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English 12 OLD

00.0 Introduction to this Class (English 12)


Please be mindful of the fact that this course is not a credit "quick fix." It is a rigorous, college-preparatory class that is both time and labor intensive. Success here will require a serious and sustained effort on the part of the student. Please read the rest of the information below and the course syllabus thoroughly before you opt to enroll.

This is quarter of a full year class. Each unit of study consists of a series of informal journal entries and formal assignments. All journal entries and assignments must be completed and submitted in the order outlined. Assignments are to be handed in one at a time--not in bulk--so that students may apply concepts learned on earlier assignments to subsequent ones. (This helps students to avoid repeatedly making the same mistakes and also keeps the instructor from being swamped.) An assignment is not considered completed until it has received a formal grade. Assignments failing to achieve at least 60% of the ascribed point value will not be accepted for credit. Additionally, a student must earn a minimum of 60% of the available points on any given unit in order to receive credit for that unit. A student may not submit work on a new unit until the previous unit has been successfully completed.

Computer Information

Students taking this class should be able to successfully navigate the class with all its various features. Basic computer requirements include Internet access and word processing software.

Some PDF files may be used to present instructional handouts and examples of various assignments. As a result, the student will need to download the free Adobe Acrobat Reader plug-in.

Grading Information

You will find a journal entry prior to each formal assignment that informally introduces or prompts you to begin thinking about the corollary assignment. While journal entries are assessed based mostly on effort, all other assignments, unless otherwise specified, will be evaluated based on the Six-Trait Evaluation Rubric.
All journal entries and assignments will be given a point value. Academic grades will be awarded based on the following percentage breakdown: 94-100=A, 90-93=A-, 87-89=B+, 83-86=B, 80-82=B-, 77-79=C+, 73-76=C, 70-72=C-, 65-69=D+, 60-64=D, Below 60=F.

All work submitted must be original. A student who submits a plagiarized assignment will receive a zero on that assignment and a warning. A subsequent violation will result in the student being dropped form the class without credit.

Miscellaneous Information

To begin the class, please select the "Unit 01", link and review the material for the desired unit. From there, proceed to the assignments for that unit.

Be sure to check your email and the course announcements feature regularly. Also, be aware of the fact that you should keep copies locally of all work submitted, in case something gets lost in transmission or inadvertently deleted. Finally, be advised that if I do not receive work or an email from you in any given four-week period, you can be dropped from the course.

00.00 *Student supplies for English 12

In its entirety, the class consists of eight units: Towards a Sense of Self, Family Connections, Cultural Context, The Heroic Ideal, Media Literacy, The Future, Charting Your Path, and Taking a Stand. All eight units must be satisfactorily completed to receive a full unit of credit for English 12. If only partial credit is required, successful completion of two units equals 1/4 unit of credit. Units 1 and 2 represent first quarter credit, 3 and 4 second quarter credit, 5 and 6 third quarter credit, and Units 7 and 8 correspond to fourth quarter credit.

In each unit there are links to lists of suggested books to read for the class. You may find these at your local library or book store. You can also find them online at www.bn.com or www.amazon.com to order.

Each unit of study consists of a series of informal journal entries and formal assignments. All journal entries and assignments must be completed and submitted in the order outlined. Assignments are to be handed in one at a time--not in bulk--so that students may apply concepts learned on earlier assignments to subsequent ones. (This helps students to avoid repeatedly making the same mistakes and also keeps the instructor from being swamped.) An assignment is not considered completed until it has received a formal grade. Assignments failing to achieve at least 60% of the ascribed point value will not be accepted for credit. Additionally, a student must earn a minimum of 60% of the available points on any given unit in order to receive credit for that unit. A student may not submit work on a new unit until the previous unit has been successfully completed.

00.00 Introduction to this Class (English 12)

Use these links to review the information on plagiarism before you begin work in this class.

00.01 Writing help on video (English 9, 10, 11, 12)

Above are links to Pioneer Library, where you can find these on-line videos that may help you with different aspects of writing or editing your work. In each case, log on to Pioneer Library (the username and password are on your main class page) first. If you have never played any of the eMedia videos, you might need to first read the information in the Getting Started folder and/or download a free Quicktime player.

00.02 About Me

teacher-scored 0 points possible 10 minutes

Your first activity is to write a short paragraph to the teacher. Introduce yourself. Use proper sentence structure including capitalization, punctuation and spelling. In this paragraph please also include the following information:

1. What year you are in school.

2. How many quarters of English 12 you will be taking from EHS and when you expect to graduate from your high school.

3. Any specific information that would help me to understand how best to support you in this class.

4. What novel you have chosen for first reading assignment in this quarter. (Check the guidelines in the instructions for the reading assignment before you make your choice.)

You submit this activity in the Topic 3 area of the class. The activity is called "About Me."

01.00 Towards a Sense of Self (English 12)

"When you try to understand everything, you will understand nothing. It is best to understand yourself, and then you will understand everything."
--Shunryu Suzuki

------------------------------
"Who are you? said the caterpillar.
Alice replied rather shyly, 'I--I hardly know, Sir, just at present--at least I know who I was when I got up this morning, but I think I must have changed several times since then.'"

------------------------------

Just as Alice in Wonderland, we too are constantly changing. Like a text in perpetual revision, we continually strive for focus, development, and enlightenment.

To gauge our growth along these lines, it becomes important to have some benchmark--a yardstick of sorts--to mark where we are and show how far we've come. Such understanding requires introspection and self-examination. As we look inward, we can begin to better appreciate who we are and where we stand in the larger context. And by understanding who we are and how we came to be, we can better plot our course for the future.

Course Description

We live in a world filled with static. Whether born of ignorance, insincerity, or insensitivity, static chokes the channels of communication and prevents people from connecting in meaningful ways. This class focuses on the use of language as a tool to make connections: between our self and others, between our self and our world, between our self and history, and between our self and our future. By making these connections, I believe students will be better prepared to become productive and thoughtful citizens in the Information Age.

The class will be writing intensive, interdisciplinary, and, hopefully, enjoyable. We will devote considerable time and energy to examining the strategies and processes of writers and writing. Writing is, afterall, about learning how to think clearly. A good writer observes phenomena, formulates an idea, attempts to adequately support that idea with evidence, and then revises and refines the idea as he seeks to explain it to others. In other words, writing is just another form of the Scientific Method, or, stated another, way, writing is thinking.

Given this relationship between writing and thinking, this class requires that (1) you write a lot (both informally and formally) and practice the various steps in the writing process; (2) you read and respond to others' writing in order to discuss various ideas and develop an awareness of what readers need and want from a text; and (3) you read, examine, and respond to various published texts to examine how experienced writers use words to construct meaning.

01.01 Reading assignment links to book lists (English 12)

01.01 Reading for Self Understanding (English 12)

01.1 (English 12)01.1 (English 12) Select this Unit's Reading Book

An important component of language arts involves scrutinizing the ideas advanced by various writers. This is yet another important reason to study "good" literature. I say "good" in quotation marks, because there is frequently disagreement about what is good literature. For example, The Modern Library of America recently released their Top 100 Novels of the Century. However, not everyone agrees with the novels they selected, thus continuing the perennial debate about which books are best and most merit being studied in our schools.

Some have argued that the literature we study in schools is excessively dark. Others that it isn't adequately representative of our population. (As one of my colleagues puts it, we devote most of our literary study in school to reading the works of "dead white men.") Furthermore, we don't typically allow students much opportunity to have a voice in what books they read. There are many legitimate reasons for this, but still many students resent having their reading material always dictated to them.

Consequently, for this unit on self understanding, it seems appropriate to allow you yourself to select, for your reading, a novel of your choice. I do think, however, that the novel you select should be college-preparatory in nature. Therefore, I would like you to choose a title from the list mentioned previously or one of two following lists: American Library Association's List of Outstanding Books or 100 Great 20th Century Works of Fiction by Women. I would additionally request that you not select a title that you have already read in a previous English class. And if you intend to complete this class in its entirety, I would also ask that you avoid the following titles for this assignment, since they will be the literary focus of subsequent units: 1984, Brave New World, and Frankenstein.

See activity 01.1.11 for instructions on what you will write about this book.

01.01.00 Essay on reading assignment (English 12)

teacher-scored 50 points possible 510 minutes

For your reading grade, you will need to ask yourself what theme or idea is the author of your chosen book asserting? Note that the theme is not necessarily what the story is about. Theme, rather, is the statement or view about life and how and why people behave that an author seeks to convey. Here are some clues to finding the theme of a story:


  • Check out the title. Sometimes it tells you a lot about the theme.
  • Notice repeating patterns and symbols. Sometimes these lead you to the theme.
  • What allusions are made throughout the story?
  • What are the details and particulars in the story? What greater meaning may they have?

Once you have decided what thematic statement the novel you read suggests, compose an essay that introduces that theme and supports it with specific evidence from the text. Ask yourself how what happened in the book (plot) makes a statement about what happens in life (theme). Your essay should have an introductory paragraph that introduces the theme of the novel, at least three well-developed paragraphs providing specific evidence from the text to document the asserted theme, and a conclusion that leaves your reader with a sense of closure and completion.

Additionally, I would like you to prepare a test for your chosen book. Your test should consist of 10 multiple choice questions, 10 true/false questions, 10 matching questions and 10 short answer questions. Please provide an answer key for your test.

An additional 20 points will be awarded for the test and corresponding answer key on your selected piece of literature.

Evaluation:

This essay will be assessed using the Six-Trait Evaluation Rubric developed by the Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory. It is based on the idea that each piece of writing may be evaluated in six distinct areas: ideas/content, organization, sentence fluency, word choice, voice, and conventions. Each of these components is ranked on a scale of 1-5 (1 representing poor and 5 excellent). The sum of the values of the six components could represent a maximum score of 30 points.

(Feel free to work on the other assignments in Unit 1, while you are reading your book. This assignment can be handed in at any time during your Unit 1 work.) 01.1 (English 12)01.1 (English 12)

01.01.01 Journal entry 1: I am a Rock (English 12)

teacher-scored 10 points possible 45 minutes

Read the lyrics to "I am a Rock" by Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel.

A winter's day
In a deep and dark December
I am alone
Gazing from my window
To the streets below
On a freshly fallen silent shroud of snow

I am a rock
I am an island

I've built walls
A fortress deep and mighty
That none may penetrate
I have no need for friendship
Friendship causes pain
It's laughter and it's loving I disdain.

I am a rock
I am an island

Don't talk of love
Well, I've heard the word before
It's sleeping in my memory
I won't disturb the slumber
Of feelings that have died
If I'd never loved,
I never would have cried

I am a rock
I am an island

I have my books
And my poetry to protect me
I am shielded in my armor
Hiding in my room
Safe within my womb
I touch no-one and no-one touches me

I am a rock
I am an island
And the rock feels no pain
And an island never cries

For this first journal entry, I'd like you to comment on how a literal object like a rock can be used to represent the persona (or "I") in the poem. How is the persona like a rock or an island? Why do you suppose the artists chose to use these objects to represent their persona? How does this help us understand the difference between connotation and denotation?

Evaluation:

Journal entries are an opportunity to explore ideas and develop fluency with language in an informal context. You will be assessed a point value from 1 to 10 points, based on the effort and thoughtfulness demonstrated in your response.

01.01.02 Links for personal symbols assignment (English 12)

01.01.02 Personal symbols (English 12)

teacher-scored 30 points possible 90 minutes

As a result of this assignment, students will:


  • understand the value of symbolic expression
  • appreciate how ideas can be expressed in various genres

Our quest for self-understanding begins with a simple assignment. I would like you to share something meaningful about yourself. Future assignments will focus on who you are in a more comprehensive, factual way, but for now, I'd like to go beyond the surface and explore who you are in a deeper sense.

This activity plays with the concept of symbols. Truth is, symbols are not just something we talk about in literature class. Every day of our lives we are surrounded by symbols. A green light tells us it is our turn to go; a bell may signal the beginning of a school day; and a gold cross on a necklace suggests the wearer is a Christian. Most important life events are charged with symbolic significance--from the color of the clothes we wear (white at weddings and black at funerals) to everyday symbols like a wedding ring as a symbol of eternal love or a driver's license as a symbol of freedom.

Schools and sports teams imbue mascots with symbolic significance and states select certain symbols as embodiments of cherished values or ideals. Indeed, as human beings we are all symbol makers. The very language we speak, reduced to its most rudimentary level, is made up of simple symbols.

Since we are so immersed in symbolic expression, this assignment shouldn't seem too foreign. I'd like you to select an object that symbolizes who you are and what you're about. Think figuratively, not literally. This should NOT be a picture of you, but rather some thing that gets at the essence of who you are or what you're about beneath the skin. Look around you. Go beyond the surface and seek for some concrete thing that seems to appropriately represent you.

Ask yourself if you were an animal, a beverage, an instrument, a fruit or vegetable, a car, a breakfast cereal, a tree, or anything else, what would you be? Note that there's a substantial difference between being a Porsche, which might suggest boldness and confidence, and a Pinto, which seems to embody failure and inadequacy. (My apology to any Pinto owners out there.) Another way to approach this assignment is through a web simile. Write your name in the center "bubble" and then brainstorm words that describe you. Then try to think of objects or things that seem to embody the descriptive words. For example, perhaps you are goal-oriented. Ask yourself what object might embody such a trait? A compass maybe? Perhaps a map? Either would be a great personal symbol for you.

Thinking about ourselves in non-literal ways requires a sort of poetic creativity. By selecting a metaphor to represent you, you can convey your thoughts more powerfully. For example, if you write "I am frustrated" or "I feel inadequate" you give your readers nothing to do--they say "so what?" On the other hand, if you say, "I am a firework that didn't ignite," your readers can think about and choose from many possible meanings.

Along with your symbol, you will need to compose a written piece--either poetry or prose--that explores or comments on the significance of the symbol you've selected. The requirements here are fairly loose. Your piece should clearly establish your connection with the object, and it should also try to give some insight into your voice or personality.

To view some examples of responses to this assignment, see below.

Evaluation:

You will be assessed a grade of 1 to 30 points for the written portion of this assignment. The assessment will be based on the degree to which you explain--via poetry or prose--your connection with the symbol you elected to represent you. How does this thing represent who you are? Since this is a formal assignment (and not a journal entry), your piece should be carefully edited.

Burning Like a Fire
by Brianna

I am like a fire, first timid and small.
Soon growing, and finally, not timid at all.
Bright and glowing lighting up the dark,
With a warm touch I leave my mark.

Growing bigger and stronger each breath I take.
I leave an impression no one can mistake.
I’m like a fire, very complex you see.
There are so many elements that make up me.

Though times I am dim and need a little fuel.
A chain reaction of smiles seems to be the tool.
I blaze though life with both happiness and strife,
But, I burn like a fire never giving up on life.

I am a Rock in a Rock Tumbler

I choose to compare myself to a rock in a rock tumbler. As with all teenagers, I try to find where I fit in, and often I don't know which way is up. In trying to find myself, I bump shoulders with a lot of people. But every time I run into someone else, my sharp edges wear down, just a little at a time, untill I'll eventually smooth out and find out who I've become.

People bumping into me find themselves getting smoother as well. Growing up in a tumbled world, everyone helps smooth out everyone else, whether we like it or not. In rock tumbling, the coarseness of the grit used determines how much of the original material comes off. Coarser grit smooths edges faster than fine grit. In life, some experiences will shape me more than others. Those experiences which cause me to rethink my attitudes or change my course in life are like tumbling with coarse grit, while the smaller, day-to-day experiences may be less tramatic but provide fine tuning, allowing me to be my best.

Not everyone affects me positively, and from time to time others take a nick out of me. I may nick others when I don't mean to. Sometimes I realize later that I've knicked someone unintentionally, and sometimes I know at the time that I will mar them. As rocks tumble, occasionally a rock breaks, cracks, or simply grinds down to nothing. It isn't the outcome I'm looking for, but it happens anyway. When that happens, I try to salvage what I can and start with the smaller pieces. There are times, however, when I just have to scrap the project and start over. That happens in real life, too, and starting over is possible but not very fun.

Polishing stones takes time. So does polishing people. The people I meet every day--my family, friends, neighbors, or the person who sits next to me in class--all have an effect on me. By going through lifes ups and downs, I will eventually emerge as much as an individual as rocks in a rock tumbler, whether rough or smooth or somewhere in between.

I am a Feather
by Greg G.

I am a feather
Soft but fragile to one’s touch
I used to be safe in a warm nest,
But now all alone in a cold world.

I can be lifted up with a slow exhale,
Or be crushed with the slightest grasp.
Some can use me to tickle them with laughter,
While others see me as an annoying itch.

The wind easily picks me up,
And blows me to wherever it wants to.
But if you hold on to me tight,
Then I can make you fly too.

I am a Cocoon
by Mckenna Sargent

I am a cocoon,
Created by life's pain, fear and guilt.
This surrounds my being,
By my will, transforming me.
I am changing and developing,
Becoming aware of a new life beyond these walls.
I must continue to grow yet
It still seems so vast.

Life up to this point was so easy and free.
I had no worries, and little pain.
I did not know of the game I was playing.
With all these trials and continual fears,
This is my growth of mind, body and soul.
Though hard at times to see,
I know of this positivity.

I am a cocoon
Transforming into something so beautiful and pure.
At the end of this road I will be ready to fly.
Because I will know what I am...
I will be, a Butterfly!

I Am an Old Running Shoe

I am an old running shoe,
Comfortably worn.
My insole contoured by countless poundings,
My flashy colors tamed by time.
Rugged and uneven, my tread greets the asphalt,
Driven by a stride persistent but unsure.

I am an old running shoe.
My days of split-second glory are gone
and missed only barely.
The race is no more a sporadic frenzy
Of energy, unbridled and boundless.
Now, it is a sustained effort of endurance
Measured by teaspoons
Tempered by challenges at once
inviting and unfathomable.

I am an old running shoe.
I prefer paths friendly and familiar
And yet, am tempted by beckoning dusty trails
That crave exploration and taunt with the allure
Of possibilities unrealized, potential
unfulfilled.

I am an old running shoe.
Time's calculating digits sneer at me
From an illusory finish line
That evaporates and reappears
In regions distant and foreboding.
Seasoned by experience, I plod onward,
Driven by dreams of a destination
Ungoverned by the relentless ticking
of sinister stopwatches.
A place governed by the gentle rhythms
Of butterfly wings and ocean waves.

Jill Haslam
September 3, 1999

Free to go where ever the wind takes me,
Eager to experience all that the world has to offer.
I am unique.
No other raindrop is like me.
I am happy in the clouds,
Safe within my own imagination,
Until I fall to the reality
of the ever changing world.

I am water for the thirsty,
Yet I fluster the hair
of those who don’t understand me.
I can be as cold as ice,
Or as warm and refreshing as a tropical rain.

Though I love the freedom
and spunkiness I feel while falling,
I always return
to the comfort of my loving family.
Then it’s off to the clouds we go.

Katie Grant

JUST ME AND MY.....SHADOW

Only seen when I want to be seen,
but somehow I am always there.
I might change sides or shapes,
but I always return to my original form.
I am secretive and stealth,
and you're never quite sure what I am up to.
Never sure where I go when I leave,
but I always return without fail.
Dark and mysterious,
you are not sure what truths lie within me
For I am not sure what truths lie within me.
I don't talk much,
But I always listen.
Whether you notice me or not,
I am always there for you.
And when everyone is gone,
and there is no one left to talk to,
I will still be there to listen.

Christine Heim

Why I am Like the Corvette

The Corvette, one of the most beautiful works of art, second only to my girlfriend, is a symbol of me because it is a dream that progresses and becomes greater with every passing year. There once was a dream of what the Corvette could become and with much hard work and determination, it has become a dream come true.

I am a 17 year old junior taking extra high school classes so that I can graduate this year. This is part of my goal of joining the Navy and becoming the leader of the most highly motivated SEAL team ever.

This almost impossible goal requiring 200% improvement is much like the goal of the Corvette which has met and surpassed itself. My motto is, don't cheat when playing in the game of life, it could cheat too.

Jeffrey Benson

A flame is a combination of
heat, light,
and movement.
So simple, yet so complex.
Something to fear
and something to rely upon.
Governed by rules
but at the same time,
so very fickle.

Misha Mihlberger

01.01.03 Journal entry 2: My favorite things (English 12)

teacher-scored 10 points possible 45 minutes

Remember the song "My Favorite Things" from "The Sound of Music"? For this journal entry, I'd like you to write about your favorite things. You may write your response in the form of a poem or as a straightforward prose piece.

Try to go beyond the mere recitation of facts to develop your responses in a meaningful way. While you shouldn't feel obliged to address every question, do cover a healthy assortment of questions in a way that gets at significant information about you. One of these topics will likely lead you to an appropriate thesis statement for the essay assignment that follows:


  • What's your favorite candy bar? Where do you usually buy it? Are there certain times or occasions for which you get one?
  • What's your favorite kind of cake? Does it come from a restaurant or does someone you know bake it? Do you like your piece of cake with lots of frosting decoration atop it?
  • What about ice cream? What kind do you like? Do you get it at a particular ice cream store or in the freezer section of the grocery store? Do you eat it with a certain person or group of friends or by yourself? Do you prefer it in a bowl or atop a sugar or cake cone?
  • What's your favorite saying? What does it mean to you? Why is it important to you? Can you remember where you first heard it?
  • What is your favorite perfume or cologne? Doyou remember seeing an ad about it that intrigued you, or did you smell it on someone else and just have to have it?
  • What is your favorite book? Have you read it more than once? Do you own a copy, or did you check it out of a library? Have you ever suggested it to anyone as a particularly good read? If so, did they like it as well as you did?
  • What is your favorite song? When was the first time you heard it? Do you own a copy or do you just listen to it on the radio? Do you associate the song with a specific occasion or event?
  • What's your favorite movie? Have you seen it more than once? Do you remember the very first time that you saw it? Where were you when you saw it? At what theater or in whose house? Who did you go with? Did you want to see the star of the movie in other movies?
  • What's your favorite season? Who do you like most/least about summer? About fall? What special foods do you eat in the summer? What sorts of activities do you do in the winter?
  • Do you have a favorite sport? What sports teams, if any, do you root for? Do you attend games or prefer to watch them on TV? Would you say you are a super fan, or a fair-weather fan? Have you ever met any of the athletes you admire? Do you respect any particular athletes?
  • Do you have a favorite Broadway show? Have you actually seen it on stage? Or do you just like the music?
  • Who is your favorite author or literary figure? Which of his or her books have you read? Do you make it a point to read everything he or she writes?
  • Whose politics have you admired most? What president would you have enjoyed voting for? Which president, in your lifetime, have you most admired?
  • Who is your favorite artist? Have you ever seen his or her work "in person," or only in books? Do you know much about the artist's personal life?
  • Who is your favorite male movie star? Female movie star? Which of their shows or movies have you most admired? What would you say to them if you could speak face-to-face?
  • Who is your best friend? What traits does he or her possess that you admire? Is there a specific memory with this friend that stands out above the rest?
  • What is your favorite holiday? Where do you celebrate it? What sorts of things do you do?
  • Do you have a favorite retreat or place where you got to think or relax? Do you recall a specific occasion that you went there?
  • What is your favorite cartoon character? Why do you like this character? Does the character remind you of you or someone you know in any way?
  • What is your favorite restaurant? What special dish do you like to eat there? Do you go there often or only for special reasons? If the latter, what types of special reasons?
  • What is your favorite color? Do you have clothing in this color or are the walls of your room this color? Do you have any other objects that have this color?
  • What is your favorite time of day? Do you have a certain ritual you do every morning or at the end of the day?
  • What would you say has been the best day of your life so far? What about the worst?

Evaluation:

Journal entries are an opportunity to explore ideas and develop fluency with language in an informal context. You will be assessed a point value from 1 to 10 points, based on the effort and thoughtfulness demonstrated in your response.

01.01.04 Biosketch (Englsh 12)

teacher-scored 30 points possible 60 minutes

As a result of this assignment, students will:


  • practice traditional five-paragraph essay structure
  • provide ample evidence to support a thesis in writing
  • use transitional devices effectively to achieve coherence in writing

This assignment will require that you demonstrate basic essay-writing technique by writing an essay about some aspect of your personal life. Refer to lesson 1.1.4.1 for information on the structure and strategies of the five-paragraph essay. Your challenge here is to dig deep and go beyond the mere recitation of facts and trivia to focus on some truly interesting facet of your life. You might opt to write about your family, a unique hobby, your personality, or your hopes and dreams. Whatever topic you choose, note that your essay should be based around a thesis statement, which is the basic idea that a writer seeks to assert and prove.

Although it's a fairly rudimentary structure, more to be utilized than believed, I'd like you to structure your essay in the traditional form of a five-paragraph essay. You should have a solid introduction that establishes your thesis in a compelling way (see "Introduction Strategies"), three well-developed supporting paragraphs that provide ample evidence that is clearly connected to and in support of your thesis statement, and a conclusion that leaves your reader with a sense of completion and closure. Although the five-paragraph essay format can be somewhat limiting, it does provide a useful format to practice basic essay-writing skills.

Evaluation:

Your essay will be assessed using the Six-Trait Evaluation rubric developed by the Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory. It is based on the idea that each piece of writing may be evaluated in six distinct areas: ideas/content, organization, sentence fluency, word choice, voice, and conventions. Each of these components is ranked on a scale of 1-5 (1 representing poor and 5 excellent). The sum of the values of the six components would represent a maximum score of 30 points.

01.01.04.01 Links to information about writing a five-paragraph essay (Biosketch assignment)(English 12)

Use the information in these links to help you develop your Biosketch essay.

01.01.04.01 Writing a five-paragraph essay (English 12)

Review the information you will find in the URL's for this lesson (transitional devices, five-paragraph essay, thesis statement, introduction strategies, etc.)
Below you may read examples of other students' biosketches.

An assortment of student biosketches.

One with Nature
by Shaliese McKinney

Walking out among the trees and flowers has different effects on different people. Some walk through without noticing the aspens or daisies, some may stop to smell the penstemon, but Shaliese McKinney can spend hours just studying how they all sway in wind and attract animal life. Shaliese has always been the kind to get "lost" in the outdoors and to sit in awe among the many beauties of the natural world. She believes that a little time in the great outdoors can clear the mind and focus the spirit.

During the summer she tends to her own garden of her own design. Caring for flowers that bring forth such beauty can be soothing and therapeutic. As a stressed teenager, she has found great comfort in the simple joy of flowers. Many times she can be found lying on the back lawn in bare feet, with her arms and legs spread. Listening to the wind rustle the leaves of a maple, and watching the compound leaves of a locust bring great peace to her mind.

During the winter, she brings nature indoors. Having taken many floral classes, she has learned and loves to make flower arrangements. Many arrangements can be found around her house that are made of dried flowers. She even makes potpourri of dried rose petals. Although she chooses to adorn the house with reminders of spring, she loves the winter life. Snow is a miraculous thing that always amazes her. There is nothing like sitting in a drab classroom and looking out the window to see white flurries dancing outside. Nevertheless, she can not await the coming of spring and the rebirth of the much loved trees and plants.

This association with nature has helped her to decide what it is she would like to do for the rest of her life. She wants to share the magnificence and beauty with others. She has decided to graduate early from high school because she is anxious to begin her education to become a Landscape Architect. Although she loves the simple beauty of plants, she would also like to learn about the science and genetics of plants. She even dreams of owning her own greenhouse where she can breed and grow a variety of plants.

Shaliese knows that since she was a child, she was meant to work with nature. There is nothing like a well manicured yard of beautiful colors and shady trees. She may not be bringing about world peace, but she can try to bring beauty and a sense of serenity to the urban world.

"Wee Bit O' Irish"
by Jennifer Niedfeldt

It is said that "Erin's gifts put the dance in your step, the twinkle in your eye, the song in your voice, the whimsey in your soul and the warm of a turf fire in the stories you tell." Any god-fearing Irishman or woman who read that quote would know it to be true at a deeply personal level, Jennifer Niedfeldt included in these masses. Amazement is a constant for her as, day by day, her Irish heritage seems to blossom and mature into her life. She has come to find that the Irish blood is a gift; even if you are already drawing from it, Ireland seeks you out and beckons your heart from the distant Green Isles.

The sublimity of the verdant mountain meadows and gently cooing brooks has always been a large centering point for Jennifer throughout most of her life. The sauntering on a trail carpeted in leaves leads her mind to a different path, allowing her written word to flow as smooth as a river's cobblestone. When on her many hikes or snowshoeing trips, she discovers veins of precious inspiration and her sketch pad seems to take on a life of its own when coupled with a pencil and the animus of a passing feathered friend. The natural world around her provides a sense of clarity and enlightenment, which in turn greatly helps to balance the other areas in Jennifer's life.

The Irish people have always been known for their love of words and knowledge, and somehow this too has snuck into her existence. She finds a sort of prospective excitement in the construction of a story line, as well as a great thrill in passing along both fictitious and ancestral tales through verbal storytelling. Listening to her mother weave magical tales has been one of her favorite pastimes since she was but a toddler and continues to still be to this day.

Think of the liltings of the Celtic fiddle and the whispering of Irish soft-shoe step-dancing as Jennifer's internal bodhran or heartbeat. She plays the fiddle as a self-compelled hobby and uses her collection of Celtic music to fuel the passion for it. After lacing up her gillies she lets conscious thought sail away and practices her step-dancing on seemingly feather-light feet. There is nothing quite so therapeutic or relaxing to Jennifer as sitting down with a lovely bit of lore and listening to an Irish reel drift away, nor anything quite so exciting as the thunderous clatter of Irish clogging.

Perhaps it is just coincidence that Eire's culture continues to show up in Jennifer's life time and time again, or maybe the seeds of Ireland's soul are just sewn deep enough that its being is inescapable to the Irish. In any case the Green Isle's passion burns bright within her eyes, its heart beats in unison with her own, and as every morning awakens anew with the rising of the sun Jennifer looks at it and says, "Top o' the mornin' to yeh."

A Modern Knight
By Michael Slinger

One of the unique things about Michael is that he is in a medieval re-enactment group called the SCA, which stands for the Society for Creative Anachronisms. This group does everything that would have been done in the years between 600 AD through 1600 AD. The main focus of the SCA is chivalry. Everything the members of the SCA do revolve around being chivalrous, the war, and the fighters.
Inside of the SCA, members run their lives with two things in mind, and that is to be chivalrous and honorable in all things. The people in the SCA are very trustworthy because of their code of honor. While at a war you could leave anything out in the open, even if it cost more than two thousand dollars, you would not have to give it a second thought. Nobody in the SCA would dream of taking something that did not belong to them.
Each year the kings of all of the kingdoms throughout the world decide on dates, times, and places to hold a "war". The larger "wars" last up to 5 days. At the wars there is a "Merchants Row". Even though it is called a row, it is about the size of a city block. Anything that you might ever want can be found on merchant’s row. Well, I should say that anything that is "period" can be found. You wont be able to find a flashlight because they weren’t around in 600 AD. During the war there are many different activities including tournaments, learning centers, and performers. But the main event is the battle. The battlefield is approximately the size of two football fields side-by-side and four football fields long. Half of the battlefield is flat ground with two "castles" made out of dirt walls and canvas. The other half is called the broken field because there is lots of plant life, and it is filled with pits and hills. Each day there is are scenarios for the battles, the scenarios can include the castles, siege machinery, archers, even cannons.
The fighters dress in full armor that has been approved by the SCA. The weapons are made out of solid bamboo. This type of bamboo is called rattan. The rattan is used to make all sorts of weapons, which include maces, pikes, spears, swords, daggers, and halberds.
I believe that the SCA is something very unique about Michael. I have found it to be very interesting and it is something that I would do myself.

Dan, The Sports Fan

December 23, 1982, a sports fan was born. As soon as Daniel was born, his grandfather told his parents that he was small enough to be a jockey. As it turned out, Daniel is everything but a jockey. He is a true sports fan.

At points in his life, Daniel was participating in three sports at a time. He loved flag football as a kid. As he grew older however, contact football was a little more manly. Manly doesn’t always mean healthy though. After a serious ankle sprain and a torn groin muscle, he realized that life is too short to be crippled for most of it. That was when basketball entered the picture.

Playing basketball had always been fun for Daniel. Then one day he went to a hobby shop with his best friend. Because of his love for basketball, he immediately took an interest for basketball cards. That was twelve years ago. Now Daniel’s sports card collection has ranged from 8 cards up to 13,000. 9,000 of those cards are basketball cards. The years of collecting have not only taken up lots of money, but also have helped make lots of money.

Throughout the years, Daniel has aquired a number of rare cards. On his twelfth birthday, he was given a box of basketball cards by his parents. In one of the packs he found a Shaquille O’Neal rookie card. To this day it is worth $375.00. Two years ago, he sold his Mark McGuire rookie card for $575.00. He tells me, “It is almost like playing the stock market, sometimes you just get lucky.” It looks like Daniel has gotten pretty lucky to me.

Now that the time has come for Daniel to pay bills and other odds and ends, his collecting days have slowed down dramatically. It may not be anytime soon, but he says that his collection will always be ready for more cards. He plans on doing it until the end of time. If he keeps it up though, Daniel will need to buy an extra house just for his cards. His collection may start collecting him.

The Piano
By Megan Davis

No matter where it is, whether it be in the mall, at someone's home, in a restaurant, or in a grand cathedral, every time Megan sees a piano, there's a magnetic attraction. Every ounce of her longs to touch its keys, to hear its tone, and to feel the pedals beneath her feet. Playing the piano is therapeutic for Megan. It allows her to bring her own or someone else's music to life, and it brings joy into other people's lives as well.

Every time Megan sits down on the wooden bench, stretches out her arms, and her fingers begin to touch the white and black keys, a sense of peace runs throughout her body. All outside stresses of school, friends, family, and relationships completely leave her thoughts. It is just the she and the piano. She finds great comfort and serenity as she plays the pieces of old and new composers. There are hundreds of pieces available to play that express different moods and feelings, each providing an outlet to express her feelings, whether they are sheer enjoyment or despair. It is a way of coping, of dealing with all the afflictions that Megan faces every day.

Megan also finds great joy in bringing notes on a page to life and making them into music. With dynamics, tone, mood, tempo, and note accuracy, she can create and recreate masterpieces. She has spent hundreds and thousands of hours over the past 13 years of her life learning not only how to read the notes and understand the technic behind it all, but learning how to play actual music from the heart. It is more than just playing notes; it is a matter of playing music.

Not only is Megan fulfilled after she plays, but those who listen to her are as well. Music, in general, brings forth all different emotions. As they listen to Megan play, they are able to contemplate and reflect about life and enjoy the gorgeous piano music. It brings happiness and uplifts others. Megan also brings the love and knowledge she has about music to her piano students. She is teaching them all the different aspects of music and passing on all the wonderful gifts of music.

As Megan's fingers glide across the keyboard, her body sways back and forth, her eyes closed, her heart open. Every single note's detail is taken into account, every phrase noted, and every dynamic memorized. Her love for music shines through. It is evident that it is a part of her that is irreplaceable, that has a special place in her heart. It is what brings her joy, happiness, and serenity.

01.01.05 Journal entry 3: Shooting an Elephant (English 12)

teacher-scored 10 points possible 90 minutes

01.1.5 Elephant (English 12)01.1.5 Elephant (English 12) Your next, formal writing assignment will be a personal narrative. Before we "cross that bridge," however, let's play with the relationship between story and theme. Theme is what we have in mind when we ask what a writer is trying to say via his or her story.

The idea of using a story to make a point is evidenced very clearly in Aesop's Fables--you know the ones you read when you were a kid about the tortoise and the hare, the lion and the mouse, and the fox and the sour grapes? These little homilies, written by the Greek slave Aesop around about 600 B.C., have had great staying power. One reason for this is because they make a point indirectly through the use of simple narrative structure.

While not all narratives are as moralistic as Aesop's Fables, most good narratives do convey some point or idea. For this journal entry, I'd like you to read and respond to the narrative by British author George Orwell entitled "Shooting an Elephant". Keep the following questions in mind for your reading and response: (1) what specific language in the text creates vivid images in your mind as a reader? (2) what point, idea, or theme does the narrative suggest?

Evaluation:

Journal entries are an opportunity to explore ideas and develop fluency with language in an informal context. You will be assessed a point value from 1 to 10 points, based on the effort and thoughtfulness demonstrated in your response.

01.01.05 Link to Shooting an Elephant (English 12)

01.01.06 Personal Narrative (English 12)

teacher-scored 30 points possible 90 minutes

As a result of this assignment, students will:


  • demonstrate understanding of deductive and inductive organizational strategies
  • appreciate how an event can be used to illustrate a theme or idea
  • use vivid, concrete language when describing settings, characters, and actions

We used the previous assignment to begin to talk about some of the basics of good writing. One important aspect of any written piece is that it is organized. While there are a variety of different ways to develop an idea (see "Types of Development"), there are two basic ways to organize an essay: deductively and inductively.

The deductive approach introduces an idea or thesis and defends it with supporting details and evidence. The deductive approach is much more direct. It requires that you state your main idea early in your writing and devote the rest of your writing to illustrating and supporting its validity. Because time is such a valuable commodity, the more direct approach of the deductive pattern is preferred by many. Consequently, most scientific writing, report writing, academic writing, and informative writing is generally organized deductively

The inductive approach, however, frequently used in narrative writing, is also an excellent way to effectively assert an idea. An essay organized inductively shares the details first and leads up to the main idea, which may be explicitly stated or implicitly implied.

This assignment will require that you compose a narrative about a personal experience utilizing inductive essay structure. An effective narrative allows us to make a statement or idea very clear by relating in detail something that has happened. This story, if recounted effectively, will illustrate a point in a very concrete way. Much of the literature we read does this very thing--it makes a comment about what happens in general by recounting a story that tells what happened specifically.

Since our first unit deals with an understanding of self, I'd like you to practice your narrative skills by writing about something you've experienced that made you look at people or things differently. Choose a time where you can clearly identify some lesson, concept, insight, or idea that became "yours," and that shifted or expanded your understanding or awareness. In a sense, like the symbol you selected to represent you in a previous assignment, this experience will represent who you are by recounting something that helped to shape you. You've heard the old adage "You are what you eat." Well, many writers and psychologists would change that to "You are what you experience." As such, focusing on important life experiences can be a great avenue to better self-understanding.

The possibilities for this assignment are very broad. The experience you choose to focus on need not be an earth-shattering event. Many excellent narratives deal with subjects that might seem quite unremarkable to the casual observer. The trick is to spend some time remembering things you've experienced, then spend even more time reflecting on their significance.

Once you do select an experience as your topic, think about (1) what happened, (2) what you want your readers to get from reading about it, and (3) what narrative strategies will be the most useful to effectively present your experience.

(For some examples of personal narratives written by other students, see below. Additionally, you may find the narrative prompts in the lesson on personal narrative useful in helping you decide what life episode you want to write about.)

Evaluation:

Your narrative will be assessed using the Six-Trait Evaluation rubric developed by the Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory. It is based on the idea that each piece of writing may be evaluated in six distinct areas: ideas/content, organization, sentence fluency, word choice, voice, and conventions. Each of these components is ranked on a scale of 1-5 (1 representing poor and 5 excellent). The sum of the values of the six components would represent a maximum score of 30 points.

Personal Narrative

Some personal narrative examples.

Amen!
by Christine Heim

My knees were shaking, my heart was racing, and my breathing was rapid. Why was I so nervous!? I have received plenty of awards, why should this one be any different! I looked over to my mom, and gave her a nervous smile. She tried to comfort me by returning my smile. I returned my attention to my English teacher at the podium. How did I get here? I could only think of one reason.

"For your semester project you will have to write a report and make a presentation. The presentations should be unique and original. Good luck"

With that my English teacher finished class. Great, being creative wasn’t one of my favorite things in the world. I had to think of a way to present my report on the end of the world in different cultures and I had to think of it quickly. After two days of nothing, I was about to give up. The research wasn’t going anywhere either, reading site after site on the Apocalypse made me feel like I was constantly in church. Then it hit me! I could present my report like a gospel minister. The more I thought about it, the more excited I became. I prepared my skit, and borrowed a black robe that I could use for my costume.

Before I knew it, the day had come and I had to present my project. I was one of the last ones up, so I had the opportunity to see the other student’s presentations. Their presentations were all the same things! Go up, tell facts, and sit down. What was I thinking!? No one’s project was creative, and I was going to make a fool of myself.

"Christine, your turn!"

NO! I can’t do this! I looked around the classroom, noticing every last person’s gaze. Then I saw my friend, with a huge grin on his face. He had known about my presentation since the beginning, and he was looking forward to seeing it. At that point I knew I could do it. I slipped on the black robe and left Christine behind.

"The end of the world is coming, are you ready? Well, when I am done you will be ready. Can I get an amen?! You see…"

I started the presentation with a jolt, making clear the enthusiasm in my voice. Before I knew it the class was laughing and participating in my presentation. The further I got, the better my acting was. When I ended, the whole class cheered and I was able to sit down with my heart swelling with pride. I loved the attention and I loved the acting. After class people were congratulating me, and telling me how good I was. I even had a friend who keep telling me her twins sister was my biggest fan. She said that her sister could not wait for the next English presentation to see what I would do.

As I sat in that chair, listening to my English introduce me for my award, I realized why I was so nervous. All the other times I received awards, it was for something I always do, and isn’t that special to me. But this time I was receiving an award for something that I found out I love to do. It was because of that presentation that I became interested in acting. And with my friends beside me to cheer me on, I began to become more interested, even thinking about trying it out professionally. The English award still says today, "To Christine Heim, for your hard work, effort, and of course your dramatic presentations that excited the bi-gyeeses out of us all."

Killing for Fun

Every summer my family returns to our ancestral home, which is in a community where the same families have lived generation after generation. There are tennis courts, a golf course, boats, and other occupations to help pass the long, hot days. This all sounds very enjoyable, and it usually was, but sometimes it got very boring. Spending every summer with the same gang and doing the same things, under the same grow-ups' noses, began to seem dull, and by the time I was thirteen I was ready to experience the thrill of the forbidden.

One afternoon in July, I was supposed to sail in some races with my best friend Mitchell, but the air was so thick and heavy that we decided not to go. We sat around his house all day, waiting for his brother to bring back the family power board so that we could water ski. Thinking back to that summer, I remember how frustrated and irritable we were, our pent-up energy ready to explode. We roamed his house searching for something--anything--to do, but we only succeeded in making one mess after another and angering his mother. Finally we hit on something. We were eating lunch on Mitchell's back porch when we both noticed his father's rifle propped in a corner.

Now Mitchell's father had often warned all of us that his rifle was strictly off limits. The rifle itself was not very dangerous, as it was only an air gun that shot small pellets, but he was afraid of its being misused and hurting someone. He himself used it to scare off stray dogs and was usually very careful to put it away, but for some reason on that particular day he had forgotten. We decided that it would be fun to take the rifle out in the nearby woods and shoot at whatever we found there.

We had to be very careful not to be seen by the borough residents as they all knew us. For most parents, kids heading for the woods meant trouble. So Mitchell and I sneaked out of his house with the gun and went slinking through some old horse stables on our way to the woods. By the time we arrived at the edge of the woods we felt like spies. There was a caretaker's cottage there, and the caretaker was forever on the lookout for what he thought were troublesome kids. When we successfully passed the cottage our spirits were high, as we had gotten safely through the danger zone on the way to our forbidden project.

As we went in to the woods we began to find some animals and birds to use as targets, but try as we might, we could not hit anything. Our pellets seemed to disappear in flight, not even giving us the satisfaction of hitting a tree and making a noise. Our mission was not succeeding, and we decided to look for an easier target.

Finally we startled a mother bird, who flew away leaving her nest behind. We thought the nest would make a fine target, stationary as it was and with live creatures inside. We took turns shooting at it in an attempt to knock it out of the tree, intoxicated with our power and carried away by the thrill of it all. Mitchell was the one to knock it down. It tottered, and after a little rustling a small object fell out, and the nest followed, landing upside down.

Mitchell ran up and excitedly turned it over. The sight was horribly repulsive. Underneath lay three naked pink corpses, staring up at us silently with wide dark eyes and wide, underdeveloped, faintly yellow beaks. They looked as if they had holes in each tiny body. A few feet away a slight movement caught my eye. The object that had fallen first was a fourth baby bird. It had survived the shooting and the fall and was flopping around, mutilated as it was. I poked Mitchell, who was staring at the massacre underneath the nest, and directed his attention to the desperately flapping pink lump a few feet away.

I could see that Mitchell was repulsed by the sight, but being a thirteen-year-old boy he refused to show it. He made an attempt to maintain a hunter's attitude, and fiercely drove pellet after pellet into the injured bird. We tried to joke about it, and as soon as we were out of sight of the nest we broke into hysterically uncontrollable laughter, trying to avoid thinking about what we had done. On the way home we avoided talking about it, and I felt relieved to part company with Mitchell when we got home.

That incident shocked me into thinking about the results of my actions. Mitchell and I were not inhuman monsters, determined to massacre baby birds; we were just bored kids looking for an adventure and not thinking about the consequences. I wonder how much unhappiness and even crime comes from young people acting selfishly and thoughtlessly, out for a thrill. If they had to see the suffering they cause, they would surely think harder before they act.

Time for a Change
by A.A.

It was the same town I’d lived in for eleven years of my life, but something was different. The air had a bitter taste and the sky appeared thick with darkness. It was only a little before sunrise, but I didn’t hear any birds chirping. Then I remembered it was February. I looked out the window, and though there was no snow, everything appeared glazed in frost. Resentful of the fact that I’d have to scrape my windshield, I made my way downstairs.

I picked up my backpack and grabbed my chemistry book. Why did my backpack seem so much heavier? I tried to avoid an encounter with my mother as I looked for the cordless telephone. I called John to tell him that I was going to school early and couldn’t give him a ride. He seemed irritated, but I wasn’t sure if it was because I’d awaken him or because he might have to walk to school. On my way out the door, my mother called out my name. I did my best to ignore her. Her voice seemed especially shrill this morning, and I knew that she only wanted to remind me not to forget every book I didn’t need to remember.

On the way to school, I thought about why I was going early. I had to get help with my chemistry homework; I ALWAYS needed help with chemistry. But I knew that Mr. Haderlie would just look at me the way he always did and leave me to figure it out on my own. I guess he knew as well as I did that if I’d relax and concentrate, I would be able to figure things out for myself.

At school the halls were dark, like the sky. Our cheap district refused to use electricity, so the halls were lit by skylights. It wasn’t raining, but water dripped from the ceiling. A trash can was supposed to be catching the drips, but some smart-ass kid had kicked it over. For what? Was it really that funny to watch empty soda cans fly down the hallway? Apparently it was; another trash can lay dead in the adjoining hall.

As usual, my teacher wasn’t there. Mr. Haderlie never came before the five-minute bell. So why did I come early? I didn’t enjoy waking up early, and that is the truth. My mother had to call upon the powers of every Greek god to get me out of bed in the mornings. For how stressed I am, I’m a pretty deep sleeper. Not even a sonic boom next door could stir me.

I traveled down the hall to the lunchroom and sat at a table by myself. I watched a group of kids at a table in the back. One of them was trying to climb the wall and the others were cheering him on. A couple sat down at the end of my table, and started kissing and nuzzling each other. The whole sight disgusted me, and I left the room. I almost left my chemistry book there, but why would it have mattered; the teacher still wasn’t in his room.

I wandered the halls and stopped at my locker. Actually, it was John’s locker. I didn’t use mine because my locker partner kept stealing from my candy stash. John’s locker was stuffed with about three coats and all of his textbooks that he never even glanced at. When I shut the locker, one of the coats was caught in the door. I didn’t bother to fix it. John could deal with it if and when he ever came to school. We were good friends, but we couldn’t be any more than that. He had taken me to the Valentine’s dance, but I didn’t really think of it as a date. He might have. I remember that he danced more closely than I was comfortable with. We left after three songs and pictures.

The bell rang. Even if Mr. Haderlie was there now, it was too late for me to get help. He had to get ready for his class, and I couldn’t be tardy for mine. Mr. Frossard was a good teacher, but you couldn’t be late for his class. He, like all other math teachers, took his subject very seriously. The worst part about having him first period was his monotone voice; he could lull the most restless infant into a comatose state.

The day passed in the same way as any school day had before. First period, second, then lunch. Third, fourth, find John and go home. That is exactly what happened. There was nothing out of the ordinary, not even a prank pull at the fire alarm. Still, things were different. Lunch carried the taste of the aluminum pan it came from, but it was even stronger than it was normally. During fourth period dance class, my feet moved more clumsily and the class seemed less focused. I really couldn’t wait to get home.

When I got home, I wished I was at school again. That wasn’t different, either. My family was always yelling, my sister always crying and my mother always nagging everyone to do something other than what they were doing. Today, she had decided to establish a new rule: no leaving ANYTHING on the bar in the kitchen. This rule was mainly directed at me, since that served as my homework storage and completion center. While I was at school, my mother had moved everything to the shelves in the basement.

Before I could stop myself, I ran to the shelves and, screaming, attempted to put all of my books, folders, papers, notebooks, tests and handouts exactly where I had left them. Each time I returned with a new pile, my mother was returning to the basement with another. I gave up and went upstairs. It was ridiculous, and I knew it. How hard was it to comply with my mother’s spurts of authority? Even if I disagreed, I could at least show some respect for her attempt to do SOMETHING with the mess of our house.

That was when I realized what was happening. Sitting in my bedroom and looking at the pile of clothes on my floor, I at last understood what was different about today. I suddenly felt like Jane Eyre when she said: "I tired of the routine of eight years in one afternoon." What was more, I realized I, like Jane Eyre, could and would do something about the way I felt. When it came down to it, nothing was really holding me in high school. I was a good student with good grades and I only needed five more credits for graduation. I realized that I was only seventeen, but all of the time I had left still didn’t seem like enough to do everything I wanted to do. I wasn’t sure where I wanted to go, or even exactly what I wanted to do, but I realized I wanted to reach for something more. I realized I needed to grow up.

The Doctor's Office

"Do you think there is a certain code that all these doctor's offices need to follow as far as what color of paint they use? Because they all seem so sterile...so blah." My mother looked at me, rolled her eyes, and just shook her head. She was always with me every time I went to the doctor's office, or physical therapist, or what ever specialist I was seeing at the time. I had spent a majority of the past couple of years in doctor's offices, looking for answers to the questions I so longed for. But there was one question, above all, that I wanted to have answered: Why is it that I feel the way I do?

Ten more minutes passed as my mother and I waited patiently in the doctor's office. There still was no doctor. At this point, I had taken off my shoes and made myself feel at home. There were some appointments where I would have to wait over an hour to see the doctor, so I figured I might as well get comfortable. My eyes had wandered from the color of paint on the walls to the big, brightly colored picture of a young girl running through a field of gorgeous wild flowers. Her hair was blowing in the wind, her dress dirtied and wrinkled. But what stood out to me the most was the big smile on her face as she enjoyed herself. I couldn't help smile myself, but then sadness fell over me. How I wished I could run like she did. It had been so long since I had been well enough to run and jump and act like a normal, healthy child. My energy was limited, my body and joints ached, I had extreme dizziness and naseau, and I was starting to forget what it felt like to be normal. But a smile fell upon my face again, for I knew that although I couldn't be like that girl in the picture that minute, I would be able someday.

Thirty minutes passed. Then forty. Still no doctor. I was starting to get a little anxious. What was taking the doctor so long? Would we have to reschedule? My heart started to beat a little faster. My breathing quickened. I had been on a waiting list for the past thirteen months to get in to see her. She was the one that would be able to answer my questions. I was completely worked up at this point. Then my mom calmed me, reassured me that she would be coming in, and that if we had waited thirteen months, we could wait another thirteen minutes. She is right, you know. A little patience never hurt anyone. So, once again, I began to look at the walls, commenting on the various wall hangings to my mother, including the picture of the girl running through the field and the various doctorate diplomas. I was glad to see that this doctor was well educated, to say the least!

Another ten minutes passed until finally the big wood door swung open and Dr. Robinson stepped into the room with my file in hand. She introduced herself and apologized for the delay. Immediately following this, she got down to business. She asked me dozens of questions and gave me a physical exam. Proceeding this, she stepped out of the room, telling me that she would only be a moment.

That moment seemed to last for eternity. I was so close in knowing what was wrong with me. The answer was within my reach, then to have her walk away was unbearable. Finally she entered the room once again. With a sense of relief to see her once again, along with complete curiosity, I asked her what she thought. She looked me straight in the eyes and said, "Well, you have chronic fatigue immune deficiency syndrome." All emotions flooded my body and mind. My mind was racing. I didn't know which emotion to believe and which to act upon. It definitely wasn't the answer I was expected. As Dr. Robinson was telling me more about the symptoms, treatment, and other applicable information about CFS to me, I tried to process what I was hearing. I finally got my answer to my long waited question, but it wasn't what I wanted to hear.

My eyes wandered and then fell upon the girl in the field, running among gorgeous flowers. Then turning to Dr. Robinson, with a quavering voice, I asked, "Will I ever be able to run like her again? Will I have my life back to the way it was before?" Her response left an imprint on me. She responded, "I don't know, Megan. But I do know that from the moment I stepped into this room and began to talk with you, I noticed your optimism, your determination to be well. I can't say whether or not you will run like her, but I definitely know that you can always out-smile her!" At that pivotal moment, I realized that I may not have all of my physical strength like I had before. But that wouldn't mean that I couldn't live and experience life any less than anyone else. Along with faith she and others had in me, along with faith in myself, I would be able to live life to the fullest. Although I may not have a tremendous amount of physical strength, I definitely would have enough inner strength that would get me a lot farther. All I would have to do is smile!

01.01.06 Types of development (English 12)

01.01.06.01 About writing personal narrative (English 12)

Narrative Strategies

Writers can use some of the below STRATEGIES for developing their narratives. Run through the list and circle three or four that you can add to your writing.

  • Names of people, places, and events
  • Visual details are the specific colors, shapes, textures, actions you noticed when the even occurred. They help the reader “see” and “experience” what you’re writing about.
  • Measurements are specific details about size, shape, date, time.
  • Sounds are what you remember hearing during the event.
  • Dialogue is what people said.
  • Interior Monologue is what you thought but didn’t say.
  • Feelings describe your fears, expectations, worries, hopes happiness, etc. at the time.
  • Suspense is how you save the ending for the reader so that he or she is surprised.
  • Comparison helps the reader understand how the people, places, actions or feelings were similar to or different from something else more familiar.
  • Pacing is how quickly or slowly you tell the story to hold your reader’s interest.
  • Opening a window is an expansion technique which is great to use after writing an initial draft. Find one sentence in a piece and say more about its topic; expand it into a richer, more developed description.

NARRATIVE ESSAY PROMPTS

  1. [Being Unprepared] Because you have been sick, out of town, busy at work, or working on other homework, you didn't have as much time to study for an important test as you needed. Everyone going to school has been in this situation. Think of a specific test that you took that you felt unprepared for and narrate the events. Tell your readers about the preparation that you were able to do, the reasons that you didn't get to prepare as well as you wanted, taking the test, and any significant events that happened after you took the test. Your paper should help readers understand what it felt like to be unprepared.
  2. [Lightbulb Moment] Think of an experience when you realized that you suddenly understood an idea, a skill, or a concept you had been struggling with -- it might be something related to a class that you took or a specific athletic skill you were trying to perfect. For instance, you might think about trying to understand how to identify iambic pentameter in a poem or how to complete a Taylor Series problem in your Calculus class. Or you might consider trying to perfect your free throws and suddenly understanding how your follow-through was affecting your success. Write a narrative that tells the story of your movement toward understanding. How did you finally come to understand? What changed your perceptions and gave you a new understanding? Your paper should help readers understand how you felt to struggle with the idea or skill and then to understand.
  3. [Childhood Event] Choose a vivid time from your childhood -- You might think of the first time that you rode a school bus, of a time when you went to the principal's office, the first A you earned on a test or paper, earning money to buy something that you really wanted, and so on. Narrate the events related to the childhood memory that you've chosen so that your readers will understand why the event was important and memorable.
  4. [Achieving a Goal] Think of a time when you achieved a personal goal -- you might have finally completed a marathon or triathlon, or you might have bettered your score on the SATs or another test, or you might have learned how to use a piece of software like Microsoft Word or Excel. Tell your readers about the story of how you met your goal. Be sure that your readers understand why the goal is important to you.
  5. [The Good and the Bad] Think about an event in your life that seemed bad but turned out to be good. Maybe you got injured and while you were waiting for your broken leg to heal, you learned how to use a computer. What makes the event change from bad to good may be something that you learned as a result, something that you did differently as a result, or something that happened that wouldn't have occurred otherwise. Tell the story of the event that you experienced and help your readers understand how an event that seemed negative turned out to have valuable consequences.
  6. [Being a Teacher] Teaching someone else how to do something can be rewarding. Think of a skill that you've taught someone else how to do. Perhaps you taught someone else how to swim, showed someone how to bake a souffle, or helped someone learn how to study more effectively. Think about the events that made up the process of teaching the skill, and narrate the story for your readers.
  7. [Changing Places] Every place has things that change -- sometimes as the result of economics, sometimes because different people are involved, and sometimes for no clear reason that you know about. Think of a change to a place that you know well. Perhaps the local grocery store you grew up with as Smith and Bros. Grocery was bought out by a regional chain like Food Lion or Winn Dixie. Maybe the First National Bank of Smithburg suddenly becomes NationsBank. Perhaps the change was more personal -- an older sibling moves out of the house and your family changes the room to a guest room or an office. Think of a specific change and narrate the events that occurred. Readers should know the details of the change, and they should know how you feel about the changes that occurred.
  8. [Personal Rituals] Describe a personal ritual that you, your friends, or your family have. Think about the personal steps that you always go through when you prepare for an exam. Do you sit at a desk, spread books and notes across your bed, or use the kitchen table? Do you have to have something to drink...soda, water, jolt? There are numerous things that we do for which we create our own personal rituals. Choose one event -- studying for a test, writing a paper, dressing and warming up before a game, or preparing and having a special family meal. Narrate the events that take place when you complete your ritual so that your readers understand the steps that the ritual includes and why you complete them.
  9. [Standing Up] Choose a time when you did something that took a lot of nerve, a time when you didn't follow the crowd or a time when you stood up for your beliefs. Perhaps your friends were urging you to do something that you were uncomfortable with and you chose not to cave into peer pressure. Maybe you took a stance on a political issue that was important in your community, or you might have Whatever you choose, think about the details of the event and write a story that tells about what happened. Your narrative should show your readers why you decided to make a stand or try something that took nerve, give specifics on the events, and share how you felt after the event.
  10. [Disagreeing] Think of a time when you disagreed with a decision that had been made and did something about it. The decision might have been made by someone you know personally -- your Biology teacher announced a new policy to grade for spelling and grammar on your quizzes and homework, or an older family member decides to cancel a subscription to a magazine that you liked to read. You might have responded by discussing your concerns with your principal or dean, or you might have decided to get a part-time job to earn enough money to buy the magazine yourself. Or the decision could have been made by someone you never met -- perhaps your school board decided to change the lines in your school district so that you would have to go to a different school, or your state legislature has passed a bill that you disagreed with. Your response might have been to write a letter to the editor, to your state representative, or to the school board. Whatever happened, your job is to write a paper that narrates the events that occurred -- from the decision that was made to your response. Be sure that your paper gives enough details that your readers understand why you disagreed with the decision and why you felt that your response was appropriate.

01.01.07 Journal entry 4: Education timeline (English 12)

teacher-scored 10 points possible 30 minutes

The object of this journal entry is to recollect as much as you can about your scholastic career. Construct an informal timeline that represents your formal educational experience from kindergarten through your current grade. Try to recall the teacher or teachers you had for each year. Next to the teacher names, jot down any items or memories you have that relate to that teacher or that particular year in school. Note any memorable assignments or projects, events, activities, or friendships that you associate with each year.

After you've spent some time brainstorming a variety of experiences, look to see if there are any common threads in the experiences that you've recalled. Out of all the things that you've experienced in school, why do you suppose you remembered these particular things?

Evaluation:

Journal entries are an opportunity to explore ideas and develop fluency with language in an informal context. You will be assessed a point value from 1 to 10 points, based on the effort and thoughtfulness demonstrated in your response.

01.01.08 Learn more about multiple intelligences (English 12)

These websites explain more about the multiple intelligences.

01.01.08 Links to learning styles assessment (English 12)

Take one of these assessments before writing your essay.

01.01.08 Personal learning profile (English 12)

teacher-scored 30 points possible 90 minutes

As a result of this assignment, the student will:


  • understand Howard Gardner's theory of Multiple Intelligence
  • develop a thesis that reflects their personal multiple intelligence profile in the context of their educational experience
  • provide ample evidence from their history as a learner to support the thesis
  • demonstrate how personal experience can be used to support a thesis

This assignment will require that you analyze your characteristics as a learner. (Psychologists call this metacognition, which means learning about how you learn.) Once you've taken inventory, you will formulate a generalization about your personal learning style. Then, you will seek to support your analysis with specific evidence from your personal history as a learner.

Before we talk about the assignment specifically, however, I want you to reflect a bit about your experiences as a student. Are there certain classes you enjoy more than others? Do you think you are smarter in certain disciplines? Have you had a good experience with standardized tests? Can you recall a time in class when you felt stupid? It's likely that the way you answered these questions reveals a good deal about your history as a learner. Fact is, we all have different strengths and weaknesses--something that isn't always accounted for in the typical "one-size-fits-all" bureaucracy.

Traditionally, most standardized tests have focused almost exclusively on specific types of learning (predominantly mathematical and verbal). Educational reformer Howard Gardner, however, author of the idea of Multiple Intelligence, asserts that mental ability can be measured in at least eight different ways: linguistic, logical-mathematical, spatial, bodily-kinesthetic, musical, interpersonal, intrapersonal, and naturalistic.

This idea of Multiple Intelligence has reframed the way many view traditional teaching and testing methodologies. Some feel it would be more appropriate to shift our approach in education from determining if people are smart to identifying how people are smart. By understanding the strengths and weaknesses of an individual learner, perhaps we can better devise curricula that enables students to use their strengths to become better learners.

Consequently, for this assignment, which requires that you analyze your personal learning style, I'd like you to begin by taking an informal Multiple Intelligence assessment. (See the URLs for this activity.01.1.801.1.8) This assessment should not be considered as an absolute indicator of your intelligence profile, but it does give you a basic idea of your strengths and weaknesses. All you need to do is fill out some basic information (you don't need to give your full or even real name), read each descriptor, select the appropriate number, and then click "next". After you have completed the test, your results are tabulated. Make note of the results, and then spend some time reading over the different types of intelligence (see information below), so you'll know clearly what each intelligence entails.

Then, using the test results as a starting point, reflect on your life as a student and formulate a generalization about your scholastic history that is grounded in your multiple intelligence test results. This generalization or thesis statement for your essay can be based on a strength, a weakness, or a combination of several different intelligences as they relate to your history as a learner. I would begin by examining your background in the areas you scored well in. For example, I scored highest in linguistic intelligence, and I can recall a wealth of positive language art experiences associated with my educational history. Maybe this is why I'm an English teacher. Alternatively, consider focusing on an area of weakness. I scored poorly in musical intelligence, for example, which reminds me of how my junior high counselor discouraged me from signing up for orchestra. (Apparently I scored poorly on a basic music aptitude test. I think he said something to the effect that the only thing I should ever play is a radio.) The fact is, although I do enjoy music, it just doesn't help me interpret or deal with reality the way that words do, and I can identify specific times in mypast when this musical-rhythmic deficiency was painfully apparent.

Consequently, for this assignment, I could focus my thesis statement around my positive experiences with verbal/linguistic intelligence or, conversely, on my negative experiences associated with music. Since I have other areas of strength and weakness, I could even combine results for various intelligences in a single thesis statment. For example, I believe my verbal/linguistic intelligence has fed my intrapersonal intelligence. This is because I love to read, and good literature compels a person to analyze and evaluate ideas and opinions in a thoughtful way, which is the kind of thing an intrapersonal learner does. Bottom line, there are lots of potential options for your chosen thesis statement. Just make sure to clearly establish whatever thesis you elect to go with in your introduction. Then, cite multiple examples from your learning history--both within and outside the classroom--to support your chosen thesis.

By examining the generalized results of your test in the context of your real-life experiences, I think you'll begin to get a sense of how your past experiences and innate aptitudes have made you the student that you are. Also, you may get a handle on how you can better use your strengths to address areas of weaknesses. Finally, you'll be able to practice your essay-writing skills by utilizing narrative evidence from your own life to support a generalized thesis.

For information about the various multiple intelligences, check the following links as well as the table below:


  • Eight Styles of Learning
  • Multiple Intelligence Types
  • Multiple Intelligence Overview
  • The Multiple Intelligences
  • Multiple Intelligences Explained
  • Multiple Intelligence Virtual Tour

The chart below is from Multiple Intelligences in the Classroom (2nd Edition) by Thomas Armstrong. It provides a concise overview of the different types of learners and how they learn best.

Eight Ways of Learning

Eight Ways of Learning

Students who are highly:

Think

Love

Need

Linguistic

in words

reading, writing, telling stories, playing word games

books, tapes, writing tools, paper, diaries, dialogue, discussion, debate, stories

Logical-Mathematical

by reasoning

experimenting, questioning, figuring out logical puzzles, calculating

materials to experiment with, science materials, manipulatives, trips to the planetarium and science museum

Spatial

in images and pictures

designing, drawing, visualizing, doodling

art, LEGOs, video, movies, slides, imagination games, mazes, puzzles, illustrated books, trips to art museums

Bodily-Kinesthetic

through somatic sensations

dancing, running, jumping, building, touching, gesturing

role play, drama, movement, things to build, sports and physical games, tactile experiences, hands-on learning

Musical

via rhythms and melodies

singing, whistling, humming, tapping feet and hands, listening

sing-along time, trips to concerts, music playing at home and school, musical instruments

Interpersonal

by bouncing ideas off other people

leading, organizing, relating, manipulating, mediating, partying

friends, group games, social gatherings, community events, clubs, mentors/apprenticeships

Intrapersonal

in relation to their needs, feelings, and goals

setting goals, meditating, dreaming, planning, reflecting

secret places, time alone, self-paced projects, choices

Naturalist

through nature and natural forms

playing with pets, gardening, investigating nature, raising animals, caring for planet earth

access to nature, opportunities for interacting with animals, tools for investigating nature (e.g., magnifying glass, binoculars)

Evaluation:

This essay will be assessed using the Six-Trait evaluation rubric, developed by the Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory. It is based on the idea that each piece of writing may be evaluated in six distinct areas: ideas/content, organization, sentence fluency, word choice, voice, and conventions. Each of these components is ranked on a scale of 1-5 (1 representing poor and 5 excellent). The sum of the values of the six components could represent a maximum score of 30 points.

Personal Learning Profile

01.01.09 Journal entry - what is your truth? (English 12)

teacher-scored 10 points possible 45 minutes

Select a literary character from one piece of literature that you've read that that has had an impact on you or helped to form your truth--whatever that may be at this moment in time. What ideas or beliefs does the character embody or demonstrate that you also value and embrace?

For this journal entry, I'd like you to answer the following questions: What is your truth? How has this specific literary character helped to form, solidify, challenge, defend, or clarify your truth?

Evaluation:

Journal entries are an opportunity to explore ideas and develop fluency with language in an informal context. You will be assessed a point value from 1 to 10 points, based on the effort and thoughtfulness demonstrated in your response.

01.01.09.01 Poetry-based essay (English 12)

teacher-scored 30 points possible 120 minutes

As a result of this assignment, the student will:


  • select a worthy poem that expresses a perceived truth
  • use inductive or deductive essay structure to support that perception of truth

One of the virtues of poetry is that it expresses ideas in a very compact, yet powerful way. For this assignment, I'd like you to find a poem that you embrace as truth--one that strikes a resonant chord in both your brain and heart. Part of the fun for this assignment is perusing the treasure trove of good poetry available on the Internet to find a poem with which you can identify.

Once you've found a poem that "speaks to you," you will need to write an essay that supports the theme you ascribe to the poem. You may choose to write your essay in one of two ways: first, using deductive organizational structure, you may formulate and defend a thesis that explicity deals with the theme and substance of your selected poem; or, as an alternative, using inductive structure, you may choose to write an original short story that implicitly conveys a theme that is true to the thematic spirit of your poem. Whichever approach you choose, please include the the text of the poem (or a hypertext link to an online version) that serves as the thematic basis for your essay.

While there is an abundance of excellent poetry written by reputable poets available online, there's also a substantial amount of poetic drivel. Consequently, I would like you to find the poem upon which your assignment is based from one of the reputable poetry resources in this activity's URL list.

Evaluation:

This piece will be assessed using the Six-Trait evaluation rubric, developed by the Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory. It is based on the idea that each piece of writing may be evaluated in six distinct areas: ideas/content, organization, sentence fluency, word choice, voice, and conventions. Each of these components is ranked on a scale of 1-5 (1 representing poor and 5 excellent). The sum of the values of the six components could represent a maximum score of 30 points.

01.01.09.02 Poetry links (English 12)

Choose the poem for your essay from one of these sources.

01.01.09.03 Examples of poetry-based essays (English 12)

Poetry-Based Essay

Various essays based on a piece of poetry.

Metaphors of Death in "I Am a Rock"

"I am a Rock" by Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel is an account of a person who, as a result of an unhappy love affair, has withdrawn from humanity. Language of isolation and withdrawal permeate the poem. The repeated likening of the persona to a rock and an island is significant; a rock is hard, cold, and inanimate, and an island, surrounded on all sides by water, is certainly an image of isolation. And, as the concluding lines remind us, "a rock feels no pain, and an island never cries."

The persona's scars are apparently so painful he prefers a life of isolation to the potential pain that accompanies human interaction. Since man is a social animal, it is possible to equate this kind of voluntary isolation to a death--a sort of social suicide. There is a good deal of metaphorical language in the poem that reinforces this notion of death. A dead person, after all, might be described as "stone cold"--once again calling on the central "I am a rock" metaphor of the poem.

The "deep and dark December" setting of the poem is certainly an appropriate one. December is, after all, the perennial month of winter when all living things are buried in a blanket of snow. It is true, however, that some animals merely hibernate during a winter only to reemerge in the spring. Such possibilities, in this instance, seem to be unlikely since the personal insists "I won't disturb the slumber of feelings that have died." The possibility of social resurrection is further put in doubt by the description of the snow as a "silent shroud"--a shroud being the cloth used to wrap a corpse for burial.

Death is further suggested by potential metaphorical references to the grave. The persona states "I've built walls, their fortress deep and mighty, that none may penetrate." For mortal humans, no wall is more massive and impenetrable than the one they are six feet under. The declaration "I am shielded in my armor," might also be viewed as an allusion to a coffin of sorts.

That the persona's self-imposed isolation is an unnatural act is suggested by the reference to the womb: "Hiding in my room, safe within my womb." Whereas the womb is normally the place where life begins, in this instance, it is, symbolically, the place where life ends. The womb has become a tomb.

No Man is an Island (A short story inspired by the poem "I am a Rock")

Charles parted the dark drapes of his bedroom and peered out at the frigid December landscape. Although large flakes were still swirling, Sutter's pond was busy with activity. Children clad in a kaleidoscope of winter outerwear skated on the glossy surface. Their shrill voices and raucous laughter carried through the frosted windowpane into Charles's room.

He closed his eyes and fought the memory that already was seeping into his consciousness. He tried to push it away, but it was too late. He squeezed his eyes closed as if to turn it back, but already she was there before him, dressed in a powder blue jacket and white tights and skates, gliding effortlessly over the same surface he had just observed the children playing on. Once that image was established, countless others cam flitting in . There she was at the Prom in the form-fitting white dress, in her cheerleading uniform, in her swimming suit, in her snug jeans that accentuated her every curve.

Charles winced as the most painful memory of all was replayed in his mind. Although he knew how empty he would feel once the memory evaporated, he couldn't help but bask in the momentary warmth it provided. There they were sitting on a blanket in a wooded glade just east of Sutter's pond. The May sun provided ample warmth and the meadow was ablaze with brilliant cascades of wildflowers. Even now he could recall the scent of the flowers and hear the chirping birds. He could see the single tear slowly fall from her eye and feel her silky skin as he gently wiped it away. He remembered holding her close and telling her he'd be careful. Lots of guys were being drafted--it didn't mean he'd actually have to fight. And he recalled the rapture in her face when he fished the golden ring from his pocket and asked her if she'd marry him when he returned.

That moment by Sutter's Pond had sustained Charles during his tour of Vietnam. And when his body had been pierced by a piece of mortar and he laid broken and bleeding in a boggy rice paddy, it was her face that hovered before him, willing him to hold on to life.

The warmth of the moment had evaporated, and the frigid December air prompted Charles to pull his bathrobe more snugly around him. The loveliness of that spring moment had given way now to the look on her face as he was assisted off the plane. She tried to mask her true feelings, but he could read her unspoken thoughts. In a mere moment the face that had lifted him from near death and inspired him through an excruciating recovery, had done more damage to him than had the mortar. His hopes for the future had been replaced by utter despair--a despair that was cemented some months later when he learned she had married someone else.

Physically shuddering as if to exorcise the demons of his past, Charles looked out the ice-encrusted windowpane. He could see the snowfall had picked up in intensity and the children had sought inner warmth--an inner warmth he would never again experience. Charles took one long last look at the freshly fallen silent shroud of snow, closed his curtains, and pushed his wheelchair away from the window.

An Imprisoning God?
by: Shaliese McKinney

Batter my heart, three-person'd God, for you
As yet but knock, breathe, shine, and seek to mend;
That I may rise and stand, o'erthrow me, and bend
Your force to break, blow, burn, and make me new.
I, like an usurp'd town to'another due,
Labor to'admit you, but oh, to no end;
Reason, your viceroy in me, me should defend,
But is captiv'd, and proves weak or untrue.
Yet dearly'I love you, and would be lov'd fain,
But am betroth'd unto your enemy;
Divorce me,'untie or break that knot again,
Take me to you, imprison me, for I,
Except you'enthrall me, never shall be free,
Nor ever chaste, except you ravish me.
-John Donne

In "Holy Sonnet 14," John Donne is expressing his desires for God to force him to be good. He feels that quiet prompting isn't going to make him do good. He wants to be hit over the head and chained to righteousness so that he has no choice but to be good.

This sonnet is addressing the struggle that all of us face in our lives. The speaker is demanding that God should "Batter my heart." In the first quatrain, he is saying that when God "knock, breathe, shine, and seek to mend," it is not enough to get the job done. All of us hear an inner voice, what some would call a conscience, that tells us what is right and wrong. The speaker has heard this gentle voice, but it is too subtle for his taste. Ask yourself this: is it easier to do something someone asks of you when they ask in a quiet, soothing voice, or when they yell in your ear and twist your arm behind your back? This is the feeling I get from the speaker in this poem. He has gone through out his life with the quiet, soothing voice, but he would prefer to have his arm twisted every once in a while so that the job gets done right. He emphasizes this desire with alliteration. He expresses his wishes for God to "break, blow, burn" him.

The speaker admits that he loves God, but he is "betrothed unto Your enemy." He knows that he is weak and he wants to be free of his bond to the adversary. He begs God to "divorce me, untie, or break that knot again." He is asking God to free him of the chains that bind him to sin. Donne has used this metaphysical poem to convey a message about how he feels about this life. It is teaching about religious convictions. Although he loves God, he admits that life is hard because of his bondage. He expresses the wish that things could be different. He makes an unusual conceit. He admits that the only way that he "shall be free" is if God will "enthral" him. We would not usually associate being free with being overcome by someone, but that is what the speaker thinks is necessary for his freedom.

Donne finishes the sonnet with a statement that summarizes the whole work. He works in one final plea in the form of a simple, yet complex, statement. He says that he can never be "chaste, except you ravish me." The word "ravish" means to rape. He is saying that the only way that he can be "chaste" is if God will rape him, or take over his body.

I admit that at times I wish I had no choice but to do right. Life would be so much easier if we could do no wrong. But I know that life would be a lot less satisfying if we couldn't experience defeat. I think that making a wrong decision is much like losing a soccer game. Once you have done it, you never want to experience that feeling again. From then on you will try your hardest to avoid that outcome. It is also true that you can never know the true taste of sweet success until you have tasted of bitter defeat. And so I must conclude that although being forced to make the right choices sounds appealing, I would never wish to give up the soaring feeling I get when I have made the right decision on my own.

A Fistful of Philosophy
By Steve Burdick

Rebus

You work with what you are given
the red clay of grief,
the black clay of stubbornness going on after.
Clay that tastes of care or carelessness,
clay that smells of the bottom of rivers or dust.

Each thought is a life you have lived or failed to live,
each word is a dish you have eaten or left on the table.
There are honeys so bitter
no one would willingly choose to take them.
The clay takes them: honey of weariness, honey of vanity,
honey of cruelty, fear.

This rebus is slip and stubbornness,
bottom of river, my own consumed life?
when will I learn to read it
plainly, slowly, uncolored by hope or desire?
Not to understand it, only to see.

As water given sugar sweetens, given salt grows salty,
we become our choices.
Each yes, each no continues,
this one a ladder, that one an anvil or cup.

The ladder leans into its darkness.
The anvil leans into its silence.
The cup sits empty.

How will I enter this question the clay has asked?
- Jane Hirshfield

"Rebus" by Jane Hirshfield is a fistful of philosophy in a poem. The truth of the poem is that every decision one makes in life sends them down the first trail or the second, and no matter which trail you take, you eliminate half the life you could have lived. It tells of one choice, what thoughts went through the thinker's mind, and leaves you deciding for yourself as to which decision they will choose.

Hirshfield introduces the influences of red clay and black clay that help her decide what life she wants to live. In this case, the red clay is grief which symbolizes one path for her to take that may lead to misery, hatred, or some other suffering. The black clay is meant to be stubbornness, or what can probably be interpreted to mean the path that she has chosen so far; the path that she is accustomed to and doesn't want to leave, so as not to leave her "comfort zone."

Every decision is hard because we literally become our choices. The decisions that you leave on the dinner table or kick off the trail are eaten up by stubbornness, weariness, vanity, or another neglected state of mind. Each thought will present you with your choices, and the thoughts you cast out like yesterday's over-cooked burrito will die and become the life you could have lived, but never had the nerve to try.

The "Rebus", or central design of this work is representative of a puzzle. A puzzle in which you must relate words, objects, and pictures together to discover the meaning. This is just like the thought process! Whether one has an understanding of what the decision may bring or not, one cannot help but decide. The amount of information you know is completely irrelevant because you cannot help but know what is best for you and you are destined to take that path. The destined path may be right or wrong, true or false, democratic or Green Party, but from the perspective of the decider it was the right path to take.

Life goes on; we do the best with what we can. We climb up the ladder into the darkness and don't look back down for fear of falling right back where we began. The only way out of the trap is up, and wherever that will take you won't be known until someone makes the decision to let you go back home.

02.00 Family Connections (English 12)

"We all come from the past, and children ought to know what it was that went into their making, to know that life is a braided cord of humanity stretching up from time long gone, and that it cannot be defined by the span of a single journey from diaper to shroud."
--Russell Baker

An important objective of our first unit was to encourage introspection. Who we are, however, is also defined by our environment. Perhaps the most significant environmental influence on our lives is our family. Not just those members of our family whom we live with, but our extended family, both living and dead.

This unit explores the ways our families influence us. It compels us to realize our place in a seemingly endless chain of people, spanning past, present, and future generations. Such exploration may help us to better appreciate who we are and to understand our place--and the place of others--in the universe.

02.01 Links to suggested historical fiction (English 12)

02.01 Unit 2 reading assignment: historical fiction (English 12)

teacher-scored 50 points possible 420 minutes

Unit 2 Reading Assignment

The culminating assignment for this unit on "Family Connections" provides you an opportunity to write a piece of historical fiction that features one of your ancestors as a main character. Historical fiction is a fictional story that is set in an authentic historical setting. The characters and events may be based in some actual historical truth, but the author takes some creative license in presenting the characters and story. Since historical fiction provides unique insight into history, it is a very popular genre of literature. As Leon Garfield puts it, "A historian, if honest, gives us a photograph of the past; the storyteller gives us a painting."

To prepare for your historical fiction writing assignment, the reading assignment for this unit will require that you read and review a work of historical fiction geared towards children and/or young adults. The URLs for this activity will provide you with some ideas of appropriate historical fiction titles; however, you will need to find copies of these books at your local library or bookstore. You might also chat with your local librarian about what children's historical fiction books he or she recommends.


  • Scott O'Dell Historical Fiction Award
  • Historical Fiction for Kids
  • Anchorage Municipal Libraries Historical Fiction
  • El Paso Public Library Historical Fiction
  • Tompkins County Public Libary Historical Fiction
  • Reading Rants: Historical Fiction for Hipsters

    Once you've located and read some historical fiction, you will need to write a book review of your chosen title. To get a feel for how to put together an effective book review, see lesson 02.1.1 Be aware that a book review, as indicated by Mr. Philbrick's online workshop, is much more than a simple story synopsis. In the introduction of your review, make sure to establish the author and title of the work in question.
  • In addition to your book review, please prepare a brief test and corollary answer key for your book. The test should consist of 5 multiple choice questions, 5 true/false questions, 5 matching questions, and 5 short answer questions.

    Evaluation:

    This essay will be assessed using the Six-Trait evaluation rubric, developed by the Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory. It is based on the idea that each piece of writing may be evaluated in six distinct areas: ideas/content, organization, sentence fluency, word choice, voice, and conventions. Each of these components is ranked on a scale of 1-5 (1 representing poor and 5 excellent). The sum of the values of the six components could represent a maximum score of 30 points.

    An additional 20 points will be awarded for the test and corresponding answer key on your selected piece of literature.

    02.01.00.01 Learn about writing book reviews (English 12)

    To get a feel for how to put together an effective book review, please spend some time going through this workshop entitled "Write a Book Review with Rodman Philbrick" (see URL for this lesson).

    Additionally, you may want to look over these book review pre-writing questions. Be aware that a book review, as indicated by Mr. Philbrick's online workshop, is much more than a simple story synopsis.

    02.01.00.01 Writing book reviews URL (English 12)

    02.01.01 How to be... journal entry (English 12)

    teacher-scored 10 points possible 60 minutes

    Make a list of gestures and indicative behaviors as if you were writing a how-to guide for the impersonation of a family member who is significant to you. (You may want to select the subject of your poem after reading the corollary assignment, since you may want to use the same family subject for both submissions.) Below is a sample response to pattern yours after.

    Example:

    How To Be Karen

    Wave arms when talking
    Cock an eyebrow when confused
    Talk under breath to self
    Trip over things
    Purse lips tightly when upset
    Rub eyes a lot
    Push glasses back on nose frequently
    Wag foot back and forth while falling asleep
    Fix the bedcovers perfectly before getting into bed
    Never remember a joke

    See how easy it is!! Now try doing a portrait of someone in your family.

    Evaluation:

    Journal entries are an opportunity to explore ideas and develop fluency with language in an informal context. You will be assessed a point value from 1 to 10 points, based on the effort and thoughtfulness demonstrated in your response.

    02.01.02 Family Interaction essay (English 12)

    teacher-scored 30 points possible 90 minutes

    As a result of this assignment, the student will:


    • analyze the significance of personal relationships
    • develop and support a thesis
    • apply knowledge of language structure and conventions

    Describe your interaction with a member of your family who is (or has been) a significant part of your life. Your essay should lead your readers to gain insight into why this person is important in your life. This insight is the main idea or thesis of the paper. Pick one interaction between you and this person, an interaction that captures well the relationship you two have (or had). Describe the scene and participants so that readers can visualize them. Use dialogue to make the participants come alive for your readers.

    Before you begin to write, you may want to spend some time brainstorming. Think about people in your family--a parent or step-parent, sibling, grandparent, aunt, uncle, or cousin. Identify someone you believe has significantly influenced your life. Then, remember specific interactions you have had with that person (for example, a fishing trip, a cooking lesson, or Christmas morning when you were ten). Then narrow your list of interactions to one (or maybe two) that reveals best your relationship with this person. The interaction need not be a dramatic one. An experience that does not seem earthshattering at the time can leave a lasting impression when you have thought it through.

    As an alternative to a single, specific interaction, you may choose to identify a ritual or activity that occurs frequently (fixing Thanksgiving dinner or a summer family reunion) and describe that interaction as it typically occurs. You may also want to jot down some notes about what the person looked like, the setting of the event, your state of mind when the interaction took place, and your state of mind after reflecting on the interaction. Choose the details you wish to use and expand upon in order to develop your essay.

    Each paragraph should contribute to the development of the main idea, so that the reader is led to the conclusions you wish to establish about this family member and why he or she is significant to you.
    See lesson 2.1.2.1 for examples of other students' essays.

    Evaluation:

    This essay will be assessed using the Six-Trait evaluation rubric, developed by the Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory. This rubric is based on the idea that each piece of writing may be evaluated in six distinct areas: ideas/content, organization, sentence fluency, word choice, voice, and conventions. Each of these components are ranked on a scale of 1-5 (1 representing poor and 5 excellent). The sum of the values of the six components could represent a maximum score of 30 points.

    02.01.02.01 Examples of family interaction essays (English 12)

    Family Interaction Essay

    Example Essays.

    Grandpa
    by Carolina Yocum

    He was fun loving and kind. He wore his glasses and favorite flannel shirt. Upon his feet were his sheepskin slippers. His reading book was in hand, and he was nestled into his favorite overstuffed chair. He had turned the lamp on to see his reading material better. But, as usual, it did no good because he was sound asleep and snoring.

    I grinned and turned back to my tree decorating. Placing the lights just so, making sure that there were no dark spots to be seen. David Arkenstone Christmas music was playing in the background, and Grandpa snored along with the tune. Burning candles let off the smell of cinnamon that mixed well with Grandma’s cooking wafting through the house. The living room was an unusual clutter. Boxes were everywhere, and the house was being transformed into a place full of holiday spirit. My aunt could be seen outside through the window putting up the outside lights.

    However, this Christmas was going to be a difficult one. It had been a year since Grandpa’s surgery, but the delay in the chemotherapy and radiation treatments might have taken their toll. Even though he’d been able to go off the treatments, he just didn’t seem to be regaining his strength. Grandpa had lost a lot of weight in the past year, but most of it had been lost after the doctors took him off of treatment. I was scared about what would happen. Grandpa had always been so dear to me.....

    “My little Christmas angel,” I heard Grandpa’s hoarse voice whisper.

    I turned to find him stirring from his nap, “Oh Grandpa! I’m no angel,” I said as I walked over to his chair.

    “Yes you are,” he stated firmly. Then softer, “You’re my angel.”

    I embraced him and he gave his expected bear hug. “I love you, Grandpa.”

    As I pulled away, I saw a tear fall from his eye. I gave his hand a squeeze. I sat by his side holding his hand until he fell back to sleep. Then I walked back to the tree and started arranging my grandma’s old glass ornaments upon it. Now the tear fell from my eye.

    This was the last time I ever spent with my grandpa. He died a week later. The cancer treatment hadn’t helped. The mutated cells had spread to his liver and lymph system. Him calling me his Christmas angel was the last thing he ever said to me. It may not seem like much, but to me it’s my fondest memory of life. I miss him dearly, but I am glad that he no longer suffers the pains of cancer.

    The Battery Incident
    by Rion Carter

    I never thought my parents were different from other parents. In my mind they were just your average, everyday parents. I guess it was when I was ten years old that I really learned how different my parents were.

    I was in my bedroom one afternoon fiddling with my walkie talkies, when I suddenly had an idea. My idea was to modify my walkie talkies to extend their range from about 30 meters to, hopefully, 300 meters or more! I realized that my walkie talkies ran on "only" one 9-volt battery, so I decided that I was going to use ten 9-volt batteries! I mean, if one can go 30 meters, ten should be able to go 300 or more!

    My bedroom was quite small, and it was a mess. I had Christmas lights strung up all over even though it was not Christmas. I had books and magazines scattered throughout the room. It was going to take some time to clear a proper work area.

    It took several hours to clear a work space, and to splice all ten batteries together. Once I wired the batteries, I took the walkie talkie and batteries and put them in my lap. I then attached the assembly of batteries to the walkie talkie and turned it on..... Success! It was working! I quickly applied full power. Leaning down to ensure the microphone would pick up my voice, I pressed the transmit button. After transmitting a brief message of "Hello? Is anybody out there?" I let go of the transmit button. I breathed a sigh of relief. I was confident that my rewiring job was safe. For about two seconds everything seemed fine. Then the trouble started.

    The walkie talkie made a horrible high-pitched whining sound. Then simultaneously, the capacitors began to explode with a terrible popping sound, and electrolytic acid flew everywhere. All of this happened in a fraction of a second. Once I realized what had just happened, I screamed loudly and threw the contraption as far away from me as possible. I was in shock.

    A split second later, my mom burst into my room. She quickly looked around to assess the situation. She saw me shaking violently and soon spotted my contraption which was not too far away from me. With a look of vengeance in her eyes she quickly took the wooden spoon out of her apron pocket and proceeded to beat the life out of the sparkling and crackling device.

    Once my machine was no longer a threat, she came over to see if I was alright. I had a pulse, and was breathing normally. In fact, there were no signs that the machine had hurt me at all. The only thing amiss that might have revealed the whole episode was the electrolytic acid that was all over my shirt.

    About 20 minutes later, when my shock wore off, my mom came over to talk to me about what had happened. "What were you doing? You could have seriously hurt yourself."

    "Well mom, you see, I was trying to extend the range on my walkie talkies. You know they only have a 30 meter range, and I wanted to see if I could make it 300 or more."

    "You tried to do this by attaching more batteries to the walkie talkie?" her left eyebrow cocked quizically.

    "Yes. This was the only way I could think of to extend the range." I said stuttering, as all of my shock had not yet worn off.

    "Well, Rion, I can only say to be more careful in the future. There is a lot about electronics you don't know, so you will need to learn a lot before you try something like this again." With that she left, and life proceeded on as usual.

    A few days later, I was detailing my failed experiment to my friends. When I got to the end of my tale, they asked how badly I was punished for trying such a stunt. When I told them all I had to do was learn from my mistake and get a better education of things pertaining to electronics, they were stunned.

    "My mom would have KILLED me if I had tried something like that!" said Charles.

    "My mom would have grounded me for a month, and revoked my allowance!" Jeremy chimed in.

    "Why would they do that?" was all I could come up with to say after hearing this. "What good would it do to punish you like that?"

    Charles and Jeremy just looked at each other and said, in unison, "We don't know! That's just what our parents do!"

    Through this experience, I learned that my parents were unusual. They never set limits on my creativity or self expression. I am very grateful for the "interaction" I have with my parents. I feel I can talk to them without being degraded, as I frequently am when I talk to other adults. They really are amazing people, and I am a better person for having them in my life.

    My Sweet Mom
    by Christene Zhang

    Behind her glasses, her walnut shaped eyes are dark and kind. She’s now on the chubby and middle-aged side, but when I first knew her she was young, energetic and had a magnificent figure. She has spent the best years of her life with me. You might even say she has dedicated her life to me. Instead of partying with her friends during her prime, she spent countless hours reading to me, and teaching me life's greatest lessons. This person is none other than my mom.

    As long as I can remember, my mom has always been my best friend. She has always been on my side--not necessarily always yielding to me, but always sticking by me, giving me courage and wisdom. There is not another person who is more tolerant and patient with me--not even myself. She has patiently helped me through all the crises of my life.

    Case in point...it's 10:30 p.m. I have major calculus homework due tomorrow, and no idea where to begin. Fifteen problems, each containing sub parts a, b, c, d, e, f—“find the area under the curve marked by y=0, y=sin x, x=Pi, and find the volume by spinning the area around the x axis.” The more I stare at the problem the more I’m confused. How on earth do I spin the equation around the y-axis??? “Aaaaah,” If I fail this assignment, my grade in math will plummet. My blood pressure surged, pumping the desperate, hopeless feeling through my body and tensing every muscle. Scrambled thoughts filled my head with the speed of lightening, “I can’t get a bad grade in math; it’s my favorite subject!” My tears wetted my eye. “Mom! Come and help me!” I hollered. Within seconds she comes up to my room.

    “I need help with my math homework. I don’t understand any parts of it,” I said in a whining voice. Without hesitation, my brilliant mom grabs a chair and sits next to me. “I’ll never finish my math homework. What am I going to do?” I said hopelessly.

    “Don’t worry, it’s ok. Let’s go over it slowly. When you gather all the information, it will be easier,” she said with motherly love and calmness.

    As if injected with some sort of medicine, I calm down. Soothed just by her being there, and I’m able to concentrate again. Slowly, she helped me review each part of the question, explaining to me every detail as if feeding to a baby, chewing the problem out and feeding it to my limited mind bit by bit.

    After slowly hammering out problem after problem, an hour and a half later I was finally done. Though physically drained, I felt mentally satisfied as a result of my accomplishment. My mom looked tired too. “Hurry and go to bed. You have to get up early to go to school tomorrow,” she said as she got up to prepare for bed.

    I stared at her and thought how many times has she done this for me? She has to get up even earlier than I do, and she must be worn out by the long day of work, yet she just patiently guides me through life. And the guidance isn’t limited to math. When I’m depressed, how many times does she stay up till two or three in the morning listening to me talk about my petty little problems and teaching me to be strong by explaining the difficult tests of life and how to face them? Why does she do it? The answer is simple! I’m her daughter and she loves me.

    It is a great pleasure just knowing this woman, but to be on this earth as her daughter is truly a blessing from the heavens. How would I describe her? A candle, burning bright, giving light to others while sacrificing itself. Thanks for lighting my way, mom.

    Salt Lick
    by Steve Burdick

    My grandfather is without a doubt the most sinister and sensitive person that I have ever met. The grandfather which I speak of is on my mother's side of the family. And due to the fact that he lives near the rest of my mother's family out in the middle of nowhere, and even that is an understatement, we aren't very often compelled to drive out and see him. However, the annual or biannual encounters that I have had with him have always been well worth the drive.

    My most memorable experience happened just three or four years ago. We went to visit him during the summer school break, which is always the easiest time for us to go. We arrived at his house and stayed with him and his wife, who he affectionately calls "Mum," and spent the better part of a week trying to get along out in the country. He does not keep a television, radio, or any other kind of entertainment for that matter, so he tends to keep himself occupied building gadgets and wacky innovations around the house. He solves all sorts of problems like catching racoons, fixing his fence to close behind him as he drives off in his car, and other mechanical achievements such as maintaining his car, which he has managed to put 250,000 miles on over the years.

    Well, the adventure of the trip started on the third day of our stay with grandfather. He has a good friend named Bill Luthy, and the two of them are just as ecstatic about agriculture and cattle raising as OJ Simpson is with kitchen knives. Fortunately for grandfather, we were visiting his home in just the right season to show us how a real, outdoor, cow-herding, ditch-irrigating, farmer spreads salt lick to his livestock. Apparently, this ranks as a holiday in his book, just above his own birthday on the priorities list.

    I got in grandfather's truck and we drove over to Bill's house. Bill, by the way, probably has enough leftover agricultural machinery and broken cars on his farm to construct a small scale Disneyland. We loaded about three or four hundred pounds of salt lick into the truck and drove off towards the hills.

    The verb "drove," however, does not do the experience full justice. The truth is we tackled every grass, shrub, brook, cow, snow cap, California Redwood, and anything else that stood in our path. It took all of my strength to protect my head from bouncing off the windshield of the truck too much. However, one time our truck had met its match. We were stuck in a deep rut in the side of a river bank and couldn't move. Grandfather squinted his eyes, repositioned the moist piece of wheat that had been jutting out of his mouth throughout the journey, hiked his pants up with a groan, and climbed out. After assessing the situation thoroughly from the back of the truck, he climbed into the bed and poured some salt lick out the back to lessen our load. He then motioned to Bill, who was still in the driver's seat, to go ahead by throwing his arm forward, as if he was slowly throwing a fastball to somewhere up the trail. The truck jeered back and forth. Grandfather hopped out the back and pushed forward on the truck with his bare hands. This sent it forward an extra inch or two that we needed to get going.

    When we reached the other side of the mountain, we found ourselves in a green, empty meadow, with a stream and a windmill running down the middle. Grandfather reached down and pulled up a tin cup that he had tied down in the stream who knows how many years ago, and offered me a drink, which I openly accepted because my throat was so parched. I have not tasted any better water to this day than I did at that stream. There was also a small cabin in this clearing that he entered and explained to me was where he had spent some part of his childhood.

    We left grandfather's secret meadow and went back in the truck. Our delivery job was nearly done and it was time to go home. I was so exhausted from the travels of the day that I fell asleep and woke up back at the farm. Grandfather led on like we had just had one truly amazing experience, but I knew that to him it was just another part of everyday life.

    Perfect Dad
    by J.T.

    Like father, like daughter—that is my fate. Hard working, crazy, and sarcastic with thick brown hair is how we are described. My father, Steven Thurin has influenced me more than even I will even know. I had the best dad ever—for a while.

    Ten years ago I would have said we were as close as two people could be—but what did I know? I was seven. Camping, fishing, hiking, running, and math homework—together we became masters of it all. The soccer and running coach, he always pushed me to be my best. I played harder and ran faster just to win the approval of my dad—the best athlete I had ever seen.

    I remember how excited he was when I won my first race. He had run with me every step of the way, encouraging me to push myself and stay focused. I amazed us both by overcoming my exhaustion and sprinting to the finish line to win first place. He seemed even more excited than I was! I still remember the look on his face as he ran to hug me—proud tears in his big brown eyes.

    “WOW! Great job, Jennifer! That was incredible!”

    “Thanks!”

    We went camping up in the mountains every year after my birthday —just the two of us. He helped me catch, gut, and cook my first fish. With his help, I became an impeccable “tom-boy”—unafraid of dirt and even fish guts! He also showed me how to put up a tent, build a good fire, and roast the perfect marshmallow. We would stay up late looking at the stars and talking. I thought that I understood him so well. We were the best of friends for that one special weekend a year—just the two of us. The whole world didn’t matter. It was just us.

    Then we went home and life returned to normal. Fights with my sisters led to harsh words and a swift spanking from my dad. Best friends turned into bitter enemies. But we always made up the next day.

    Our perfect little family consisted of him, my mom, my two younger sisters and me. On summer evenings he would play hide and seek in the tall grass by our house with my sisters and me until my mom called us into the house for dinner. We ran inside, covered with grass stains and dirt. At dinner I had contests with my dad to see who could eat the most ribs or cherries, or burp the loudest. I usually won.

    After dinner he read to us. We went through J.R.R. Tolkien’s entire Lord of the Rings series in one summer! The next day while he was at work, I would play off in my own little fantasy world of faeries, goblins, and magical rings. I still haven’t left that world behind, even though he doesn’t read to me anymore.

    As I got older, life became less ideal. My dad started working more and more. He spent more time with my sisters than he did with me. I played with my sisters and friends more than I did with him. Our camping trips became less frequent. Life wasn’t about playing and having fun anymore. It was about doing better in soccer games and at track meets. It was about getting straight A’s and being the best that I could be.

    I remember eighth grade when I hurried home to show him my report card covered with A’s.

    “Look, Dad: I got straight A’s this quarter!!!”

    “What’s that?” he replied sternly

    “It’s an A.”

    “NO. It’s an A-,” he corrected.

    “But it’s still an A.”

    ““NO. It isn’t the same. Jenny, I know you can do better than this,” he said, obviously disappointed. Crushed, I went to my room to finish my homework.

    We fought a lot that year. It seemed like our family couldn’t have dinner without him and I getting into a vicious argument. Those arguments quickly turned into loud, angry fights. Unlike the cherry-eating fights of my childhood, I always lost these yelling contests. He was always right. I was always wrong.

    “If my dad has taught me anything through the years it is to always be strong. I had to be strong. I refuse to bend. I am stubborn—just like him.

    “I don’t play soccer anymore. I do my homework by myself. I don’t remember the last time just the two of us went camping. We don’t talk very much at all, and sometimes it seems like we have nothing but our stubbornness in common. He is getting more and more conservative as I get more and more liberal. He has worse mood swings than anyone else in my family. I don’t understand him at all.

    My dad tries to feel like a teenager again by being the leader of his church youth group. He can be the perfect father to a group of teenagers for about six hours a week. He’s done being my role model. He taught me all he could. Being a father is only important when you’re young, right?

    I had the greatest father in the whole world...for about ten years. He has influenced me more than anyone else I can think of. I am probably more like him than I realize. He taught me how to be my best, how to be strong, and how to be myself.

    I don’t spend much time with my dad anymore, and that’s the way I like it. But I love him, and I will always remember how he has changed my life and helped me be the person that I am today. Perfect relationships never last forever.

    Big Brother
    by Tami Birch

    You know how all kids want a pet? A dog, a cat, or a pig? Well, when my brother was ten, he got me. He could teach me tricks, feed me whatever he wanted and scratch my head. It was the most perfect relationship an owner could have with a pet. There was that one time he let me fall down the stairs though, but I’ve forgiven him for that. However, I don’t know if I can ever forgive him for getting married. As much as I hate to admit it, Brandon is one of my heroes and he always will be.

    I stood there in the doorway to his bedroom with my mouth hanging open, He was marrying her. Tanya McArthur. Gag me here and now. I couldn’t believe it, my brother was leaving me. After all the time I’d spent retrieving baseballs and footballs that he’d hit and kicked out of the backyard. After all the time’s I’d folded his socks, cleaned his room, and done his vacuuming. After all the times I’d gotten out of bed at 10:00 p.m. to make him BBQ chicken and mashed potatoes. This was how he was repaying me? Leaving me alone with the family he had always told me just he and I had been adopted into? I said “Congratulations,” then turned around and walked off.

    The night before he was going to tie the big knot, he came into my room at about 12:30 in the morning and asked me if I wanted to help him fold his socks. I know, it sounds kind of weird, but for as long as I can remember, whenever Brandon would do his laundry, he would put everything away, but I would fold the socks while sitting on the bed and we would talk. I went into his room and smiled at the Christmas lights that bordered the ceiling. We had put them up together about a year earlier--another of his great ideas. I sat down, and, before I knew it, my brother was telling me how much he loved me and was going to miss me. I couldn’t believe it when I saw tears streaming down his face. Brandon had never cried in front of me. He told me to remember that even though he wouldn’t be living with us anymore, he was still my big brother.

    After he got his emotions under control, we proceeded to finish up his laundry. We talked until about 4:00. Every now and then we would get into a wrestling match and I, being the wonderful little sister that I am, let him win them all. Right before I left to go to bed, he gave me a big hug that I will remember for the rest of my life. I had never before seen my brother act the way he did that night, and I don’t think I will ever see it again.

    He got married the next day, and things have been different, to say the least. I still don’t like Tanya. She will always be the woman who took my best friend away. But I guess if he loves her so much, I’d better try to bridle my emotions when I am around them.

    True to his promise, he is still there for me. He calls me at least twice a week just to talk and find out what’s going on in my life. He is still the 6’10 giant who has always kept me in awe. Most of all, he is still my brother--and he is still one of my heroes.

    02.01.03 Family lore journal entry (English 12)

    teacher-scored 10 points possible 60 minutes

    What stories or information do you know about your ancestors? Respond to as many of the following prompts as possible:


    • Are there stories about how a great fortune was lost or almost (but not quite) made? Do you believe them? Are these incidents laughed about or deeply regretted?
    • Do you know about your family surname? Origin? Meaning? Has it undergone changes? Are there traditional family names--first names, nicknames?
    • Do you have a notorious or infamous character in your family's past? Do you think the stories about this person are accurate? Exaggerated? Feasible?
    • Are there objects of sentimental or monetary values that have been handed down? What family heirlooms does your family have? What are the stories connected with them?
    • What particular expressions are used in your family? Are there stories which explain their origin?
    • What recipes have been preserved in your family from past generations? What was their origin? How were they passed down--word of mouth, observation, written recipes? Are they still used today?

    Evaluation:

    Journal entries are an opportunity to explore ideas and develop fluency with language in an informal context. You will be assessed a point value from 1 to 10 points, based on the effort and thoughtfulness demonstrated in your response.

    02.01.04 Biography phase essay (English 12)

    teacher-scored 55 points possible 180 minutes

    As a result of this assignment, the student will:


    • improve communication skills related to listening, speaking, interviewing and writing
    • practice asking questions that solicit meaningful information
    • practice note-taking skills
    • discover more about his/her family heritage

    This assignment will provide you an opportunity to spend some time interviewing a living ancestor. You will then write an essay based on the interview you conduct. (If a parent or grandparent is not available, consider interviewing a guardian or an older member of the community.) In addition to the academic benefits implicit in this project, hopefully it will also give you the opportunity to view your life in the context of those who came before.

    By interviewing a person about his or her life, you'll be conducting oral history, which is the systematic collection of living people's testimony about their own experiences. Oral histories are stories that living individuals tell about their past, or about the past of other people. Historians frequently use oral histories to research specific periods or historical phenomena. For example, this site at the Library of Congress links you to excerpts of actual oral histories recorded as a result of the Federal Writers' Project in order to learn more about specific things like cars, dancing, and working women in the 1930's.

    For our purposes, however, rather than focusing on a specific subject, you will concentrate on asking questions about a specific period or "phase" in the life of your interview subject. For example, you might choose to focus on your subject's childhood, college life, time spent serving a religious mission, military service, courtship and marriage, professional career, family-rearing or retirement years. Pick whatever period seems interesting to you. It might be wise to spend some time talking about possible areas of focus prior to conducting your formal interview. It might even be a good idea to have your subject develop a rough timeline that represents important dates in his or her life as a pre-interviewing starting point.

    Once you've decided on what phase to focus on, you'll need to prepare for the actual interview, which, ideally, will be tape recorded. (If recording equipment is not available, a detailed transcript of the interview may be submitted instead.) Make a list of specific questions you'll want to be sure and ask. (Some suggested questions are available below.) You need not follow this list exactly, but a prepared list will give a solid organization and cohesiveness to your interview. Put the simplest questions, like biographical data, at the beginning, and the most complex or sensitive questions at the end. Group the questions logically, so you and your subject can easily follow the progression of ideas or chronology in the interview.

    Make sure, however, that your interview is not just about rattling off a series of previously prepared questions in rapid-fire succession. An effective interviewer, although prepared with specific questions, goes with the flow of the interview. Some of the most interesting information you discover will come about as you spontaneously formulate questions in response to information your subject reveals--questions you could have never anticipated in advance of the interviewing occasion. As an interviewer, consequently, you must listen carefully in order to ask thoughtful questions.

    Also, concentrate on posing open-ended rather than close-ended questions. Close-ended questions, which are typically about some fact, can be answered with a very short, specific response. For example, "What is your maiden name?" or "What year did your grandfather die?" are close-ended questions. Some close-ended questions will be necessary, but, where possible, try to pose open-ended questions that allow your subject more latitude in terms of his or her response. For example, "What sorts of responsibilities did you have as a child?" or "What can you remember about your grandfather?" Since your interview will, hopefully, be tape-recorded, don't worry about taking notes and concentrate on formulating effective questions.

    Once you've conducted your interview, you'll be ready to start thinking about the corollary essay. Review the audio recording of your interview. You might want to take some notes about various experiences or thoughts that the subject mentioned that seem particularly relevant to you. Look over your notes and ask yourself the following question: If you had to make a single generalization that would adequately characterize what this phase in the life of your subject was like, what would it be? The answer to this question will serve as the thesis statement to your Biography Phase Essay. For example, you might say "Grandpa's experiences in the military taught him many valuable lessons" or "Grandma had many responsibilities very early in her life."

    Whatever thesis statement you choose, you'll need to establish it in an interesting way in your introduction. Then, the major portion of your essay should be devoted to providing specific supporting evidence from your interview in an organized and coherent way that supports the thesis you've established. Look to include carefully selected, specific quotations from your interview in order to add color to your essay.

    You should be able to produce at least three well-developed supporting paragraphs to substantiate your thesis. In your concluding paragraph touch on what you've learned as a result of the interviewing experience.

    You may transmit your essay to me electronically. The audio cassette, however, should be snail-mailed to your teacher. Please include a stamped, return envelope, if you'd like the cassette returned.

    Evaluation:

    The essay portion of this assignment will be assessed using the Six-Trait evaluation rubric, developed by the Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory, which is based on the idea that each piece of writing may be evaluated in six distinct areas: ideas/content, organization, sentence fluency, word choice, voice, and conventions. Each of these components are ranked on a scale of 1-5 (1 representing poor and 5 excellent). The sum of the values of the six components could represent a maximum score of 30 points.

    An additional 25 points will be received when a copy of the audio cassette recording or a transcript of the interview session is received by the instructor. Points will be awarded based on the effort and level of comprehensiveness suggested by the interview, which should be at least 30-45 minutes long.

    Biography Interview Questions

    Childhood


    • When and where were you born? Do you recall any interesting stories regarding your birth?
    • What is your earliest memory?
    • What is your happiest childhood memory? Your saddest? What were you most afraid of as a child?
    • Describe the home in which you lived during your childhood. What was your bedroom like? What about the yard and the neighborhood?
    • What do you remember about the neighbors? Who was your best friend in the neighborhood?
    • What sidewalk games did you play? What board games? What other forms of childhood amusement did you engage in?
    • Did you collect anything as a child? Do you recall a favorite toy or possession?
    • What kinds of chores or responsibilities did you have?
    • Did your family have a favorite vacation destination? Do you recall any specific family outings?
    • What did you ever do that got in trouble at home? How did your parents discipline you?
    • Who was the most influential person to you as a child? Did you have a favorite relative?
    • Did you have any pets as a child? What kind? What memories do you have related to pets?
    • What did you do during the summertime?
    • Did you have any nicknames? If so, what were they and why were they given?
    • Were you ever seriously ill when you were little? Do you remember having chicken pox, mumps, or any other childhood diseases?
    • Describe any serious accidents you may have had as a child.
    • Describe any family tragedies that occurred during your childhood. How did they affect you?
    • What was the name of your elementary school? Describe it.
    • What games did you play on the playground? With whom did you play them?
    • Can you recall the names of any of your elementary school teachers? What specific memories do you recollect with ay of these individuals?
    • What adjectives would you use to describe your childhood? Explain.

    Teen Years

    • Describe the area—city, small town, farm—where you spent most of your teen years.
    • Describe yourself as a teenager. What things were important to you?
    • Where did you attend junior high and high school? Describe these schools (facilities, mascots, school colors, etc.).
    • What do you remember most about your school experiences while a teenager?
    • Who was your best friend? Are you still in touch with them?
    • What was your favorite subject to study?
    • What extra-curricular activities did you participate in?
    • Is there a teacher that you remember having been particularly influential?
    • How would you describe yourself as a student, both socially and academically?
    • When did you graduate from high school? What was your graduation ceremony like? How did you celebrate?
    • What did you like most about school? Least?
    • Did you earn any honors or were you recognized for any achievements?
    • What did you discover about yourself in high school? Did you learn a skill that you could take out in the world with you? Were you sad when it ended, or were you ready to leave it all behind?
    • Did you have a teen idol? If so, who was it and how did they spark your interest?
    • What were your favorite leisure activities?
    • Describe any part-time jobs you had in your teen years.
    • Who was your first boy/girlfriend? What kinds of things did you do on dates?
    • What was your favorite musician or band during high school? What was your favorite song?
    • Did you attend your school dances or proms? With whom? Describe them and the experience.
    • What were some of the fads when you were a teenager? (hair, clothing styles, and slang expressions)
    • Describe your relationship with your parents. Were you able to communicate freely with them?
    • Did you ever get in trouble at school? What happened? Did you ever skip school? To do what?
    • When did you get your first car? Describe it. Did you pay for it or was it a gift?
    • Who influenced you most during your teen years? How?
    • What is the happiest memory you have of your teen years? The most painful?
    • What would people you know find surprising about you as a teen?

    College

    • Did you attend college? If so, which one? If not, why?
    • How were you able to attend college? Did you put yourself through school or did your parents support you?
    • Describe where you lived while attending college.
    • Did you have to work during college? What did you do and how much was your pay?
    • Tell about your best friends in college. Are you still in touch with any of them?
    • If you joined a fraternity or sorority, which one? How did you like it? What was the initiation like?
    • What, if any, on-campus activities did you participate in?
    • Did you get a degree? In what?
    • Which professor(s) influenced your life and career the most?
    • Was your class work difficult or easy for you? What were your study habits? Did you pull all-nighters? Did you cram with friends or work alone?
    • Did you attend your graduation ceremony? Describe it.
    • Was your family supportive of your decision to attend college? How so?
    • How did your college experience prepare you for your later years?
    • If you could do it again, would you take a different academic path, or are you satisfied with the route you followed?
    • Did you go on to receive an advanced degree? If so, what was it and have you used it in your professional career?

    Military Experience

    • How did it come about that you went into the military? Did you enlist or were you drafted? In what branch did you serve?
    • Where was your basic training and what was it like?
    • What was the name of your company? Did it have a nickname? Did it have a mascot?
    • Did you ever serve duty over seas? If so, where and for what reason were you abroad?
    • Where were you stationed and for how long? What was your specialty? Describe your living arrangements.
    • Where did you go and what did you do for rest and relaxation?
    • Tell about your best friends in the service.
    • What is your fondest memory while serving?
    • What was the most difficult aspect of participating in the military?
    • Were you ever in combat? Explain the circumstances.
    • Did you win any medals or decorations? For what?
    • What supplies and weaponry were you issued? How long did it take you to learn to use your weapon? Were you a pretty good shot?
    • Altogether, how long did you serve? What was your highest rank?
    • Describe any officers or military leaders you admired. Were there any that were particularly hard to get along with?
    • What is your opinion regarding war as a means to resolve conflict?
    • Would you (or did you) encourage your child to enlist? Why or why not?
    • What is your opinion regarding the government’s compensation for veterans?
    • Do you consider your duty as having been a positive or negative life experience? Why?
    • What did you learn from the military that benefited you most in life?

    Career

    • What are some of the part-time jobs you’ve had?
    • Tell about your first job that enabled you to become self-supporting.
    • How greatly did your first job influence the development of your later career?
    • Did you ever own your own business? What was it and how did you get started?
    • What led you to your line of work or career?
    • Were you friendly with your coworkers? Are there any you particularly remember? Did you ever socialize with them beyond work?
    • Did you have a secretary? What was he/she like? Were you very dependent on him/her?
    • What was your boss like? Was he or she a frightening person or a benevolent figure? Did you ever socialize with him/her?
    • Did you ever change your line of work or career? How many times? Why?
    • How did your level of education influence your career?
    • Tell about the high points in your career.
    • Do you think you were paid fairly at jobs throughout your life?
    • Did you every have any major setbacks during your career? How did you cope?
    • What has been your motivation to achieve or succeed in your career?
    • What interesting work-related stories can you tell?
    • Of what accomplishments in your career are you the proudest?
    • If you had a mentor, who was it? Describe the guidance you were given.
    • If you could have changed careers to something completely different, what would it have been and why?
    • Were you ever the boss? Would you have wanted to be?
    • In addition to being paid money, how else has your career created value in your life?
    • Is there anything else you would like to share about your work and career?

    Romance and Relationships

    • Who was your first love?
    • Have you had your heart broken? Have you broken any hearts? Explain.
    • Have you ever been married? To whom and for how long?
    • How did you feel about your spouse when your first met him/her? Did you know this would be your life’s partner? How did you know? Did he or she know too?
    • Describe your courtship.
    • How did you and your spouse first meet?
    • How did you propose/accept?
    • How did you get along with your in-laws? What did you parents have to say about your intended?
    • Describe your wedding and wedding reception.
    • Where did you go on your honeymoon? Did you ever take a second honeymoon?
    • What were the hardest times in your marriage?
    • If you stayed together, what is the “glue” that kept you together?
    • What was your economic status during your early years of marriage?
    • Did you have a special song or a place of special significance?
    • What term(s) of endearment do you use for your spouse?
    • What anniversary gift(s) do you remember giving? What anniversary gift(s) do you remember getting?
    • What is your favorite picture of you two together?
    • Did you move often during your marriage? Where did you finally settle, and why?
    • What do you admire most about your spouse?
    • What do you admire least about your spouse?
    • What have you learned about your spouse over the years that you did not know when you married her or him?
    • If your marriage ended, tell about how it happened. How did you cope with it? How did it feel being single again?
    • If you married again, what was different about your subsequent marriage(s)?
    • Looking back now, did you get married at the right time, or should you have waited longer—or done it earlier?
    • Is there anything else you would like to share about your marriage(s)?

    Parenthood

    • How many children do you have? What are their names and current ages?
    • Tell a story about each child’s early years.
    • Did you have any special pet names or nicknames you used for your children? Why were they chosen? Why did you name your children what you named them?
    • Describe the home(s) in which you raised your children. Tell about each neighborhood or community.
    • How did your family celebrate holidays?
    • Describe a typical family activity or outing.
    • Did you take your children on family vacations? Tell about your favorite(s).
    • Describe a typical family mealtime.
    • Who was your children’s pediatrician? Did your children have any medical emergencies or serious illnesses?
    • Describe the personalities of each of your children and your relationship with each.
    • Can you share some memorable moments about each child’s teen years? What were your major concerns about them during this time?
    • Which child is most like you and which is most like your spouse? Explain.
    • What did your kids call you? The basic “Mommy” and “Daddy” or something more unusual?
    • Did any of your children have an exceptional talent?
    • Can you remember one memorable thing that each one of your children said—something that surprised you or amused you or impressed you at the time and still sticks in your mind?
    • Describe your parenting style, including discipline. Did it change over the years? How did it compare to your parents’ style?
    • Did you and your spouse have any major differences about how to raise your children?
    • If you were a stepparent, what were the most difficult aspects?
    • Have your parents played an important role in the lives of your children?
    • What are some of the proudest moments you have had as a parent?
    • What is the worst part of being a parent? The best part?
    • What was it like for you when your children left home?
    • What one thing would you do differently if you could live your parenting years over?
    • Is there anything else you would like to share about parenthood?

    Mature Years

    • Describe how your values, goals and priorities have changed as you have aged.
    • Have your senior years been like you always thought they would be? If not, how have they been different?
    • Tell about how and when you decided to retire.
    • Have you taken up any hobbies or interests after retiring?
    • Have you remained active throughout your senior years?
    • Do you feel you have attained a certain wisdom with age? Explain.
    • Have you lost many loved ones? If so, how have these losses affected you?
    • Describe your health in your senior years.
    • During your senior years, have you played an important role in the lives of your grandchildren?
    • Are any of your looks, personality traits, or talents evident in your grandchildren?
    • Did you baby-sit your grandchildren? Do you have a special room for the grandchildren at your house?
    • Do you enjoy taking your grandchildren out for meals in restaurants? What is their favorite place?
    • Have you ever taken your grandchildren on a trip with you? If so, describe the experience.
    • Do your grandchildren ever have sleepovers with you? How do you spend those evenings?
    • Do your grandchildren look like your own children did as babies? Do they have a similar temperament?
    • Have you taught your grandchildren any games or hobbies?
    • What do you fix your grandchildren to eat when they come visit you?
    • Have you had interesting conversations with your grandchildren over the phone? Are they fairly communicative, or can you hardly coax the words out of their mouths?
    • What television shows do you and your grandchildren watch together? Have you gone to the movies together? A play? A circus?
    • Can you recall any especially memorable things each of your grandchildren has said?
    • Talk briefly about each of your grandchildren (and great grandchildren, if applicable).
    • How is family life different for your grandchildren than it was for you?
    • What is the best part about being a grandparent? What is the worst?
    • What are your wishes for your grandchildren?
    • What one thing would you like to be sure they remember? What do you want them to remember about you?

    02.01.04 Examples of Biography Phase Interview essays (English 12)

    02.01.05 Family tree journal entry (English 12)

    teacher-scored 20 points possible 120 minutes

    This journal entry will be a little unorthodox. For it, you will need to graphically represent your family history by making a family tree that extends back as far back as the information at your disposal allows. If you don't feel comfortable doing this for your own family, feel free to use the genealogical information from a friend or neighbor's family as the basis for your journal entry and the subsequent assignments.

    Make your family tree as full as possible by including complete names, places of birth, and dates of birth, marriage and death. (If you're interested in a free genealogical software program, you may go to the FamilySearch web site and download Personal Ancestry File 5.2. Although this software is provided by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, it has an option that allows you to exclude all L.D.S. allusions.)

    Remember that families come in many shapes, sizes and forms. Design a family tree to fit your circumstances. You may choose to use a traditional, four-generation pedigree chart, or feel free to design one of your own. ( If you opt to use Personal Ancestral File, simply fill in the appropriate fields and print the data in the form of a pedigree chart.)

    Evaluation:

    This journal entry is based on the level of effort suggested by your family tree.

    02.01.06 Time travel brochure (English 12)

    teacher-scored 40 points possible 180 minutes

    As a result of this assignment, the student will:


    • determine possible sources and locate relevant information
    • become more aware of his/her cultural origins and individual makeup
    • place his/her ancestors in a historical context
    • learn how to conduct meaningful research using Internet resources
    • practice representing data in a an organized, appealing format
    • appropriately cite research information

    For this assignment, you will need to pretend that time travel is possible. Imagine that you are an advertising executive for the Acme Time Warp Travel Agency. As such, it is your job to develop travel brochures that highlight various historical eras in an assortment of geographic locales. The idea is to create informative and graphically appealing materials that will attract prospective time-traveling clients to make use of your agency's "Back-in-Time" vacation packages.

    In order to develop accurate and meaningful brochures, you must focus on both content and presentation. To develop content for your brochure, you will need to conduct some research about the historical era you have chosen to focus on. The family connection comes in because it turns out (rather conveniently) that you have been assigned an era that coincides with the time frame and geographic location inhabited by one of your ancestors. Consequently, you will want to conduct some in-depth research about that specific era, particularly as it relates to the specified locale where your ancestor resided. (Note: The location and time period you research will be used as the historical setting for the story you write in Assignment 4 of this unit.)

    Be particularly aware of various events, people, and other historical phenomenon that significantly influenced the cultural landscape during your specified time frame. Additionally, you will need to focus on researching what life was like in the specific area during the timeframe in question. Try to find out about as many aspects of everyday life as possible--work, food, dress, music, and any other relevant customs and social activities that would provide insight into what life was like.

    To help facilitate your research, you may find this collection of on-line encyclopedias useful. You may also want to consult the award-winning Hyperhistory. And if your research focus pertains to Utah, the Utah Collections Multimedia Encyclopedia is a great resource. Here are some additional links that might prove useful:


    • Red Inkworks Historical Fiction Resources
    • Best of History Site
    • Historical Information Resources Page
    • Alternatime
    • Top 100 Stories of the Century
    • Nobel Prize Internet Archive
    • Life in Colonial America
    • Life of the Medieval Knight
    • Historical Atlas of the Twentieth Century
    • Factmonster: Year by Year

    Besides researching and developing the content for your brochure, you will also need to think about how to best present the information you discover. Before you get started on your brochure, one of the best things you can do is to collect some brochures from different companies and organizations. Review them and analyze the various approaches that were taken. Study the copy, the pictures, the text, and the general layout and try to determine why some are more appealing than others.

    Be aware that most word-processing programs have special templates available for doing tri-fold brochures. If you have access, software programs like Microsoft Publisher are also very user-friendly. Although it's not the most desirable approach, you can also format your brochure by simply selecting the three-column option with the landscape paper orientation. Which ever way you select, your brochure should contain six panels (three on the front and three on the back). If you are not using a template, I suggest you plan your brochure out by taking a blank piece of paper and folding it like a tri-fold brochure. Note which panel will be the cover of the brochure and plan your pamphlet accordingly. (You may have to run the same piece of paper through your printer twice to use all six panels.) Finally, make sure to appropriately document your research resources, using MLA format. (Note that Citation Machine might be useful here.) Your citations should be listed on the back middle panel of your brochure. Make sure there is a title there indicating "Works Cited" or "Bibliography."

    Evaluation:

    Brochure Rubric

    CATEGORY (A) Excellent (B) Good (C) Almost (F) Not Yet
    Attractiveness & Organization

    (Organization)

    The brochure has exceptionally attractive formatting and well-organized information. The brochure has attractive formatting and well-organized information. The brochure has well-organized information. The brochure's formatting and organization of material are confusing to the reader.
    Content - Accuracy

    (Ideas)

    The brochure has abundant and relevant information about a specific historical time and place. Established rhetorical situation is effectively addressed. The brochure has sufficient relevant information about a specific historical time and place. Established rhetorical situation is somewhat addressed. The brochure has some relevant information about a specific historical time and place. Established rhetorical situation is hinted at. The brochure has inadequate information about a specific historical time and place. Established rhetorical situation is not addressed.
    Writing - Mechanics

    (Conventions)

    Text is carefully edited for sentence structure, spelling, punctuation, and capitalization. Most of the text is carefully edited for sentence structure, spelling, punctuation, and capitalization. Some of the text is edited for sentence structure, spelling, punctuation, and capitalization. Text is in need of significant editorial revision.
    Graphics/Pictures

    The graphics go well with the text and there is a good mix of text and graphics. The graphics go well with the text, but there are so many that they distract from the text. The graphics go well with the text, but there are too few. The graphics are inadequate or do not go with the accompanying text or appear to be randomly chosen.
    Sources

    There are at least three MLA formatted citations (see Citation Machine for assistance) accurately listed on the middle back panel of the brochure.

    There are two MLA formatted citations accurately listed on the middle back panel of the brochure.

    Citations are present but are inadequate and/or do not observe MLA formatting.

    No citations are listed on the brochure.

    02.01.07 Ancestor Character Sketch Journal Entry (English 12)

    teacher-scored 20 points possible 60 minutes

    Picture the ancestor whose time period you learned more about in the previous assignment. If you have access to a picture of him (or her), describe him in as much detail as possible. If you don't have a picture, perhaps you could use your most immediate ancestor, whose appearance you're more familiar with, as the basis for your description.

    In addition to describing your character's facial features and physical appearance, describe how you imagine he would have dressed, spoken, and carried himself in the era in which he lived. What sorts of daily activities would he have typically engaged in? What kind of a personality would he have had? Additionally, describe what kind of setting you picture your ancestor in?

    Try to address all of these issues as you sketch what you imagine a typical day in the life of this ancestor would have been like.

    Evaluation:

    Journal entries are an opportunity to explore ideas and develop fluency with language in an informal context. You will be assessed a point value from 1 to 20 points, based on the effort and thoughtfulness demonstrated in your response.

    02.01.08 Ancestral Historical Fiction (English 12)

    teacher-scored 50 points possible 150 minutes

    As a result of this assignment, the student will:


    • demonstrate historical understanding related to a specific period and location
    • create a piece of historical fiction that incorporates authentic historical information
    • contrive a plot appropriate to the time period in which historical narrative is set
    • develop realistic setting and characters
    • use vivid, concrete language when describing settings, characters, and actions

    "The historian, if honest, gives us a photograph; the storyteller gives us a painting."
    --Leon Garfield

    Using knowledge gleaned in previous assignments of this unit, I'd like you to write a short piece of historical fiction using your ancestor as the protagonist. The story, which should be written for an elementary school-aged audience, may be grounded in a bit of actual family lore, or it may be entirely made up. In either event, it should be set in the location and time frame you researched in the previous assignment and should demonstrate your knowledge of customs, dress, and other cultural phenomena appropriate to the time. The characters, plot and setting should be plausible and realistic.

    The story should contain character dialogue and vivid descriptive detail where appropriate. Additionally, it should provide insight into the social mechanisms of the time by having your character grapple with some sort of realistic and believable conflict--either internal or external--that would be appropriate to that time and place.

    In a nutshell, your challenge is to present a compelling story with believable characters in a realistic setting. The information you present should not conflict with known historical records.

    If you're artistically inclined, for extra credit, you may choose to illustrate your story.

    Evaluation:

    This essay will be assessed using the Six-Trait evaluation rubric, developed by the Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory. This rubric is based on the idea that each piece of writing may be evaluated in six distinct areas: ideas/content, organization, sentence fluency, word choice, voice, and conventions. Each of these components are ranked on a scale of 1-5 (1 representing poor and 5 excellent). The sum of the values of the six components could represent a maximum score of 30 points.

    For this assignment, an additional 20 points will be awarded for the research and inclusion of interesting and compelling detail relevant to the actual historical setting in which the story takes place. Look to especially integrate information you discovered as a result of your Time-Travel Brochure research.

    03.00 Cultural context (English 12)

    "There is properly no history. Only biography."
    --Ralph Waldo Emerson

    As previous assignments have suggested, we are all a product of our experiences and our heredity. However, in a larger sense, we are also a product of the society that we live in. Whether we are aware of it or not, we are shaped by our larger cultural context. Our individual self is merely a thread in civilization's larger tapestry.

    Any meaningful discussion of our culture requires that we examine some of the personalities that have played a significant role in that culture. With the dawn of the new millennium, it seems appropriate that we focus on some of the individuals who profoundly impacted the last one thousand years. Perhaps a study of "the movers and shakers" of times past will help us develop an awareness of the differences and similarities between people in very different contexts. It may even embolden us to realize our own potential for impacting our cultural landscape.

    Course Description

    We live in a world filled with static. Whether born of ignorance, insincerity, or insensitivity, static chokes the channels of communication and prevents people from connecting in meaningful ways. This class focuses on the use of language as a tool to make connections: between our self and others, between our self and our world, between our self and history, and between our self and our future. By making these connections, I believe students will be better prepared to become productive and thoughtful citizens in the Information Age.

    The class will be writing intensive, interdisciplinary, and, hopefully, enjoyable. We will devote considerable time and energy to examining the strategies and processes of writers and writing. Writing is, afterall, about learning how to think clearly. A good writer observes phenomena, formulates an idea, attempts to adequately support that idea with evidence, and then revises and refines the idea as he seeks to explain it to others. In other words, writing is just another form of the Scientific Method, or, stated another, way, writing is thinking.

    Given this relationship between writing and thinking, this class requires that (1) you write a lot (both informally and formally) and practice the various steps in the writing process; (2) you read and respond to others' writing in order to discuss various ideas and develop an awareness of what readers need and want from a text; and (3) you read, examine, and respond to various published texts to examine how experienced writers use words to construct meaning.

    03.01 Link to Life Magazine's list of the hundred most important people of the millennium (English 12)

    03.01 Read a biography (English 12)

    For this unit, you will need to find and read an approximately 200-page biography on a person of notable significance from the last one thousand years. Please select your biographical subject from Life Magazine's Top 100 People of the Millennium list. You should select your subject promptly, as several of the assignments for this unit presuppose a fairly comprehensive understanding of the inner workings of the individual you'll be focusing on.

    You will need to write a review of the biography that you select. Try to find one that is at least 200 pages. See activity 3.1.11 for instructions on the writing assignment that goes with your reading.

    03.01.01 Journal entry: You make an entrance (English 12)

    teacher-scored 10 points possible 30 minutes

    Before we start analyzing prominent figures of second millennium, let's start with your earliest recorded history. What do you know about the circumstances surrounding your birth? Of course you won't remember much, if anything. You will need to talk to relatives, friends, and neighbors who knew you then. You may want to consult photo albums and scrapbooks and perhaps your baby book, if you have one.

    Additionally, you may want to choose from the questions below to help you write:


    • What day of the week were you born? Where were you born? Do you know anything about your birth? (Was it early in the morning? Did you take a long time to arrive? Did you come out hollerin'? Was your father present at the delivery? etc.) How did your parents announce your birth?
    • If you were adopted, tell about your first meeting with your parents. Did they pick you up at the hospital or perhaps meet the plane bringing you to this country? How much time did your parents have to prepare for your arrival? What else do you know about your adoption?
    • What kind of baby were you? What can other family members tell about your first year or two?
    • Tell about your name. Were you named after anyone in particular? What does your name mean? Do you know anything about your surname and/or its history? Did you ever have any pet or nicknames? What other names were your parents considering for you? What would your name have been if you had been born of the opposite sex?
    • Where did you fit among your brothers and sisters? If you have older brothers and sisters, how did they feel about your arrival?

    Evaluation:

    Journal entries are an opportunity to explore ideas and develop fluency with language in an informal context. You will be assessed a point value from 1 to 10 points, based on the effort and thoughtfulness demonstrated in your response.

    03.01.02 Links for research for When I Was Born project (English 12)

    03.01.02 When I Was Born project (English 12)

    teacher-scored 30 points possible 120 minutes

    As a result of this assignment, the student will:


    • conduct research using a variety of sources
    • choose an appropriate organizational structure to present research results

    What was the world like the day you were born? What was happening that year? Visit the library and/or your local newspaper office to find a newspaper from the day you were born. Find popular magazines from the year you were born, as well as almanacs, yearbook encyclopedias, and other print materials. The Internet will also provide a wealth of useful resources--particularly the Timelines of History site and the others in the URLs for this activity.

    See if you can find the answers to the following questions:

    1. On the day or week you were born, what happened in your community, in the U.S. and in the world?
    2. What were the major news events the year you were born? Who were the important personalities?
    3. Which movies and actors/actresses received Academy Awards?
    4. What musical groups, individual musicians, and specific songs were popular? (The Grammy site and the Country Music Awards site might prove useful here.)
    5. Which books were the bestsellers in the 80s and 90s?
    6. Who were the sports heroes and winning teams?
    7. What other interesting information can you find about the year you were born? For instance, who was the President of the US? What fashions were trendy? What controversies were raging?

    Present the results of your research in some sort of meaningful way. (Here's a chance for you to make use of your favorite multiple intelligence!) You may choose to do a collage (may not be bigger than 11" x 17"), write a report, compose a poem or song, film a video (must be less than five minutes), or do anything else that allows us to appreciate the information you uncovered.

    If necessary, you may submit your work on this assignment via traditional mail.

    Evaluation:

    Since this assignment may be done in a variety of different media, the evaluation criteria will be fairly loose. The primary evaluation criteria will be based on the content (does it demonstrate adequate research into the time frame in question) and the form (does it effectively convey the information in a meaningful format) of the assignment.

    03.01.03 Journal entry 2: We Didn't Start the Fire (English 12)

    teacher-scored 20 points possible 60 minutes

    In addition to the year you were born, which was the focus of the previous assignment, you have also been influenced by historical phenomena in the decades immediately before and after your birth. The song "We Didn't Start the Fire," by Billy Joel musically chronicles some of the people and events that figured significantly in the latter part of the Twentieth Century--roughly from 1950 to 1989. (You can become more culturally literate by checking out the various historical allusions in the song.)

    Since the song ends with events from 1989, it does not account for the people and events of the 1990's or the first few years of the 21st Century. Consequently, this assignment will cast you in the role of songwriter to finish the job Joel began. You will need to select from the numerous players and events that have had an impact in the last 10-20 years to compose an additional verse to Joel's song. In addition to selecting what material to use, you should try to imitate the style and rhythm of the final verse of the original song.

    You may find some of the sites from the URL's helpful as you consider events that occurred in the past decade.

    Evaluation:

    This journal entry will be evaluated based on the quality and historical relevance of your verse.

    03.01.03 Links for journal entry 2: We Didn't Start the Fire (English 12)

    Use these links to research events to add to your song verse.

    03.01.04 Links for Reporter at Large assignment (English 12)

    03.01.04 Reporter at Large assignment (English 12)

    teacher-scored 30 points possible 90 minutes

    As a result of this assignment, the student will:


    • conduct research about an important 20th Century news story
    • understand the basic format of a newspaper article
    • apply knowledge of language structure, language conventions, and media techniques

    Select one of the stories from the list of the Top 100 Stories of the Twentieth Century, as selected by a panel of scholars and journalists. Once you've selected a story, find out as much information about it as you can. If possible, talk to people who remember the event. Additionally, research it in other sources at your library or online.

    Once you're satisfied that you have a good understanding of what occurred, write a news article about the event (or perhaps series of events) as if you were a reporter who was actually dispatched to the scene to report what happened. Make sure to devise a catchy, attention-getting headline for your article. Your initial paragraph (or lead paragraph) should present essential information. This information is sometimes referred to as the 5 W's plus H (who, what where, when, why, and how). The body of your article should provide additional details about the event. It might provide some historical context or compare it to similar events. Additionally, try to use quotes about the event by relevant historical individuals to add interest and a human dimension to the article.

    I encourage you to peruse the well-written sample article URL to give you a handle on what I'm expecting here. Additionally, you may also want to refer to these tips about writing news stories.

    Evaluation

    Your newspaper article will be evaluated based on the following criteria:


    • headline captures audience interest
    • lead summarizes story AND/OR draws the reader in
    • information is presented objectively (facts are cited)
    • information is organized clearly
    • article answers Who, What, Where, Why and How questions
    • writer uses short, simple sentences
    • appropriate presentation and grammatical conventions are observed

    03.01.05 Journal entry 3: Biographical subject psychograph (English 12)

    teacher-scored 20 points possible 90 minutes

    This journal exercise requires that you develop a fairly detailed timeline of the important points in the life of the biographical subject you elected to read about for the Unit 3 Reading Assignment. In addition to plotting the dates of such points on the horizontal, however, a psychograph requires that you add a vertical axis to the timeline to plot the positive or negative quality of each chronological event on the timeline.

    The vertical axis extends up on a scale of 1 to 3 (1 = good, 2 = very good, 3 = high point) to indicate the degree of positive qualities associated with a specifc event and downward on a scale of -1 to -3 (-1 = bad, -2 = very bad, -3 = low point) to indicate the negative degree of a specific event. If the event is neither good nor bad, the point could be plotted directly on the horizontal axis.

    If you were to connect the positive/negative points, the result would look like a seismogram with waves of various amplitudes.

    Evaluation:

    This journal entry will be evaluated based on the comprehensiveness of your subject's psychograph.

    03.01.06 Dramatic Monologue (English 12)

    teacher-scored 30 points possible 90 minutes

    As a result of this assignment, the student will:


    • demonstrate understanding of research subject's life
    • creatively assume the research subject's persona

    Select a pivotal moment in the life of your subject. It could be a moment of great triumph, extreme despair, or some other point of great significance. Then, using what you've learned from your research, get inside your subject's head, and, in his/her voice, write a one-two page monologue that reveals your subject's thoughts, feelings, and insights at that moment in time.

    Additionally, provide a prefatory paragraph or two that establishes the particulars of the event you are using as the basis for your monologue. Comment on why you consider it to be such an important moment in your subject's life.

    Evaluation:

    Your monologue will be evaluated based on the degree of insight into your subject it provides. It should be historically accurate and reflect a thorough understanding of the particular event in the context of your subject's life. Additionally, it should be well organized, edited, and effectively capture the essence of the subject's persona.

    03.01.07 Journal entry 4: Biopoem (English 12)

    teacher-scored 10 points possible 45 minutes

    Using the following outline, write a Bio-Poem for your biographical subject. An example of a Bio-Poem for the fictional character Noah Joad in The Grapes of Wrath is provided.

    Bio-Poem

    Line 1: Your subject's first name
    Line 2: Four words that desribe this subject
    Line 3: Brother of sister of . . .
    Line 4: Lover of . . . (three ideas or people)
    Line 5: Who feels . . . (three ideas)
    Line 6: Who needs . . . (three ideas)
    Line 7: Who gives . . . (three ideas)
    Line 8: Who fears . . . (three ideas)
    Line 9: Who would like to see . . .
    Line 10: Resident of . . .
    Line 11: His or her last name

    Example

    Noah
    Tall, strange, calm, puzzled
    Brother of Tommy
    Lover of peace, isolation, silence
    Who feels laid-back, calm, nothing
    Who needs a sense of direction, a place in society, pride
    Who gives peace, amazement, a wondering look
    Who fears life, other people, himself
    Who would like to see feelings, caring, temptation
    Resident of Oklahoma
    Joad.

    Evaluation:

    Journal entries are an opportunity to explore ideas and develop fluency with language in an informal context. You will be assessed a point value from 1 to 10 points, based on the effort and thoughtfulness demonstrated in your response. 03.1.7 Noah (English 12)03.1.7 Noah (English 12)

    03.01.08 Essential Trait essay (English 12)

    teacher-scored 30 points possible 90 minutes

    As a result of this assignment, the student will:


    • analyze biographical subject to determine dominant traits or characteristics
    • support analysis with specific examples from the research subject's life

    Previously, you informally explored the life of your subject by imagining what he or she would be thinking at a pivotal moment in his or her life. For this assignment, I'd like you to write a more formal essay that identifies what characteristic or personality trait is or was an essential attribute of the individual whom you have studied. What traits, in your estimation, made the person successful or influential?

    Once you have identified a trait that you feel your subject demonstrated, look to your research to identify specific instances when your subject displayed that characteristic or trait. For example, if you identify perseverance as your subject's essential trait, cite times in her life when she demonstrated a steadfast belief in her goals and dreams. Note times when she held to a course of action, even though it seemed unlikely she would succeed. If ingenuity is your subject's essential attribute, provide examples of inventive skills, imagination, and the ability to solve problems with creative solutions. Try to provide as much evidence as possible to support your assessment.

    Here are a few characteristics that you might want to consider: intelligence, integrity, determination, industriousness, perfectionism, assertiveness, eloquence, creativity, ingenuity, courage, persuasiveness, compassion, open-mindedness, and responsibility.

    Evaluation:

    This essay will be assessed using the Six-Trait evaluation rubric, developed by the Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory, which is based on the idea that each piece of writing may be evaluated in six distinct areas: ideas/content, organization, sentence fluency, word choice, voice, and conventions. Each of these components are ranked on a scale of 1-5 (1 representing poor and 5 excellent). The sum of the values of the six components could represent a maximum score of 30 points.

    03.01.09 Journal entry 5: Interview (English 12)

    teacher-scored 20 points possible 60 minutes

    Assuming the persona of Oprah, Jerry Springer, or any other modern talk show host, make a list of questions that you would want to ask your research subject, assuming an interview was actually possible. Then develop a transcript of the dialogue that would result if, in fact, these questions were the basis of an actual interview.

    Try to capture the voice of both parties as the interview develops. Don't feel compelled to stick to the questions you thought of in advance. The interviewing dynamic will probably prompt you to pose follow-up questions that you couldn't anticipate in advance.

    Evaluation:

    The interview should go on for approximately 2-3 pages, in script form. It will be scored based on the quality and thoroughness of your interview and the degree to which you captured the voices of both parties involved.

    03.01.10 Unit 3 reading assignment response (English 12)

    teacher-scored 40 points possible 510 minutes

    Biography book review for Unit 3

    You will need to write a review of the biography that you selected. In addition to the pre-writing questions for writing a review, you may want to consider the following:

    1. Does the book give a "full-length" picture of the subject?
    2. What phases of the subject's life receive greatest treatment? Is this treatment justified?
    3. What is the point of view of the author?
    4. How is the subject matter organized: chronologically, retrospectively, etc.?
    5. Is the treatment superficial or does the author show extensive study into the subject's life?
    6. What source materials were used in the preparation of the biography?
    7. Is the work documented?
    8. Does the writer appear credible?
    9. Does the author attempt to get at the subject's hidden motives?
    10. What important facts about the subject's life are revealed in the book?
    11. What is the relationship of the subject's career to contemporary history?

    Note that the most important element about a book review is that it is a commentary, not merely a summary. You should devote relatively little space to surveying the contents. Simply present a brief outline or synopsis, indicating the chronological scope, and which, if any, aspects of the subject's life are totally ignored. The bulk of your review, therefore, should concentrate on your evaluation of the way the author(s) handled the subject discussed. What is (are) the overall thesis(es)--the points of view or conclusion? What are your reactions? Did the book enhance your understanding of the individual? Be as direct as possible. Remember, you are the expert.

    You might want to check out some of the suggestions found in the link entitled "Steps for Writing a Good Book Review". Please specify the title and author of your selected text in the introduction of your review.

    Your review should conclude with your personal critique. Refer back to your introductory paragraph(s). What is your ultimate judgment of the style, format, contents, and historical value of the book? Has the author presented ample and credible information about the biographical subject? Has he or she provided substantial insight into the subject's life and/or accomplishments? Why or why not? Has the book challenged you intellectually, increasing your knowledge, raising new questions, and/or presenting the material in a novel, even provocative manner? Or does the author simply rehash what everyone already knows? Would you recommend this book? What, if anything, would you have done differently if you were the author?

    Additionally, please create a ten-question, multiple-choice quiz (and answer key) about your biographical subject, derived from your biographical reading.

    Evaluation:

    This essay will be assessed using the Six-Trait evaluation rubric, developed by the Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory. This rubric is based on the idea that each piece of writing may be evaluated in six distinct areas: ideas/content, organization, sentence fluency, word choice, voice, and conventions. Each of these components is ranked on a scale of 1-5 (1 representing poor and 5 excellent). The sum of the values of the six components could represent a maximum score of 30 points.

    An additional 10 points will be awarded for the test and corresponding answer key on your biographical subject.

    03.01.11 Links for writing your review of a biography (English 12)

    04.00 Unit 4: The Heroic Ideal (English 12)

    "Life is either an adventure or it is nothing."
    --Helen Keller

    What comes to mind when you think of a hero? Is it Christopher Reeves' portrayal of Superman, Luke Skywalker as the light-sabre swinging protagonist in Star Wars, or perhaps Michael Jordan as a basketball demi-god in Space Jam? Most of us are introduced to the heroic ideal through myth and legend. Afterall, mythological heroes accomplish great feats: they slay the multi-headed hydra, overcome the Dark Side, and defeat the aliens that seek to enslave us.

    The Hero's Journey, however, isn't merely the province of the superhuman. Indeed, it is the very pattern of life, growth, and experience for us all. As we learn about the stages of the Hero's Journey, we will become more cognizant of how it is reflected in virtually every aspect of human experience--in TV shows and movies, in literature, and in our daily lives. Such awareness compels us to realize our own heroic potential, and prompts us to pursue our own Heroic Journey.

    04.01 Links for Arthurian literature (English 12)

    04.01 Reading Arthurian Literature (English 12)

    04.104.1 For this unit on heroes, it seems appropriate that you spend some time reading about King Arthur, the preeminent hero in all of English Literature. No other literary character in Western civilization has been celebrated like the legendary King of the Brits. The legend has inspired art work, numerous films, volumes of poetry (of which the one in URL's is just one small example), and a litany of scholarly controversy as to Arthur's actual existence.

    Consequently, please obtain one of the texts mentioned in the web site entitled "Arthurian Literature for Young Adults." To receive credit for your reading, please select and complete three different projects from the 100 Things to Do With Books site. Your reading grade depends on the quality of your projects and the degree of insight into your chosen book they represent.

    At the conclusion of this unit, you should be prepared to discuss how the Arthurian Legend embodies the various elements of the archetypal hero's journey.

    04.01.01 Journal entry 1: Heroes and celebrities (English 12)

    teacher-scored 10 points possible 45 minutes

    Make a list of individuals whom you think of as heroes. Based on your list, what qualities do these people possess that make them heroic? Similarly, list what names come to mind if you think of people who are celebrities? What characteristics does these individuals typically share? Ask yourself are all heroes celebrities? Are all celebrities heroes? How is a celebrity created? How is a hero created? How is a celebrity different from a hero?

    Evaluation:

    Journal entries are an opportunity to explore ideas and develop fluency with language in an informal context. You will be assessed a point value from 1 to 10 points, based on the effort and thoughtfulness demonstrated in your response.

    04.01.02 Celebrities and Heros comparison/contrast essay (English 12)

    teacher-scored 30 points possible 90 minutes

    As a result of this assignment, the student will:


    • differentiate between a hero and a celebrity
    • analyze the similarities and differences between two abstract concepts
    • compose a compare and contrast essay on heroes and celebrities

    In your recent journal entry, you mused about heroes and celebrities. This assignment provides you a formal opportunity to compare and contrast these related concepts by composing a compare and contrast essay.

    Comparison and contrast are two thought processes we constantly perform in everyday life. When we compare two things, we show how they are similar; when we contrast two things, we show how they are different. We may compare or contrast two brand-name products (for example, Play Station and Xbox), two automobiles, two jobs, two friends, or two courses of action we can take within a given situation. The purpose of comparing and contrasting is to understand each of the two things more clearly and, at times, to make judgments about them.

    As you compose your essay comparing and contrasting the concepts of heroism and celebrity, make sure to include a clear thesis statement that asserts your opinon about the relationship between these two ideas. Additionally, consider the best way of organizing your paper. For example, some comparison-contrast essays like "A Fable for Tomorrow" (environmentalist Rachel Carson's introductory essay to her eye-opening book Silent Spring) are organized in parallel structure. She tells about the first item of comparison in detail and then explains the second item in a similar fashion. By presenting all of the information of both parts in a similar manner, the reader can then perceive how the two things are similar and different.

    The more common method of organizing a comparison-contrast essay, however, is the integrated or point-by-point approach, which is illustrated in this humorous essay by Suzanne Britt Jordan entitled, "That Lean and Hungry Look." In this essay, Jordan identifies multiple items to focus upon. She presents each item of comparison and then talks about her two subjects (in this case, thin and fat people) as they relate to the point of comparison. The benefit of this approach is that it spells out the similarities and differences to your readers as they process the text.

    Which ever organizational route you go, make sure to provide ample supporting evidence in the form of specific examples and illustrations to substantiate your ideas. Also, prior to actually writing your essay, you may want to use a graphic organizer as a resource to generate content and organize your ideas. You do not need to hand this in. Just use it as a pre-writing tool.

    Evaluation:

    This essay will be assessed using the Six-Trait evaluation rubric, developed by the Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory, which is based on the idea that each piece of writing may be evaluated in six distinct areas: ideas/content, organization, sentence fluency, word choice, voice, and conventions. Each of these components are ranked on a scale of 1-5 (1 representing poor and 5 excellent). The sum of the values of the six components could represent a maximum score of 30 points.

    04.01.02 Links for Celebrities and Heros comparison/contrast essay (English 12)

    04.01.03 Journal entry 2: The Hero's Journey (English 12)

    teacher-scored 10 points possible 45 minutes

    There are many heroes that are a part of our literary tradition. The classical heroes of Greek mythology like Hercules, Jason, and Theseus provide stories that are told and retold again and again. Though some tend to view such stories as quaint little tales for children, many would suggest that these stories serve as cultural looking glasses that helps define and nurture the values and ideals cherished by a given society. Perhaps some insight into who we are and what we believe can be gained, consequently, by examining the fictional heroes of our own era.

    04.1.3 The Hero with a Thousand Faces (English 12)04.1.3 The Hero with a Thousand Faces (English 12)
    Mythologist and educator Joseph Campbell, author of The Hero with a Thousand Faces, asserted that there is an archetypal pattern for heroes that appears again and again throughout world mythology. This pattern is referred to as the monomyth. Looking at the story of the hero in mythologies from around the world, Campbell found great similarities. "A hero ventures forth from the world of common day into a region of supernatural wonder: fabulous forces are there encountered and a decisive victory is won: the hero comes back from this mysterious adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow man." This archetypal pattern has become known as the Heroic Journey.

    The popular epic Star Wars cinema series is a modern-day embodiment of the Heroic Journey.
    04.1.3 Star Wars (English 12)04.1.3 Star Wars (English 12)

    Filmmaker George Lucas stated: "With Star Wars I consciously set about to re-create myths and the classical mythological motifs. I wanted to use those motifs to deal with issues that exist today. The more research I did, the more I realized that the issues are the same ones that existed 3,000 years ago."

    For this journal entry, I'd like you to learn more about what Lucas has to say on the subject of heroes and mythology by reading and summarizing the contents of the interview in Time Magazine between PBS's Bill Moyers and filmmaker George Lucas entitled "Of Myth and Men." (See URL's for this activity.)

    Evaluation:

    Journal entries are an opportunity to explore ideas and develop fluency with language in an informal context. You will be assessed a point value from 1 to 10 points, based on the effort and thoughtfulness demonstrated in your response.

    04.01.03 Links for Hero's Journey journal entry (English 12)

    04.01.04 Hero within links (English 12)

    04.01.04 The hero within essay (English 12)

    teacher-scored 30 points possible 90 minutes

    As a result of this assignment, the student will:


    • demonstrate an understanding of the elements of the Hero's Journey
    • recount a time in his/her life that illustrates some of the elements of the heroic journey motif
    • see the application of the heroic quest in his/her own life

    Perhaps the archetype of the Hero's Journey has transcended time and place because it touches on the very essence of human experience. All people in all places in all times experience crises and calls to adventure. To accept such calls is to embrace growth, change, and transformation. An awareness of the Hero's Journey, consequently, provides us a map to understand and interpret our lives. As we learn to view life as a journey, we become better equipped to give life-enhancing meaning to our experiences.

    Not all of life's calls and challenges are of epic proportion. Indeed, virtually anything that requires us to move out of our comfort zone--a challenging class, a new job, even writing an essay--may serve as a catalyst for personal development. Consequently, for this assignment, I'd like you to recreate a time in your life when you elected (or were perhaps compelled) to stretch and to grow.

    As part of your narrative, chart which elements of the Hero's Journey were present in your ordeal. (i.e., What kind of preparation did you have? Were there any helpers or mentor figures? How did the trial test you? Did you encounter disappointing setbacks or periods of self-doubt? How did you grow or develop as a result of the ordeal? Whom did you share your ultimate success with? How did they benefit as a result?)

    Evaluation:

    This essay will be assessed using the Six-Trait evaluation rubric, developed by the Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory, which is based on the idea that each piece of writing may be evaluated in six distinct areas: ideas/content, organization, sentence fluency, word choice, voice, and conventions. Each of these components are ranked on a scale of 1-5 (1 representing poor and 5 excellent). The sum of the values of the six components could represent a maximum score of 30 points.

    04.01.05 Journal entry 3: Real Life Heroes (English 12)

    teacher-scored 10 points possible 45 minutes

    For this journal entry, I would like you to think of at least three individuals, either living or dead, whose lives seem to epitomize the Hero's Journey. Offer a justification for each of the names you list by identifying specific aspects of the individual's life that reflect the elements of the Hero's Journey.

    Evaluation:

    Journal entries are an opportunity to explore ideas and develop fluency with language in an informal context. You will be assessed a point value from 1 to 10 points, based on the effort and thoughtfulness demonstrated in your response.

    04.01.05 Link to Hero's Journey (English 12)

    04.01.06 My Hero project (English 12)

    teacher-scored 30 points possible 90 minutes

    As a result of this assignment, the student will:


    • identify a personal hero
    • chronicle how the selected hero embodies the Heroic Journey

    Select one of the individuals you mentioned in your previous journal entry as the basis for an essay. Your essay should chronicle how your chosen individual embodies the Heroic Journey. Provide ample supporting evidence to clearly establish why this person deserves the hero epithet. In your conclusion, identify what impact your chosen hero has had on your life.

    In addition to submitting your essay for this class, you may opt to submit it to the MyHero Project, which attempts to "celebrate heroes who are real people, to uncover role models, and to establish positive images in the lives of young people." Another site that accepts essays about heroes is Your True Hero.

    Evaluation:

    Your essay will be assessed using the Six-Trait Evaluation rubric developed by the Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory. It is based on the idea that each piece of writing may be evaluated in six distinct areas: ideas/content, organization, sentence fluency, word choice, voice, and conventions. Each of these components is ranked on a scale of 1-5 (1 representing poor and 5 excellent). The sum of the values of the six components would represent a maximum score of 30 points.

    An additional 5 points will be awarded for providing a graphical image of your heroic subject adjacent to your text.

    04.01.06 My Hero project links (English 12)

    04.01.07 Journal entry 4: popular villains (English 12)

    teacher-scored 10 points possible 45 minutes

    We've spent a good deal of time and energy talking about heroic archetypes. If such archetypal figures embody the hopes and ideals of the cultures that spawn them, what then do the mythical villains of a culture represent?

    Psychologists like Carl Jung see the villain as actually representing the dark side of the hero. He suggests that each of us has a dark side or evil shadow to our personality. Others assert that villains represent the collective fears and worries of a society. If this is true, perhaps we might gain some insight into the fears of the modern psyche by examining some of Hollywood's arch villains.

    Consequently, I would like you to list some of the most formidable villains encountered by modern movie heroes. What characteristics or attributes do these villains possess? Ask yourself, what insight into the prevailing fears and concerns of the modern psyche do they provide? What behaviors and phenomena do we see as embodying "evil" and anti-social behavior?

    Evaluation:

    Journal entries are an opportunity to explore ideas and develop fluency with language in an informal context. You will be assessed a point value from 1 to 10 points, based on the effort and thoughtfulness demonstrated in your response.

    04.01.07 Link to information on Carl Jung (English 12)

    04.01.08 Villain character sketch (English 12)

    teacher-scored 30 points possible 90 minutes

    As a result of this assignment, the student will:


    • form a dominant impression of a character
    • compose a description of a character using direct and indirect characterization techniques (See below)
    • understand the role of the villain as a repository of the fears and concerns of society

    I would like you to create an original villain who embodies your personal fears and concerns about societal trends. In one-to-two pages, describe what you consider to be a truly frightening villain for the new millennium. As part of your description, choose a place or setting for your villain that allows you to provide your audience with insight into his/her character and inner workings. Be sure to include concrete, showing details to help the audience appreciate the dominant traits and mannerisms of your villain.

    You might want to consider some of the following questions/suggestions before you begin:


    • What has he or she done to make him/her so villainous?
    • What personality characteristics does he/she exhibit that the audience would find so repellent?
    • Provide a brief history of the villain's life.
    • What would a typical day in your villain's life be like?
    • How does your villain react with other people?
    • Describe the villain's physical characteristics. Be attentive to the type of clothes the villain wears.
    • Would he/she have an accent? a physical deformity? be from a particular country?
    • What does your villain believe in, if anything?
    • How does this villain represent what we, as a society, and you, as an individual, fear?

    As a reminder, be aware that there are four basic ways in which a writer can provide insight into a character:

    1. By what the personage himself says (and thinks, in the third person omniscient point of view).
    2. By what the character does.
    3. By what other characters say about him.
    4. By what the author says about him, speaking as either the storyteller or an observer of the action.

    As you consider the qualities of the character you are going to sketch, try to determine how you can best use these various techniques to make your character appear as a genuine three-dimensional being. Try to make your villain come alive.

    If you would like, in addition to writing about your villainous character, you may also create an original pictorial depiction of your villain for extra-credit. You will be awarded up to ten extra-credit points, depending on the quality of your picture. (The picture will need to be digitally scanned and submitted as a graphical file, preferably in gif or jpeg format.)

    Evaluation:

    This essay will be assessed using the Six-Trait evaluation rubric, developed by the Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory, which is based on the idea that each piece of writing may be evaluated in six distinct areas: ideas/content, organization, sentence fluency, word choice, voice, and conventions. Each of these components are ranked on a scale of 1-5 (1 representing poor and 5 excellent). The sum of the values of the six components could represent a maximum score of 30 points.

    You may earn up to 10 extra credit points by providing a visual depiction of your villain to accompany your character sketch.

    Direct vs. indirect characterization:

    Characterization is the process by which the writer reveals the personality of a character.
    Characterization is revealed through direct characterization and indirect characterization.

    Direct Characterization tells the audience what the personality of the character is.

    Example: “The patient boy and quiet girl were both well mannered and did not disobey their
    mother.”
    Explanation: The author is directly telling the audience the personality of these two children. The
    boy is “patient” and the girl is “quiet.”

    Indirect Characterization shows things that reveal the personality of a character. There are five
    different methods of indirect characterization:
    Speech
    What does the character say? How does the character speak?
    Thoughts
    What is revealed through the character’s private thoughts and feelings?
    Effect on others
    What is revealed through the character’s effect on other people? How do
    other characters feel or behave in reaction to the character?
    Actions
    What does the character do? How does the character behave?
    Looks
    What does the character look like? How does the character dress?

    TIP #1: Use the mnemonic device of STEAL to remember the five types of indirect characterization
    TIP #2: Use indirect characterization to analyze visual media:
    Film: Look at how the character dresses and moves. Note the facial expressions when the
    director moves in for a close-up shot.
    Drama: Pay attention to the way that the characters reveal their thoughts during a soliloquy.

    Examples of Indirect Characterization from The Cat in the Hat

    Speech:
    Many of the words spoken by the cat at the
    beginning of the story have an upbeat
    connotative meaning. For instance, the cat
    says to the children, “But we can have /
    Lots of fun that is funny!” (7).
    This reveals that the cat’s character is an
    upbeat character that likes to have fun.

    Thoughts:
    So all we could do was to
    Sit!
    Sit!
    Sit!
    Sit!
    And we did not like it.
    Not one little bit (3).
    These are the thoughts of the narrator as
    he stares out the window on a rainy day.
    These thoughts reveal that this character
    is not happy about his current situation.

    Effect on others:
    Throughout the first three quarters of the
    story, three different illustrations portray
    the fish scowling at the cat (11, 25, and 37)
    immediately after each of the cat’s
    activities. When the cat returns to clean up
    his mess at the end of the story the fish is
    shown with a smile on his face (57).
    The scowls on the fish’s face support the
    argument that the cat’s behavior at the
    beginning of the story is not acceptable to
    the fish. The fish’s smile at the end of the
    story reveals that the cat is engaging in
    behavior that is now acceptable to the
    fish.

    Actions:
    On page 18, the cat engages in “UP-UP-UP
    with a fish” an activity that involves the cat
    standing on a ball while balancing seven
    objects. Later in the story, the cat releases
    two “things” that fly kites inside the house.
    These activities are outrageous, dangerous
    and should not be conducted in the house.
    They reveal that the cat’s character is not
    concerned about rules related to safety
    and appropriateness.

    Looks:
    Throughout the first three-quarters of the
    story, the cat is shown with a smile on his
    face. Towards the end of the story,
    however, when the cat is told to leave, he is
    shown leaving the house with slumped
    shoulders and a sad face.
    The smiles reveal that the cat is enjoying
    himself and is not apologetic for his
    outrageous behavior. The frown and
    slumped shoulders at the end of the story
    show that he is not enjoying himself
    anymore.

    04.01.09 Journal entry 5: Good Meets Evil (English 12)

    teacher-scored 10 points possible 60 minutes

    Having defined your villain, imagine what kind of a hero would be required to combat him or her. What would such a hero look like? What attributes would he or she possess? Would your hero attempt to fight your villain with physical strength or would he or she try to outwit your villain? Who would get the better of a combative encounter?

    Now sketch the plot for a movie that pits your fictional villain against your imagined hero. How would the plot develop? Where would it be set? Who would you cast as your villain? Who would you cast as your hero? What conflict would evolve? How would it be resolved? Will good triumph? Or will evil be left lurking around the perimeters of our social consciousness?

    After you've presented some ideas about your imagined hero, write a brief sketch of your movie plot. This will be a broad overview, but should be sufficiently detailed to give us a handle on the basics of how your movie would be.

    Evaluation:

    Journal entries are an opportunity to explore ideas and develop fluency with language in an informal context. You will be assessed a point value from 1 to 10 points, based on the effort and thoughtfulness demonstrated in your response.

    04.01.10 Hero's Journey short story (English 12)

    teacher-scored 50 points possible 150 minutes

    As a result of this assignment, the student will:


    • demonstrate understanding of the various elements in the archetypal hero's journey motif
    • develop a story with a solid structure, filled with clear and ample details involving characters, plot, and setting

    As a culminating activity for this unit on "The Heroic Ideal," I'd like you to compose your own hero's journey narrative, based on a dramatic confrontation between the villain and hero you've just defined. To do so, you may want to utilize the hero's journey story tool available in the URL; however, as an alternative, focus on incorporating the major recurring motifs we see in various hero's journey narratives: the hero's call to adventure from a known and comfortable world to a dangerous and unfamiliar one, a mentor figure who offers guidance and direction to the hero, helpers or allies to assist the hero, special gifts or tools that the hero possesses, difficulties and trials that the hero needs to overcome, and the final conquest and defeat of the villain that results in the bestowal of blessings.

    In addition to including these hero's journey elements, make sure to develop interesting characters and a compelling plot structure. Use characterization techniques and lots of vivid showing detail to bring your story to life.

    Evaluation:

    This essay will be assessed using the Six-Trait evaluation rubric, developed by the Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory, which is based on the idea that each piece of writing may be evaluated in six distinct areas: ideas/content, organization, sentence fluency, word choice, voice, and conventions. Each of these components are ranked on a scale of 1-5 (1 representing poor and 5 excellent). The sum of the values of the six components could represent a maximum score of 30 points. For this assignment, an additional 20 points will be awarded for the degree to which your story illustrates the various steps in the hero's journey.

    04.01.10 Hero's Journey tool link (English 12)

    05.00 Media Literacy (English 12)

    The way to be liberated from the constraining effects of any medium is to develop a perspective on it--how it works and what it does. Being illiterate in the processes of any medium (language) leaves one at the mercy of those who control it."
    --Neil Postman

    In previous units, we have examined the familial, historical, and literary influences that have shaped us. This unit, we will turn our attention to the phenomena of contemporary society. We will look closely at the forces that affect us and our perceptions of reality.

    In the modern world, much of who we are and what we think depends on the media. The underlying objective of the assignments in this unit is to enhance our "Media Literacy." Developing media literacy can be likened to the scene in the Wizard of Oz when Toto pulls back the curtain to reveal the small, lever-pulling man behind the image of the mystical wizard. This is the point where Dorothy and her crew come to realize that the wizard is a carefully constructed fiction rather than an omnipotent force.

    Like Toto, we too need to learn how to "pull back the curtains" to reveal the truth behind the countless media messages that we are exposed to on a daily, even hourly basis. By going beyond the surface of such messages, we begin to understand the implicit as well as explicit ideas that are conveyed. Such scrutiny enables us to become active processors rather than passive receptors of the glut of messages in our daily media diet.

    This critical awareness will better prepare us to deal with the complex issues facing modern society. Additionally, by deconstructing media, we will learn how to better form our own purposeful media messages.

    05.00 Unit 5 Media Literacy Links (English 12)

    05.01 Read 1984 links (English 12)

    05.01 Reading 1984 (English 12)

    Reading 1984

    The reading assignment for this unit will be 1984 by George Orwell. (Although I encourage you to get an actual copy of the book, online texts are available - see URL's.) 05.1 1984 (English 12)05.1 1984 (English 12)In 1984, Orwell presents a disturbing glimpse into Oceania, a futuristic world (despite the dated title) dominated by ruthless brutality and mindless conformity. This conformity is achieved and maintained, in part, because of the unwillingness or inability of Oceania's citizenry to critically evaluate their media environment. Orwell's 1984 stands as a testament to the importance of education and critical thinking in a democratic society, and it is, therefore, an appropriate work to read in the context of a study in media literacy.

    It is important to note that Orwell does not offer 1984 as a prophecy. Instead, it is, as many have noted, a warning about the future of human freedom in a world where political organization and technology can manufacture power in diminsions that would have stunned the imaginations of earlier ages. In order for Orwell's warning to be successful, however, we need to be mindful of "Orwellian" trends in contemporary society.

    Since this unit deals with media literacy, I'd like you to analyze the similarities and differences between media manipulation in 1984 and today and compose a comparison-contrast essay at the end of this unit for activity 5.1.11 that explores these similarities and differences. Such analysis will require a heightened awareness to the methodologies of modern-day propagandists, and how they use techniques that resemble or differ from those exercised by Oceania's controlling class (the Inner Party). For example, Orwell writes that two of the three central tenets of Ingsoc are Doublethink and Newspeak. While contemporary society may not exhibit these exact same phenomena, we do have Doublespeak, which combines elements of these Oceanic principles.

    05.01.01 Your Daily Media Diet (English 12)

    teacher-scored 10 points possible 60 minutes

    The dictionary defines "media" as "any means, agency, or instrumentality specifically designed to communicate a message that reaches the general public." Every day, we encounter hundreds of media messages. On television and in movies, fictional characters affirm and denounce various values and lifestyles. In the news media, networks and newspapers provide photos and commentary of events considered newsworthy. On the internet, electronic billboards announce the latest online attractions. In popular magazines, athletes and entertainers dictate what to eat, drink, and do. Students themselves carry media messages through images on their Nike shoes, Levis jeans, Old Navy t-shirts, and more. From the wrapper on a cheeseburger to the "Sunkist" stamp on an orange, even our food bears the name of various commercial entities. Our environment is saturated with media messages. From the morning radio to the evening news, we are blitzed with messages promoting products, places, ideas, and even people.

    For this journal entry, I'd like you to be especially sensitive to every media message that you're exposed to for one day. (You might want to take a small notebook with you where ever you go in order to note the various messages that you encounter.) List every media message to which you are exposed. Speculate about the objective and identity of the individual(s) and/or organizations that formulated the various messages.

    Afterwards, if you're still in doubt about just how pervasive the media is in contemporary society, take PBS's Media Literacy Quiz.

    Evaluation:

    Journal entries are an opportunity to explore ideas and develop fluency with language in an informal context. You will be assessed a point value from 1 to 10 points, based on the effort and thoughtfulness demonstrated in your response.

    05.01.01 Your Daily Media Diet link (English 12)

    05.01.02 Image is everything (English 12)

    teacher-scored 30 points possible 120 minutes

    As a result of this assignment, the student will:


    • understand the use of imagery in advertising to convey meaning
    • be able to differentiate between explicit and implicit media messages
    • demonstrate basic understanding of advertising production and techniques

    Despite Sprite's assertion to the contrary ("Image is nothing. Thirst is everything. Obey your thirst"), in advertising, image is everything.

    One of the reasons that ad campaigns rely heavily on images is that there are so many parity products. In marketing lingo parity means that two competing brands have a product that is very similar, if not the same. In order to get around this, advertisers need to sell more than the product; they need to sell an image. By doing this, advertisers get people to buy not only their product, but also the lifestyle that it represents.

    For this assignment, I would like you to watch your favorite tv show. (Tell your mom it's okay--you're doing homework.) If possible, tape record it so you can replay it if necessary. I'd like you to analyze the images associated with the various products being advertised during the commercial breaks. Note what types of products are being promoted and which commercials are using an image of some sort to sell their product. (If you don't have time to watch TV, perhaps you could focus on one of the commercials available on the site in the URL's.)

    Once you identify a product that is linked to an image, write a one-paragraph description of the commercial, assuming that your reader has not seen the ad before. Do not begin analysis here; just include the facts about the ad. Then generate an additional 2-3 paragraphs analyzing the ad's significance to the product or service it is associated with. Ask yourself the following questions:


    • What advertising strategies and persuasive language techniques are used and what ideas or messages are either explicitly or implicitly associated with the image or images? (e.g. The beer bottle in the middle of an upscale party. What does this association therefore imply?)
    • Discuss the differences between the amount and kind of text versus graphics. Does the text take advantage of vagueness, ambiguity, over-generality, or emotive meaning to deceive or manipulate?
    • Where applicable, discuss colors, angles, and technical tricks.
    • Ask yourself who is the ad's target audience? Who would it appeal to most? What is the intended effect on this audience? Does it achieve this desired effect? During what kind of a television show would this commercial be airing?
    • Do the method and content of the ad relate to any bigger social issues (obsession with thinness, obsession with money, glamorizing illegal/violent behavior, any abnormal/ dysfunctional human relations, etc.)?

    (For an example of a commercial analysis, see the URL's.)

    Evaluation:

    This essay will be assessed using the Six-Trait evaluation rubric, developed by the Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory, which is based on the idea that each piece of writing may be evaluated in six distinct areas: ideas/content, organization, sentence fluency, word choice, voice, and conventions. Each of these components are ranked on a scale of 1-5 (1 representing poor and 5 excellent). The sum of the values of the six components could represent a maximum score of 30 points.

    05.01.02 Image is everything links (English 12)

    05.01.03 Deconstructing Music Video (English 12)

    teacher-scored 10 points possible 45 minutes

    For this journal entry, you will need to view a music video. (You can check out some "hot" current videos on MTV or Yahoo! Music Videos or Billboard.) Try to find a video that you're not familiar with, so your analysis won't be affected by what you've already seen. You will also need to get a copy of the lyrics associated with the video from one of the many sites that feature music lyrics.

    Before you view the video, carefully read the lyrics of the featured song. Note your impression of the lyrical content of the song independent of the video. What images come to your mind? What themes are suggested? Ask yourself how you would best capture these elements in a video form.

    Next, view the video with the sound turned way down, so you can concententrate on the visual presentation of the video. Then view it again with the sound on. Consider the following elements as you view and review it: camera angles, lighting, imagery, characterization, and tone. (Is the overall tone of the video in-your-face, humorous, serious, psychedelic?)

    In your estimation are the song lyrics and video interpretation compatible? Do they tell the same story? Does the video add depth or value to the song, or does it seem to be more of a marketing ploy? Write a brief analysis of the video, commenting on the appropriateness of the video to the song lyrics.

    Evaluation:

    Journal entries are an opportunity to explore ideas and develop fluency with language in an informal context. You will be assessed a point value from 1 to 10 points, based on the effort and thoughtfulness demonstrated in your response.

    05.01.03 Deconstructing Music Video links (English 12)

    05.01.04 PTV (English 12)

    teacher-scored 30 points possible 150 minutes

    As a result of this assignment, the student will:


    • analyze a poem in terms of tone, theme, and imagery
    • determine appropriate visual imagery that is consistent with poem's language and theme
    • produce a video or storyboard that incorporates chosen imagery with the language of the poem
    • explain how chosen visual images appropriately reflect the poem's theme

    You've heard of MTV. Now you're going to help create the literary equivalent--PTV or Poetry Television Video.

    To further demonstrate your awareness of how video can flavor the interpretation of a song, you will have the opportunity to develop your own "music video." If you are like me and have no innate musical ability, don't fret. The "music" for your video will be a poem published by a reputable poet. (Online sources for poetry are provided in the URL's.)

    Your job will be to carefully analyze the poem's tone, theme, and imagery, and creatively determine how to convey those elements in a video or storyboard format. Think about camera angles, lighting, and shot frequency and composition. Ask yourself how you can best achieve the tone of the poem in a video format. I don't expect you to become a video professional here, but try to think along these lines. You may find some of the production tips in the URL's useful.

    If video equipment is not available, you may submit, as an alternative, detailed storyboards that provide a chronological list of the visual content of your "ideal" video (may contain actual photographs or neatly sketched images) as well as textual information about what text from the poem and any other corollary sound effects accompany each image. (For an example of a simple storyboard, see URL's.)

    In either case, you will need to decide what content will represent the language of the poem you select. You don't need to be real literal here. For example, in Robert Frost's poem "The Road Not Taken," you would need to show a character at a crossroads in life. This could be done literally, with a forked road, but it could also be accomplished by showing a person at a point in his or her life when an important decision needs to be made.

    Your finished video (should not exceed five minutes) or storyboards must be accompanied by an explanation of how your video reflects your interpretation of the poem. Indicate what theme you think the poem expresses and why the various images you've elected to represent different portions of the text are appropriate.

    Online Poetry Sources - see URL's for this activity

    Evaluation:

    This assignment presents an opportunity to demonstrate critical understanding of a piece of literature in a creative way. Your score will be based on the degree of insight into the poem your production or storyboard demonstrates, your ability to substantiate your visual interpretation, and the quality and effort demonstrated by your product. Up to 20 points extra credit will be given for students who elect to actually produce their video, since that option is much more time and labor intensive.

    05.01.04 PTV links (English 12)

    05.01.05 Journal entry: Primetime Programming (English 12)

    teacher-scored 15 points possible 150 minutes

    Statistics about television confirm the extent of its influence on contemporary society. (For some interesting quotes about television and society, check out PBS's TeleQuotes page.) For this journal entry, I'd like you to look closely at network programming strategies. I think this scrutiny will provide some insight into the realities of commercial television programming.

    Fact is, providing quality shows and entertainment is not the primary objective of network television. While the networks do value programs that are entertaining, they do so because such shows typically generate a large viewership, which, in turn, allows them to charge high rates for advertisements during that show's time slot. Consequently, television "success" is determined by revenue dollars.

    Unfortunately, in an effort to get those high ratings, television programming is not always wholesome. Sex, violence, commercialism, and stereotyping appear with regularity, and it is feared that children may be exposed to images and messages beyond their ability to understand and interpret. The 1998 National Television Violence Study found that in prime time the proportion of programs showing violence had risen by 14 percent (from 53 to 67 percent) on the broadcast networks and by 10 percent (from 54 to 64 percent) on basic cable since 1994. Nearly three-quarters of the violent scenes shown contained no element of remorse, criticism, or penalty for violent behavior.

    To better understand how television programming is driven by television ratings, you need to understand some television programming terms. After you familiarize yourself with these terms, I would like you to analyze the prime-time television programming for a major network on a given night. As part of your analysis, research the types of shows (drama, news magazine, sitcom) and their most recent ratings. Also, note the types of commercial products advertised during specific shows. What audience do they appear to be directed at? Use relevant programming terminology where appropriate in your analysis.

    Evaluation:

    Journal entries are an opportunity to explore ideas and develop fluency with language in an informal context. For this journal entry, you will be assessed a point value from 1 to 15 points, based on the thoroughness of your analysis and your ability to effectively utilize programming terminology in the context of your analysis.

    05.01.05 Journal entry: Primetime Programming links (English 12)

    05.01.06 Pitch Your Program (English 12)

    teacher-scored 30 points possible 60 minutes

    As a result of this assignment, the student will:


    • present a socially-conscious idea for a popular TV show
    • demonstrate an understanding of programming techniques

    After your prime-time analysis, you should be better versed in the workings of television programming. This assignment will serve as a creative follow-up to your journal entry. It provides you an opportunity to devise and pitch your own idea for a potential prime-time series.

    Imagine you are a producer at a major television network that has just completed a season of big budget flops. If you don't come up with a hit prime-time series, the network will lose advertising revenue and go bankrupt. You must therefore devise a pilot (introductory episode) for a series that you feel will be a sure-fire hit. At the same time, however, as a parent and an upstanding citizen, you are sensitive to the concerns about gratuitous sex and violence on television and are unwilling to devise a show that glorifies such phenomena. Consequently, your show must be entertaining without being what mainstream values would deem inappropriate.


    1. Write up a proposal for your series, including the following information.

      • name of series
      • running time
      • type of program (sitcom, drama, game show, talk show, etc.)
      • setting
      • target core audience or demographic group
      • names of the central characters and potential actors to portray them (if applicable)
      • day and time the series will air
      • which products might be advertised during commercial breaks
      • which programming strategies (bridging, blunting, hammocking, etc.) will be used to ensure higher ratings

    2. Write a short synopsis (less than a page in length) of your pilot, outlining what it is about and what you intend to have happen in the opening episode.

    Evaluation:

    This assignment will be evaluated based on the following areas:


    • Completion (5 points): all indicated issues addressed.
    • Format (5 points): writing is well organized (consider using headings, sub-headings, bullets, etc.).
    • Quality of Writing (10 points): writing is edited and sentences effectively constructed; ideas contain main ideas and ample supporting details.
    • Creativity (10 points): idea is original and well conceived.

    05.01.07 Journal entry: Tobacco/alcohol ads (English 12)

    teacher-scored 15 points possible 45 minutes

    Using an assortment of different magazines, collect 10-12 different advertisments for cigarettes or alcohol. Look for any patterns or trends that appear to be in many of the various images and messages. Which advertising techniques seem to be most prevalent?

    For this assignment, you can either scan the images you find and submit them electronically along with your textual analysis or submit your work via traditional mail to your teacher.

    Evaluation:
    Journal entries are an opportunity to explore ideas and develop fluency with language in an informal context. You will be assessed a point value from 1 to 5 points, based on the effort and thoughtfulness demonstrated in your written analysis. Another 10 points will be awarded for the inclusion of 10-12 tobacco or alcohol advertisements.

    05.01.07 Journal entry: Tobacco/alcohol ads links (English 12)

    05.01.08 For the Health of It (English 12)

    teacher-scored 50 points possible 180 minutes

    As a result of this assignment, the student will:


    • demonstrate understanding of media techniques by developing a positive media campaign
    • research information about health issues related to teens
    • demonstrate understanding of the negative effects of certain behaviors

    Every day we're bombarded with hundreds of media messages, many promoting health and lifestyle choices that carry potentially negative consequences. The intent of this unit was to help you become more media literate by examining some of the strategies and techniques used by media creators. However, part of becoming media literate involves understanding how to responsibly use media tools to promote your own ideas. It is important to note that media can be effectively used to disseminate and promote positive messages and information. Indeed, as evidenced by Ad Council campaigns, the media can prove a useful tool for conveying information that is both important and beneficial.

    For this assignment, consequently, I'd like you to use media strategies and techniques to create an advertising campaign promoting a positive and healthy lifestyle or idea. You may choose to focus on one of the following five health issues as the basis for your campaign: alcohol, tobacco, drug use, fitness/nutrition, or literacy. Which ever area you choose to focus on, bear in mind that your messages must be based on current statistics published by nationally recognized organizations (you will need to provide a footnote on your ad, indicating the source of your information). In addition to an original visual ad (that could be used in a magazine or billboard), you will need to provide the recording or script for a 20-30 second radio spot that reinforces the message of your visual ad.

    Evaluation:

    The visual ad and the radio spot are each worth 25 points. Evaluation of the visual ad will be based on answers to the following questions:


    • Does the ad attract attention?
    • Does it have a catchy slogan or memorable language?
    • Is it professional looking?
    • Does it convey an important and memorable message?
    • Is it based on factual information?

    Evaluation of the radio ad will be based on answers to the following questions:

    • Is the ad auditorily appealing? Are the words clearly enunciated? Are there appropriate sound effects, where applicable?
    • Is the ad uniquely creative?
    • Does it convey an important and memorable message that is consistent with the message of the visual ad?
    • Is it based on factual information?
    • Is it between 20-30 seconds long?

    05.01.08 For the Health of It links to relevant websites (English 12)

    05.01.09 Journal entry: evaluation criteria (English 12)

    teacher-scored 10 points possible 60 minutes

    Before you compose this journal entry, I would like you to spend some time perusing two different websites. One of them is a legitimate website and the other is an entirely bogus one designed by a librarian to illustrate the need to critically evaluate information obtained on the Internet. Your job is to determine which one is for real and which one is a hoax site. (See the URL's for the two websites.)

    Although it does so in a tongue-in-cheek fashion, what point does this exercise illustrate? What does it suggest about the need of critically evaluating information on the Internet? If you had to provide some suggestions about what a person should look for to determine a site's credibility, what would you say?

    To further establish the need for critical evaluation when it comes to information on the Internet (or anywhere else for that matter), please read the article entitled "Teaching Zack to Think." It vividly demonstrates just why it is so important to be able to thoughtfully analyze a website.

    For your journal entry, I would like you to provide a summary of the contents of the article and some commentary about its implications. Also, respond to the questions posed in relation to your website evaluation exercise.

    Evaluation:

    Journal entries are an opportunity to explore ideas and develop fluency with language in an informal context. You will be assessed a point value from 1 to 10 points, based on the effort and thoughtfulness demonstrated in your response.

    05.01.09 Journal entry: evaluation criteria links (English 12)

    05.01.10 Web Site Evaluation (English 12)

    teacher-scored 30 points possible 90 minutes

    As a result of this assignment, the student will:


    • determine what makes a source of information credible
    • understand the importance of thoroughly examining websites for reliability
    • offer opinions as to whether or not a specific website on a controversial issue is credible
    • demonstrate familiarity with various evaluative criteria
    • determine what makes a good website

    (Note: websites mentioned in this activity can be found in the associated URL's.)
    As established in the previous journal entry, the ability to critically assess and evaluate information on the Internet is an essential skill in the Information Age. To further augment your knowledge of critical evaluation tools, please read over this New York Times article entitled "How to Separate Good Data From Bad." You might want to additionally peruse some of the web evaluation resources available on the Discovery School site. (The article entitled "The ABC's of Web Site Evaluation" is particularly excellent.) Also, these sites entitled "Thinking Critically about World Wide Web Resources" and "Evaluating Web Sites: Criteria and Tools" may provide additional useful information.

    Once you feel confident that you've mastered some important critical evaluation skills, I would like you to find an Internet site that you can practice these skills on by doing a website evaluation and analysis. To make it interesting, pick an informational site that deals with some controversial issue like abortion, animal rights, gun control, cloning, etc. (You might check out hotlist sites like Google Issues or Yahoo's Issues and Causes.) Such volatile issues tend to engender a torrent of websites based on a variety of opinions. And since the Internet is the ultimate democratic medium, anyone with strong feelings has a forum to voice that opinion.

    Prior to your evaluation, please state the title and URL of the website that serves as the basis for your evaluation. Minimally, your evaluation should encompass the following criteria:


    • Purpose
      What seem to be the primary purposes of this website? If you detect more than one purpose, discuss all of them.

    • Authorship
      Does this person appear to be knowledgeable about the content? Does this person qualify as an authority or expert on the topic? Can you contact this person from the site? Who sponsors the site?

    • Audience
      To whom is the website primarily addressed? (teachers, students of a particular age group, consumers, a certain cultural group, etc.) To whom might this website be interesting? Be sure to specify if the website is more for students or for educators...or both. Describe the major characteristics of the audience (speculate if you're not sure). To what extent does the site succeed or fail in reaching this audience?

    • Content
      What is in this website? How accurate and valuable is the content? How well-written and interesting is the text? Is there real depth-of-content or is the information limited and superficial? Does the site overwhelm the user with too much information? Do the sources of the information seem properly documented, or do you suspect or see signs of plagiarism or misinformation? Is the information presented in an objective manner, with a minimum of bias? How current is the information (give dates of latest update if provided).

    • Location
      Where does the website reside? What is the site's address/URL? Is the server at a school or university? A business? A governmental agency? Is this a personal page with a "~" or ".name" in the URL?

    • Design
      How appealing is the design of the website? (consider color, illustration, ease of reading, etc.) Do you find the links to other sites useful? What are the major strengths and weaknesses of the design (format and layout) of this site? How well does the design fit with the purposes of the site?

    • Conclusion & Recommendations
      Summarize your overall impressions of the site and discuss your recommendation for uses that students and/or classroom teachers might make of this site in or out of the classroom.


    Evaluation:

    The evaluation will be assessed using the Six-Trait evaluation rubric, developed by the Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory, which is based on the idea that each piece of writing may be evaluated in six distinct areas: ideas/content, organization, sentence fluency, word choice, voice, and conventions. Each of these components are ranked on a scale of 1-5 (1 representing poor and 5 excellent). The sum of the values of the six components could represent a maximum score of 30 points.

    05.01.10 Web Site Evaluation links (English 12)

    05.01.11 1984 essay (English 12)

    teacher-scored 50 points possible 510 minutes

    Reading Assignment for Unit 5

    The reading assignment for this unit was 1984 by George Orwell. In 1984, Orwell presents a disturbing glimpse into Oceania, a futuristic world (despite the dated title) dominated by ruthless brutality and mindless conformity. This conformity is achieved and maintained, in part, because of the unwillingness or inability of Oceania's citizenry to critically evaluate their media environment. Orwell's 1984 stands as a testament to the importance of education and critical thinking in a democratic society, and it is, therefore, an appropriate work to read in the context of a study in media literacy.

    It is important to note that Orwell does not offer 1984 as a prophecy. Instead, it is, as many have noted, a warning about the future of human freedom in a world where political organization and technology can manufacture power in diminsions that would have stunned the imaginations of earlier ages. In order for Orwell's warning to be successful, however, we need to be mindful of "Orwellian" trends in contemporary society.

    Since this unit deals with media literacy, I'd like you to analyze the similarities and differences between media manipulation in 1984 and today and compose a comparison-contrast essay (see also LEO Comparison/Contrast Essay and Guide to Grammar and Writing Comparison/Contrast Essay) that explores these similarities and differences. Such analysis will require a heightened awareness to the methodologies of modern-day propagandists, and how they use techniques that resemble or differ from those exercised by Oceania's controlling class (the Inner Party). For example, Orwell writes that two of the three central tenets of Ingsoc are Doublethink and Newspeak. While contemporary society may not exhibit these exact same phenomena, we do have Doublespeak, which combines elements of these Oceanic principles.

    To plan your essay, you may want to make use of one of the comparison-contrast graphic organizers (see URL's). You do not need to hand these in, but they are useful for organizing your ideas prior to actually composing your essay:


    • ReadingQuest Compare and Contrast Diagram
    • Compare and Contrast

    Evaluation:

    In addition to the potential 30 points awarded based on the Six-Trait rubric, you can earn up to an additional 20 points for the degree to which your essay demonstrates your knowledge and understanding of the book.

    05.01.11 1984 essay links (English 12)

    06.00 The Future (English 12)

    "There's nothing like a dream to create the future. Utopia today, flesh and blood tomorrow."
    --Victor Hugo

    The world changes so quickly it's hard to keep up. New inventions and innovations alter the way we live. People's values, attitudes, and beliefs are changing. And the pace of change keeps accelerating, making it difficult to prepare for tomorrow. By studying the future, people can better anticipate what lies ahead. More importantly, they can actively decide how they will live in the future, by making choices today and realizing the consequences of their decisions.

    The future doesn't just happen: People create it through their action--or inaction--today.

    06.01 Reading for unit 6 links (English 12)

    If you do not have access to the books, here are on-line versions.

    06.01 Unit 6 reading assignment (English 12)

    06.1 Frankenstein and Brave New World06.1 Frankenstein and Brave New WorldFor this unit that focuses on the future, you have the option of picking one of the two following books to read:
    Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley, or Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley.

    See activity 06.1.11 for directions for the writing assignments that go with this reading.

    06.01.01 Journal entry: Reverse Time Capsule (English 12)

    teacher-scored 15 points possible 45 minutes

    We've all heard about people creating time capsules. Perhaps you have even heard about accounts regarding the exhumation of time capsules from past eras. But what if we were to receive a time capsule not from the past, but from the future? In this spirit, I would like you to create a reverse time capsule, not a capsule to the future, but rather to the citizens of 1950. What artifacts might surprise them most about the direction taken by the next 50+ years?

    You grew up with CDs, VCRs, computers, and calculators, but there was a time when music meant vinyl records, when there were no DVDs or PCs, and bottled water would have been laughable. We're not talking about the Depression or the American Revolution. We're talking about a mere half-century ago, when much of what we use on a daily basis was pretty well unthinkable. Time flies when you're having a culture.

    Assume you, like Marty McFly, could go back in time. What things about modern culture would you tell the people in 1950, assuming they didn't think you were crazy? Write an article for the local newspaper, explaining what life is like in the year 2007.

    Evaluation:
    Journal entries are an opportunity to explore ideas and develop fluency with language in an informal context. You will be assessed a point value from 1 to 10 points, based on the effort and thoughtfulness demonstrated in your response. An additional 5 points will be awarded for this journal entry, based on how well you adhere to the formula for a well-written news article.

    06.01.01 Journal entry: Reverse Time Capsule links (English 12)

    06.01.02 Comparing 1900 and Now (English 12)

    teacher-scored 30 points possible 120 minutes

    As a result of this assignment, the student will:


    • compare the world of 1900 with contemporary reality
    • formulate a thesis based on provided data
    • support thesis citing specific information from the provided data
    • use appropriate transitional techniques to achieve coherence

    One thing that is obvious is that we live in a changing world. One can see how dramatically our world has changed by just examining what has occurred in this last century of the second millenium. Time Magazine has an excellent interactive demonstration called "1900 vs. Now Time Warp" that illustrates the differences between the world of 1900 and the modern world. If we examine the facts carefully, we might get gain a better understanding of where we've come from--and perhaps even get a sense of where we're headed.

    For this assignment, I'd like you to examine the data provided in the charts very closely. (You may choose to focus your analysis either on the United States, the World, or both.) Look for general trends that the various pieces of information seem to point toward. Then, having inferred a generalization that is grounded in the data, write an essay that introduces and supports your idea, using specific examples from the chart.

    Be careful not to just rehash a miscellany of facts and figures--seek to establish a major idea that governs much of the data. Although none of the data should directly contradict your thesis, you do not need to use every bit of information provided. Instead, selectively choose evidence that most effectively illustrates the generalization you seek to support. There is no single, correct generalization, but remember the idea you seek to assert is only as strong as the evidence you cite in support of it. I do not expect you to consult any sources beyond the data provided to accomplish this assignment.

    Look to use effective transitional devices to help your paper achieve coherence.

    Evaluation:
    This essay will be assessed using the Six-Trait Evaluation Rubric developed by the Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory. This rubric is based on the idea that each piece of writing may be evaluated in six distinct areas: ideas/content, organization, sentence fluency, word choice, voice, and conventions. Each of these components are ranked on a scale of 1-5 (1 representing poor and 5 excellent). The sum of the values of the six components could represent a maximum score of 30 points.

    06.01.02 Comparing 1900 and Now links (English 12)

    06.01.03 Journal entry: Future trends (English 12)

    teacher-scored 15 points possible 90 minutes

    For this journal entry, I'd like you to become more educated about what experts predict awaits us in the future. Time Magazine's Visions of the 21st Century site considers what the future holds in five different areas: Science, How We Will Live, Technology, America and the World, and Health and Environment. Each category focuses on a series of questions posed about the future. Qualified individuals in areas relevant to specific questions offer "likely answers" based on their expertise.

    You will need to read and briefly summarize five different articles--one from each of the five general areas. You can access the full text of each article by clicking on the question the article addresses.

    Evaluation:
    You will be awarded up to three points for each of your five article summaries. Each summary should be approximately 100 words in length.

    06.01.03 Journal entry: Future trends links (English 12)

    06.01.04 Life in 2050 (Engish 12)

    teacher-scored 40 points possible 90 minutes

    As a result of this assignment, the student will:


    • project how current trends will impact life in the future
    • compose a fictional chronology of "a day in the life" in the year 2050

    The people of the Middle Ages could not have begun to predict what would happen as the world moved beyond the year AD 999 and into the second millennium. Today, however, through the "magic" of technology, we can make some educated guesses about what the future holds. Modern researching tools give us access to a variety of experts who have used their knowledge and expertise to identify phenomena that will dramatically affect life in the next century and beyond. By becoming informed about current trends, discoveries, and projections, we may formulate our own hypotheses about what life in the future will be like.

    For this assignment, I would like you to write about a typical day in your life in the year 2050. This, of course, means you will be in your sixties. As a result, you will probably be interested in some issues that you may not care that much about right now (such as health care, the economy, Social Security, etc.). And though you may or may not be enrolled in school personally at that point in your life, remember you will likely have grandchildren to worry about who are, in fact, receiving an education.

    To establish a rhetorical situation, pretend you have been asked to document your daily activities to place into a time capsule that will be sealed until the year 2150. Consequently, your audience will be individuals even more futuristic than your projected self. While this assignment is obviously fictional, it should be an outgrowth of research about current topics that will undoubtedly affect the future of society--both locally and globally. In fact, in addition to the Visions of the Future website, you might want to check out the article from the BBC that focuses on Microsoft's vision of the future. And just to prove that speculation about the future can, in fact, sometimes be reasonably accurate, check out some of the inventions that Leonardo da Vinci once envisioned that have come to fruition.
    06.1.4 Leonardo06.1.4 Leonardo

    Evaluation:
    In addition to the Six Trait rubric, an additional 10 points will be awarded based on the degree to which you incorporate some of the futuristic phenomena you read about in the previous journal entry, as well as independent creative speculations about future possibilities.

    06.01.04 Life in 2050 links (Engish 12)

    06.01.05 Journal entry: Harrison Bergeron (English 12)

    teacher-scored 15 points possible 90 minutes

    Please read the short story entitled "Harrison Bergeron" written by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.
    06.1.506.1.5

    For your journal entry, I would like you to simply respond to the piece by addressing some of the following questions:


    • What were your feelings after reading the story?
    • What do you think are the connections between the story and "real life?"
    • Are there connections between the story and your own life?
    • What does this story make you think about?
    • What questions would you like to ask the author of the story?
    • What questions does the story raise that you would like answered?
    • If you had to tell someone what this story was about, what would you say?

    Evaluation:
    Journal entries are an opportunity to explore ideas and develop fluency with language in an informal context. You will be assessed a point value from 1 to 10 points, based on the effort and thoughtfulness demonstrated in your response.

    06.01.05 Journal entry: Harrison Bergeron links (English 12)

    06.01.06 Science fiction scenario (English 12)

    computer-scored 40 points possible 120 minutes

    As a result of this assignment, the student will:


    • understand the relationship between science fiction and contemporary life
    • realize the implications of modern technological advancements
    • compose a fictional narrative based on a specific scenario
    • develop a compelling plot and interesting character(s)

    Kathryn Cramer, in her essay entitled "On Science & Science Fiction," says "All science fiction about the future no matter how rigorously constructed, must build its future from fragments of the past and present; the futures we construct are as much a part of the present as we ourselves are; although they will never really be the future, they can represent it. Science fiction allows us to understand and experience our past, present, and future, in terms of an imagined future."

    According to Cramer, science fiction does not occur in a vacuum. Good science fiction deals with some aspect of contemporary society, extended into a fictional future. Science Fiction then, is as much about now as it is about any imaginary future. The classic Kurt Vonnegut story "Harrison Bergeron," for example, deals with the concept of thought control. While we in contemporary society like to believe we think independently, advertisers, politicians, and media outlets know all too well how public perceptions can be swayed.

    Consider the advance of technology into modern society. New and converging technologies are providing us with a new range of opportunities. Everything is available to us from our homes: we can do research in libraries around the world; we can do our shopping and banking through the television or the computer; we can watch a recent feature film by dialing up the "pay per view" channel; and we can even join conversation groups on the Internet.

    There is, however, a downside to the information society. Every purchase you make using a cash or credit card, every phone call you make and every e-mail message you send leaves a digital trail. This trail can be picked up by sophisticated computers which can access information about your lifestyle, your consumer choices, and your credit rating.

    Now, imagine a world completely connected by electronics for instant information exchange, a world where you are always reachable. Imagine that the accessibility is accomplished by even smaller computer chips than we have available today and that a chip becomes your identification. Doctors implant the chip in your wrist when you are born and it carries all your personal data.

    Write a science fiction narrative that describes life in this world. How would the chip change our money system, our identification system, our health care system, our buying power, our reachability? What would the advantages and disadvantages be? Use the given scenario as a framework to develop a plot, an interesting character (or characters), and to make a statement, through vivid showing detail, about what you think life in this kind of world would be like.

    Evaluation:
    This essay will be assessed using the Six-Trait evaluation rubric, developed by the Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory. It is based on the idea that each piece of writing may be evaluated in six distinct areas: ideas/content, organization, sentence fluency, word choice, voice, and conventions. Each of these components is ranked on a scale of 1-5 (1 representing poor and 5 excellent). The sum of the values of the six components could represent a maximum score of 30 points. An additional 10 points will be awarded based on how effectively you address the various questions posed above.

    06.01.06 Science fiction scenario links (English 12)

    06.01.07 Journal entry: Science and science fiction (English 12)

    teacher-scored 10 points possible 30 minutes

    The relationship between science fiction and scientific discovery is an interesting one. Some might say that scientific innovations inspire fiction writers to project current trends into the distant future. Others could rightfully claim that, in many cases, scientific discovery is an outgrowth of fictional speculation. (It's the "chicken and the egg" dilemma all over again.)

    I presume you are well aware of the science fiction genre through the dramatization of science fiction thrillers like Jurassic Park, War of the Worlds, and I, Robot. You may not realize, however, that science fiction has a long and interesting history. And given its popular appeal, it will likely have an equally enduring future. It is because of this popular appeal that science fiction is perhaps, unfortunately, one of the main sources by which the public is kept up-to-date on advances and new theories in science.

    06.1.7 Jules Verne06.1.7 Jules Verne
    The French writer, Jules Verne, author of classic science fiction works like Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, Around the World in Eighty Days, and A Journey to the Center of the Earth, was one of the first to consciously interwine fact with fantasy. Verne set about to mix fiction with fact, adventure with scientific principle. His scientific adventure stories proved to be not only universally popular, but also almost unbelievably prophetic. Indeed, the realization of many of Verne's imaginative creations provides insight into the relationship between science and science fiction even today. Even NASA celebrates this relationship between science fiction and science fact.

    The works of writers like Verne, Isaac Asimov, and Ray Bradbury have helped to establish that science fiction is a great way to get people thinking about the future of mankind. It is a forum where readers can envision possible futures, extrapolate trends, and voice concerns, all in a spirit of play. Additionally, science fiction gives us a sense of perspective, by reminding us that it's a big universe we're in, but a small planet we're on.

    For this journal entry, I'd like you to list and briefly comment on several of the movies you've watched that could be appropriately classified as science fiction. (If you're not sure what science fiction is, you might want to check out some of the definitions.) Comment on the plot and thematic implications of the movie. Indicate whether you think any futuristic occurrences or phenomena in the movie are grounded in science fact or sheer speculative fantasy.

    Evaluation:
    Journal entries are an opportunity to explore ideas and develop fluency with language in an informal context. You will be assessed a point value from 1 to 10 points, based on the thoroughness and thoughtfulness of your response.

    06.01.07 Journal entry: Science and science fiction links (English 12)

    06.01.08 Science fiction movie review (English 12)

    teacher-scored 40 points possible 90 minutes

    As a result of this assignment, the student will:


    • be more familiar with the science fiction genre
    • recognize different elements of a movie
    • analyze brief movie reviews
    • develop a descriptive, persuasive movie review for a science fiction film

    For this assignment, you will have the opportunity to sit in the critic's chair and give a thumb's up or thumb's down for a movie based on a work of science fiction that you have not yet seen. You will need to select a movie from the list, view the film, and formulate an independent critical opinion about it. Then, you will attempt to persuade your reader that the film is either a "must see" or a "dog" by giving appropriate and compelling evidence one way or the other.

    Your first step will be to determine the criteria by which you will be judging the film: possible components might be the acting, casting, plot, special effects, character development, cinematography, music, etc. Then you will examine how the dynamics of your chosen film do or do not fit your criteria. You may also want to read some published film reviews to become familiar with the style and word choices used in film reviews.

    Once you view the movie, form an overall judgment about it. Then, establish your judging criteria and provide reasons for your evaluation. Make sure to give specific supporting evidence to justify your evaluation. (Read over the prewriting questions for writing a movie review and also check out the site on how to write a movie review.) Use specific examples from the movie, including dialogue if necessary. You may also use facts about the movie (comparisons with the book it was based on, other movies in the same genre, etc. to support your reasons).

    Evaluation
    The essay portion of this assignment will be assessed using the Six-Trait evaluation rubric, which is based on the idea that each piece of writing may be evaluated in six distinct areas: ideas/content, organization, sentence fluency, word choice, voice, and conventions. Each of these components are ranked on a scale of 1-5 (1 representing poor and 5 excellent). The sum of the values of the six components could represent a maximum score of 30 points. An additional 10 points will be awarded based on how well you present and support your evaluation criteria.

    06.01.08 Science fiction movie review links (English 12)

    06.01.09 Journal entry: Generational interview (English 12)

    teacher-scored 20 points possible 120 minutes

    This journal entry is based on informal interviews you conduct with various generations of your family. The idea is to find out their feelings about the history of science, technology, and invention. Simply pose the following questions to as many different individuals and generations as possible:


    • What do you feel are the most important scientific discoveries, technologies or inventions in history?
    • What scientific discoveries, technologies or inventions have had the greatest impact on your life?

    Try to have each person you interview provide at least three examples in his/her answer, and make a record of the various responses in two charts--one for "history" and one for "life." The charts should have column headings for each generational group: peer, parent, grandparent and great-grandparent.

    What trends do you notice for each question? How often do the "history" examples duplicate the "life" examples? Are there similarities in the responses for the different age groups? Do you think the responses would differ if the interview subject lives in a rural, urban or suburban setting? Are there certain points in people's lives when new technologies tended to have especially important influence, such as upon entering the workplace or at the time of a medical crisis?

    Evaluation:
    For this journal entry, you will get 10 points for the charts that catalog your data and another 10 points for your interpretation of the information.

    06.01.10 For better or for worse? (English 12)

    teacher-scored 30 points possible 90 minutes

    As a result of this assignment, the student will:


    • learn more about the implications of scientific and technological development
    • write an essay that considers the role of technology in contemporary society

    In an article in Scientific American entitled "How Fast is Technology Evolving?" W. Brian Arthur compares biological and technological evolution. He admits his comparison between biology and technology is "more whimsy than science," but, if we accept it, crude as it is, the results are staggering. His assertion is that technology is evolving at roughly 10 million times the speed of natural evolution. What Arthur describes as "Hurricane speed. Warp speed."

    Society is changing so fast that the very rate of change has changed. The amount of information used to double in centuries, now it's doubling every four or five years. In his book Teaching as a Subversive Activity, Neil Postman, a former professor of communications at New York University and author of Technopoly, refers to our age as the "Change Revolution." In order to illustrate what this means, he uses the media and the metaphor of a clock face.

    Imagine a clock face with 60 minutes on it. Let the clock stand for the time men have had access to writing systems. Our clock would thus represent something like 3,000 years, and each minute on our clock 50 years. On this scale, there were no significant media changes until about nine minutes ago. At that time, the printing press came into use in Western culture. About three minutes ago, the telegraph, photograph, and locomotive arrived. Two minutes ago: the telephone, rotary press, motion pictures, automobile, airplane and radio. One minute ago, the talking picture. Television has appeared in the last ten seconds, the computer in the last five, and communications satellites in the last second. The laser beam-perhaps the most potent medium of communications of all-appeared only a fraction of a second ago.

    Postman goes on to assert that almost any area of life would have roughly the same measurements on our fictional clock. Medicine, for example, would have no significant changes until about one minute ago.

    Most modern day folk view such technological progress with a smug sense of pride and accomplishment. In America we are especially proud of our technological prowess, as evidenced by the technolgical timeline presented by PBS as part of "The American Experience." But how often do we stop to contemplate the implications of our "warp speed" flight into the future? Increasingly there are elements of technological resistance voicing their concerns. They range in their degree of fervor from intelligent and conscientious objectors like the afforementioned Neil Postman to militant fanatics like the Unabomber. Such anti-technology feelings are not unique to our day and age. It can be said that technophobia began in 1779 when a weaver in England named Ned Ludd broke into a workshop and smashed up the newest textile machines which were taking away the weavers' livelihoods. The term Luddite has been coined from this man. A luddite is anyone who fears the changes brought about by technology.

    The original Luddite revolt occurred in 1811 but the legacy of the luddites has continued. The neo-luddites continue to question the effects of technology on society and its threat to humanity. Although the neo-luddites are not fighting against technology to protect their livelihoods, they are raising ethical and moral arguments against technology and showing that with the benefits of technology there comes a price. Some people argue against the luddites because they think that their rebellion to technology is unfounded. They believe that technology only makes our lives easier, and that it has improved the quality of life for all. But there are others that point out the downside to technology. They cite disastrous consequences that have resulted from certain technological developments and point out how technology threatens our humanity.

    Consequently, for this assignment I would like you write an essay that considers the role of technology in contemporary society. In your estimation, how has it impacted the quality of human life, both physically and emotionally? What benefits have we derived and what costs have we paid? (You may find the following articles that address this topic of interest: It's a Poor Workman Who Blames His Tools by John Perry Barlow and Two Questions by Stewart Brand.)

    Evaluation:
    This essay will be assessed using the Six-Trait evaluation rubric, developed by the Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory is based on the idea that each piece of writing may be evaluated in six distinct areas: ideas/content, organization, sentence fluency, word choice, voice, and conventions. Each of these components are ranked on a scale of 1-5 (1 representing poor and 5 excellent). The sum of the values of the six components could represent a maximum score of 30 points.

    06.01.10 For better or for worse? links (English 12)

    06.01.11 Unit six reading assignment essay (English 12)

    teacher-scored 50 points possible 510 minutes

    For this unit that focuses on the future, you had the option of picking one of the two following books to read: Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley, or Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley. Which ever book you chose, I would like you to write an essay about what lessons the book teaches us about our present and our future. Be sure to cite specific quotes and examples from the text to support your generalizations.

    Additionally, I would like you to prepare a test for your chosen book. Your test should consist of 10 multiple choice questions, 10 true/false questions, 10 matching questions and 10 short answer questions. Please provide an answer key for your test.

    Evaluation:
    This essay will be assessed using the Six-Trait Evaluation Rubric developed by the Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory. It is based on the idea that each piece of writing may be evaluated in six distinct areas: ideas/content, organization, sentence fluency, word choice, voice, and conventions. Each of these components is ranked on a scale of 1-5 (1 representing poor and 5 excellent). The sum of the values of the six components could represent a maximum score of 30 points.

    An additional 20 points will be awarded for the test and corresponding answer key on your selected piece of literature.

    07.00 Unit 7: Charting Your Path (English 12)

    For many teenagers, one of the hardest questions to answer is, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" People may seem to be asking you this question all the time. They are asking you to pick your major in college, decide where you want to go to school, decide what you want to do with your life... The question you might have is, "How the heck should I know???"

    While some people seem to know from early on exactly what career they want to pursue, you should keep in mind that many successful adults went through a crazy and totally unplanned path to get to their current position in life. So, in choosing your own career and in picking your major, what should you do?

    One approach would be to simply relax, find something you like doing now, major in it in college and get a job. Then be on the lookout for new opportunities and take them when they arise. That would be a completely valid approach. Another approach would be to do some research on different career possibilities so that you can see what's out there. There are thousands of jobs that you have never even heard of before, and one of them might be perfect for you.

    The latter approach will be the focus of this unit. The Internet has many excellent career resources--and you'll have the opportunity to utilize some of them to research a career that has some current appeal to you. As a result of your research, you may either find that elusive "perfect fit," or, perhaps, you'll rule out at least one possibility. Either way, hopefully, your efforts will prove worthwhile.

    About this class:

    We live in a world filled with static. Whether born of ignorance, insincerity, or insensitivity, static chokes the channels of communication and prevents people from connecting in meaningful ways. This class focuses on the use of language as a tool to make connections: between our self and others, between our self and our world, between our self and history, and between our self and our future. By making these connections, I believe students will be better prepared to become productive and thoughtful citizens in the Information Age.

    The class will be writing intensive, interdisciplinary, and, hopefully, enjoyable. We will devote considerable time and energy to examining the strategies and processes of writers and writing. Writing is, afterall, about learning how to think clearly. A good writer observes phenomena, formulates an idea, attempts to adequately support that idea with evidence, and then revises and refines the idea as he seeks to explain it to others. In other words, writing is just another form of the Scientific Method, or, stated another, way, writing is thinking.

    Given this relationship between writing and thinking, this class requires that (1) you write a lot (both informally and formally) and practice the various steps in the writing process; (2) you read and respond to others' writing in order to discuss various ideas and develop an awareness of what readers need and want from a text; and (3) you read, examine, and respond to various published texts to examine how experienced writers use words to construct meaning.

    07.01.01 Journal entry: Dream Job (English 12)

    teacher-scored 10 points possible 60 minutes

    A big part of education is about developing the skills and characteristics that will someday make us viable, contributing members of society. Consequently, much of our schooling is devoted to helping us find our niche in the world of careers and occupations.

    So once again, here's your chance to informally respond to the perennial question: "What do you want to be when you grow up?" Even if you have not yet discovered your occupational destination, muse for a bit here about what sorts of career paths and corollary occupations sound appealing at this juncture in your life. Elaborate on what you know about that job and why you think you would find it appealing.

    Evaluation:
    Journal entries are opportunities to explore ideas and develop fluency with language. You will be given a score of 1-10 based on the degree to which you satisfy the prompt and the level of effort your entry evidences.

    07.01.02 Self-Assessment Essay (English 12

    teacher-scored 30 points possible 120 minutes

    As a result of this assignment, the student will:


    • identify their personality type, noting potential strengths, weaknesses, and preferences for interacting
    • demonstrate an awareness of their personal temperament by analyzing personal characteristics and traits

    Personality instruments are tools that give continuing insight into ourselves and others. They are frequently used to help individuals see their preferences, potential strengths and weaknesses, and how they relate to different occupations. They can be a powerful tool in helping an individual select a potentially satisfying occupation and/or field of study.

    One of the most well-known personality instruments is the Myers-Briggs Personality Inventory. This personality instrument deals with four very strong categories for taking in and processing information, plus interacting with the world. It is based on the work of the Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung.

    The assessment tool is used to identify your basic personality type. You may then use this information to direct you to different careers. Before you take the assessment, it is important to be aware of some important points:


    • The Myers-Briggs tool measure preferences, not skills. We can all do things we do not prefer. This is about what you do when you have your druthers.
    • There are no right or wrong responses, only those that fit you and those that do not!
    • One personality type is not better than another. Each has a richness and potential as great as the others.
    • You are the final judge. After reading the descriptions of the various types, you'll be able to weigh whether a specific description fits you. If not, feel free to change to a different category that better reflects your temperament.
    • Finally, the Myers-Briggs Personality Test is a self-reporting instrument. It is only as valid as the responses you indicate. You might want to retake the instrument, making sure your responses are true to who you are rather than how you "wish" your were or think you "should" be.

    That established, proceed to the Myers-Briggs Personality Test. Read the four questions and select the letters that best describe you. (If you want, you can also take the Jung Typology Test to see if your intuitive answers are born out by your actual responses.) Verify the accuracy of the four letters you arrive at by clicking on and reading the description of your specific four-letter tag. (Other sites that have background information on the various tags are available in the URL's for this activity.)

    Remember you are the final judge of your personality type. After reading a description of your 4-letter type, ask yourself how well it describes you. If you feel that the descriptions of your type do not fit you, go back and try swapping a letter or two and then read the resultant personality description of the new tag to see if it's a better fit. Keep repeating this process, until you are comfortable with the resultant description. Most people find a true fit can be found by changing only one letter, if that. If some confusion still exists in your mind, you might ask the assistance of someone who knows you very well.

    Once you've nailed down your four-letter temperament tag, list the words or phrases that effectively describe you from one or more of the various listed informational sites. Which of these traits are strengths? Which could be classified as weaknesses? Think of examples in your life when these traits and descriptors were readily apparent. Formulate a thesis statement about you in relationship to your personality description and temperament. Seek to support your characterization with specific evidence and examples from your life.

    (For some examples of essays exemplary written by other students, see the URL's.)

    Evaluation:
    The essay portion of this assignment will be assessed using the Six-Trait evaluation rubric, developed by the Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory, which is based on the idea that each piece of writing may be evaluated in six distinct areas: ideas/content, organization, sentence fluency, word choice, voice, and conventions. Each of these components are ranked on a scale of 1-5 (1 representing poor and 5 excellent). The sum of the values of the six components could represent a maximum score of 30 points.

    07.01.02 Self-Assessment links (English 12)

    07.01.03 Journal entry: Compatible personalities (English 12)

    teacher-scored 10 points possible 60 minutes

    One of the features of the Keirsey site is that it provides a sampling of historical figures and contemporary personalities for each temperament. Find the personalities that match your specific temperament and list everything you know about each one. (To view the personalities associated with each personality type, click on the major temperament types: Guardians (ESTJ, ISTJ, ESFJ, ISFJ); Artisans, (ESTP, ISTP, ESFP, ISFP); Idealists INFP, ENFP, INFJ, ENFJ); and Rationals (INTP, ENTP, INTJ, ENTJ).

    Evaluation:
    Journal entries are an opportunity to explore ideas and develop fluency with language in an informal context. You will be assessed a point value from 1 to 10 points, based on the effort and thoughtfulness demonstrated in your response.

    07.01.03 Journal entry: Compatible personalities links (English 12)

    07.01.04 Research resumé (English 12)

    teacher-scored 40 points possible 150 minutes

    This assignment affords you the opportunity to practice writing a resume--a skill that you will need to employ later in this class, and, almost certainly, in "real life" as well. A resume is an organized summary of a person's background, qualifications, and accomplishments. As a concise overview, an effective resume does not seek to list every specific detail in an individual's life. Instead, it touches on major points that would make a person well qualified for a prospective job.

    Resume writing is an important skill, and this assignment will provide an opportunity to practice it. Here, however, instead of writing a resume for your own life, you will produce a resume that provides a brief, condensed overview of the life of a notable historical figure or celebrity. This will enable you to practice both resume-writing and researching skills, as you will need to spend time gathering, sorting, and analyzing information on your chosen individual. Additionally, since, according to the Keirsey Temperament Sorter, the individual whom you select has or had a temperament similar to your own, it might prove interesting to see what he or she has accomplished or achieved.

    Since you're writing this resume for some other individual, there will obviously be some minor departures from traditional resume writing conventions. You don't need to specify addresses or phone numbers. Do include birthdates and, if relevant, death dates in the personal information, however. Instead of a Career Objective, you may attempt to formulate a Personal Objective for the resume subject based on the information you discover. Cite as much as you can about the subject's education, work experiences, and accomplishments and achievements.

    You may organize your resume by using some or all of the following categories: Personal Data; Personal and/or Professional Objectives; Educational Background; Employment Experience, Professional Honors and Affiliations; Publications and Creative Works; and Civic, Religious, and Service Activities. Information in your resume should be presented in reverse chronological order within categories. That is, list education, work experiences, accomplishments, etc., starting with the most recent first and working backwards in time.

    The information you present should be neat, visually appealing, grammatically correct, and consistent in presentation and format. Sloppiness--typos, poor grammar, and misspellings--and wordiness are major resume killers. Additionally, try to make use of strong action verbs such as achieved, attained, advised, built, composed, created, designed, developed, directed, established, improved, increased, integrated, managed, organized, performed, restored, solved, taught, and wrote.

    (See URL's for additional resume-writing resources.)

    Resume Evaluation Rubric

    Scoring criteria 5
    Excellent
    4
    Good
    3
    Needs Some Improvement
    2
    Needs Much Improvement
    1
    N/A
    All and only important parts are included.
    Resume items presented in reverse chronological order.
    Resume items highlight strengths of subject.
    White space, margins, and tabs used effectively and attractively.
    Strong action verbs are used.
    Information is clearly provided.
    Effective use of fonts, bolding, and special effects
    No spelling, grammar, or word usage errors.

    07.01.04 Research resumé links (English 12)

    07.01.05 Journal entry: Job compatibility (English 12)

    teacher-scored 15 points possible 120 minutes

    One of the primary functions of this kind of temperament typing is to help people find careers that are compatible with their personality. For this journal entry, I want you to check out some of the resources that match temperament types to a sampling of career interests. Note that these lists (see links in URL's) represent careers and jobs people of various types tend to enjoy doing. The job requirements are similar to the personality tendancies of the various temperament types.


    • Common Careers for Personality Types
    • Jedi Girl: Careers and Jobs

    It is important to remember that these informal resources do not list all the jobs considered compatible with the temperament types. Also, it is very important to remember that people can, and frequently do, fill jobs that are dissimilar to their personality. In fact, this happens all the time...and sometimes works out quite well. Still, check out the sites and jot down several careers from the various lists that are of interest to you. For each occupation listed comment on why it appeals to you, what you know about it, and what additional information you'd like to find out about it? If an occupation of interest to you doesn't appear on any of the lists, list and write about it any way. Make sure the "dream job" you alluded to earlier is on the list, even if it's not one of the jobs considered compatible with your tag.

    Next go to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook. The Occupational Outlook Handbook is a nationally recognized source of career information designed to provide valuable assistance to individuals making decisions about their future work lives. By clicking on the index in the upper-right corner, you'll find you can access most careers by simply clicking on the appropriate letter of the alphabet. If you don't know the exact job title of a specific career, try doing a keyword search for a word that is associated with the career. This will enable you to view all the jobs that contain that keyword in their description. For each career you cited as seeming somewhat interesting or appealing, jot down what you consider to be important information about that career as presented in the Handbook.

    If you can't find the information you're looking for from the Occupational Outlook Handbook, you might want to try some of the following career resources (see URL's):


    • Princeton Review Career Information
    • Career Knowledgebank
    • Career Voyages
    • University of Manitoba: Exploring Occupations
    • Career Exploration Links
    • America's Career InfoNet
    • Career Biographies
    • Santa Fe Career Resource Center
    • JobStar's Guides for Specific Careers
    • Career Resources by Field
    • CollegeBoard's Career Browser
    • BLM's Career Information
    • What Do They Do
    • College Majors and Career Information
    • Salary.Com

    Survey the information you noted about the various careers, and use it to help you narrow your career possibilities to a single career that seems most appealling and realistic, based on the information you've just gathered. Once you narrow it down, print out the information from the Handbook (or other sources) about the specific career option you have decided to focus on. You will utilize this information for a subsequent assignment.

    Evaluation:
    Journal entries are an opportunity to explore ideas and develop fluency with language in an informal context. You will be assessed a point value from 1 to 15 points, based on the effort and thoughtfulness demonstrated in your response.

    07.01.05 Journal entry: Job compatibility links (English 12)

    07.01.06 Occupational Interview (English 12)

    teacher-scored 30 points possible 180 minutes

    You've had a chance to explore some of the factual information about a specific career. Such facts, however, don't really tell the whole picture. Consequently, for this assignment, I'd like you to seek out someone who does the job which you selected in the previous journal entry.

    For this assignment, it would be ideal to have a person whom you could talk with directly either face-to-face or via email. Even if you don't know a professional in your field of interest, oftentimes one can be contacted via friends, family, or even the yellow pages. If you're courteous, I think you'll find most people are actually quite flattered that you're interested in what they do, and they're typically pretty willing to be interviewed, provided you make interviewing arrangements at their convenience.

    Another possible method of contacting a professional in a specific field is via the various ask-an-expert sites available on the Internet. Such sites might also provide you an opportunity to rifle questions at a wide assortment of professionals in virtually every field and discipline. In the links for this activity are some useful URL's you might want to explore that link students with experts:


    • Ask An Expert Resources
    • Pitsco's Ask An Expert
    • Library Spot's Ask an Expert

    However you chose to locate your career research source, try to identify questions for him or her that the factual information you've accessed thus far does not seem to adequately address. Your list of questions may include, although does not need to be limited to the following:

    1. What is a typical day like for you?
    2. What are the best aspects of this profession?
    3. What are the least desirable aspects of this profession?
    4. Who are the major employers of people in this field?
    5. What does it take to succeed?
    6. What educational background is required?
    7. Are there related jobs?
    8. What professional organizations or associations are affiliated with this career?
    9. Are there any hot topics or controversial issues associated with this career?
    10. Are there any magazines or periodicals that people in this field typically read?
    11. Are there any books, tv shows, or movies that adequately portray people in this profession?
    12. What does the future hold for this particular career?
    13. What kind of quality of life does this career afford?

    Please submit a detailed transcript of your interview. (If you're interviewing in person, you may want to record your interview to make it easier to produce your transcript.) Be sure to cite the name of your subject, what business or organization he or she is affiliated with, the date the interview took place, and the subject's address, telephone number, and, if applicable, email address. Also, establish the credibility of your subject (i.e., what makes him an authority on that particular occupation?).

    Evaluation:
    This assignment, which is worth 30 points, will be evaluated based on the comprehensiveness of your interview. Your transcript should be edited and neatly presented. There will be a 10-point deduction if you fail to establish the requested information about your subject's credibility and/or qualifications.

    07.01.06 Occupational Interview links (English 12)

    07.01.07 Journal entry: job overview (English 12)

    teacher-scored 10 points possible 60 minutes

    You've researched about a career of interest in various online resources and interviewed a credible professional who works in that arena. For this journal entry, I'd like you to give a broad overview of what you found out. Comment on whether or not you are still genuinely interested in this career, based on the information you uncovered.

    Evaluation:
    Journal entries are an opportunity to explore ideas and develop fluency with language in an informal context. You will be assessed a point value from 1 to 10 points, based on the effort and thoughtfulness demonstrated in your response.

    07.01.08 Occupational brochure (English 12)

    teacher-scored 40 points possible 150 minutes

    As a result of this assignment, the student will:


    • learn to present information in an organized and visually appealing format
    • provide credible information targeted to a specific audience
    • use language to inform and persuade

    This assignment will require that you take the information you've gleaned as a result of your extensive research and put it in a concise, visually appealing format. Pretend you are an occupational recruiter looking for people to fill job vacancies in the field you've investigated. Your salary depends on the number of qualified candidates you can attract to the profession. While you want to attract people who will do a good job, you also want to give enough information to discourage those individuals ill-suited for this particular profession, since your salary is also based on the level of performance of the recruits you sign-on. Consequently, you will need to produce an attractive and informative six-panel, tri-fold brochure that provides people with information about "the nuts and bolts" of your specific profession.

    Besides researching and developing the content for your brochure, you will also need to think about how to best present the information you discover. Before you get started on your brochure, one of the best things you can do is to collect some brochures from different companies and organizations. Review them and analyze the various approaches that were taken. Study the copy, the pictures and the general layout and try to determine why some are more appealing than others.

    Be aware that most word-processing programs have special templates for doing brochures and pamphlets. Using one of these is the easiest way to format your brochure. As a more rudimentary option, you can use the landscape option for your paper orientation, and then select for your text to be in three columns. (The site in the URL's explains how to do this using Word.) This also will give you the makings of a tri-fold pamphlet.

    Be mindful of the fact that the brochure should contain six panels (three on the front and three on the back). If you are not using a template, I suggest you plan your brochure out by taking a blank piece of paper and folding it like a tri-fold brochure. Note which panel will be the cover of the brochure and plan your pamphlet accordingly.

    As you plan and produce your brochure, keep in mind some of the following tips:


    • design the front cover to grab attention in a credible fashion
    • use different size fonts and headings to organize material
    • cite credible facts and statistics (provide information about the source of such information)
    • consider including testimonials
    • if possible, show pictures of people engaged in relevant activities
    • stress names of companies and organizations that use relevant services
    • make it look too important to throw away
    • sell the benefits of the career
    • use charts and graphs and other visuals where appropriate
    • make certain your text is free from grammatical errors
    • use white space effectively
    • make your text easy to read and the organization apparent
    • use bold headlines and subheads to break up the copy and encourage prospects to read on
    • use words that sell (i.e., active, specific, present-tense words promising results and benefits crucial to target audience)
    • use language that compels the reader to take action

    Evaluation:

    Presentation combines both visual and verbal elements. It is the way we "exhibit" our message on paper. Even if our ideas, words, and sentences are vivid, precise, and well constructed, the piece will not be inviting to read unless the guidelines of presentation are present.

    Although not all of the following elements below are necessary for each brochure, use this checklist to make sure you're on the right track. Some of the questions to ask yourself are:


    • Does the front cover grab attention?
    • Does it have pictures of things or people associated with the time period and geographic location?
    • Does it use emphatic devices (bullets, bold headings, underlining, etc.)?
    • Does it contain interesting and accurate historical information?
    • Does it sell the vacation package?
    • Is it free of grammatical errors?
    • Is there sufficient white space?
    • Is it easy to read?
    • Does the message flow?

    07.01.08 Occupational brochure links (English 12)

    07.01.09 Journal entry: Personal Reflection essay (English 12)

    teacher-scored 10 points possible 60 minutes

    For this journal entry, I'd like you to write an informal response to this question: How have I, as a potential graduate, exhibited the skills, knowledge, and attitudes needed to prepare me for the "real world?" In the context of your response, you may find it necessary to examine your past performance, future goals, and philosophy of life.

    Here are a few questions to help get you started:


    1. How does my background impact who I am today?
    2. How am I smart? How do I show that I am? What can I do well?
    3. Why am I here? What do I believe? What is important? What is my philosophy of life?
    4. Why should I be graduated?
    5. Where am I going? How will I get there? Why should I be hired? Why should I be accepted into college or technical training?
    6. How am I a caring person and effective user of ideas and information?
    7. How am I an effective member of the community (local, state, country, world)?
    8. Who am I?
    9. How has my creativity been encouraged?
    10. What do I regret or wish I could do over?

    Evaluation:
    Journal entries are an opportunity to explore ideas and develop fluency with language in an informal context. You will be assessed a point value from 1 to 10 points, based on the effort and thoughtfulness demonstrated in your response.

    07.01.10 Future Resumé (English 12)

    teacher-scored 30 points possible 90 minutes

    As a result of this assignment, the student will:


    • employ effective essay-writing skills
    • establish long-range personal goals and objectives

    As established earlier, a resume is a very important document. It is a personal data sheet which summarizes your career objective(s), education, training, work experience, activities, accomplishments, skills and abilities, honors, and interests. This data gives a potential employer the information necessary to determine if your qualifications meet the job requirements.

    A well-prepared resume helps you become aware of your own qualifications, skills, and strengths, and will give you a feeling of confidence when you apply for a job. The information on your resume will help you fill out a job application. It will show the employer that you are organized and prepared.

    For this assignment, you will do a resume with a slight twist. Instead of simply chronicling who you are and what you've accomplished as of right now, this resume will be based on a projection of where you hope to be in ten years. This assignment is, of course, speculative and hypothetical, but it will necessitate that you indicate a desired course or direction for your life. In addition to once again practicing an important occupational skill, this resume will serve as a gameplan of sorts for future activities and endeavors. Like any good gameplan, it will likely be adjusted and refined with time--none of us, afterall, can see perfectly into the future. Nonetheless, it might be a good idea to consider the following excerpt from Alice in Wonderland:

    "Cheshire-Puss,"...said Alice, "would you tell me please, which way I ought to go from here?"
    "That depends a good deal on where you want to get to," said the Cat.
    "I don't much care where--" said Alice.
    "Then it doesn't matter which way you go," said the Cat.
    "--so long as I get somewhere," Alice added as an explanation.
    "Oh, you're sure to do that," said the Cat, "if you only walk long enough."07.1.10 Cheshire Cat07.1.10 Cheshire Cat

    Resume Evaluation Rubric

    Scoring criteria 5
    Excellent
    4
    Good
    3
    Needs Some Improvement
    2
    Needs Much Improvement
    1
    N/A
    All and only important résumé parts are included.
    Résumé items presented in reverse chronological order.
    Résumé items highlight strengths of subject.
    White space, margins, and tabs used effectively and attractively.
    Strong action verbs are used.
    Information is clearly provided.
    Effective use of fonts, bolding, and special effects
    No spelling, grammar, or word usage errors.

    08.00 Unit 8: Taking a Stand (English 12

    It is better to discuss an issue without settling it, then to settle an issue without discussing it.

    People need to realize that it is possible to agree to disagree agreeably.

    The word controversy is made up of the prefix contra which means "against," and the root vers which means "turn away." Quite literally then, the word controversy means "something that turns people away from each other."

    As I'm sure you're aware, issues that are controversial exist in abundance. While many such issues have significant social implications, others are based on individual circumstances that stem from disagreements between various institutions and patrons. For example, you may someday find yourself in a position where you disagree with a decision made by an insurance agency, a car dealership, or your local government officials. In such instances, it becomes extremely important that you, as both a consumer and a citizen, can effectively assert your position through effective argumentative discourse.

    Beyond your role as consumer and citizen, as a professional you'll find that in virtually every field of study there are issues that prompt people to disagree. Consequently, this final unit of your high school English career will focus on increasing your understanding of a controversial issue related to the occupational interest you explored in the previous unit. Additionally, you will learn various argumentative strategies that will facilitate your ability to argue effectively.

    08.01.01 Journal entry: topic exploration (English 12)

    teacher-scored 10 points possible 60 minutes

    Below you'll find a variety of broadly defined career paths with a sampling of controversial topics relevant to each path. Note that in order to be controversial, an issue must have at least two opposing viewpoints. Consequently, a topic like "child abuse" isn't controversial, since no one in their right mind would be in favor of it. However, there are issues related to child abuse that are very controversial. For example, if you start talking about the best way to treat child abuse offenders or what constitutes child abuse, then chances are you're getting into controversial territory.

    That established, select an issue of interest to you from your chosen career path. (If you're aware of or interested in a controversial topic that is not noted here, please feel free to e-mail me your ideas for inclusion.)

    Once you've selected an issue of interest, informally establish what you already know about it, prior to formally researching it. You may want to speculate a bit about why you think the issue is so controversial.

    Controversial Issues Related to Career Paths

    Arts & Communications


    • Censorship (need to focus on specific issue such as "Harry Potter")
    • Government Funding for the Arts
    • Arts in the Public School Curriculum
    • Flag Burning
    • Violence/Sex on Television and in Movies
    • Violent Video Games
    • File Sharing
    • V-Chip
    • Clear Channel
    • Movie Rating System

    Business

    • Privacy in the Workplace
    • Affirmative Action
    • Minimum Wage
    • Flat Tax
    • Outsourcing
    • Child Labor
    • Trade Agreements
    • National Debt
    • Third-World Debt Forgiveness
    • Wal-Mart
    • Privatization of Social Security
    • Drug Testing
    • Lottery/Gambling
    • Health Care Reform
    • Pharmaceutical Industry
    • Farm Subsidies

    Government and Human Services

    • Vouchers
    • Charter Schools
    • Sex Education
    • Corporal Punishment
    • High-Stakes Tests
    • School Uniforms
    • Prayer in Public Schools
    • Creationism/Intelligent Design vs. Evolution
    • Death Penalty
    • Drug Legalization
    • Prisoner Rights
    • Gun Control
    • Racial Profiling
    • English as Official Language
    • Electoral College
    • Privatization of Social Security
    • Term Limits
    • Campaign-Finance Reform
    • Affirmative Action
    • Minimum Wage
    • Lottery/Gambling
    • Immigration Policy
    • FDA Reform
    • Homeland Security
    • Patriot Act

    Health Services

    • Animal Research
    • Physician-Assisted Suicide
    • Xenotransplantation
    • Monetary Compensation for Organ Dontation
    • Cloning
    • Stem Cell Research
    • Abortion
    • Surrogate Motherhood
    • DNA Screening
    • Genetic Engineering
    • Fluoridation
    • Health Care Reform

    Military

    • Landmine Production (Ottawa Convention)
    • Pre-emptive War
    • Military Tribunals
    • Torture in Interrogation
    • Stop Loss Policy
    • National Missile Defence System
    • Gays in the Military
    • Iraqi Withdrawal
    • Prisoner Abuse
    • Base Closings
    • Recruitment Tactics
    • Veteran Benefits

    Natural Resources/Agriculture

    • Recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone (rBGH)
    • Cattle Laws
    • Genetic Engineering
    • Potentially Detrimental Effects of Herbicides, Fungicides and Insecticides
    • Organic Farming
    • Farm Subsidies
    • Dams
    • Draining Lake Powell
    • Global Warming
    • Zoos/Aquaria
    • Species Preservation
    • Open Space
    • Deforestation
    • Legacy Highway
    • Nuclear Power
    • Nuclear Waste Storage
    • Drilling for Oil in Alaska
    • Kyoto Treaty
    • Hybrids
    • Forest Service Fire Policy

    Science & Technology

    • Life on Mars
    • Manned Spacecraft
    • NASA Funding
    • UFOs and SETI
    • Intellectual Property and Piracy
    • Internet Regulation/Taxation
    • Internet Censorship
    • Spam Regulation
    • Microsoft Monopoly
    • Data Encryption
    • UTOPIA
    • Digital Divide

    Evaluation:

    Journal entries are an opportunity to explore ideas and develop fluency with language in an informal context. You will be assessed a point value from 1 to 10 points, based on the effort and thoughtfulness demonstrated in your response.

    08.01.02 Annotated bibliography (English 12)

    teacher-scored 50 points possible 240 minutes

    As a result of this assignment, the student will:


    • locate resources relevant to a specific controversial issue
    • examine and review sources to determine credibility
    • cite sources using MLA documentation
    • write annotations summarizing the theme, scope, and credibility of sources

    Having selected and informally written about your chosen issue, this assignment requires you to round out your understanding of your controversial issue by conducting and documenting some formal research about it.

    You will need to identify, access, and evaluate a minimum of five credible resources in regards to your issue. (Since some of your sources will likely come from information on the Internet, be mindful of issues of website credibility that have been covered in previous assignments.) Perhaps one of the most useful resources for your research will be Pioneer, Utah's Online Library. Here you can find articles in local, national, and international newspapers as well as scholarly articles about a host of social issues. (Given the nature of this assignment, the SIRS Knowledge Source will prove especially useful.)

    Although access to the resources on the Pioneer Library is free to Utah educators and students, you will need to have the appropriate passwords if you intend to access the materials from home. Although I can not disclose these passwords publicly due to contractual agreements, I will be happy to provide them to you upon request. They are also available from your local school librarian.

    As you seek to identify appropriate resources for your research, make a concerted effort to seek out resources that adequately represent both points of view. Effective argumentation requires an appreciable understanding of both sides of the issue. Consequently, you will need to locate objective resources or at least counterbalance any bias sources with sources that are bias in the other direction. (One good way to approach your research is to determine what organizations are known to be for or against your issue. Organizations like the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), for example, are renown for their positions on many different social issues associated with personal and civil liberties.)

    The results of your research efforts will be cast in the form of an annotated bibliography. An annotated bibliography, like a conventional bibliography, lists all the sources you have used in your research. In addition to the citation, however, an annotated bibliography has notes or annotations, which begin after the period ending the bibliographic citation. These annotations tell what is important or characteristic about a source. The annotation offers a brief descriptive and evaluative paragraph to inform the reader of the relevance, accuracy, and quality of the sources cited.

    An annotation, by nature, is fairly brief--approximately 100-150 words. It summarizes the central theme and scope of the reference source. Annotations typically:


    • summarize the content of the source
    • analyze or critically evaluate the source
    • comment on the intended audience
    • compare or contrast this work with other cited works
    • explain how this work relates to your theme or topic
    • point out valuable properties or qualities of the source in addition to the text
    • comment on the author's intellectual/academic credentials
    • identify possible bias or shortcomings in the work

    A typical annotated citation, using MLA documentation would look something like the following example:

    Doe, J. T. and Williams, W. R. "Parental supervision of television viewing and aggressive behavior
    
        in children",  Journal of Television and Violence, 51 (1996): 534-540. The authors, researchers
    
        at Western State College, collected data from a group of 8 year olds to test their hypothesis
    
        that the amount of violence children saw on television relates to the aggressiveness of their
    
        behavior. They found that children who were allowed to watch evening police dramas and
    
        "made for TV" specials with abusive situations demonstrated increased aggressive behavior
    
        over children who were not permitted to watch these programs. The researchers did not find a
    
        connection between aggression in children and television violence as displayed in cartoons and
    
        news programs. Another study, conducted by Smith and Wesson, showed that the amount of
    
        television violence viewed by children does correlate with aggressive behavior. Smith and
    
        Wesson, however, do not consider the type of program viewed. The article by Doe and
    
        Williams is one of the few studies that examines aggressive behavior as it relates to different
    
        types of television programs. 
    

    Additional Notes


    • Center the title of your bibliography at the top of the page. (For example, "An Annotated Bibliography on _____".)
    • Begin each entry flush with the left margin. All subsequent lines, however, should be indented five spaces.
    • Double space all entries and between entries.
    • Format the information in the entry according to the type of entry.
    • Begin annotation immediately after the period that ends the bibliographic citation.
    • Arrange the items on your reference list alphabetically by author, interfiling books, articles, etc.
    • If no author is given, start with the title.
    • Abbreviate the names of all months except May, June, and July.
    • If the encyclopedia does not arrange its articles alphabetically, treat the encyclopedia article as if it were a book article. Specific volume and page numbers are cited in the text, not in the list of references.
    • Websites: include the title of the web page, the name of the entire web site, the organization that posted it (this may be the same as the name of the website). Also include the full date the page was created or last updated (day, month, year if available) and the date you looked at it.
    • Internet Magazine Articles: Include the company that provides the database service and its home webpage; the full date of the article (day, month, year if available) and the date you looked at it; as well as the library or other organization (and its location) that provided you with access to the service. If you are citing a journal instead of a magazine, include the volume (and issue number) and date as shown under the Journal Style above.

    Evaluation:
    The following criteria will be used to determine your score on the annotated bibliography assignment:

    • Does it contain at least five credible sources?
    • Do the various sources adequately represent multiple points of view?
    • Does it adhere to MLA format?
    • Do annotations adequately summarize the source?
    • Do annotations also evaluate the credibility of the source?
    • Are citations edited and presented professionally?
    • Are citations presented in alphabetical order?

    A useful resource for putting together your bibliographic citations is the Landmark Citation Machine. This online tool enables you to identify the type of reference you need to cite. Then, it provides the necessary fields of information for you to fill in. By merely clicking the "Make Citation" button, the tool provides you with the appropriate citation format, in both MLA and APA formats. You simply need to copy and paste the citation into your text file.

    08.01.02 Annotated bibliography links (English 12)

    08.01.03 Journal entry: Exploring both sides (English 12)

    teacher-scored 10 points possible 60 minutes

    We've all heard the old phrase "There are two sides to every coin." In regards to issues that are controversial the phrase is particularly apt, since most such issues are controversial because there are compelling arguments on both sides.

    Based on what you're learned thus far, what do you see as the major arguments for both sides of the issue? Informally detail what, in your opinion, are the major arguments and sub-arguments for both sides. Refrain from making judgments about which side's arguments are correct or most sound. Right now, just delineate the parameters of the issue.

    If you feel your understanding of the issue is inadequate to adequately characterize both sides, seek to augment your understanding with additional research. It might be a good idea to chat with your interview subject from the previous unit to ask them about the topic.

    Evaluation:
    Journal entries are an opportunity to explore ideas and develop fluency with language in an informal context. You will be assessed a point value from 1 to 10 points, based on the effort and thoughtfulness demonstrated in your response.

    08.01.04 Dialogue of ideas (English 12)

    teacher-scored 20 points possible 60 minutes

    Let two voices, A and B, discuss or argue your controversial issue. Set this down in dialogue form without stage directions.

    The main purpose of this is to produce as many ideas about the subject as possible, to explore all sides of an issue without feeling compelled to build up a single case that avoids contradictions. The very process of question-answer, parry-thrust, statement-response compels you, as the writer, to consider different sides of the issue.

    Be careful not to let A and B repeat themselves in circular fashion, or have a monologue in which B is too stupid or acquiescent to hold up his end

    Evaluation:
    This assignment will be evaluated based on the degree to which you demonstrate your understanding of the issue from divergent perspectives. Your ability to develop a meaningful and coherent dialogue will also be considered.

    08.01.05 Journal entry: Formulating a position (English 12)

    teacher-scored 10 points possible 60 minutes

    Now that you're firmly grounded in both sides of the issue, you need to start formulating your position. No fence-sitting here--based on your thorough understanding of both viewpoints, where do you stand?

    Informally justify your stance with specific reasons and evidence. What do you concede are the most compelling arguments for the opposing viewpoint? Why do you feel your reasons are superior?

    Evaluation:
    Journal entries are an opportunity to explore ideas and develop fluency with language in an informal context. You will be assessed a point value from 1 to 10 points, based on the effort and thoughtfulness demonstrated in your response.

    08.01.06 Argumentative essay (English 12)

    teacher-scored 30 points possible 210 minutes

    As a result of this assignment, the student will:


    • formulate and defend an opinion on a controversial issue
    • learn to write persuasively
    • learn how to structure an effective argumentative essay

    Based on your research and consideration of both sides of the controversial issue in question, you will now need to formulate a statement that effectively captures your personal stance on the issue. This statement will serve as the thesis statement for the argumentative essay you will then write. Your objective will be to defend the validity of your position by anticipating the opposing side's arguments, conceding their legitimacy where appropriate, countering with your own superior arguments, and offering a viable conclusion. I like to refer to this strategy as "The Four C's of Argumentation":

    1. Context: This refers to the introductory portion of your essay where you provide any necessary background material for your audience to have an appreciable understanding of the basic nature of the issue. Consider giving examples, quoting authorities, or simply explaining the issue. If the issue might strike readers as unimportant, state explicitly why you think it is important and why, in your view, they should think so too. Somewhere in the introductory section of your essay, you need to clearly state your thesis (i.e., of the various sides to the issue, where do you stand?). You may want to consider qualifying your thesis to account for exceptions to your arguments. (You may find the resource entitled "Writing introductions to argumentative essays" helpful for getting your essay started.)

  • Concede: Consider making concessions to the opposing viewpoint. Try to find common ground with opponents by acknowledging the legitimacy of their concerns. Show them where you share their values, interests, and assumptions. Note that this does not mean you're "giving in." Acknowledging the legitimacy of certain aspects of opposing viewpoints has the duel advantage of lessening the psychological distance between you and your opposition and mitigating the impact of that prospective argument when it is used against your position.
  • Counter: Having anticipated opposing arguments and made concessions where appropriate, you will need to refute opposing viewpoints and buttress your position with your own compelling arguments. Avoid attacking your opponents. Instead, provide solid evidence--quotes from authorities, case studies, facts and statistics from reputable sources--to convince your readers that you can objectively demonstrate the superiority of your position.
  • Conclude: In your concluding remarks, you may want to recap important points. Additionally, you could state a course of action or a direction the issue should take. You can restate a stronger point of view, more clarified than your original view of the issue, or you can propose a compromise. (You may find the resource entitled "Writing conclusions to argumentative essays" helpful for concluding your essay.)

    Remember, your essay should be an outgrowth of your previous work in this unit. You need to deal with the substance of the issue that you have discovered in the course of your research and exploration. Be careful to avoid the use of logical fallacies that cloud your logic and hamper your ability to effectively persuade your audience and make sure to provide lots of solid evidence to substantiate your claims.
  • Evaluation:
    This essay will be assessed using the Six-Trait evaluation rubric developed by the Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory. It is based on the idea that each piece of writing may be evaluated in six distinct areas: ideas/content, organization, sentence fluency, word choice, voice, and conventions. Each of these components are ranked on a scale of 1-5 (1 representing poor and 5 excellent). The sum of the values of the six components could represent a maximum score of 30 points.

    08.01.06 Argumentative essay links (English 12)

    08.01.07 Journal entry: A Modest Proposal (English 12)

    teacher-scored 15 points possible 90 minutes

    Besides arguing in a straightforward way, logically making concessions and counterarguments, there are other ways to write persuasively. One such way is through the use of satire. Satire is a manner of writing that mixes a critical attitude with wit and humor in an effort to improve mankind and human institutions.

    Ridicule, irony, exaggeration, and several other techniques are almost always present in satire. The satirist may insert serious statements of value or desired behavior, but most often he or she relies on an implicit moral code, understood by his audience and paid lip service by them. The satirist's goal is to point out the hypocrisy of his target in the hope that either the target or the audience will return to a real following of the code.

    A Modest Proposal for Preventing the Children of the Poor People in Ireland from being a Burden to their Parents or Country (usually known simply as "A Modest Proposal") is a classic example of satire. The essay, which is a masterpiece of bitterness and irony, was written by English author Jonathon Swift in 1729. Swift, considered a hero in Ireland, rallied British public opinion for the cause of Irish economic and political independence.

    The essay, which is a masterpiece of bitterness and irony, reveals the terrible suffering in Ireland at the time by making the mocking suggestion that the poor should devote themselves to rearing children to be killed and sold for eating.

    For this journal entry, please read "A Modest Proposal" and record your answers to the following questions.


    1. "A Modest Proposal" is an ironic essay: the author deliberately writes what he does not mean. What is the real thesis?
    2. A clear difference exists between Swift and the persona who makes this proposal. Characterize the proposer.
    3. Look closely at paragraphs 4, 6, and 7, and study how the appeals to logic are put in mathematical and economic terms. Identify words and phrases that help achieve this effect.
    4. Give the three main plans of the persona's proposal.
    5. What, according to the persona, are the advantages of his solution? (more than 6)
    6. Make a list of the social problems in Ireland that Swift exposes through his satire.
    7. Swift does offer "serious" solutions to the problems of life in Ireland near the end of his essay. List the three that you think are the most important.

    Evaluation:
    This journal entry will be awarded a score of 1-15 points based on the thoroughness with which you address the various questions posed.

    08.01.07 Journal entry: A Modest Proposal links (English 12)

    08.01.09 Journal entry: story stuff (English 12)

    teacher-scored 15 points possible 60 minutes

    Every writer knows that in order to have a good plot, you need to have conflict. Perhaps we can reverse this statement to say if you have conflict, you have the makings of a good plot. And since the very essence of any controversy is conflict, based on your work in this unit so far, you've already got the makings of a good plot within your grasp.

    But a good short story has more than just a plot. It has character development, a setting, and a theme. (To learn more about the elements of a short story, check out the web site entitled "What Makes a Good Short Story" created by the Annenberg/CPB Project.)

    For this journal entry, you will start sketching out ideas for the formal short story assignment that follows. Start out by developing characters to represent the viewpoints represented in earlier journal entries and assignments from this unit. Give each character a name, describe their physical characteristics, occupation, speech, mannerisms, etc. Next, figure out a setting or location where these characters can confront each other, and then envision the dynamics and logistics of that interaction. Contemplate how the conflict will begin, what will the the climactic point, and how it will be resolved. Finally, speculate about what thematic statement(s) might be advanced as a result of your story.

    Evaluation:
    Journal entries are an opportunity to explore ideas and develop fluency with language in an informal context. You will be assessed a point value from 1 to 15 points, based on the effort and thoughtfulness demonstrated in your response.

    08.01.09 Journal entry: story stuff links (English 12)

    08.01.10 Controversial issue short story (English 12)

    computer-scored 30 points possible 180 minutes

    As a result of this assignment, the student will:


    • create a short story based on conflict inherent in a controversial issue
    • demonstrate familiarity with the basic elements of a short story

    The writer Katherine Anne Porter once said "I have never written a story in my life that didn't have a very firm foundation in actual human experience." 08.1.10 Katherine Anne Porter08.1.10 Katherine Anne PorterThis assignment presents you with an opportunity to take an issue grounded in genuine human experience, and use it as the basis for a short story.

    You've already got all the ingredients--now pull it all together, and compose a fictional narrative that concentrates on developing a central conflict between two well developed and interesting characters in a realistic setting. Draw on what you've learned about the dynamics of your issue to make the story seem realistic. Make sure to include dialogue and plenty of good showing detail. (Remember what Mark Twain said, "Don't say the old lady screamed . . . bring her on and let her scream.")

    Evaluation:
    This short story will be assessed using the Six-Trait evaluation rubric, developed by the Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory. It is based on the idea that each piece of writing may be evaluated in six distinct areas: ideas/content, organization, sentence fluency, word choice, voice, and conventions. Each of these components are ranked on a scale of 1-5 (1 representing poor and 5 excellent). The sum of the values of the six components could represent a maximum score of 30 points.

    English 12 - 1st Quarter

    English 12 - 2nd Quarter

    English 12 - 3rd Quarter

    English 12 - 4th Quarter