductions
and used this UNC website
and a student model to do so. Reviewed definitions and derivatives from Set #5. We read the first half of Tim O'Brien's classic Vietnam War story, "The Things They Carried."
Tonight: Finish reading "The Things They Carried." Complete the recoding and flashcards--see Set #5. pend 10-15 minutes revising your introduction.
A scene from Terence McNally's play, "Botticelli."
TUESDAY, May 24
Students peer edited two of their classmates' My America essays for one period today. Mrs. Woodard and I split the other. I gave everybody a copy of Vocab Set 5
and polled the class on how many of the words they already knew. Three kids knew most of them and most kids knew few of them. 1st and 2nd finished "Botticelli," proposed ideas about its impact and themes, and then read some criticism on the play. We ended by listening to CCR's "Fortunate Son" and Mrs. Woodard elaborated on and improved the Wikipedia entry about the song
Monday, May 23
Entertained discussion on ARITS, took a vocab quiz, listened to Okie from Muskogee by Merle Haggard
and read criticism of the song. 1st and 2nd got halfway through "Botticelli." Offered a possible structure for the My America essay and, in the afternoon, handed out this peer edit sheet that students will use
when reading their classmates' drafts in class tomorrow.
Tonight: Type up the first draft of your My America essay. Reread the essay instructions and look at the peer edit sheet to see what your classmates will be looking for in your essay tomorrow.