“It is a sin to write this.”

To provide some context for 1st period students curious about my favorite book opening (mentioned fleetingly in class today), here is the entire first paragraph of Ayn Rand’s book Anthem:

It is a sin to write this. It is a sin to think words no others think and to put them down upon a paper no others are to see. It is base and evil. It is as if we were speaking alone to no ears but our own. And we know well that there is no transgression blacker than do do or think alone. We have broken the laws. The laws say that men may not write unless the Council of Vocations bid them so. May we be forgiven!

It’s been years (over a decade) since I’ve read the book, but as I recall it was this paragraph’s immediate establishment of setting that drew me into it. I had recently read George Orwell’s 1984 for the first time and was hungry to read more literature like it;  consequently, Rand’s first paragraph enticed me to read all of Anthem in one sitting.

AP Assignment Clarification

Well, it looks like I goofed a little when I gave you your homework assignment for tonight (KEEP READING, yes, you still have to do it for tomorrow). I checked the quotations in the directions to establish that the translations were close enough, but apparently I needed to do so for the questions also. To repent, however (don’t want to end up in Limbo or worse!), I have gone through and worked out the small fixes that will get you through the assignment:

1.)    For question #2, you should refer to the sentence that begins “how hard it is to tell…”.

2.)    To answer question #3, refer to lines 5-6 and ONLY look at the “serves to” portions of the response options (ignore the literary devices… explanation tomorrow).

3.)    The line numbers given in questions 5 & 6 are ok. By the way, “anadiplosis” is a rhetorical figure of repetition in which a word or phrase appears BOTH at the end of one clause, sentence, or stanza AND at the beginning of the next, thus linking the two (what, you didn’t already know that?).  Ex: “As thou being mine, mine is thy good report.” (from Shakespeare’s 36th sonnet)

4.)    In question #7, please change the word “but” to “and.”

5.)    For #8, replace “sunless” with “the sun is mute.”

I apologize for the inconvenience of having to make these changes. I’m spending the evening  determining fixes that will have to be made for the other practice AP-style multiple choice questions we’ll be doing for the rest of Inferno, and will advise you of those in class tomorrow.

Back to Reality…

In case anyone is panicking as they emerge from their food comas, NO, you did not have homework if you are in English IV or AP Lit!

I still do not have Internet access at my house, so I’ve spent the past several hours at the public library using their Wi-Fi to update grades, access things I needed from my Dropbox, etc. I’ve answered all emails received over break; if anyone emails me this evening you won’t get a response until I get to school tomorrow. I apologize for the delay; hopefully AT&T will come tomorrow.

Ok. The library is closing and I’m getting kicked out. See everyone tomorrow.

Links for AP Odyssey Fun

As mentioned in the directions I left on your desks this morning, your best options for finding a work of art inspired by your section of The Odyssey are museum collections and library databases:

Cuyahoga Heights HS library databases (for art, music, poetry, etc.)

For music, try the Oberlin Conservatory Library

Art museums:

Cleveland Museum of Art

The Louvre

The British Museum

If you are looking for a poem, you can also try one of the poetry links on the left side of this page.

7th period Fund. of Language: Yes, this post is for you!

Why hello there, 8th graders!

I hope you don’t feel left out for not being addressed on this site very often, but I’m sure you (and especially your parents) can understand it’s because I have mostly high school stuff going on here and like to keep things separate as much as possible.

I do, however, feel the need to post for your benefit today. I’ve just finished grading your Prepositions, Conjunctions, and Interjections Test (see PB for your scores) and think it’s important that I communicate a few things to you ASAP. I’m assuming that the handful of you who follow me on Twitter will catch the 7th period reference in this post’s title and get a heads-up on this info before I share it with all of you on Monday.

First, I assessed your performance on the test a little differently than I had stated in the directions. It’s rare that I do this, but as always I’m happy to explain the philosophy behind the decision. You’ll get an explanation with your test when it’s handed back on Monday, but for now rest assured that (1) It didn’t HURT anyone’s grade, and (2) in several cases it HELPED people’s grades.

     Second, it seems quite evident that prepositions gave most of you more trouble than the other concepts on the test. We’ll obviously need to address that (and some study skills that could help you avoid only doing well on the most recently covered material on each test, which is an emerging pattern…) in class, but for now you can go here to see a helpful review that groups prepositions into meaningful categories. 

     As a final thought, many of you did do fine on the test (and subsequent usage quiz, which has also been graded and is in PB). By following up here, I’m simply covering as many bases as possible to ensure you get a noticeable benefit out of this class. That said, PLEASE don’t hesitate to make an appointment with me to get extra help during lunch, after school, or during 2nd period. If I’m unavailable during the only time(s) you can meet, I can try to work something out with one of my seniors who is good with grammar to act as a peer tutor for you.

See everyone on Monday! Thanks for reading if you’ve gotten this far.



Weekend Reminders for Seniors

Everyone:    I’m going to have a grading marathon tonight and tomorrow. I realize Progress Book is a little scant at the moment, but will be significantly updated throughout the weekend. By Sunday night you should have an accurate idea of how you’re doing this grading period.

AP:    Get your cover letter done if you anticipate a busy week  or if you just want to get it out of the way early (it’s due on Friday, November 16th). Also, please  read chapter eight of How to Read Literature Like a Professor (“Hanseldee and Greteldum”). As you do so, please jot down some good notes. I have a few passages underlined that we’ll definitely talk about in class on Monday, but you should also have something to contribute.

English IV:   You will have a vocabulary quiz on Monday! Scroll down to the November 6th entry if you need a copy of the words. They are all from an article of the week you will be given on Monday; knowing them will not only be useful for the quiz, but will also help you understand the AoW better.

Everyone have a good weekend!

Setup of Tomorrow’s AP Lit Test

I’ve received a few questions about the test you’ll take tomorrow over Beowulf; hopefully this clears them up:

* One section will require you to match names (characters, tribes, places…) to descriptions or descriptive text passages.

* Another section will consist of multiple choice questions. Some will be AP-style questions about brief passages (ranging from 3-15 lines long each); others will assess your ability to make connections between Anglo-Saxon history/culture and details from Beowulf.

*Fear not! Because of the in-class writing you already completed this week, there is NOT an extended response on this test. However, there are a handful of short-answer questions that will require 3-4 sentence long answers.

* Names to quiz yourselves over: Wealtheow, Grendel, Wiglaf, Higlac, Geats, Danes, Scyld (Shield), Unferth, Brecca, Hrunting, Hrothgar, Beowulf, & Herot.

* S0me terms: comitatus, kenning, caesura, epic, paganism, animism, thane…

I hope that helps. Happy studying! It’s almost the weekend.