(For the literalists out there…these are English rocks …or rocks that at least reside in England but I think were taken from somewhere else…)
Click on the link below for the Midterm Study Guide!
October 30th, 2012:
Well that was some interesting weather! We’re not privy to many hurricanes or “tropical storms” here in MA. I think that’s one of the reasons I like New England: We get snow. Everyone else gets crazy weather. Really, head south and you deal with Hurricanes…west Tornados and flash floods…very west, earthquakes and mudslides. Here? We get snow. And snow is pretty.
But I digress… So we would have been wrapping up Bradstreet and rushing full forced into the Revolutionaries, but time has not allowed. That said, we’re continuing with Bradstreet for the next couple days, and into the Revolutionary period immediately thereafter. Oh Jonathan Edwards, you’ll get a hit (how could we possibly ignore your sermons??), but we’re forward thinking Americans and into the fray we must go.
Fun fun! See you tomorrow!
October 21st, 2012:
There’s always something, right? Well, PSAT day (Wednesday) kind of threw us off a bit, so we didn’t get to start Bradstreet last week, but we will!! Speaking of the PSATs, a few girls from my sophomore MR were hanging out after school on Wednesday, and noticed some of SAT lists that my juniors use every long block. They were shocked: “Ms. Hourihan! All of these words were on the PSAT!! How come you didn’t give these to us to study with??” I told them that the PSAT is just like the SAT that my juniors will be taking…so they should spread the word to all of my juniors: YEAH, THESE WORDS WILL BE ON THE SAT!!!!!
Looking forward to another great week!
October 14th, 2012:
Well last week was just overall confusing, yes? First, we had no school on Monday due to Columbus Day, and I was not in on Wednesday. So three days together (and not all of my classes at that)… But here’s a quick recap, nonetheless.
After looking over and through and around and inside of William Bradford’s of Plymouth Plantation, we jumped (a little back in time…but not far) to John Smith’s General History of Virginia. You began the text alone with the aide of a study guide to help you through it. Fortunately, like the dashing hero he describes himself to be , I rushed in on Thursday to help you organize and clarify your thoughts. We talked a bit about the concept of nonfiction in relation to Smith’s third-person record of his own heroism (hmmm), and also examined the distinctly ornate manner in which he wrote. A far cry from Bradford and his devout Puritans, eh? Yup.
So this week, we’ll spend a little more time on John Smith, and some of you will be tasked with a cooperative learning project in summation. By mid-week, we’ll be out of Virginia and back to Massachusetts and the Puritans with none other than the VERY FIRST poet of Colonial America! And in the ongoing spirit of true American progressiveness, this very first poet–famed in both England and the colonies–was a WOMAN!! We’ll look at her poetry as literary analysts examining her technique and form, but also as an example of the literary period itself. I love Anne Bradstreet (oh, but I love them all!!!), so this should be fun and thought provoking!
I’m looking forward!
October 10th, 2012:
We wrapped up William Bradford last week, making cool connections to our own city! One of my students is a descendant of a Mayflower passenger, and also a founder of Lynn (no, not an Ingalls, but one of the other Puritans who settled here). We noticed some Puritanical vestiges in existence, as well. The way the Mayflower settlers rallied around one another, taking care when others were in need, specifically. We do that at Classical. We take care of our family .
And of Classical Family, I visited with Riley McManus. He is healing at a stellar rate, and looks great. According to him, he will be out of Spaulding in about 3 weeks, with crutches! He is walking . And his typical Riley wryness–biting wit, is still there. Keep sending happy thoughts and prayers to the McManus family!
September 30th, 2012:
It’s strange to think that tomorrow is the first day of October…but there it is. How quickly things are moving! Progress reports come out at the end of this week–does if feel like we’ve been in this for half a quarter already? Nope.
But okay, to recap last week…we’re now knee-deep in Colonial literature, William Bradford to be specific. We’re looking for traits of Puritanism, as well as examining his use of Plain Style. We did our first “Author Bio” on Bradford, so we know from his life, his actions, his ideals WHY he’d write in such a style (Puritan…”purify”…little excess…PLAIN STYLE!). We’ll continue reading from his “of Plymouth Plantation” this week, and will then switch gears into a very opposite John Smith. Oh, the Plain & Ornate differences will present themselves well!
September 23rd, 2012:
I’m so impressed by my classes–so smart! So respectful! So inquisitive! Last week we spent some time examining the two major writing styles we’d be looking at: the Plain Style and the Ornate Style. We used modern and contemporary examples of said styles in an effort to be able to determine each style’s characteristics before we plunged into Colonial writing. This week? We’re diving straight into the deep of Colonial writers comfortably equipped with last week’s information to serve as our fog-free dive masks and oxygen tanks. Oh, the cool things we’ll learn!
Check your class’s tab, as each class may differ. Not to mention long-block, which we all know by now, will be different.
September 12th, 2012:
Welcome Back!!! Welcome new students!!! I’m still in the process of updating my new site, so bear with me for a few… I’m sort of oscillating between MAC and PC…dealing with conversion issues in between. I’ll IT it out very soon, I promise.
Third quarter!!!! YAY!!!!!
And a New Year! Sorry I’ve lapsed…lots going on. New year, new stuff…so let’s go from here. Again, I urge all to click on the SAT practice question of the day (see above). Otherwise, keep checking in!
Well last week was weird… Tuesday we (teachers) had a professional development day. We talked about lots of interesting things, all pertaining to YOU (students)! I was in an SAT improvement focus group and have lots of great ideas to implement into my classes. This falls at a perfect time, the beginning of a new quarter. I think I’m going to matriculate some SAT test taking strategies into my SAT vocab/grammar long blocks. Sound good? I think so. You have all learned such great MCAS test taking strategies, but unfortunately, they don’t really apply to the SATs–or APs for that matter. Mr. Brass got us free passwords for Kaplan online resources (thank you Mrs. Brass!), so I think we’ll play around with that.
Other cool things… Last week’s Veteran’s Day assembly was great, as usual. Mr. Grealish and the Social Studies department did a great job organizing. Ms. Cunningham and her talented singers, Ms. Grenier and her dedicated TV crew, too, made the assembly a success. It was very cool to see the STAR club–Classical’s own–presented for the first time. And I think my favorite part was the violin/saxophone duet: Isaac Ardon and Moises Ramirez respectively. Wow! At this point, it makes no sense that I would be shocked at the level of talent our students have, and yet I am constantly floored. I had goosebumps and tears in my eyes…just, wow…
Here we are in November…the end of first quarter! One day you’re sitting in class on the first day of school, you blink, and it’s the end of the first quarter! A bunch of people are missing a bunch of stuff…so if you suspect that’s you, please come and see me! This week is going to be weird, as we have no classes on Tuesday, and no classes/school on Friday. That only leaves 3 precious days to get everything in and done! Also, we have a Common Assessment tucked in there…
As for last week, well, it was a long week. My classes segued into the Salem Witch Trials–you really can’t ignore such a major historical event that has influenced American literature, arts, and culture so implicitly. AND–it all happened right near us! People across the country are studying the same thing, without the benefit of having actually been to Salem. A lot of you told me you were in Salem last Monday on Halloween. It is BECAUSE of the Salem Witch Trials that the city has become synonymous with Halloween (and um, their mascot is a witch…). Of course, in reading about it, discussing it, and watching Three Sovereigns for Sarah, we know they weren’t actually witches…
So a couple cool connections: Edward Taylor, the Super Puritan, was roommates with Samuel Sewall–one of the judges on the trials–while he was at Harvard. Neat! Then there’s the Nathaniel Hawthorne thing… Etc. Etc. We did a little “hysteria” activity to understand the fear, suspicion, and anger that led the people of Salem village and town to the accusations and subsequent executions. Students were put into a position to defend themselves against the accusation of cheating, or to rat out their friends. Everyone was upset at the accusations (as no one actually cheated ), but ultimately understood the parallel I was drawing. Most classes met the activity with an “Aha! I get it!” or “Oh wow, good one, Ms. Hourihan.” My F period, however, did not appreciate the activity/parallel. I felt so bad that I’d upset them that I tried to appease them with green RAMS pencils! By the end of the period, most of the class understood the purpose of the activity, and agreed that the appropriate objective was met. Several stayed after class, or stopped in later in the day to apologize for the initial reaction. To the rest, I am sorry that I upset you. Well yes, my intent was to upset you…but once I came clean, it was for you to understand the parallel.
Wow, October is almost over! Jeesh how time flies, right? So last week was hectic…but great. We had the first good old fashioned Cafeteria dance in how long??? YEARS!!!! And it was successful! There were a ton of students in great costumes! My faves are still senior Jenny Tran with her intricate and amazing makeup, and junior Kyle dressed as Jack Skeleton–great costume, and great face paint! And a GIANT thanks goes out to Mr. Constantino, Ms. Dunn, and Mr. Thompson for their presence all night! As well as Mr. Winchester, Ms. Tolley, and Ms. Mack–and her son Austin (mini-Skywalker)…it’s awesome faculty like these that make events successful! And obviously, Ms. Driscoll!! I need not even say that…she ROCKS!!! Hopefully more dances are on the horizon!!
As far as classes go–all is right with the world. We’re wrapping up the Puritans and heading into the Revolutionaries!! Oh what fun! Anne Bradstreet poses a lot of Puritan questions…like, why was she writing in such an ornate style if she was a Puritan?? How bizarre? And Edward Taylor–who TOLD his heirs not to publish his poems–fell in suit. What do we really *no about these people? Is art and artistic pursuit just something people, despite societal norms, do? Hmmm… Questions…
And moving forward…this week we have a PROJECT!! YES!!! We’re each going to delve into writers of the revolutionary period. Great stuff! We’ll look into their persuasive techniques, the old ethos, pathos, logos…apply them to the authors, but more so, be able to apply them today’s speeches, and statements!
FUN!!!! Looking forward!!!
*WOW–is anyone actually reading this?? Did anyone actually notice that I wrote “no” instead of “know”? Jeesh… This is the power of PROOFREADING!!! I published this 4 days ago with a glaring error…I didn’t proofread it, and see? I’ve looked like an idiot for 4 days! (and no one told me )
Yeah, I didn’t check in last week. Firstly I would like to say CONGRATULATIONS ON BEATING GLOUCESTER to the football team! That is huge! Concurrently, don’t be sad about North Andover! We beat Glo-town…life is good! Now all we have to do is beat English at Thanksgiving! And, ahem, that goes for the Powderpuff as well–Beat English!!!
Fun things coming up this week…HALLOWEEN DANCE on Thursday 10/27!!!
As far as my classes go–still going strong! C & G periods continue to impress me. B period–great personality (albeit a bit chatty ). D period–hard workers and smiling faces! F period–very bright (26 smiling and diligent workers…and 6 nonstop talkers!!!). On the whole, I’m pleased with everyone–KEEP IT UP!!! (except for the talking…knock that off!)
Oh how time is a’ticking! It’s hard to believe that we are almost half way through October; more so, we are half way through the quarter! I guess it’s true that time flies when you’re having fun! And what’s not to have fun with? We’re waist-deep in Puritanism–examining the different styles of writing. The Puritans are a fun bunch! No, really! You just have to know what to look for, and know how to balance it against today’s societal mores. It’s hard to walk around these parts without feeling their presence… I love that you are all recognizing that now!
I had a couple awesome questions (statements posed) that led to a creative writing assignment for a couple of my classes last week. The results were so good, that I’m continuing it with the rest of you this week! I think it was my B period that initiated it, jumping out with “Hey, what do you think a Puritan would think of our lives today?” GREAT QUESTION!!! It led to an assignment: “Take a Puritan to School With You.” I love the way you all think! Makayla detailed her day with her Puritan in tow–awesome!
As an added bonus, I got to meet the families this past week! From quarter to six to a little after eight on Thursday night, I had parents/siblings/guardians in line to discuss you! How great is that?–I love how involved your families are. It makes sense–you are all so wonderfully involved, it makes sense that your fam’s would be too . I don’t think I had, or have, anything negative to say about anyone…maybe a “talkative” here or there, but that’s it. I am thoroughly impressed with the class of 2013. We are going to do GREAT things this year!
So last week was busy, but fulfilling! My students continue to impress me. It’s Sunday night, and my arm is about to fall off from correcting and responding to your essays–my fault, next time I won’t assign all 155 of you a paper due at the same time! But here we are in October–and today certainly FELT like October! Cool and brisk–all we need now is some pretty foliage. I’m sporting my Roadies sweatshirt as I type…
So things to look forward to this week: OPEN HOUSE!!! YAY!!! It’s scary how quickly time passes…it seems like yesterday was the first day of school, and here we are at mid-quarter! Time flies when you’re having fun! I can’t wait to meet your folks. I’ve learned so much about all of you from your essays–it will be great to see the people who have inspired you!
And another week gone by…and all is right with the world! We’re all in the swing now…everyone knows his/her schedule, the rules are being enforced, classes are moving at full speed, and the fall sports are kicking. I’m still holding to my initial assessment–my classes are awesome! We spent a good deal of time writing this week. I LOVE writing! And better still, I love reading YOUR writing! So my classes worked together in generating information, and separately in writing. We looked at an example of student work and checked it according to the 6 Traits RAMS Writing Rubric (<–nice alliteration ). Everyone knew the expectations, what their essays SHOULD look like, and exactly how to get there. Very nice! I had a bunch of students coming back after school for additional clarification and some pre-editing/revision techniques before they handed in the FIRST DRAFT!!!! That tells me soooo much! What a motivated bunch! PLEASE, keep coming back! I’m always willing to help you! Seniors too–though I don’t have you as students this year–a bunch have come to me for help with the dreaded College Essay, and I am more than willing to help out.
So I got the first drafts of my Juniors’ essays. Wow. I am so impressed! Some of the topics are so moving and so insightful! And your writer’s voices are fabulous! I can actually HEAR you talking to me! Great work, truly. I look forward to reading everything you have in store for me.
To my Mentoring Room: HEATHER, get your sent-back, signed Emergency Form in!!!!
And everyone survived the first FULL week of school! I love my classes–you are all amazing. My A period study buddy, Abby, is great! She comes from good stock–I had her older sister a few years back . B period is great. I’m glad that Tyler found his very sentimental bracelet–and the giver of said bracelet was much relieved. C period and G period are rocking the journals! Mr. Ryan and I are very impressed. There are are few people in those two that seem to get scheduled back and forth–I’m sorry…but bear with us! Jenna, especially–from C to G…and G to C again. It will all even out soon. D period, you’re amazing. And F period? Great fun yesterday with the grammar talks . Who knew that prepositions could lead to talks about those funky windsocky-thingys in front of car dealerships…and counting Pick-Up trucks? Oh yeah, Kyle and Lee…I remember and document !
As per my Mentoring Period…we mostly figured out lockers. There are a couple lockers that seem to have been taken by outside parties…not my MR, not the MR that initially had ours. I staked them out this morning to no avail. So to the few in my MR, I’m sorry. I’ll figure it out. And yeah, on that, I’m missing a Marlins hat! (I would never wear such a thing, of course, but a MR student sans locker left it in my room and it is gone!!! ). If anyone knows of its whereabouts, please get info to me.
Overall–GREAT week! Heading to the game in a few, so I bid adieu. I look forward to another amazingly productive week come Monday! Have a great weekend everyone! And as I usually say on your way out: “Please be careful. Don’t do anything stupid. You are precious cargo!” Etc.
See ya Monday!!!
The end of the first week! I am thrilled to be back–and I missed you all so much! Welcome back to everyone! A special welcome goes out to all of our new faculty members–including a new V.P, Mr. Thompson! Everyone seems very excited to be a part of the Classical Family–and it is a family. The school spirit and sense of community is unparalleled–give it a couple days and you’ll notice all of the green and gold shirts, sweatshirts, pants, bags, jerseys, pins, wristbands, lanyards, etc., moving through the hallways in waves. Also, welcome freshmen! They came in Wednesday morning ready to go and have so far proven themselves great additions to our school. I have a freshman Mentoring Period this year, and the students seem great–I look forward to spending the next 4 years with them!
I don’t have any senior classes this year ( ), but 2012 is still my class, so I will get to see all of you A LOT! I’ll be harassing you for dues, and fundraising all year . As for my 5 American Literature Junior classes–I’m impressed! You have all been very respectful and attentive–and I have yet to see an untucked shirt or a cell phone! Keep it up! I look forward to getting to know you, and sharing my love of American Literature with you.
Let’s have a great first FULL week of school! See you Monday!
School begins in a few days!!! I’m so excited to meet my new classes!!! I hope everyone has read the book–I did! Good read, go Puleo! I love local history–and this was written in such a great style. I’ll have more soon. I just wanted to say HELLO and that I’m looking forward to seeing you all soon! Check out my “Summer Reading” blog in the next few days (I need to transfer handwriting to type, as our websites were “under construction” over the summer).
See you soon!!!!
It’s been a bit since I’ve updated. Many things have happened–great assemblies, great classes, etc. We’re on the verge of the Holiday break and I have to say how impressed I am with the focus of my students. We have a full moon tonight, and classes are out in two days, and still you’re all on a roll!
My seniors explored a few scenarios a couple days ago–scenarios which could easily be transplanted to modern day. The first: a “seer” (psychic, fortuneteller, prophet, etc.) told a couple students that they were going to get that which they ultimately coveted, except only one could have it…what do they do? The second, a person has it within their power to rise to an all-powerful level (political, business, or for our purposes usurping Derek Paru as senior class president), except it seems morally wrong. But then, the wife, husband, g/f or b/f of the person was egging them on, goading them to take the chance…what do they do? Finally, a few people were hanging out and all ended up crashing. When they woke up, someone’s wallet was missing. How is the situation resolved?
We had fun roleplaying…acting out scenarios. The coolest thing is that all can relate…these are very current, very in-the-now themes…and yet they were written 400 some odd years ago by Shakespeare. We’re super excited–Macbeth is blood, and greed, and lust, and paranoia. It’s psychological. This is going to be awesome.
And speaking of awesome, as soon as I can upload pics I will, but we constructed a charcoal portrait of Shakespeare. As Shakespeare’s history and biography is somewhat up for grabs (various historians have varying opinions), and everyone’s take on him as a person, or as an experience is different, we constructed our own Shakespeare. I gave each member of the class a small square of a portrait of the Bard. No one knew the portrait as a whole, or exactly what they were looking at. Each had to reconstruct the image on a larger square of paper (to scale). When all squares were united, a very interesting portrait of Shakespeare came to fruition. Very much like the history surrounding him, or our experiences with him, each square is crafted through the person viewing it. Ultimately, this is what Shakespeare is to us: A collection of pieces as seen through the eyes of many people. (BTW: This year’s portrait is way better than last year’s–thanks Nicky–and I’m totally saving, framing, and putting it on my wall at home ).
And oh my juniors… We’ve moved into American Romanticism, still exploring the overarching theme of the American Dream and the American Identity. Here, we have finally come into our own. Here, we being to create our own body of literature. Here, we can see the carvings of the American collective–our culture, our identity. We saw where it began, how it ensued, where it solidified–and now here we have a wide open time to simply create art. And, it is an art unlike any other, characterized by our landscape and surroundings, by our history, by our imaginations. Welcome to the collective “Art as Entertainment” writers! This is awesome!
Happy Veteran’s Day everyone! Make sure you hug a vet today! Yesterday we had an awesome assembly–the talent, the appreciation, and the decorum of our student body still overwhelms me. We truly do have the best students in the city!
So, I haven’t checked in in a couple weeks…sorry. We’ve had a couple abbrieviated weeks…an Inservice Day last week and Veteran’s Day this week…and it’s also the end of the quarter so things have been hectic.
Well, let’s see…my American Lit students have pulled away from Puritanism and moved into the Revolutionaries. We finished up the Puritans with some Salem Witch Trials stuff…Cotton Mather…etc. Come on, we’re SO close to the area it would be criminal to not address it! NOT to mention, Cotton Mather AND his father Increase were both pretty intregal in the proceedings–Cotton’s writings and his promotion of spectoral evidence, and of course his father (voice of reason) disallowing it. And then of course there was good ol’ Judge Hathorne and his supposed connection to our great Nathaniel Hawthorne. Too many American Lit things to ignore…and again, because it was SOOOO close to us! It was really cool how my juniors made all of these connections to local places and street names, etc., based on the names of the major players of the trials. Yes, we’re living in a hotbed of American History and American Literature…we are so lucky!
So FROM that, we’re into the revolutionaries–an AWESOME time in American Lit! History, of course, but as the war was fought not only with muskets, but with words, I think American Literature can claim a very valid chunk of the credit . This should be lots of fun! We’ve got projects, we’ve got presentations–something for everything!
My seniors are consumed with college issues. We wrapped/are wrapping up the Canterbury Tales. There’s an awesome project (supposed to be assigned last week), but will be given to you tomorrow. It’s fun . Yes, Marina, college essays will be readdressed . Next quarter, however, we have SHAKESPEARE!!! OH YEAH!!! And we’re not slacking second quarter like we did first…yes, assemblies, yes, college visits, but I promise you, this is going to FUN!!!!
Oh, one more thing. Apparently my “Quote of the Day” has infiltrated facebook. And yeah, I think that’s pretty awesome! Well, there are two sides to that coin… On the one hand, it’s very cool that my quotes are making people’s status updates daily. On the other hand…um, how are people updating their facebook statuses during school? I’m just wondering… :/ . But it was really funny when Kaitlyn walked into my room last period the other day and said “OMG, that quote is EVERYONE’S FB status!” SO, I was asked by a Morning News Team member if I would post my quotes for the school news everyday. Of course I will! Maybe you won’t need to FB them! Or actually, keep doing it…just, you know, AFTER school.
Wow, this week flew by! Considering I was out sick two weeks ago, and last week was shortened by Columbus Day…and my cousin’s wedding, I thought the 5 days were going to be a killer! Not so! I guess it’s because I truly love all of my classes and always, ALWAYS, feel like I don’t have enough time with them. The first part of the week was a bit tough, as all of the heat in the building was mysteriously being routed into my room. Thursday was the roughest, and my first period class had to be conducted elsewhere because the room was THAT hot. One of my asthmatic students actually couldn’t breathe, and as I was about to set up a chair for her in the doorway, the wonderful Mrs. Deegan (librarian) was able to accommodate us in the Library. Of course the problem was fixed by our super, amazing, and wonderful Joe Smart! Thanks Joe!
This week saw another first–on October 19th I was forced to break my streak and write students up. Great kids–I love them–but we were taking a test–and a test is a test… For the benefit of other students, I can’t tolerate distractions. Let’s hope I don’t have to write anyone else up for a while…
My seniors ushered in the Middle Ages this week. Lots of fun stuff to ensue! Chaucer is bawdy and incisive–you guys are going to love it! Dami was dressed to the nines and had his second Posse scholarship interview today–and we are all wishing him luck! Megan–who wasn’t in today is/might be/will be performing at the Walnut Street Cafe tomorrow night–I hope many attend and the night proves successful! And it was great, btw, to see all my senior Roadies decked out in their green and gold for tonight’s game. My fave nickname right now goes to Nancy, “First Lady.” Priceless!
My juniors had a productive week…we moved forth with the Puritans. We looked at another Anne Bradstreet poem and contrasted it with the first. It’s very interesting to see the difference in focus between the two poems…though the humanity is still there. We talked about that. ”Upon the Burning of our House” evoked lots of thoughts for those of us who have had house fires…Angelica, Ellis, ME… But then the way Bradstreet runs through a gamut of emotions…ultimately praising the goodness of God in the end…nicely Puritan, and very human.
We also went into Edward Taylor, who left the cushy England because of his religious beliefs to settle in what was essentially the woods…in the middle of a brutal war. I’m a little shocked that more people don’t know about King Phillip’s (Metacomet’s) War. But whatever, I think I only learned about it through American Literature first hand accounts, and not through history textbooks. We talked about Mary Rowlandson’s ordeal for a bit to give it some depth. That poor woman SUFFERED, and yet titled her narrative The Sovereignty and Goodness of God–says a lot about the strength of Puritan faith.
So yeah, Taylor employs the tricky “conceit” which proved difficult for many. And yeah, it is tricky. For a three stanza poem (“Huswifery”), the man definitely made it complex. Such complexity of style, for one who was so uber-Puritan, is a little off putting…and may be viewed as slightly hypocritical to the plain and straightforward belief system. That’s probably why he didn’t publish in his day. But as I said: so far, all of the Colonial writers we have focused on were born, raised, and EDUCATED, in England. The styles and techniques were English bred–not American. Our American voice, our American identity is still finding itself…
Next week: Jonathan Edwards!!! YES!!
Okay, well I didn’t post on Friday because I wasn’t actually there. I went to my cousin’s wedding in NH and it was beautiful–foliage season! So last week was a pretty short week…Monday was Columbus day and Wednesday we had the PSATs for half of the day. Jeesh–I feel like I haven’t seen some of my students in forever!
So to recap…my seniors were once again visited by guidance (CHA-CHING ), and Nicky–my adorable chirper–is looking more closely into Marionncourt. Buddy finally got his letter of recommendation out of me, after much hounding and a lot of Mac to PC conversions. Beowulf and the Anglo-Saxons are pretty much finished, so this week we get to move onward in time to the Middle Ages. Chaucer is awesome, and The Canterbury Tales is a fun read! You guys are going to love the characters–I do!!
My juniors got to read Anne Bradstreet who is really pretty interesting. Puritan though she may be, her poems reveal her to be very human. ”To My Dear and Loving Husband” elicited some interesting responses…from Elijah wanting to steal the first line for his facebook status (“If ever two were one, then surely we”), to my more cynical students who found Bradstreet to be creepy and obsessed, and–I’m using THEIR words–”forcing it.” I love how varying the class to class impressions can be! One class actually went into a discussion about how illogical the poem actually was, could completely not identify with it, and actually quoted today’s divorce rate!! And still another–I’m impressed–decided that since Bradstreet was married at the age of 16, she probably wrote it around then because it’s very lovey-dovey, gushy, teenage girly… My students are awesome.
We also discussed the iambic couplet and poetic meter. I mentioned my geeky English teacher humor to my classes, and how I have an iambic pentameter t-shirt…so I’m thinking about that right now because I’m actually wearing said t-shirt, lol. No, really…
And as yes, they (YOU, I should say) are reading this, a couple people did specifically request shout outs. So, to Jairo and Ziyadah, both of whom I believe are in the cynical, “she’s forcing it” class, thanks for reading along !
Oh, and the class of 2012 Treasurer position has FINALLY been secured. After a long and arduous campaign, Isaac Ardon has secured the treasurer position. Yaneiris definitely deserves a HUGE pat on the back for all of her dedication to the class!
And another interesting week! Well, I was out Monday with an awful cold…I spent the day uncomfortably nested in a pile of tissues. Wednesday brought the Junior class elections…with a crazy tie for the Treasurer position. All ballots were counted by Ms. Christian, a Freshman class advisor. Two incumbents won, Jordan and Malcolm securing their respective spots as President and Vice President. A new Chairperson, Calvin, was elected. The Treasurer spot is still up in the air until Tuesday morning–though both Yaneiris and Isaac gave their second-time speeches on the school news this morning. Both candidates are amazingly dedicated to their class, and whichever candidate wins will surely make a great addition to the team!
Wednesday was broken up by the Hispanic Heritage Assembly. Wow! Amazing job! I know how much time Sra. Lyle and Ms. Figeroa put into it, not to mention the plethora of students! This was the first time this assembly was held…and it was an ENORMOUS success! Great job to everyone involved. I sincerely hope this is the start of a great Classical tradition!!
Thursday night was the first Open House. I got to meet a lot of the parents–and just like their kids, they were all wonderful and dedicated. It’s easy to see where my students get their intelligence, drive, and personalities from. I look forward to being in touch with them throughout the year.
As per my classes… My juniors just finished up the EARLY colonials…moving into…well…more Puritans…lol. Great ride, though, really. Anne Bradstreet is the first ever published poet in the American colonies!!! And it’s a “she”!!! That is pretty big. Especially for a Puritan… That’s what we’re rolling into next week…
And my seniors, more Beowulf (echoes BEOWULF!!!). Seriously, this is an awesome story…heros, demons, warriors…just good stuff all around. We spent some time watching Beowulf & the Anglo Saxons–a documentary, to give us some deeper insight into the text (links to the film are posted on the “Supplemental Stuff” tab in the English Literature 12 folder). It’s cool how the documentary connects the character of Beowulf to King Arthur. Neat stuff.
Beyond all that, my Juniors looked at their “SWBAT”‘s today (swa-bats as we’ve been calling them) and realized, “oh yeah, we do know all that stuff.” Nice. A test will follow next week–and new SWBATs will be ready to be addressed.
So once again, great students, great classes: Keep up the good work everyone!
Wow, this week flew by! My seniors are still working intently on their college essays and intake forms, truly putting a great deal of thought into them. Guidance paid us a visit (cha ching!!), which really got them thinking. Nathan is currently reconsidering his top choice school as a result . We also looked more deeply into Beowulf, discussing Anglo-Saxon poetic devices, the interplay of Christian and Pagan elements, the concept of “hero,” and the ultimate battle of good vs. evil. These students have amazing, all-inclusive discussions, some of which they manage–without my aid–to tie in modern day issues, like today’s example of “bullying.” We even got the stoic Brenda to voice her opinion! Great “team meeting,” and remember what I said!!!
My Juniors, too, are wowing me! My Honor’s class took a 96 question (again, sorry it was so long!!!) vocabulary test, and Jean broke the scale and got EVERY SINGLE QUESTION CORRECT!!! I’m SO impressed!!! As per literature, we are examining two early colonial writing styles: Plain & Ornate. So far, we’ve dissected John Smith’s (yup, of Pocahontas fame) excerpt from his The General History of Virginia, New England, and the Summer Isles…and looked at how ornate and elaborate it actually is. We also discussed the concept of “nonfiction,” which while touted as “fact” is simply written by people…with their own perceptions. This is evidenced by Smith’s shameless self promotion…writing in the third person about how awesome he is in his factual, nonfiction General History. This led to great discussions about author, audience, and purpose! I definitely have an astute bunch–and without a doubt, some great writers!
Next week progress reports come out, and I get to meet the parents! I’m looking forward!
Another awesome week. My English Literature students explored the ins and outs of Anglo-Saxon poetry…and read modern and contemporary poems that employ the same devices. And we began Burton Raffel’s translation of Beowulf…and listened to the more contemporary Seamus Heaney version via iphone through Smartboard ( <–go technology!!!!) . We also spent a deal of time writing and revising the dreaded College Essay. And wow, I can’t read some of them without crying… My kids are absolutely amazing! To go through some of their ordeals and still come out on top…wow!
My American Lit. kids have been focused on two things this week: their Epiphany paper, and the roots of Puritanism. Some of these Epiphany papers are unreal…I have amazing students! The “Are You a Puritan?” survey has led to some fun discussions. The whole thing–though written through modern eyes–is based on Puritan tenets and ethics. It’s always kind of fun to see where we stack up before we actually explore the Puritans. They seem sheltered, idealistic, prudish, etc…and very easy to poke fun at… BUT, fill out the survey…discuss it… You will see, we are not unlike them in many senses…
So today was the end of our first full week. I have to say how impressed I am with all of my classes! All of my students are wonderful and interesting. I have one who chirps, one who asks the most bizarre but interesting questions, one who was in a coma, one who writes songs, and songs, and songs, one who sold his pet rabbit, one who writes great poetry, etc. What a great bunch! And the fact that I had a class of students throughly invested in a 10 minute quiet free write for the last ten minutes of the last period on a Friday (and were actually ANNOYED at the intercom interruptions) truly says a lot!
THIS IS GOING TO BE A GREAT YEAR FOR ALL OF US!!!!
(For my literalists, these are English rocks… Or rather, rocks that reside in England but I think were taken from somewhere else… )
“While thought exists, words are alive and literature becomes an escape, not from, but into living”
–Cyril Connolly (English critic and editor, 1903-1974)
“Develop and interest in life as you see it; the people, things, literature, music—the world is so rich, simply throbbing with rich treasures, beautiful souls and interesting people. Forget yourself.”
–Henry Miller (American author, 1891-1980)
“The crown of literature is poetry.”
–William Somerset Maugham (English author, 1874-1965)
“Books are the carriers of civilization. Without books, history is silent, literature dumb, science crippled, thought and speculation at a standstill. They are engines of change, windows on the world, lighthouses erected in the sea of time.”
–Barbara W. Tuchman (American pop historian/author, 1912-1989)
“Literature is where I go to explore the highest and lowest places in human society and in the human spirit, where I hope to find not absolute truth, but the truth of the tale, of the imagination and of the heart.”
–Salmon Rushdie (Indian Born, British writer, b.1947)
“History is not the story of heroes entirely. It is often the story of cruelty and injustice and shortsightedness. There are monsters, there is evil, there is betrayal. That’s why people should read Shakespeare and Dickens as well as history—they will find the best, the worst, the height of noble attainment and the depths of depravity.”
–David C. McCullough (American author, b. 1933)
“There is first the literature of knowledge, and then the literature of power. The function of the first is—to teach. The function of the second is—to move, the first is the rudder, the second an oar or a sail. The first speaks to the mere discursive understanding; the second speaks ultimately, it may happen to the higher understanding or reason, but always to affections of pleasure and sympathy.”
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