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3rd Quarter, Language Arts 09

0.0 Start Here (LA 9)

Course Description

Course Skills

Students will:

Engage in attentive reading, writing, and listening through complex works of literature.

Perform critical reading of digital and printed material.

Build knowledge and demonstrate strong reasoning abilities.

These skills, in reading; writing; speaking; and listening, are the foundation for any purposeful expression in language

Class Overview

This is a one quarter (.25 credit) class in Utah State High School Language Arts. 

WHAT THIS CLASS IS: This class is an open-entry, open-exit class. You can enroll at any time of the year, and finish the class as fast as you can get all the work done. 

WHAT THIS CLASS IS NOT: This class is NOT an easy way to get your English credit without doing real work. You will be required to work and learn.

PREREQUISITES

At least 8th grade level reading and writing skills.

A computer with internet access.

A working e-mail address which you check regularly.

Word processing software to type your assignments. Microsoft Word is best.

Acrobat Reader, QuickTime reader, and a PowerPoint reader (all available free online).

How You Will Be Graded

You earn points for doing assignments in this class. Each assignment has a maximum number of points you can earn if you do an excellent job on that assignment. You must do all assignments. You can also submit a revised, improved version of an assignment to get more points for it. Your final grade is determined by your average on assignments, and how you do on the final test. The assignments and quizzes count 75%, and the final test counts 25%.

GRADING SCALE

A 90-100

B 80-89

C 70-79

D 60-69

No credit - below 60

As with all EHS classes, you must also pass a proctored final test at the end of the class. If you score below 60% on the final, you will fail the class and not earn credit.  If you score at least 60% on the final test, your score on the final will be averaged with your scores for class assignments and quizzes to determine your grade in the class. 
 

Final Test

When you have finished all the assignments you need for your credit, you will take the final test under the supervision of a proctor approved by the EHS. You must pass the final with at least 60% to pass the class. 

About Homework

Writing Assignments

Grading rubrics will specify how you will be graded on each assignment submission. 

Class plagiarism policy

Plagiarism is copying someone else's work, in any way, and failing to give credit to the original author. Plagiarism is unlawful and unethical, and against the EHS Honor Code. 

How to turn in homework

IMPORTANT: always save a copy of all your homework on your own computer. Send in each assignment when it is requested in the course module section. 

About Me assignment:

 

Getting to know you! Copy and paste the following questions between the rows of asterisks below into a word document and answer them accordingly.

*******************************************************************

In a numbered LIST, provide the following information:

1. What is your first and last name, parent(s) name(s), and contact information for both you and your parent(s)? 

2. Where do you go to school? 

3. What is your counselor's full name and email address/contact information? 

4. What year will you graduate and have you read the EHS Honor Code and understand that this class needs to be finished within the 10 week limit?

In a few sentences, tell me about yourself being sure to answer the following questions in the process:

          a. Tell me something about yourself. 

          b. Why are you taking this class and what do you expect to get out of it? 

          c. What is one word that best describes you?

By the way, here is the EHS honor code: "As a student of the Electronic High School, I agree to turn in my assignments in a timely manner, do my own work, not share my work with others, and treat all students, teachers, and staff with respect."

00.00 *Student-supplied Items for English 9 (LA 9)

Most readings and viewings for this class are available free online or at your school or public library. You can also find digital copies of these texts in the URLs found in this module section.

  • First quarter: The Odyssey
  • Second quarter: To Kill a Mockingbird
  • Third quarter: Romeo and Juliet, and one book chosen from the list in the class
  • Fourth quarter: one book chosen from the list in the class

00.00 Start Here (LA 9)

Helpful information: Avoiding plagiarism  

00.01.01 Student Software Needs

 

Students need access to a robust internet connection and a modern web browser.

This class may also require the Apple QuickTime plug-in to view media.

For students using a school-issued Chromebook, ask your technical support folks to download the QuickTime plug-in and enable the plug-in for your Chromebook.

$0.00

13.00 Unit 13: Good Writing Techniques (LA 9)

"Schreibender Knabe": Albert Anker, 1883, WC, public domain"Schreibender Knabe": Albert Anker, 1883, WC, public domain

 

Unit 13: Getting Started

In this introductory unit you will work primarily on language skills, as outlined in the Utah State Core Curriculum for ninth grade English/Language Arts. You will review or familiarize yourself with rubrics, the six-trait model of evaluating writing, and the writing process. Topics in this unit include techniques that will help you improve your writing, sentence structure, clauses and phrases.  There will be several short assignments and quizzes. You should expect this unit to take you anywhere from about three to twelve hours, depending on how much you already know, and how much you need to review.

The "big idea" behind most of the assignments in this class:  Writers choose details, events and characters' words and actions to develop main ideas or themes; readers use details, examples and evidence to understand and infer main ideas or themes.

Class plagiarism policy:

Plagiarism is copying someone else's writing, either copying the exact words or copying the general organization, and paraphrasing some of the ideas. Copying someone else's sentences, phrases or ideas, and failing to give credit to the original author, is plagiarism.

In some papers it is appropriate to quote someone else's exact words, but when you do, that section needs to be set off in quotation marks or otherwise set apart, and the author identified either in a sentence, or in a parenthetical note.  Then you need to supply a "works cited" list of sources at the bottom of your paper. This also applies when you use facts that are not common knowledge.  

If you have not already done so, please review the information about plagiarism on the Start Here page and its links. Plagiarism is unlawful and unethical, and against the EHS Honor Code. If you turn in a plagiarized assignment, you will receive ONE warning. If the problem recurs, you may be dropped from the class with no credit.

13.01 Getting started (LA 9)

Wikimedia Commons, Tulane Public Relations, CC Attribution 2.0 GenericWikimedia Commons, Tulane Public Relations, CC Attribution 2.0 GenericTo get started on this class, complete the "About Me" assignment. Then read through the "Start Here" information, and take the quiz on class policies.

13.01.01 Class policies quiz (LA 9)

computer-scored 12 points possible 15 minutes

Read the information on the Start Here page and the Required Resources page first.
Then, go to your main class page and into Topic 3 to take this quiz. You may take this quiz multiple times, but you must score at least 90%. I want to make sure you understand how the class works!

If you haven't already, also click the link for the About Me assignment, and introduce yourself to me!

Pacing: complete this by the end of Week 1 of your enrollment date for this class.


13.02 How papers are scored, rubrics and the writing process (LA 9)

Clarify how papers will be graded, and review terms used to discuss and evaluate writing:

"Writing is thinking on paper.": by Filosofias filosoficas, CC Attribution 3.0 Unported via WIkimedia Commons"Writing is thinking on paper.": by Filosofias filosoficas, CC Attribution 3.0 Unported via WIkimedia Commons

Here is a brief summary of the "writing process". View the PowerPoint presentation or PDF for more information and click the link below this lesson to listen.

The WRITING PROCESS

begins with prewriting. This can include brainstorming, researching, outlining, and any other way of getting ideas and planning what you want to write.
The next step is often called drafting or composing. This is the part where you are actually writing, whether it is with pencil and paper, or on a computer.
Once you have gotten your writing 'on paper' (or on screen), it is time for revising. This is the step most people are tempted to skip, but the one on which many professional writers spend the most time. You should try different ways of organizing and improving your ideas: changing the order, adding details, cutting out what doesn't belong and improving word choice and sentence fluency--all to make your writing as powerful, clear and effective as possible.
After you are happy with the content of your writing and how you have put it together, the next step is editing. This is when you proofread and fix any conventions errors.
The next step is publishing, or sharing your writing so others can read it.

Rubrics

A rubric helps to define how the teacher will score your assignment, and what the expectations or benchmarks are for certain scores.
If you check the rubric as you revise an assignment, before you turn it in, you can improve your grade by making sure to include everything that is expected.
The rubric can also help the teacher score your paper more objectively, and help you understand why you received your score.

Utah Core standards

Most of the rubrics used in this class are based on the Utah Core guidelines for improving argumentative, expository and narrative writing. Along with the terms below from the Six-Trait system, make sure you understand the following:

  • significant
  • relevant
  • credible sources
  • cohesion
  • syntax
  • transitions
  • formal style
  • objective tone
  • domain-specific vocabulary
  • closure
  • resolution
  • implications
  • claim
  • counterclaim
  • reason
  • evidence
  • reflection

It may help you to look at sample standards that use Utah Core terminology. Here are examples of standards that use many of the terms above:

Category  
Introduction & organization Introduces precise, knowledgeable claim, establishes significance, distinguishes from opposing or alternate claims, and sets up logical organization of claims, counterclaims, reasons and evidence
Development of ideas and content Develops claims and counterclaims fairly and thoroughly, supplies most relevant data and evidence, points out strength and limitations in discipline-appropriate form, anticipating audience knowledge, concerns, biases and values, using credible sources
Development of relationships, cohesion and flow Uses words, clauses and phrases, as well as varied syntax, to link major sections of the text, create cohesion and clarify the relationships between claims and reasons, claims and counterclaims, reasons and evidence.
Word choice, style and tone Establish and maintain a smooth, formal style and objective tone while attending to the norms, vocabulary and conventions of the discipline for which they are writing
Conclusion Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from and supports the argument presented, while providing a sense of confident closure or resolution, beyond just repetition of earlier statements
Conventions and language skills Has few or no errors in conventions, grammar or usage; uses parallel structure and variety in sentences, phrases and clauses

 

Below is a very brief review of the SIX TRAITS system, which helps define some terms we will use in scoring and discussing your writing. For more information, see the PowerPoint or PDF about the six traits, and go to the Six Trait Writing web page.

1. Ideas & content - Are the ideas well-developed, with supporting details that are specific and concrete? [Instead of "Our kitchen is a wonderful place", which is general and abstract, write something like: - "The stained linoleum is curling up at the edges, and the cupboards need to be re-finished where my brother and I carved our initials the year I was ten, but the old stove always has a pot of chili simmering on top, or a sheet of oatmeal cookies baking in the oven." or - "When I get home from school, I can pop a frozen cheese pizza into the oven. I'd better remember to wipe up any crumbs, because my mom is really proud of the shiny new black granite countertop."]

2. Organization - Are the ideas in some kind of logical order? Does the order help you to understand the ideas, or does it just seem random? Check out the beginning--does the introduction help set up your expectations for the rest of the piece, and/or grab your attention? How about the end--does it just stop, or is there a sense of conclusion?

3. Voice - Does the writer's personality come through? Writing without voice seems generic as if any stereotypical teenager could have written it. It can also seem flat as if it might have been generated by a committee or a machine (or a textbook company!).

4. Sentence fluency - do the sentences flow smoothly if you read it out loud? Are they easy to follow and understand? Good writing includes sentences of varying length and construction. Common faults include short, choppy sentences; sentences that are so long and convoluted they are hard to understand; and non-sentences (fragments or run-ons).

5. Word choice - This is related to both voice and ideas. Are the words and vocabulary the best ones for the job? Nouns should be specific and concrete; verbs should be active and vivid. Generally, it's better to say "poodle" or "German shorthair" than "dog"; better to say "Honda Civic" or "Porsche" than "car" and better to say "waddled" or "leaped" or "slithered" than "went". Words should also be used accurately and precisely.

6. Conventions - Correct spelling, punctuation, capitalization, grammar, etc.

Symbols I use to mark writing problems:Wikimedia Commons, Mosborne01 image, CC Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 UnportedWikimedia Commons, Mosborne01 image, CC Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported

Generally, I will send you at least one or two comments along with your scores in the rubric for an assignment.  If you want more detailed comments and corrections, let me know and I will go through your work line by line, using these symbols.

(There are traditional proofreading symbols, but they were invented to be written in by hand. I have adapted some for the computer keyboard, and created ways to use the keyboard symbols in proofreading.)

*/* Marks where a run-on sentence needs to be either divided into two separate sentences with a period (or question mark), or properly connected with a comma and/or conjunction.

{ } I use the curly brackets around an incomplete sentence (fragment). It either needs to be connected to a neighboring sentence, or revised so that it can stand on its own as a complete sentence.

/P New paragraph should start here.

^ ^ The “carrots” are around something you left out--often, a missing comma.

< > The pointy brackets are around something you SHOULD have left out--often, an extra comma or word.

Boldface If bold is an option, I try to boldface misspelled words. If I can’t use bold, I will underline or highlight.

Underlining: I underline or highlight words, parts of words, or sentences to draw your attention to them, for either positive or negative reasons. Often, I use underlining to mark awkward sentence structure, capitalization, grammar, or word-choice problems. I will sometimes put an explanatory comment in parentheses right after the underlined part.

NOTE: If I see the same mistake repeated over and over, I may not mark all of them. When I have marked several of the same kind of error, I expect you to take the initiative to check for more of that kind.
If you keep sending more papers with the same kinds of mistakes all quarter, I may begin taking off more points as the quarter goes on. The idea is supposed to be that you learn to do better by reading my comments and suggestions and making extra effort not to repeat past mistakes.

13.02.01 How papers are scored, rubrics and the writing process quiz (LA 9)

computer-scored 15 points possible 15 minutes

Read the information in lesson 13.02.

Then, go to your main class page and into Topic 3 to take this quiz. You may take this quiz multiple times, but you must score at least 73%.

Pacing: complete this by the end of Week 1 of your enrollment date for this class.


13.03 Good writing techniques - parallel structure (LA 9)

Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings. Use parallel structure.

Harald Hoyer from Schwerin, Germany, CC Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic via WIkimedia CommonsHarald Hoyer from Schwerin, Germany, CC Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic via WIkimedia Commons

Many pieces of good writing use recognizable techniques, some of which are introduced below. It would be unusual for a single piece of writing to contain all of these, but nearly every piece of good writing includes many of them. You will need to recognize and use these techniques for assignments, quizzes, and on the final test.  (These ideas are based partly on the work of Nancy Atwell, Mary Ledbetter, and the Utah Writing Project.)

 

1. Parallel Structure and Magic Three Parallel Structure

In geometry, lines are parallel if they run, more or less, side by side--but never meet. If you only have one line, you can't say it's parallel; it takes at least two lines because being parallel describes a relationship between two or more items.
In writing, we say that adjacent phrases (or clauses) are parallel if they have the same structure and serve the same purpose. Again, if we only have one phrase or clause, we can't say it's parallel because there must be at least one other phrase or clause to make a comparison. Writing uses parallel structure for at least two reasons: it is easier to understand, and it creates a rhythm.

 

Examples
For better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health... [that's three sets of two parallel phrases each]
I like skiing and hiking. I like to ski and to hike. [WRONG: I like to ski and hiking. Don't mix the 'ing' and the 'to...' versions of the verbal phrases.]
A countryman between two lawyers is like a fish between two cats. (Benjamin Franklin)
Be civil to all; sociable to many; familiar with few; friend to one; enemy to none. (Benjamin Franklin)
Character is like a tree and reputation like its shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing. (Abraham Lincoln)

Magic Three is a special case of parallel structure, using three parallel phrases or clauses: by David Crocker, CC Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic via Wikimedia Commonsby David Crocker, CC Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic via Wikimedia Commons

Three parallel groups of words, usually separated by commas in one sentence (though sometimes in three separate sentences), that add emphasis or support for a point, or create rhythm.

Examples:
Jeri liked riding her horse on a cool summer evening, hiking in the mountains to see the fall leaves, and playing her silver flute at midnight.
My best friend, my worst enemy, and my older sister were all going to be there.
Charlie's parents must want to get rid of him. For his fourteenth birthday, they bought him a matched set of designer luggage. For his fifteenth birthday, they bought him an eight week trip to a college prep summer camp. For his sixteenth birthday, they bought him a Hummer with leather seats, a thousand dollar gas gift card, and a fully functional GPS system. [Notice that this one has a Magic Three in the last sentence, as well as the Magic Three created by the three sentences taken together. This passage could also be used as an example of 'repetition for effect'.]

NON-examples:

This sentence is not Magic Three because it only has three WORDS, not three GROUPS OF WORDS, in parallel: I hate coconut, zucchini, and onions.
These sentences are not Magic Three because the three groups of words don't create parallel structure: The directions said we would be adding the flour, stirring in the milk, and then to bake for 30 minutes.
After we go to the grocery store, we will be stopping for gas and then my dad will meet the team.

 

13.03.01 Good writing techniques - parallel structure quiz (LA 9)

computer-scored 15 points possible 10 minutes

This quiz will cover the information in lesson 13.03.

You may take this quiz multiple times, but you must score at least 73% to pass.

Pacing: complete this by the end of Week 1 of your enrollment date for this class.


13.04 Good writing techniques - Show, don't tell (LA 9)

Demonstrate understanding of word relationships and nuances in word meanings. Use vivid verbs and specific nouns.

&quot;Moonrise&quot;: Stanisław Masłowski, 1884, WC, public domain"Moonrise": Stanisław Masłowski, 1884, WC, public domain

 

Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.
– Anton Chekhov 

 

Depending on the purpose for our writing and the importance of a particular part, sometimes we just need to get a basic idea across:

Get the baby dressed and feed her breakfast.

 I'll stop to pick up eggs, milk and salt at the grocery store.  

Rioters damaged over 80 downtown businesses last night.

In other cases, we need to go beyond "telling" what happened, and "show" the reader, in more detail, what it was like.  In nonfiction, this can lead to much greater understanding of what really happened.  In fiction, it can help create the illusion of reality that readers need to enjoy the story, and imply important information about characters or situations.

Consider the difference between these two versions of the same event:

Jeremy struggled to get his little sister Emily into her clean clothes.

versus -

Jeremy set Emily on his lap. She had stopped crying, and was looking around.  He turned the garment around, figuring out which was front and back.  The first time he started to push it over Emily's head, she slumped and nearly slid off his knees.  He wrapped one arm around her tummy to pull her closer again, and fumbled with the stretchy pink fabric to gather it up close to the neck-hole.  This time he succeeded in popping it over her head.  Emily giggled, so he covered her eyes briefly, and said "Peek-a-boo!"  While she was laughing, he took one of her little fists and pushed it into a sleeve, tugging gently till the hand appeared.  This always looked so easy when his mom did it. Em was wiggling now, trying to turn around, so when he grabbed the other hand, she toppled over onto the cushion beside him, twisted her legs away, and slid off the couch.  One arm bare, and the other in its sleeve, she took off at a high-speed crawl, headed for the bedroom where their parents should be, but were not.

See what I mean?  How much more can you infer about Jeremy (and the situation) from the second version than the first?  Which paints a clearer picture?  In which  do you feel more empathy for the characters?

Review from first quarter:

We live in a very specific and concrete world.  In a general sense, most of us live in houses, travel in cars, wear clothing, listen to music, eat food, and have families.  However, none of us wears generic clothing or eats generic food.  

In our real lives, we wear and eat very particular things. This morning you may have eaten frosted flakes with milk, chocolate chip pancakes, leftover cold pepperoni pizza, cinnamon-flavored oatmeal, scrambled eggs on toast, Belgian waffles with peaches and whipped cream, a Snickers bar... or any number of other possibilities.

The particular, specific details of our lives are what make each of us unique and interesting.  None of us can pay attention to ALL the details of our lives.  We have to choose what to pay attention to, and again, those choices are what make us different from each other.  What do you spend a lot of time doing or thinking about, when you have a choice?  What is important to one person probably is different from what is important to another.  You might be an expert on Minecraft or anime, horses or insects, cars or football quarterbacks, country music or ska, designer clothing or supermodels, ballet or soccer... but probably not on all of those.

The use of specific details in writing is related to ideas, word choice, cohesion, tone and voice.  Help engage and inform the reader by painting specific word pictures when you write. Use the best word - not necessarily the fanciest, but the one that says exactly what you mean.

 Specific Details for Effect

Instead of general, vague or abstract descriptions, specific, concrete sensory details help the reader visualize what you are describing. Details are also a key to humor (see humor section below).

Examples:
Instead of saying
"My mother was sitting and working," say: Mama settled back into the cane chair and scooped up another apronful of peas. She snapped about three peas to every one of mine. Her right hand twisted over and back as she snapped a little curl of string off the end of each pod and rolled out the peas with her thumb. (Kingsolver, Barbara - from The Bean Trees)

Instead of saying "Crystal is my best friend. She has always been there for me," say: When Brent called me fat in fourth grade, Crystal told him to get lost. Then she dumped the applesauce from her lunch in his desk. When my grandma died, Crystal stood next to me for the whole two hours of the viewing. When I was flunking algebra, Crystal spent an hour every night on the phone with me, helping me do my homework. She got even with my first boyfriend after he dumped me by locking his keys into his car while he had his date at his house after curfew. We've made each other's birthday cakes, chosen each other's prom dresses, and listened to each other's complaints."

 Humor

Writers know the value of laughter; even subtle humor can help turn a “boring” paper into one that is fun to read.

Examples:
One of my students wrote in a story that one of the characters choked to death--but he made it funny by saying that she choked to death on an organic plum pit in the Back to Nature Health Foods store.

 Vivid verbs & specific nouns

Make your verbs and nouns do most of the work; use adjectives and adverbs sparingly.

Instead of saying, "He walked slowly and determinedly over the wet, muddy ground," say: He slogged through the muck.

Instead of saying, "An expensive, fancy sports car went by really fast and loud," say: A Porsche roared by.

13.04 Good writing techniques - use parallel structure (LA 9)

13.04.01 Good writing techniques - "show, don't tell" quiz (LA 9)

computer-scored 15 points possible 10 minutes

This quiz will cover the information in lesson 13.04.

You may take this quiz multiple times, but you must score at least 73% to pass.

Pacing: complete this by the end of Week 1 of your enrollment date for this class.


13.05 Writing a short essay (LA 9)

Produce clear and coherent writing, in which the organization, development and style are appropriate to the task, purpose and audience, in a short time frame. Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content.

Doodles: Cirqueducloud, Wikimedia Commons, CC Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 UnportedDoodles: Cirqueducloud, Wikimedia Commons, CC Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported

When you are presented with a writing assignment, how do you go about getting ideas for what to write?

Here are a few suggestions:

  • Do a "free-write". That is, just start writing down whatever comes into your head, but don't stop writing till your pre-determined time is up. (Try two or three minutes.)
  • Brainstorm about a topic. Basically, make a list of ideas, words, questions or phrases you associate with that topic. While you are brainstorming, don't slow down to make judgements about which ideas are good or bad--write them all down. This may work better if you have three or four people calling out ideas, and someone being the "scribe" to write everything down, but you can do it on your own.
  • Talk to your friends or family.
  • Create a sentence that defines something you believe about the topic.
  • Create a "webbing" (sometimes called "bubbling"). This is a slightly more organized form of brainstorming. Start by putting your topic in a small circle (bubble) in the middle of a piece of paper, and then put related ideas around it, in their own "bubbles." Next, go to the related ideas, and from each of them, branch out into connected ideas again.
  • Sketch or doodle ideas.
  • Research the topic.

 You will be creating a theme sentence (thesis statement) that conveys something you believe about the topic "beauty" and/or "the arts" as one step in the next assignment.

See the detailed instructions in the following assignment to write the first draft of your essay.

Use at least one example of parallel structure, and one example of "show, don't tell" in your essay.

After I have commented on your first draft, then work on the revision and editing of the essay.

13.05.01 Writing a short essay: prewriting and first draft (LA 9)

teacher-scored 21 points possible 35 minutes

Sand dunes in Namibia: Yathin S Krishnappa, CC Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported via Wikimedia CommonsSand dunes in Namibia: Yathin S Krishnappa, CC Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported via Wikimedia Commons

You will write a short essay (200-250 words) explaining to your peers an idea you have about beauty and/or the arts (remember, that includes music, dance, and drama as well as visual arts like painting, sculpture, drawing or photography). This is a broad topic, but you are going to start by narrowing it down to one idea you believe to be true about beauty or the arts.

Follow the directions below, but you are also welcome to try some of the other strategies listed in the lesson above to help get ideas.

Copy and paste the section between the lines of asterisks into a word-processing document on your computer. Complete your work, and save a copy for yourself. Then submit your work by pasting it in to the assignment submission window for this assignment.

Your work will be scored according to the rubric below.

*******************************************************************

1. Spend one minute (yes, time yourself) writing down whatever comes into your mind about "beauty" or "the arts". This may be random words, phrases, names, or ideas, and it does NOT need to make sense or be in complete sentences.

 

2.  Write three, different one-sentence statements (not questions) that could serve as the theme (and thesis statement) for your essay. Remember, a theme is a complete sentence that makes a general statement, not specific to one person, situation or story.

a.
b.
c.

3.  Choose one of the three statements you wrote above to use:

 

4.  Write your essay. Use your theme statement somewhere in the first paragraph. Organize your examples, details and evidence to make a clear explanation of what you mean. Be very specific!  Include at least one example of parallel structure, and at least one of "show, don't tell".  Make sure to highlight or asterisk each example. 

 

**************************************************************

Question 1: 1 point
Question 2: 3 points
Question 3: 1 point

Essay:

Category 4 (exceeds standards) 3 (meets standards) 2 (partially meets standards)
Introduction, organization, format & media Introduce a topic; organize complex ideas, concepts, and information so that each new element builds on that which precedes it to create a unified whole; theme/thesis statement in first paragraph, supported in following paragraphs; conclusion. Introduce a topic; organize complex ideas, concepts, and information to make important connections and distinctions; theme/thesis statement in first paragraph, supported in following paragraphs; conclusion. Introduce a topic clearly; organize ideas, concepts, and information into broader categories; include formatting (e.g., headings), graphics (e.g., charts, tables), and multimedia when useful to aiding comprehension.
Development of ideas and content Develop the topic thoroughly by selecting the most significant and relevant facts, extended definitions, concrete details, quotations, or other information and examples appropriate to the audience’s knowledge of the topic, using credible sources; show, don't tell Develop the topic with well-chosen, relevant, and sufficient facts, extended definitions, concrete details, quotations, or other information and examples appropriate to the audience’s knowledge of the topic, using credible sources. Develop the topic with relevant, well-chosen facts, definitions, concrete details, quotations,or other information and examples, using credible sources.
Development of relationships, cohesion and flow Use parallel structure and appropriate and varied transitions and syntax to link the major sections of the text, create cohesion, and clarify the relationships among complex ideas and concepts. Use appropriate and varied transitions to link the major sections of the text, create cohesion, and clarify the relationships among complex ideas and concepts. Use transitions to create cohesion and clarify some relationships among ideas and concepts.
Word choice, style and tone Use precise language and domain-specific vocabulary to manage the complexity of the topic. Establish and maintain a formal style and objective tone while attending to the norms and conventions of the discipline in which they are writing. Use precise language and domain-specific vocabulary to manage the complexity of the topic. Establish and maintain a formal style and objective tone while attending to the norms and conventions of the discipline in which they are writing. Use some precise language and domain-specific vocabulary to inform about or explain the topic. Establish and mostly maintain a formal style.

Pacing: complete this by the end of Week 1 of your enrollment date for this class.


13.05.02 Short essay: revision and editing (LA 9)

teacher-scored 24 points possible 25 minutes

Revise your essay after reading my comments on your first draft, and asking someone else to read it and comment.  Do you have an effective introduction that helps the reader focus on your main ideas? Can you add more important, specific details? Do you need to narrow your topic?

Add an example of parallel structure (if you didn't already have one). Star that sentence.

Make sure you have  a section of "show, don't tell"; add more specific details if needed to focus in more on that section. Put two stars each at the beginning and end of that section.

Finally, edit for conventions: spelling, sentence structure, punctuation, capitalization, grammar, paragraphing, etc.

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Also answer these three questions about writing your essay:

1.  What was most difficult for you about this assignment? How did you deal with that?

2.  What do you like best about your essay?

3.  What could have helped make this an easier or better assignment?

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 Your essay will be scored according to the following rubric. I suggest you consult the left-hand columns of the rubric (category and "4") as you begin to revise, so you will know what to do to try for a high score:

Category  3 (exceeds standards, and shows improvements over first draft) 2 (meets standards, and shows some improvements over first draft) 1 (does not meet standards)
Questions answered All questions completely answered All questions answered, but answers may not be complete Minimal response to questions
Introduction, organization, format & media Introduce a topic; organize complex ideas, concepts, and information so that each new element builds on that which precedes it to create a unified whole; theme/thesis statement in introduction, supported in following paragraph(s). Introduce a topic; organize complex ideas, concepts, and information to make important connections and distinctions;  theme/thesis statement in introduction, supported in following paragraph(s). Introduce a topic; organize ideas, concepts, and information; order may seem random or confusing; 
Development of ideas and content Develop the topic thoroughly by selecting the most significant and relevant facts, extended definitions, concrete details, quotations, or other information and personal examples, and "show, don't tell" Develop the topic with well-chosen, relevant, and sufficient facts, extended definitions, concrete details, quotations, or other information and personal examples Develop the topic with facts, other information or examples; details may not be sufficient, relevant, specific or important.
Development of relationships, cohesion and flow Use appropriate and varied transitions and syntax to link the major sections of the text, create cohesion, and clarify the relationships among complex ideas and concepts. Use appropriate and varied transitions to link the major sections of the text, create cohesion, and clarify the relationships among complex ideas and concepts. Use some transitions; may not adequately clarify the relationships among ideas and concepts.
Word choice, style and tone Use precise language and techniques such as metaphor, simile, and analogy to manage the complexity of the topic. Establish and maintain a formal style and objective tone while attending to the norms and conventions of the discipline in which they are writing. Use precise language to manage the complexity of the topic. Establish and maintain a formal style and objective tone while attending to the norms and conventions of the discipline in which they are writing. Use mostly abstract, general words and phrases; establish a formal style but may not be consistent
Conclusion Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from and supports the information or explanation presented (e.g., articulating implications or the significance of the topic), while providing a sense of confident closure, beyond just repetition of earlier statements Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from and supports the information or explanation presented (e.g., articulating implications or the significance of the topic). Writing just stops without a concluding statement or section
Conventions and language skills Has few or no errors in conventions, grammar or usage; uses parallel structure and variety in sentences, phrases and clauses Has few errors in conventions, grammar or usage; uses variety in sentence length and structure Has many errors in conventions, grammar or usage, interfering with the reader’s ability to follow the ideas
Writing techniques marked in text At least one good example each of parallel structure and "show, don't tell", marked with asterisks* Has either parallel structure or "show, don't tell", marked with asterisks* No obvious use of the required techniques

Pacing: complete this by the end of Week 2 of your enrollment date for this class.


14.00 Unit 14: Reading skills (LA 9)

Students at Swami Akhandananda Science Centre, 2014: Biswarup Ganguly, WC, CC-BY-3.0Students at Swami Akhandananda Science Centre, 2014: Biswarup Ganguly, WC, CC-BY-3.0

 

Unit 2: Reading skills

In this unit you will work primarily on reading skills, as outlined in the Utah State Core Curriculum for ninth grade English/Language Arts.  Topics in this unit will help you practice and improve your reading comprehension.  There will be several short assignments and quizzes, and one major reading assignment. You should expect this unit to take you anywhere from about two to twelve hours, depending on how much you already know, how fast you read, and how much you need to review.

"We read to know we are not alone." – C.S. Lewis.

14.01 Becoming Good Readers (LA 9)

By the end of grade 9, read and comprehend literature, including stories, dramas, and poems, and literary nonfiction, in the grades 9–10 text complexity band proficiently, with scaffolding as needed at the high end of the range.

Children looking at picture books at school, Santa Clara, Utah, 1940: Russell Lee, Library of Congress, WC, public domainChildren looking at picture books at school, Santa Clara, Utah, 1940: Russell Lee, Library of Congress, WC, public domain

 

"There is then creative reading as well as creative writing. When the mind is braced by labor and invention, the page of whatever book we read becomes luminous with manifold allusion." -Ralph Waldo Emerson

Once upon a time (and I hope this was quite a long time ago, relative to your age), you were a beginner reader. You had to learn the very basics of how letters of our alphabet stand for sounds, and groups of letters stand for words. [Even before that, when you were so young you can't remember it, you were a beginner listener and talker, learning that the patterns in sounds you hear--or the signs you see, if you are not hearing--mean things.] As a beginner reader, you had to memorize or sound out each single word, and you often had a hard time making sense out of a sentence. Before long, though, you could read and understand most sentences, and most likely reading has now become an automatic skill--you do it without thinking about HOW you do it.

We're going to take a few minutes now to think about how we read, and identify some skills that really good readers use. If you already have these skills, great! Whether or not you have been doing these things all along, being aware of how to use these strategies can improve your reading.

"The reading of all good books is like a conversation with the finest minds of past centuries."
– Rene Descartes

Before You Read Note: of course, this means before the first time you begin reading at the beginning of a new piece, but it can also apply to intermediate points in your reading - before you read the next paragraph, chapter, stanza, etc.

Before you begin reading, you can already begin preparing to read well! I don't mean by choosing a quiet, well-lit, and/or comfortable spot to read in, although those factors certainly can help. I mean prepare yourself mentally:

  • Know the purpose for your reading. Finishing a novel to find out how it ends is different from reading a chapter in a science book to prepare for a test or reading a poem your best friend wants to hear your reaction to.
  • Look over the title, author, and any pictures or subtitles for clues about the subject matter.
  • Activate your prior knowledge. What do you already know about the subject matter or related topics?

While You're Reading

  • Read quickly enough that you don't lose the train of meaning. Don't get so stuck on some difficult point that you forget the main point. Don't move your lips or sub-vocalize ("say" each word to yourself) as you read silently--it will slow you down. You should be able to read silently MUCH faster than you can talk.
  • "See" what you're reading about. Make a mental movie of what you are reading. Imagine what things in the reading look, sound, smell, taste or feel like.
  • Draw connections and make comparisons between what you are reading and past experiences:
    • text to self: relate what you are reading to personal experiences and memories
    • text to text: relate what you are reading to other things you've already read, or to movies or TV shows you've seen
    • text to world: relate what you are reading to things you know about the world even if you haven't personally experienced them
  • Make predictions about what you expect to happen next, or what point you think the author is trying to make. As you read on, notice whether what you are reading supports your predictions, and if not, modify them.
  • Check your understanding. Try to keep a mental running summary of what you read. If you're not sure you understand, try one or more of these strategies to help:
    • Re-read the sentence or paragraph to see whether you just missed or misread something
    • Continue to read just a little longer to see whether the next paragraph or page clears up the problem.
    • If there is a word you don't know, try to figure it out using context, word structure or grammatical clues. If you still can't understand the word, either look it up, or make a note to look it up later.
  • Notice your questions about what is going on in the reading, and why the author wrote what or how s/he did.
  • Evaluate what you read. Does it make sense? Does it fit with what you already know or believe? If not, why not?

After You Read Again, this may be after you have completely finished reading, or it may be when you have finished reading a section or chapter.

  • Review, mentally, what you read. If you will be tested over the material, take this a step further, and write down what you remember, looking back over the reading as needed for details you forgot.
  • Discuss what you read with someone else, or write in a blog or journal about it.
  • Evaluate, again. Did you like it? Was it well-written? Was it convincing? Why or why not? How does it compare to other things you've read? What did the author do well, and what could have been better?

Improving Your Reading

 

Reading speed (how fast you read) and reading comprehension (how much and how well you understand what you read) are the two main skills we mean when we talk about improving your reading.  To a large degree, the more you read, the better you will read.  However, you can also focus on either speed or comprehension, separately.

To improve your reading speed, research tells us that you should re-read books or material you are already familiar with.  Since you already have a basic knowledge of the material, it becomes easier for you to read through it quickly.  Do you have a favorite book? Read it again!

Two special kinds of "speed-reading":

Skimming is reading with 'the pedal to the metal'. It is useful when you need to review something you've read a while back, or when you want to get the main ideas out of a piece that you might want to read more carefully later - or when you are reading a suspense novel and you are dying to find out how it ends.

Scanning, on the other hand, is reading to look for something particular.  You read quickly, looking for particular key words.  Maybe you are trying to find out whether an article includes information relevant to your research topic, or trying to spot a quotation that you remember from having read the material before, but you aren't sure where that particular quotation was.  If you are reading down a list just to see whether your name is on it, you're scanning.

To improve your reading comprehension, read short pieces of material that seem difficult to you - "short" meaning from a paragraph to a few pages.  Some of the readings for class were selected with this in mind.  Since they are short, you can take the time to go over them more than once, and look up difficult words.  Please ask friends or family members to read difficult parts with you so that you can ask questions and discuss them.

Two terms used for reading when you are focusing on comprehension are "close reading" and "studying".

Studying is how you read when you are trying to understand and remember ideas - maybe preparing for a test, or getting ready to use a set of directions for how to perform a difficult task.

Close reading involves analyzing the text to get beyond a surface understanding - considering word choice, connotations, figurative language, allusion (references to other material), background information, etc.

14.02 Evidence and theme (LA 9)

Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze in detail its development over the course of the text, including how it emerges and is shaped and refined by specific details:

Themes, Literary and Otherwise

Griffin: Sculpture in public domain, sailko photo, WMC, CC-BY-SA-3.0Griffin: Sculpture in public domain, sailko photo, WMC, CC-BY-SA-3.0

The word "theme" has many uses and meanings. In music, the theme is the main, basic melody, which is often repeated with slight variations throughout a song or longer piece of music. When your grandparents or great-grandparents went to school, the word "theme" meant what we would now usually call an essay: a written composition. In general use, 'theme' means the main subject or focus of an event, book, or movie; or a repeated idea: a 'motif'. For example, we might say that we are having a party with a pirate theme, a dance with a Halloween theme, or a conference on the theme of preventing child abuse.

However, in studying literature (and throughout this class), we will be using the literary definition of 'theme': a repeated, unifying idea that underlies a work of literature, stated in a complete sentence. [I hope you either groaned or rolled your eyes when you read that because if not, you probably weren't really paying attention. That definition is abstract and general, about as useful to most of us as a spare tire with no lug wrench or jack--but we're about to make it more concrete and specific.]

A theme is not the same thing as a topic; a theme is what the author wants to say about the topic.

In Search of the Literary Theme: Guidelines

  • The theme is usually implied rather than stated. For most works of literature, you will need to use inference to determine themes. [Inference - 'reading between the lines'; using information in the text to figure out things the author didn't come right out and tell you] There are some exceptions. Aesop's fables end with a 'moral' that tells you the theme of the story. The poet John Keats was kind enough to put the theme of his poem "Endymion" in the first line (see in links below). Mostly, though, you will have to work to figure out a theme.
  • A work of literature may have more than one, correct theme. HOWEVER, that doesn't mean that just any theme you come up with is a correct one. You must be able to find evidence in the text to support the idea you think is the theme.
  • A theme is usually implied by multiple events, images or symbols in the text. That is, as in music, a theme and variations on the theme are repeated in a work of literature. You should be able to find several examples of evidence for the theme in your reading.
  • A literary theme is stated in a complete sentence. "Love" might be the theme for your prom, but it can't be a theme for a work of literature because it is just a word, not a complete sentence. "True love conquers all" could be a theme. "Love can be fatal," "Love is stronger than hate," "True love wants what is best for the loved one," or "Falling in love makes fools out of everyone" could be themes.
  • A theme is a generalized idea, not specific to a particular story or situation. "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends" (King James Bible, John 15:13) could be a theme (certainly, it is a theme in the book of John) because it is a general, universal principle. "Harry Potter values his friends more than his life" is not a theme because it is specific to the Harry Potter books/movies.

Finding Evidence for a Theme

Let's look at a short excerpt from a story:

(from "The Griffin and the Minor Canon" by Frank Stockton.  To give you some context, the Griffin - a winged monster - had gone to this town to see a carving of himself that was over the church door.  The Minor Canon was an assisitant to the priest/pastor of the church, and was a kindly young man who spent his time visiting the sick, helping the poor and teaching school, and had accepted the responsibilty of dealing with the monster when everyone else was too afraid. Then the townspeople sent the Minor Canon away in hopes that the Griffin would leave to find him.)

When the Griffin found that the Minor Canon had left the town he seemed sorry, but showed no desire to go and look for him. After a few days had passed he became much annoyed, and asked some of the people where the Minor Canon had gone. But, although the citizens had been so anxious that the young clergyman should go to the dreadful wilds, thinking that the Griffin would immediately follow him, they were now afraid to mention the Minor Canon's destination, for the monster seemed angry already, and if he should suspect their trick he would, doubtless, become very much enraged. So everyone said he did not know, and the Griffin wandered about disconsolate. One morning he looked into the Minor Canon's schoolhouse, which was always empty now, and thought that it was a shame that everything should suffer on account of the young man's absence.

"It does not matter so much about the church," he said, "for nobody went there; but it is a pity about the school. I think I will teach it myself until he returns."

It was the hour for opening the school, and the Griffin went inside and pulled the rope which rang the school bell. Some of the children who heard the bell ran in to see what was the matter, supposing it to be a joke of one of their companions; but when they saw the Griffin they stood astonished and scared.

"Go tell the other scholars," said the monster, "that school is about to open, and that if they are not all here in ten minutes I shall come after them."

In seven minutes every scholar was in place.

Never was seen such an orderly school. Not a boy or girl moved or uttered a whisper. The Griffin climbed into the master's seat, his wide wings spread on each side of him, because he could not lean back in his chair while they stuck out behind, and his great tail coiled around, in front of the desk, the barbed end sticking up, ready to tap any boy or girl who might misbehave.

The Griffin now addressed the scholars, telling them that he intended to teach them while their master was away. In speaking he tried to imitate, as far as possible, the mild and gentle tones of the Minor Canon; but it must be admitted that in this he was not very successful. He had paid a good deal of attention to the studies of the school, and he determined not to try to teach them anything new, but to review them in what they had been studying; so he called up the various classes, and questioned them upon their previous lessons. The children racked their brains to remember what they had learned. They were so afraid of the Griffin's displeasure that they recited as they had never recited before. One of the boys, far down in his class, answered so well that the Griffin was astonished.

'I should think you would be at the head," said he. "I am sure you have never been in the habit of reciting so well. Why is this?"

"Because I did not choose to take the trouble," said the boy, trembling in his boots. He felt obliged to speak the truth, for all the children thought that the great eyes of the Griffin could see right through them, and that he would know when they told a falsehood.

"You ought to be ashamed of yourself," said the Griffin. "Go down to the very tail of the class; and if you are not at the head in two days, I shall know the reason why."

The next afternoon this boy was Number One.

It was astonishing how much these children now learned of what they had been studying. It was as if they had been educated over again. The Griffin used no severity toward them, but there was a look about him which made them unwilling to go to bed until they were sure they knew their lessons for the next day.

 

OK--what could be a theme? To figure that out, I looked for main ideas and repeated details while I read. The first time I read through it, I noticed the overall sense of ironic humor, the Griffin's desire to be helpful, and the general fear of the townspeople and students. However, "irony", "fear" or "helpfulness" can't be the theme because none of these are a complete sentence.

I read back through it again. The ideas of teaching or learning are repeated several times, but again, a single word or phrase can't be a theme. There are also some contrasts-- the difference between the townspeoples' expectations of the Griffin and his actual behavior, between the students' previous performance and their work under the Griffin, between the way the students perceived the Griffin compared to how they had perceived the Minor Canon.

A main idea from the excerpt is "People were afraid of the Griffin." However, that can't be a theme because it is specific to this particular story, not a generalized statement. How about this? "Fears are often needless." It's a complete sentence; it is a generalized statement. Can I support it with evidence from the text? Yes, there are examples I could use from the excerpt to support this statement.

Is it the only theme I could draw from this excerpt? No. I could find plenty of evidence in the text for "People are afraid of the unknown" as well as "Motivation improves performance." We could also support "Don't base your judgements on appearances".

Throughout this English 9 class, you will be reading for themes and main ideas, and looking for textual evidence to support your conclusions. In your writing, you will work on including evidence, in the form of specific details and examples, to create a theme or support a main idea.

&quot;Lake Scene in Autumn&quot;: Mauritz Lindstr&ouml;m, Wikimedia Commons, public domain, copyright expired"Lake Scene in Autumn": Mauritz Lindström, Wikimedia Commons, public domain, copyright expired
Read and view the pictures, presentation, poem and articles, using the links below. Before you start, you might want to check the questions you will be answering afterwards. Particularly, in the Dutton video, he identifies at least six specific features found in most landscape paintings that people generally find beautiful. Make note of what those are.

The following quiz and assignments will refer to these readings.

 

*Make sure you know what "landscape" painting is before you choose the ones you like. Here is the Wikipedia definition to help you decide whether a particular work would be considered landscape: "Landscape art is a term that covers the depiction of natural scenery such as mountains, valleys, trees, rivers, and forests, and especially art where the main subject is a wide view, with its elements arranged into a coherent composition."

For the purposes of this assignment, don't choose "seascapes" (where the picture is mostly ocean/water), "cityscapes" (where there are lots of buildings) or very abstract paintings.

**Note that the Denis Dutton: A Darwinian theory of beauty video includes a couple brief cartoon images of naked humans - if you don't want to see these, you may read the transcript instead.

14.02.01 Short response to readings & viewings (LA 9)

teacher-scored 30 points possible 30 minutes

Answer the following questions about each of the required readings/viewings for this lesson. Copy and paste the section between the lines of asterisks into a word-processing document on your computer. Complete your work, and save a copy for yourself. Then submit your work by pasting it in to the assignment submission window for this assignment.

****************************************************************

Landscape paintings:

1. Copy the paintings you chose into your document, or list the url's and artists for the four paintings you chose:
a)
b)
c)
d)

2. Which element(s) of landscape mentioned in the Dutton video appear in all four of the paintings you chose? (Dutton named at least six specific elements common to most paintings people of all cultures identify as beautiful--check your choices to see which ones appear in the paintings you chose.)

3. Besides the element(s) in all four paintings, which element(s) appear in at least two of the paintings you chose?

 

Denis Dutton video:

 

4. Write a one paragraph summary of the main ideas in this presentation.

5. List four questions or personal reactions you had about any ideas in this presentation.

6. Quote or paraphrase one major claim Dutton makes.

7. List three examples of evidence Dutton uses to support that claim.

Keats Poem:

8. In Keats' own words, what is the claim made in the first stanza of the poem? (Your answer should be a direct quote from the poem.)

9. In your own words, what is the claim made in the second stanza?

10. Briefly describe an experience you've had that supports Keat's claim.

11. What are three examples Keats gives in this poem of beautiful things?

"Beauty Is in the Medial Orbito-Frontal Cortex of the Beholder"

12. According to this article, what three areas of the brain are activated by visual beauty?

13. What two areas of the brain are activated by beautiful music?

14. The title of this article is a play on a familiar saying. What is the saying?

15. Give an example of evidence in this article that you might use to support or refute a claim of the Dutton video, and how you would do it.

"What is beauty and why is it important?"

16. According to this article, why is beauty important?

17. Explain why you agree or disagree with Maslow's claims (in the last couple paragraphs of the article) about what people need.

 

18. What ideas from any/all of these readings did you find most interesting, and why?

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Pacing: complete this by the end of Week 2 of your enrollment date for this class.


14.02.02 Quiz on theme, evidence and readings (LA 9)

both teacher- and computer-scored 20 points possible 20 minutes

Click this quiz link on your main class page to take the quiz. You may take the quiz multiple times, but you must score at least 70%.

Pacing: complete this by the end of Week 2 of your enrollment date for this class.


14.03 Choose a book from the list to read (LA 9)

by Julia Spranger, CC Attribution 3.0 Unported via Wikimedia Commonsby Julia Spranger, CC Attribution 3.0 Unported via Wikimedia Commons

You will need to read ONE book, chosen from the list below (if you can find an unabridged version of the book on audiotape, or talk someone into reading it out loud to you, you may listen to it instead of reading). Yes, you really do need to read the whole book. Be sure to check the related reading response activity, below, before you begin reading.

You do NOT need to finish reading this book before you go on to other assignments or units. I have put it here in the list of assignments so you will get started on it, and not wait till the last minute. Begin reading it soon, and get finished by the middle of unit 16.

(NOTE: You will also need your book for additional writing assignments.) [What if you have already read one of these books? There is nothing wrong with choosing to re-read a book that you have read before, if you liked it, but for heaven's sake, don't re-read a book if you didn't like it to begin with.]

Homecoming by Voigt (realistic fiction, set in the '70's, about four children abandoned by both parents)

Across Five Aprils by Hunt (historical fiction set during the Civil War; the main character is an Illinois farm boy with family members on both sides of the conflict)

The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Speare (historical fiction, set in the New England colonies in Puritan days)

Shipbreaker by Bacigalupi (high-action science fiction/dystopian novel, set in a not-too-distant future on an Earth when sea levels have risen, and the main characters must eke out a living by salvaging metals and oil from rusting ships)

The Old Man and The Sea by Earnest Hemingway (A fictional nautical journey that demonstrates the strength of will when the purpose is worthwhile.)

Kon-Tiki by Thor Heyerdahl (A true story about a nautical journey set to prove a theory about the populating of the islands.)

 

14.03.01 Reading response (LA 9)

teacher-scored 40 points possible 200 minutes

Continue to work on other unit 14 and 15 assignments while you read and respond to your book. Notice that the recommended goal for this assignment is to finish it by the end of week 5. 

You may want to do this assignment as you are reading the book you chose from my list, or you may want to just read the book straight through, and then go back and scan through the book again. You may go on to complete other assignments before you complete this one. I put it at this point in the quarter so you wouldn't get nearly done with the quarter and then realize you also had to read a book.

NOTE: You will also need your book for other assignments.

Create this document in your word processor; save it to your computer; and then copy and paste it into the assignment submission window.

Part A. Reading Log

While you are reading, keep a piece of paper & pen or pencil handy.

As you read,

  • A-1: For each chapter, write down at least one sentence or phrase that you feel shows really good use of words - maybe because it made you laugh, or helped you vividly picture what was happening, or surprised you, or illuminated a new idea. Keep the sentences in the order they occurred in the book, note down the page number (if your book doesn't have at least 10 chapters, then for each 15-20 pages, so you have at least ten sentences, covering the whole book - more than ten if you are going for an A), and...

  • A-2: write a two or three-sentence personal response to the events of each chapter - include what it may remind you of (personal experiences, other books, movies, etc); any questions you had; predictions about what may happen next; opinions about the characters or events; and/or unfamiliar or unusual words. You should have at least twelve of these responses, covering the whole book.

Part B. Writing Techniques

Find at least one sentence/section each from the book that could be a good example for at least three of these techniques (it's OK to re-use some of the sentences you chose for part A-1 if they fit the criteria):

  • parallel structure 
  • specific details for effect
  • "show, don't tell"
  • humor
  • figurative language

B1.

B2.

B3.

Part C. Issues

Finally, consider an issue or event in the book that illustrates a conflict of values (ie, morals, ethics, priorities).  How does a conflict between the values of one character or group and the values of another character or group affect the plot or ending of the book?  Write two paragraphs answering this question, using specific details from the story and relating it to a current conflict in the real world.

Pacing: complete this by the end of Week 5 of your enrollment date for this class.


15.00 Unit 15: Language skills (LA 9)

Copy readers in NY Times newspaper newsroom, 1942: WMC, US govt image, public domainCopy readers in NY Times newspaper newsroom, 1942: WMC, US govt image, public domain

 

Unit 15: Language skills and conventions

In this unit you will work primarily on language skills and conventions, as outlined in the Utah State Core Curriculum for ninth grade English.  Topics in this unit include punctuation (especially commas, semicolons and colons), frequently misspelled words, parts of speech, sentence structure, clauses and phrases. You should expect the work in this unit to take you roughly two to four hours of concentrated effort. There will be several short assignments and quizzes. 

 

 

15.01 Common Misspelled Words (LA 9)

Language Standard 2 Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.

Write AND right (hand): Ildar Sagdejev, Wikimedia Commons, CC Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 UnportedWrite AND right (hand): Ildar Sagdejev, Wikimedia Commons, CC Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 UnportedThe following words, which are often misspelled or confused, may appear on the spelling quiz:

There (a place)/their (possessive)/they’re (contraction for "they are") - They're going to hang their coats there.

Your (possessive)/you’re (contraction for "you are") - If you want your diploma, you're going to have to work for it.

Were (verb - past tense of 'are')/we’re (contraction for "we are")/where (question about place) - We're about to pass the place where you were born.

We’ll (contraction for "we will") /will (verb - future tense of "is") - We'll wait for you if you will hurry.

Write (to put words on paper)/right (correct; or the opposite of left)/ wright (one who makes - for instance, a wheelwright)/ rite (ritual - for instance, the rite of baptism) - Write down the right answer.

Through (finished; or moving in one side and out the other)/threw (past tense of throw) - The players threw the ball through the net.

Until (notice there is only one "L")

Piece (part)/peace (opposite of war) - Just give me a piece of cake, and I won't disturb the peace.

Definitely (certainly) /defiantly (in a rebellious way) - Defiantly, the prisoner told his guards he would definitely escape.

A lot (this is always two separate words; 'alot' is always wrong)

Its (possessive)/it’s (contraction for "it is") - It's about time the car got its safety inspection.

Here (this place)/hear (what you can do with your ears) - My mom told me to wait here, but I didn't hear her.

Accept (verb: receive willingly)/except (not including)/ acceptable (good enough) - All of us except Jenny will accept your invitation. Will jeans be acceptable attire for the party?

Argument (Notice there is no "e" after the "u")

Believe (Notice the "i" before "e")

Advise (verb - give advice to)/advice (noun - the good suggestion you may not want to follow) - I asked my dad to advise me, but I didn't like his advice.

Receive (notice the "e" before the "i")

Principal (most important; or the leader of a school)/principle (a basic truth, rule, or generalization) - The principal reason I decided to stay was to support the principle of freedom to assemble.

Affect (usually a verb - to act upon)/effect (usually a noun - the result of an act) - The new rule will affect all of us, and its effect will be to encourage us to work longer hours.

All ready (completely prepared)/already (adverb - prior to) - We thought we were all ready on time, but the concert had already started.

All right (always two words) - I told my parents I would be all right while they were gone.

Desert (a dry place; or, verb, to leave alone)/dessert (noun - something sweet to eat after dinner) - The wicked stepmother wanted to desert the children in the desert with nothing to drink just because they had asked for more dessert.

Loose (not tight), lose (opposite of win; or, to allow to go missing), loss (noun - something that was lost, or the act of losing) - If you leave the lug nuts loose, your car may lose a tire, and that loss could cause a wreck.

Quiet (not making noise), quite (to a degree), quit (verb - give up) - It was quite quiet in the room after Peter announced he was going to quit the team.

Set (to put something in place), sit (to move to a sitting position) - Please set the plates on the table, and then sit down.

Then (at that time), than (introducing the second element in a comparison) - If you would rather have a clarinet than a flute, then let your father know.

Cite (to quote or refer to)/site (place)/sight (what is seen) - You may cite the book as an authority on sites to visit if you want to see some awesome sights.

Sole (only; or bottom of a shoe), soul (the immortal, non-physical part of the self) - God may be the sole being familiar with our souls.

Stationary (not moving)/stationery (fancy writing paper) - Since the train was stationary, Sara got out some stationery and began writing a letter to her aunt.

Wear (to put on your body)/where (question about place)/ware (manufactured articles of a certain type; or goods that are for sale) - I was still trying to decide what to wear when my brother asked me where I had put the clean silverware.

Weather (meteorological conditions) /whether (which of two; in case) - Wear a jacket whether or not the weather seems warm when you leave.

Who’s (contraction for "who is"/whose (possessive) - Do you know who's coming for dinner, or whose coat that is?

Pore (to look at closely; or a very small opening)/pour (flow, or cause to run)/poor (lacking money) Take an hour to pore over your notes the night before the test. At the free banquet for poor families, Jordan's job was to pour gravy over the potatoes.

Study these words and make sure you know when to use them correctly. You can find more definitions and examples of correct use in Writer's Inc, or in dictionaries.

15.01.01 Spelling quiz (LA 9)

computer-scored 15 points possible 15 minutes

You may take the quiz multiple times, but you must score at least 73% to pass.

Pacing: complete this by the end of Week 2 of your enrollment date for this class.


15.02 Patterns of Word Structure Changes (LA 9)

Identify and correctly use patterns of word changes that indicate different meanings or parts of speech.

London Eye circling Big Ben: Mark Jenkinson, Wikimedia Commons, CC Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 GenericLondon Eye circling Big Ben: Mark Jenkinson, Wikimedia Commons, CC Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic Note: you may want to review Language Skills: Prefixes & suffixes, using the link below. Many English words are constructed of a basic "root" with a prefix or suffix that modifies the meaning of the root and/or determines what part of speech the word is. Consider these groups of related words:

Indicate, indicative, indicator, indication, indicatory

Sense, senseless, senselessness, senses, sensory, sensible, sensibleness, sensibly, sensibility, sensitive, sensitivity, sensitize, sensual, sensually, sensuality, sensile

Analyze, analysis, analyst, analytical, analytically

Circle, circling, circlet, circulate, circular, circularity, circulation, circulatory, circulator, circuitous

Light, lightly, lightness, lighten, lightening (not to be confused with "lightning"), lightless, lighter, lighted

Define, definition, definitive, definitively, definite, definitely

Equal, equally, equate, equitable, equitably, equation

Let's try grouping these words by what part of speech they can be. (Some words can be used as more than one part of speech.)

noun verb adjective adverb
indicator, indication, sense, sensibleness, senselessness, sensibility, sensitivity, sensuality, analysis, analyst, circle, circlet, circularity, circulation, circulator, light, lightness, lighter, definition, equation indicate, sense, sensitize, analyze, circle, circling, circulate, light, lighten, lighted, define, equal, equate indicative, indicator, indicatory, senseless, sensory, sensible, sensitive, sensual, sensile, circling, analytical, circular, circulatory, circuitous, light, lightening, lightless, lighter, lighted, definitive, definite, equal, equitable sensibly, sensually, analytically, circularly, circuitously, lightly, definitively, definitely, equally, equitably, backwards, clockwise

Notice that certain suffixes (endings) tend to belong mostly to a certain part of speech:

noun verb adjective adverb
-or, -er, -tion, -sion, -ness, -bility, -ivity, -ity, -yst, -let, -ance, -ence, -ment, -ship, -hood -ate, -ize, -yze, -ing, -en, -ed, -ine -ive, -or, -ory, -less, -ible, -able, -al, -ile, -ing, -ar, -ous, -er, -ed, -ite, -y, -lent -ibly, -ally, -ly, -ably, -wards, -wise

HOWEVER, it is important to note that, although most words ending with -ly are adverbs, not all adverbs end in -ly; likewise, not all nouns end with noun suffixes, not all adjectives end with typical adjective suffixes, etc. Usually, these suffixes indicate that the word was formed by modifying a previously-existing word.

For instance, the adverb "badly" was created by taking the adjective "bad" and adding -ly. In verbs, the endings often indicate the tense (for instance, adding -ed makes regular verbs into past tense: today I wish, yesterday I wished; adding -ing makes verbs into past or present participles: I am wishing right now).

When we borrow a verb to make an adjective, we use the participle form of the verb: I threw a penny into the wishing well. Thus, the simple adjective "real" was made into a noun (reality), a verb (realize) and an adverb (really).

The noun "theory" was transformed into a verb (theorize), an adjective (theoretical), and an adverb (theoretically).

This is not just an historical process; it goes on today. "Google" is a noun, but if you ask someone how they found information on the Web, they are likely to say "I googled it." "Taser" is a noun, recently invented, and already people are using "tased" or "tasered" as a verb. (It's new enough that my spell-check doesn't recognize it.)

15.02 Patterns of Word Structure Changes - parts of speech review links (LA 9)

Use the information at these links to help you remember how to identify nouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbs.

15.02.01 Quiz on word structure/parts of speech (LA 9)

computer-scored 15 points possible 10 minutes

You may take this quiz multiple times, but you must score at least 73%.

 

Pacing: complete this by the end of Week 3 of your enrollment date for this class.


15.03 Prepositions and prepositional phrases (LA 9)

Use various types of phrases (noun, verb, adjectival, adverbial, participial, prepositional, absolute) and clauses (independent, dependent; noun, relative, adverbial) to convey specific meanings and add variety and interest to writing or presentations.

Beinn na Seilg: Calum McRoberts, Wikimedia Commons, CC Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 GenericBeinn na Seilg: Calum McRoberts, Wikimedia Commons, CC Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic
Prepositions are words (or small groups of words) that help define a relationship between their objects and other things in the sentence. In your grandparents' days in school, a common English assignment was to memorize a long list of prepositions. Here is a list of some (by no means all) prepositions:

about, before, from, on, since above, behind, in, into, out of, through, after, beside, in regard to, toward, among, around, by, like, over, under, upon, with, at, for, during, of, near, to

Notice that many of these words can also be used in OTHER ways, so they are not ALWAYS prepositions. For example:

  • The word "like" is the verb in the sentence "I like cookies." The word "like" is a preposition in the sentence "Wear a color like black or brown."
  • The word "to" is a preposition in the sentence "I'm going to school." The word "to" is part of the infinitive in the sentence "I like to ski."
  • The word "since" is a subordinating conjunction in the sentence "Since we got the new puppy, it isn't safe to leave anything on the floor." - it connects the two clauses of the sentence. The word "since" is a preposition in the sentence "I haven't seen them since Christmas."

Prepositional phrases A prepositional phrase is the preposition, its object (a noun or pronoun), and any modifiers of the object.

This sounds more complicated than it is. "Up the hill" is a prepositional phrase. "Up" is the preposition, "hill" is its object, and "the" modifies hill. "Up the steep, rocky hill" is also a prepositional phrase. The only differences between it and the first example are the two extra modifiers ("steep" and "rocky").

(Notice that in the last sentence "between it and the first example" is a prepositional phrase with a compound object, and in this sentence, "in the last sentence" and "with a compound object" are also prepositional phrases.)

Prepositional phrases can (and most often do) act like adverbs or adjectives: The boy in the red hat ran up the hill.

"In the red hat" describes or modifies "boy," telling which boy, so it is functioning as an adjective. "Up the hill" tells where he ran. It modifies "ran," so it is functioning as an adverb.

Remember that one definition of "phrase" is "a group of words that function together as a noun, verb, adjective or adverb in a sentence." I can't think of a way to make a prepositional phrase into a verb, but it can work...

  • as a noun: Under the bed was the last place I looked. (subject of the sentence)
  • As an adverb, modifying hid: I hid the money under the bed. (tells where--notice you could move the phrase to the beginning of the sentence without changing the meaning)
  • Or as an adjective, modifying troll: The troll under the bed wanted to eat me, but the troll in the closet wanted to keep me as a pet. (tells which troll--notice you can't move the phrases without changing the meaning--"The troll wanted to eat me under the bed" isn't the same thing at all.)

 Examples of common or typical prepositional phrases: 

in bed on top except dogs
by the house under the covers over the moon
of bricks of the softest cloth behind the garage
around the block into the closet among the bushes
to my friend as a pirate for the best
toward midnight with my best shoes through the dark tunnel

 

Also remember the difference between adjectives and adverbs:

Adjectives modify or describe nouns or pronouns. They often answer the questions how many, which one, what size or what color.

Examples:

Die Dame in Rot: Paul Fischer, copyright expired, via Wikimedia CommonsDie Dame in Rot: Paul Fischer, copyright expired, via Wikimedia Commons

big, red, quick, longest, smarter, sour, beautiful, grateful (a, an, & the are a sub-category of adjectives, called articles)

The blond girl has gone home. ("blond" answers the question "which girl?" so it is an adjective.)

A prepositional phrase may function as an adjective in a sentence, almost always appearing right after the noun it modifies:

The girl at the front desk has gone home.

The girl in the red dress has gone home.

The girl with the keys has gone home.

I'm hoping the girl with the cute puppy will still be here when I get back. ("with the cute puppy" answers the question "which girl?" It is modifying girl, so it is an adjective phrase. Notice that if you move it to a different position, the sentence means something different: I'm hoping the girl will still be here when I get back with the cute puppy.)

Adverbs modify verbs, adjectives or other adverbs, and often answer the questions where, when, why or how.

Examples:

quickly, very, entirely, yesterday, here, there, home, tomorrow, cautiously, beautifully, gratefully, too

Tonight we're going home. (Tonight tells WHEN we're going, and home tells WHERE we're going, so they are both adverbs modifying "are going".)

A prepositional phrase may function as an adverb in a sentence. Often it can be moved to different places in the sentence without changing the meaning:

After the movie, we're going to the cafe. OR
We're going to the cafe after the movie. ("after the movie" answers the question when, and "to the cafe" answers the question where, so they are both modifying the verb, and functioning as adverb phrases.)

In spite of being tired, we're going in the morning.

Because of the weather, we're going on the freeway.

15.03.01 Prepositional phrases quiz (LA 9)

both teacher- and computer-scored 22 points possible 10 minutes

Take the quiz on prepositional phrases. You may take this quiz multiple times, but you must score at least 63%.

Pacing: complete this by the end of Week 3 of your enrollment date for this class.


16.00 Unit 16: Narrative (LA 9)

The Plays of William Shakespeare: John Gilbert, 1849, copyright expired via Wikimedia CommonsThe Plays of William Shakespeare: John Gilbert, 1849, copyright expired via Wikimedia Commons

 

Basically, the purpose of narrative is to tell a story. A narrative may tell a true (nonfiction) story, or an invented (fiction) story, but the focus is on what happens.

As far as we know, story-telling is a uniquely human pursuit. No other animals seem to have enough language to tell stories, but we, as humans, all do it. When you talk to a friend, you tell them what you've been doing, or what has happened in your life since the last time you talked to them. That's an example of narrative.

Novels, biographies, autobiographies, memoirs, and some essays and poetry are narrative. Most plays, movies and TV shows are narrative in structure, also.

In unit 16, you will watch Shakespeare's Romeo and Juilet, and read some shorter pieces. The major writing assignments include one biographical narrative and one fiction narrative piece.

You should be finished reading the book you chose from the list in unit 14 soon.

The major writing assignment is one scene from a story. You should expect the lessons and assignments in this unit to take you about 5-8 hours of concentrated work.

Again, remember our 'big idea': Writers choose details, events and characters' words and actions to develop main ideas or themes; readers use details, examples and evidence to infer main ideas or themes.

Review the terms below:

Setting

The setting of a story is where and when it happens.

In some stories, the setting doesn't seem very important. Twilight is set in a small town in Washington state, but the author could have chosen a different town or a different state.

If you wanted to write a story about an American teenager growing up, focusing on relationships between the teen and family and friends, you could choose from thousands of places in the United States to set your story. However, if part of the plot depended on the teenager having a cell phone, you would have to set the story at a TIME after the late 1990's.

In other stories, the setting is key. For instance, the setting of "High Horse's Courting" is in the plains of North America, probably in the early 1800's. Obviously, the events in the story couldn't have taken place in New York City or in the Arctic Ocean. The adventures in "The Song of Hiawatha", The Lord of the Rings or The Perfect Storm are inextricably wound up in their settings.

Plot

The plot of a story is what happens - the events and actions. In a 'plot-driven' story, the action is the main focus.

The conflict is the problem or difficulty in the story. You may be familiar with classifying conflicts as one of these four types: the character against another person, the character against nature, the character against him/herself, or the character against fate (or God).

The climax is often the most exciting part, the turning point, and is usually near the end, when the main conflict is settled. Rising action is the part of the story between the beginning and the climax, and the events and complications leading up to the climax, where the 'the plot thickens.' Usually, in the process of trying to solve his or her problems, the main character gets into progressively worse situations as the story goes on.

The resolution is how the problem or conflict is solved (resolved). Falling action is the part of the story between the climax and the end--the winding down.

There may be one or more subplots - smaller or less important stories connected to the main story. Some (usually longer) stories contain parallel plots A story with parallel plots has two (or sometimes even more) main characters, and what is happening with both (all) main characters is equally (or almost equally) important. For example, a mystery might follow a serial killer, a detective working on the case, and the killer's next chosen victim in alternating chapters.

Suspense is the reader's doubt about what will happen or when it will happen. Usually the reader doesn't know how the story will turn out, and that is what creates suspense. If the writer tells us at the beginning of a story that a character is going to die, the suspense comes from wondering how or when.

A flashback is a way for a writer to show events that happened before the beginning of the story. For example, when Odysseus remembers leaving his wife and baby son, or when Katniss in The Hunger Games remembers how her sister got the cat, that is a brief flashback.

Foreshadowing is a hint about something that is going to happen later in the story. If a gun is mentioned early in the story, probably that is foreshadowing an event later that will involve someone shooting (or getting shot by) the gun. A discussion of death or funerals may foreshadow the death of one of the important characters. In some stories, there is a prophecy, or a character has a premonition that is an obvious example of foreshadowing, but often it is more subtle, and you might not notice it unless you read the story twice. Francis Kirkman, WIkimedia Commons, public domainFrancis Kirkman, WIkimedia Commons, public domain

Character

The characters are the "actors" in the story. Most often the characters are people, but they may be animals, aliens, toys, robots or whatever.

The protagonist is the main character, sometimes called the hero, though he or she may not behave heroically.

In many stories there is an antagonist - the "villain", the character who opposes the protagonist. The antagonist is often evil, but not necessarily so.

Round characters are characters who have detailed, complex personalities, and seem like real people. Flat characters are characters who are often stereotypical, and lack the complexity to make them seem real. Characters can also be classified as dynamic or static.

Dynamic characters change in the course of the story. Static characters stay the same.

A sympathetic character is one that you like, and probably identify with at least to some extent. Generally, the protagonist is a sympathetic character - otherwise, it would be hard for you to care what happens to him or her. In 'character-driven' stories, the characters and how they interact, change and develop are the main focus; the plot arises mainly out of choices made by the characters.

Point of View

Point of view in fiction has to do with who seems to be telling (narrating) the story.

If the story is told by "me" - as if a main character is telling the story - When I woke up that morning... - it is said to be in first person. Jacobs' Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl is in first person.

If the story is told as if by an observer - When he woke up that morning... - it is in third person. The Odyssey, "Sir Gawain and the Green Knight," and most fiction are in third person.

  • If the person telling the story - the narrator - seems to only know what a single person could really know, we say the point of view is third person, limited.
  • If the person telling the story seems to be able to see into the minds of multiple characters, or be observing many places at once, we say the point of view is third person, omniscient.

Narrator

In most stories, most of the time, we as readers trust that the narrator is telling us the truth about the story. An unreliable narrator is one whose version of the story is not accurate. Depending on the circumstances, the narrator may be unreliable because s/he is deliberately sharing an inaccurate version of an event, or because s/he really doesn't know it isn't correct. One common instance of an unreliable narrator occurs when the narrator (or main character, in third person, limited point of view) is seriously ill, injured, mentally ill, very young or naive, or under the influence of drugs, alcohol, poison, or magic.

Other instances may not be so obvious. Probably you can think of a time when you heard someone say that so-and-so is ugly, disgusting, stuck-up, or rude--but you could see for yourself this was not the case. The person making the accusations may have believed what s/he said, but was 'blinded' by a dislike of so-and-so. In the same way, a character in a story may be presenting the 'truth' as s/he sees it, but be passing on his or her misconceptions or prejudices.

In general usage, when we say "unreliable", we are making a negative judgement about a person's character.  That's NOT necessarily what is meant when we talk about an "unreliable narrator" in literature.

  An unreliable narrator is one who either can't  (or, more rarely, won't) explain the whole situation. For example, imagine this situation as a scene in a book:

  Jonathan and Kari have been  happily married for ten years and have a six-year-old daughter, Isabella.  Jonathan has become addicted to prescription pain pills after being injured in an accident, but has managed to completely hide his addiction from his wife and daughter.  He owes a lot of money to the drug dealer, who hires a mentally ill homeless man to go to the house one evening and hold Kari and Isabella at gun-point demanding money.  A neighbor calls the police, who arrive and interrogate all four people, separately.  If each of the four people got to tell this in their own chapter of the book, who will be a reliable narrator?

  The homeless man doesn't know why Jonathan owes money to the dealer, and, more importantly, is delusional and believes Jonathan's mind is being controlled by an alien government that wants to take over more and more people's bodies.  He (the homeless man) is an unreliable narrator because his "reality" is so far removed from the actual situation.

  Kari is totally shocked and doesn't know what is going on.  To her, this is a random act of attempted robbery committed against her family by a stranger. She thinks it must be a case of mistaken identity.  She doesn't know enough about the situation to tell us the whole story, so she would not be a reliable narrator.

  Isabella only understands that a strange man came into the house with a gun and started yelling at her parents until they were rescued by the police.  She is an unreliable narrator even though she would be totally honest; she simply doesn't understand most of the situation.

  Jonathan is the person in the story most likely to be a reliable narrator.  He understands what happened and why it happened.  If we see/hear the story from his point of view, we will probably get a pretty complete picture of what happened.

Dialogue

Dialogue is what the characters in the story say to each other. (In a play or movie, the dialogue is the actors' lines). In stories, it is the actual words spoken, and is put inside quotation marks to set it off from the narration. Most modern, realistic fiction contains lots of dialogue, and as a reader, you can find out quite a bit about a character from what s/he says, or what is said about her/him by other characters. Although in real life we engage in conversation all the time, it can be tricky to write dialogue that sounds natural, like what real people would say.

Theme

The theme of a work (refer back to our longer lesson on theme in the reading unit) is a main general idea, belief or truth about life, and is usually not stated explicitly, but must be inferred by observing what happens in the story. For instance, you might say that the theme of the Star Wars movies is 'good is more powerful than evil.' A work may have more than one theme. The moral of a fable is a simple sort of theme. Sometimes you can figure out the theme of a story by asking yourself "What would the author want me to learn about life from this story?"

A theme is more than just a single word ("love", "courage" or "equality").  The theme must express a message.  For example, "love can overcome hate", "it takes courage to stand up for what you believe in", or "all people should be treated equally under the law" could be themes.

Symbols and symbolism

In literature, a symbol is an element in the story/poem that is doing "double duty" - it is both a concrete object, place or character, AND it also stands for some abstract idea.  A couple examples from Robert Frost's poetry will help you understand.

In Frost's poem "The Road Not Taken", he says, "Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, and I - I took the one less traveled by..."  The two roads in the poem are, first of all, real roads.  We can picture a fork in the road, one going one way, the other going another way, in the woods in fall when the leaves are yellow.  However, these roads also stand for something else - the decisions we make in life.  The two roads are symbols.

In another of Frost's poems, "Fire and Ice", he starts out, "Some say the world will end in fire; some say, in ice."  Again, these create images we can picture - the world burning up, maybe in atomic war or an explosion from the sun, or the world dark and cold, covered in ice.  But the poem continues, "From what I've tasted of desire, I hold with those who favor fire..." and from that point on, it is clear that the "fire" and "ice" are also symbolic of hate, expressed in different ways. 

Use these review links if needed.

16.01 Time and sequence in narrative (LA 9)

Telling the Ramayana at the Tamil cultural festival Sangamam: Badri Seshadri, CC Attribution 2.0 Generic via Wikimedia CommonsTelling the Ramayana at the Tamil cultural festival Sangamam: Badri Seshadri, CC Attribution 2.0 Generic via Wikimedia Commons

Stories, as well as life, happen in time. There is a sequence, an order, to how things happen (maybe not always the order we wish!).

Part of the writer's job is to convey that sequence. A story could get really confusing if told out of order! On the other hand, the writer may want to manipulate the sequence in which s/he tells the story in order to create suspense or emphasize a certain aspect of the story.

The simplest way to tell a story is to write in chronological order--that is, in the same order everything happens, in time. When I was little, I read a children's book with very short chapters. Every chapter ended with the sentence "So then what happened?" That is the gist of chronological order: first this happened, then that happened, then the next thing happened. If you were telling a friend about what you did over the weekend, that's probably the way you would tell it.

However, have you ever been in the middle of telling a friend about an experience, and then remembered that you had left out something they needed to know, so you took a minute to "fill them in" on an earlier incident? In writing, that technique of going back in time to tell about a previous happening is called a flashback. Sometimes, a flashback is only a paragraph, a page, or a chapter; sometimes, nearly a whole book may be told as a flashback.

As a reader, you need to be alert to the possibility of flashbacks in a story. If you are aware that what you are reading is a flashback, you won't get confused the way you might if you didn't understand the departure from chronological order.

As a writer, when you use flashbacks, you need to create transitions that signal the reader about the change in time frame. Before movies had sound, they used captions to indicate time relationships that the audience might not catch: "Later that night," "Two months earlier," "January 14, 1897," or the most famous, "Meanwhile, back at the ranch..." You can use similar phrases to help your reader know when you are leaving chronological order.

You may also use verb tenses to help establish time relationships, especially in a flashback of just a few sentences. Most narratives are told in simple past tense (He went downstairs and got his jacket); if you switch to past perfect tense (The day before, he had torn the jacket climbing through the fence and had gotten it mended), that signals the reader that you are talking about something out of order, something that had happened earlier.

Even when you tell a story in chronological order, transitions help readers. Single words, phrases, and clauses defining the time and sequence can all help readers follow a narrative more easily.

Here are some examples of words to help the reader understand the sequence of events:

before, beforehand after, afterward during
next later earlier
meanwhile, in the meantime soon now
next while weekly

 

16.01.01 Narrative writing: how your parents met, prewriting (LA 9)

teacher-scored 20 points possible 45 minutes

1946 dance in Price, Utah: Russel Lee, NARA, public domain via Wikimedia Commons1946 dance in Price, Utah: Russel Lee, NARA, public domain via Wikimedia Commons

In research, a 'primary source' is someone who actually experienced an event. If the event was long ago, a primary source would be someone's diary or first-hand written or recorded account. If the event was more recent, you can interview people who witnessed or experienced the event.

Interview your parents (or grandparents, or married friends or relatives over the age of 30, who have been together for at least ten years) about how they met. (Choose one couple, don't do them all!)

Ask at least the following questions, and take notes or record their answers. Be ready to ask followup questions (like why, or then what happened, or what were you thinking?).

If possible, record the interviews. Otherwise, take really good notes. You will be turning a transcript of the interviews as part of this assignment. You may interview the couple together or separately, but YOU MUST INTERVIEW BOTH OF THEM, AND GET BOTH SETS OF ANSWERS.

You may find that you get more interesting answers if you interview the two separately. If you are interviewing them together, and one person is doing most of the talking, be sure to ask the quieter person for his or her response, as well.

  • How old were you when you first met? What year was it?
  • What were the circumstances that caused you to meet (that is, why were you in that place at that time)?
  • Where were you, and what were you doing?
  • What did you notice or think about each other at first?
  • When and what were your first date?
  • What did you like about him or her?
  • How long had you known each other before the first kiss?
  • What did your parents think of him or her at first?
  • What did you have in common before you got married? How were you different?
  • What songs, places, or movies remind you of when you were first in love?
  • (and write at least two additional questions of your own)

NEXT: Use the internet to find out a few facts about the year the couple met.

Who was President? What was a number one hit song that year? What was a sitcom on TV that year? What were two historical events? Turn in a transcript of the interview (a list of the questions & answers) and your internet research findings.

TURN IN the transcript of the interviews, and the answers to the internet research questions.

Pacing: complete this by the end of Week 3 of your enrollment date for this class.


16.01.01 Narrative writing: how your parents met, prewriting (LA 9)

To listen to the introduction, use the link above, then click the microphone icon and the play button.

16.01.02 Narrative writing: how your parents met story (LA 9)

teacher-scored 24 points possible 30 minutes

Use what you learned to write a true story (at least 300 words) about how this couple met and got involved. Do not leave it in question and answer format. Write in third person (On the day after his seventeenth birthday, Steve Smith was on his way to church when he ran a stop sign and had a fender bender with Jennifer...). Work in at least one of the facts you found in your internet research.

Begin your story by introducing the couple as they are now. Then, in the second paragraph, you will begin creating a flashback in which you tell the story of how they met. At the end, conclude with another paragraph from the present. Remember to use transitional phrases or clauses before and after the flashback to help the reader follow the change in time.

Remember, when writing dialogue, to start a new paragraph each time a different person speaks.

Incorrect:

 "Are you taking art next year?" asked Jennifer. "Yes," said Nathan.  "What about you?"

Correct:

 "Are you taking art next year?" asked Jennifer.

"Yes," said Nathan.  "What about you?"

Your narrative will be scored according to the rubric below.  You are not required to submit an additional revision, but you may revise and resubmit if you want to try to raise your score.

Category 4 (exceeds standards) 3 (meets standards) 2 (partially meets standards) 1 (does not meet standards)
Introduction & organization Engage and orient the reader by setting out a problem, situation, or observation and its significance, establishing one or multiple point(s) of view, and introducing a narrator and/or characters; create a smooth, natural progression of experiences or events. Engage and orient the reader by setting out a problem, situation, or observation, establishing one or multiple point(s) of view, and introducing a narrator and/or characters; create a smooth progression of experiences or events. Engage and orient the reader by establishing a context and point of view and introducing a narrator and/or characters; organize an event sequence that unfolds logically. Establish a context and introduce a narrator and/or characters; event sequence may be confusing or seem contrived  
Development of ideas and content Use the most effective narrative techniques, such as dialogue, pacing, description, reflection, and multiple plot lines, to develop experiences, events, and/or characters. Use narrative techniques, such as dialogue, pacing, description, reflection, and multiple plot lines, to develop experiences, events, and/or characters.   Use narrative techniques, such as dialogue, pacing, description, and reflection, to develop experiences, events, and/or characters. Use only one narrative technique, such as dialogue or description, to develop experiences, events, and/or characters.
Development of relationships, cohesion and flow Use a variety of techniques to sequence events so that they build on one another to create a coherent whole and build toward a particular tone and outcome (e.g., a sense of mystery, suspense, growth, or resolution). Use a variety of techniques to sequence events so that they build on one another to create a coherent whole. Use some transition words, phrases, and clauses to convey most sequences, signal shifts from one time frame or setting to another, and show relationships among experiences and events. Use some transitions; may not adequately signal sequence, setting shifts, or relationships.
Word choice, style and tone Use precise words and phrases, telling details, figurative language, and sensory language to convey a vivid picture of the experiences, events, setting, and/or characters. Use precise words and phrases, telling details, and sensory language to convey a vivid picture of the experiences, events, setting, and/or characters. Use adequate words and phrases, relevant descriptive details, or sensory language to convey action, experiences and events. Use abstract, general words and phrases, and/or inadequate details and language, not clearly conveying experiences and events.  
Conclusion Provide a satisfying conclusion that follows from and reflects on what is experienced, observed, or resolved over the course of the narrative. Provide a conclusion that follows from and reflects on what is experienced, observed, or resolved over the course of the narrative. Provide a conclusion that makes sense and creates closure. Ending/conclusion may be missing or seem abrupt, contrived or incomplete.
Conventions and language skills Has few or no errors in conventions, grammar or usage; uses parallel structure and variety in sentences, phrases and clauses Has few errors in conventions, grammar or usage; uses variety in sentence length and structure Significant errors in conventions, grammar or usage, but correct conventions prevail Has many errors in conventions, grammar or usage, interfering with the reader’s ability to follow the ideas

Pacing: complete this by the end of Week 3 of your enrollment date for this class.


16.02 Character development, inference and implication (LA 9)

Warner Bros. Studio Tour London: The Making of Harry Potter: Karen Roe, 2012, CC-BY-2.0, WCWarner Bros. Studio Tour London: The Making of Harry Potter: Karen Roe, 2012, CC-BY-2.0, WC

 

Authors and playwrights use various techniques to help the reader or audience understand characters in the story. The most obvious technique is just to TELL certain facts about the character: He has brown eyes, she is fifteen years old. In a book, the author can write this in a regular paragraph, but too much of this "exposition" or description gets to seem boring to the reader. Another way the story can "tell" you things is to have one of the characters talk about it in conversation (dialogue):

Jenny said, "Have you seen that cute new boy with the gorgeous brown eyes?"

Notice two things about this -

  1. The boy has brown eyes.
  2. Jenny says that he is cute and that his eyes are gorgeous. Maybe he really is cute, and everyone in the story agrees with Jenny--but maybe this is an opinion of Jenny's, and other characters in the story consider him completely unattractive. Another possibility is that Jenny doesn't really believe what she is saying, but has some other motive for calling the boy cute. Jenny's comment tells us as much about her as it tells about the new boy.

Authors can also SHOW us important information about a character's personality and values by what the character DOES and SAYS. In good writing, this is how we find out most of the information about characters.

Instead of telling us that Jared is kind and considerate, the author can show us Jared helping a freshman girl who dropped all her books pick them up, Jared telling a student who is teasing a Down's syndrome boy to lay off, and Jared feeding a piece of his hamburger to a stray puppy (not all in one chapter, probably--that would be overkill!).

Instead of telling us that Julie has a sense of humor, but can be cruel, the author can have Julie get on the bus in the morning and say to a girl she doesn't like, "How'd you do your hair this morning - stick it in the toilet and flush?" or about a not-so-bright student, "He's going for the school record in most tests failed in a semester."

Here is a quick review of some terms you may find helpful in talking about characters:

The characters are the "actors" in the story. Most often the characters are people, but they may be animals, aliens, toys, robots or whatever.
The protagonist is the main character, sometimes called the hero, though he or she may not behave heroically.
In some stories there is an antagonist - the "villain", the character who opposes the protagonist.
Round characters are characters who have detailed, complex personalities, and seem like real people.
Flat characters are characters who are often stereotypical, and lack the complexity to make them seem real.
Characters can also be classified as dynamic or static.
Dynamic characters change in the course of the story. Static characters stay the same.

Implication and inference

When a writer sets up situations like Jared feeding part of his lunch to a stray puppy, s/he is implying that Jared is kind.

When a reader reads about Jared feeding part of his lunch to a stray puppy, s/he can infer that Jared is kind.

Wikipedia defines inference like this: the act or process of deriving a conclusion based solely on what one already knows. It is "reading between the lines."

  • Inference in reading For example, when you are reading you can draw inferences by looking at the clues the author provides--mainly the situations and the characters' actions and conversations--and making reasonable guesses about things the author hasn't actually told you. The skill of drawing inferences is based on your experiences so far in life, and "common sense." If you break a family rule--say, a curfew--and your mom says, "You're grounded tomorrow," you don't need to be TOLD that your mom is upset that you broke the rule. You infer from the situation, her reaction and your past experience that she is upset.
  • Implication in writing In writing, a common admonition is "Show--don't tell." If you are writing a story and the character yells, "I never want to see you again!" and slams the door, you don't need to write that he slammed the door "angrily"--you have already implied he was angry, and the reader should be able to infer that he was angry. We all know from life experience that someone who yells like that and slams a door is angry! Suppose you want to show that a character in a story you are writing is incredibly naive. Telling the reader 'Her grandma was incredibly naive' is nowhere nearly as effective as showing the grandma using her credit card to buy all new living room furniture after she gets an e-mail saying she won the Nigerian lottery.

Jose Ferraz de Almeida Junior, public domain via Wikimedia CommonsJose Ferraz de Almeida Junior, public domain via Wikimedia Commons

Good readers use inference to help understand stories; good writers use implication to create effective stories.

Let's look at an example. Read this short passage from the short story "Feathertop" by Nathaniel Hawthorne:

"Dickon," cried Mother Rigby, "a coal for my pipe!" The pipe was in the old dame's mouth when she said these words. She had thrust it there after filling it with tobacco, but without stooping to light it at the hearth, where indeed there was no appearance of a fire having been kindled that morning. Forthwith, however, as soon as the order was given, there was an intense red glow out of the bowl of the pipe, and a whiff of smoke came from Mother Rigby's lips. Whence the coal came, and how brought thither by an invisible hand, I have never been able to discover.

What does the author explicitly tell us?

  • that the woman has a pipe; that she put tobacco in the pipe and put the pipe in her mouth, but didn't light it;
  • that she called someone named Dickon to fetch a coal for her pipe;
  • that the pipe was lit even though the narrator did not see anyone light it.

What can we infer?

  • that something magical or supernatural may be going on;
  • that the woman may be a witch or sorceress
  • that the pipe might be magical;
  • that Dickon may be her magical, invisible servant, or "familiar"
  • that the narrator is intrigued by her

16.02.01 Narrative techniques (LA 9)

Quick review of common narrative techniques (used mainly in fiction, but may also apply in some narrative nonfiction)

by Alex Proimos, CC Attribution 2.0 Generic via Wikimedia Commonsby Alex Proimos, CC Attribution 2.0 Generic via Wikimedia Commons

  • dialogue: conversation between two or more characters. Remember that the characters' actual words are enclosed by quotation marks.
  • exposition: just telling what happens, often in summary form
  • description: creating sensory "images" of places, people or things
  • reflection: the character's thoughts, often looking back at events
  • point of view: who is telling the story? Is it in first person or third person? Is the narrator a character in the story, limited to knowing what that character knows, or an "omniscient" narrator who knows more than a real person in the story could?
  • setting: where and when is the story happening? How does this affect events or characters?
  • character development: do the characters seem like real people, with both good and bad qualities? How are the characters changed by events, and how do the characters' changes affect later events?
  • parallel plots: does the action shift back and forth between two (or more) different characters or places to show events happening at the same time? (These events may seem unrelated at first.)
  • subplots: additional conflicts or stories that are somehow connected to the main plot and characters, but not as important
  • pacing: how the author handles time and sequence - does the story skip over weeks or months? Are there flashbacks? or does everything unfold in the same, steady, chronological manner?
  • suspense: Is there foreshadowing of future events? Does the author switch back and forth between parallel plots at critical points in the story? Are you kept in doubt about the outcome of events?

SEE ALSO information at the required link below.

16.02.02 Narrative techniques analysis (LA 9)

teacher-scored 40 points possible 45 minutes

This assignment refers to the book you chose to read from the list in lesson 14.03. By now, you should have finished reading the book (if not, skip this assignment until you HAVE finished.) Copy and paste the section between the lines of asterisks into a word-processing document on your computer. Complete your work, and save a copy for yourself. Then submit your work by pasting it in to the assignment submission window for this assignment.

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  1. Quote an example of dialogue from the book that helps you infer what the characters are like. (At the least, you need the words of one character, and the response of another character.)  Explain what you can infer from this example.
  2. Quote an example of exposition from the book.
  3. Quote an example of description from the book.
  4. Quote an example of reflection from the book.
  5. Explain the point of view in this book. Who is the narrator? Is the story told in first person, third person limited, or third person omniscient?
  6. What and when is the setting of the story? How does this affect events or characters?
  7. Identify two of the main characters. Give examples of how they seem like real people, with both good and bad qualities. How are the characters changed by events, and how do the characters' changes affect later events?
  8. Does this story use parallel plots? Explain your answer.
  9. Explain at least one subplot in this story.
  10. How does this author handle time? How much time passes between the first and last events? Give an example of a flashback from the story.
  11. Give an example of foreshadowing and at least one other technique the author uses to create suspense.
  12. Give at least one example of symbolism in the book.
  13. Identify two themes from the book, and explain the evidence for each.
  14. Write a paragraph in which you discuss an important decision made by one of the characters, his/her reasons for making that decision, and what that implies about him or her.

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Pacing: complete this by the end of Week 5 of your enrollment date for this class.


16.03 Short readings (LA 9)

Christian Gottlieb Kratzenstein-Sub, public domain via Wikimedia CommonsChristian Gottlieb Kratzenstein-Sub, public domain via Wikimedia Commons

Read/view the works, using the links below.

All the links above are required reading.

16.03.01 Short readings responses (LA 9)

teacher-scored 20 points possible 30 minutes

Copy and paste the section between the lines of asterisks into a word-processing document on your computer. Complete your work, and save a copy for yourself. Then submit your work by pasting it in to the assignment submission window for this assignment.

Remember that a theme must be a complete sentence that makes a general statement about  life.

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  1. What are at least three ideas all these readings have in common?
    List a theme for each of the stories from the readings, and explain the evidence from the text that supports that theme.
  2. "Orpheus and Eurydice"
    theme:
    evidence:
  3. "Tristan and Iseult"
    theme:
    evidence:
  4. "Pyramus and Thisbe"
    theme:
    evidence:
  5. "Cupid and Psyche"
    theme:
    evidence:
  6. "Beauty and the Beast"
    theme:
    evidence:
  7. "Layla and Majnun"
    theme:
    evidence:
  8. Classify these stories into two groups, based on characters or events. Explain why you classified each story into the group you put it into.
  9. Now, classify the stories based on a DIFFERENT criteria than you used for the last question. Explain your new rationale for classifying each story.
  10. Which of the stories most closely shares the theme of Sonnet 116? On what evidence do you base this claim?

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Pacing: complete this by the end of Week 3 of your enrollment date for this class.


16.04 Romeo and Juliet (English 9)

Watch Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet once, to get the general idea. Then you should read or watch it again as you work on the assignments. Ideally, especially if you are college-bound, you will both read it and watch one of the versions. You might want to read along as you listen to the audio version. The link below is to a video version of the play. Juliet awakes in the tomb: (WMC, public domain)Juliet awakes in the tomb: (WMC, public domain)

16.04.01 Romeo and Juliet (LA 9)

teacher-scored 30 points possible 145 minutes

Note that the time required for this assignment includes the time you will spend watching Romeo and Juliet.

Recently I saw a Facebook post that said something like "Romeo and Juliet" isn't a love story; it is a three-day relationship that results in six deaths." At the end of this assignment, we will revisit that idea.

Copy and paste the section between the lines of asterisks into a word-processing document on your computer. Complete your work, and save a copy for yourself. Then submit your work by pasting it in to the assignment submission window for this assignment.

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Public domain, via Wikimedia CommonsPublic domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Supply at least two lines of evidence for each of your answers. Use quotes or paraphrases where possible.

A. Background:

1.

a. What is the state of Romeo's mind, and his love life, before his friends get him to attend the party?
b. What is the evidence of this?
c. What can you infer about Romeo (beyond the explicit meaning) from this?

2.

a. What is the relationship between Juliet and her parents prior to the beginning of the play?
b. What is the evidence of this?
c. What can you infer about Juliet's relationship with her parents (beyond the explicit meaning) from this?

3.

a. What is the state of Juliet's mind, and her love life, before she meets Romeo?
b. What is the evidence of this?
c. What can you infer about Juliet (beyond the explicit meaning) from this?

B. Events unfold: Explain and offer evidence for (a) the cause and (b) the effect of each of the following events:

4.

Mercutio's death
a.
b.

5.

Tybalt's death
a.
b.

6.

Lord Capulet's decision that Juliet should marry immediately
a.
b.

Short essay

7. Explain how at least three decisions made by Friar Lawrence contribute to the tragic ending of the play.

8. Write a paragraph supporting the claim "Romeo and Juliet" isn't a love story; it is a three-day relationship that results in six deaths."

9. Write a paragraph refuting the claim "Romeo and Juliet" isn't a love story; it is a three-day relationship that results in six deaths."

10. Choose either Romeo or Juliet. Write a paragraph explaining how Shakespeare presents this character as both "round" and "dynamic." Refer back to the information on literary terms and character development if you don't remember what round characters and dynamic characters are.

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Pacing: complete this by the end of Week 4 of your enrollment date for this class.


16.04.02 Romeo and Juliet and related readings quiz (English 9)

computer-scored 25 points possible 10 minutes

This quiz covers Romeo and Juliet and the readings from lesson 16.03.

You may take this quiz multiple times, but you must score at least 68%.

Pacing: complete this by the end of Week 4 of your enrollment date for this class.


16.05 Irony and Tone (LA 9)

Analyze the cumulative impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone. Determine an author's point of view or purpose in a text.

Irony in Baker Street tube station: Dpbsmith, CC Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported via Wikimedia CommonsIrony in Baker Street tube station: Dpbsmith, CC Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported via Wikimedia Commons

"Tone" in literature has to do with the mood or overall feeling of the piece. Many factors contribute to tone:

  • setting
  • diction (word choice)
  • conflict, action and plot
  • style (formal or informal)
  • the writer's attitude toward the subject

"Irony" has to do with a dissonance between an expectation and a result, or between what we say and what we mean. Thus, we think it is ironic when a person who has exercised and eaten right dies young of a heart attack. Irony is usually classified into one of three types:

Situational irony is like our example above--the result of an action turns out to be the opposite of what was intended. Another case: you stay up really late studying for a test, but then you oversleep the next morning and miss the bus, so you don't get to take the test.

Verbal irony is saying the opposite of what you mean. For instance, if someone suggests that you should go out and get drunk and then drive home, you might say, "Oh, THAT'S a good idea," meaning, of course, that it is a really stupid idea.

Dramatic irony occurs in a play, movie or book when the audience or reader knows something important that the character(s) in the story doesn't know. This may result in either humor or tragedy, depending on the situation. Let's say that Jonas and Sarah (characters in a book) are in love. They are in some kind of accident, and each thinks the other was killed (but the reader of the story knows they are still alive). Eventually, Jonas gets engaged to someone else even though he is still in love with Sarah. Sarah finally finds out he is still alive, but she hears that he is engaged, so she thinks he must not love her anymore and she goes away without ever telling him she is still alive. That's an example of dramatic irony.

Note: you will be tested on this information, and the links below, in the next quiz.

16.05 Short readings in irony (LA 9)

Steve F-E-Cameron, CC Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported via Wikimedia CommonsSteve F-E-Cameron, CC Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported via Wikimedia Commons

Read and/or listen to the following short selections (links below):

"The Gift of the Magi" by O. Henry 
"Ozymandias" by Percy Bysshe Shelley

Consider how the authors created irony in each of these pieces. Which kind(s) of irony is/are involved?

16.05.01 Narrative, character development, and irony quiz (LA 9)

both teacher- and computer-scored 15 points possible 10 minutes

This quiz covers lessons and readings from 16.01, 16.02 and 16.05.
You may take this quiz multiple times, but you must score at least 73%.

Pacing: complete this by the end of Week 4 of your enrollment date for this class.


16.06 Narrative writing (LA 9)

Devise an approach among many alternatives to re-interpret a story; use narrative techniques, such as dialogue, pacing, description, reflection and multiple plot lines to develop story and characters.

by Jacob B&oslash;tter, CC Attribution 2.0 Generic via Wikimedia Commonsby Jacob Bøtter, CC Attribution 2.0 Generic via Wikimedia Commons

How might one of the short stories from lesson 16.03 play out in today's world?

Don't make characters die in your story--I bet you can think of lots of examples of other ways someone can "stab you in the back," metaphorically speaking. In the following assignments, you will develop a story based loosely on the plot and characters from ONE of the stories you read for lesson 16.03, but set in your community and today's time period.

Review the lesson on character development, inference and implication and the lesson on sequencing and time.

"Show, don't tell"--let the characters' actions and dialogue imply what they are like. Include an example of irony.

Use techniques like foreshadowing and flashbacks to help create suspense.

16.06.01 Narrative pre-writing/draft (LA 9)

teacher-scored 43 points possible 60 minutes

Plan a story based partly on the plot and characters from one of the stories you read for lesson 16.03. However, the setting for your story should be in modern times somewhere in the United States.

Note that you are not going to be required to write the whole story in detail here. You will turn in the answers to questions below, and ONE SCENE from the story.

Copy and paste the section between the lines of asterisks into a word processing document on your computer. Complete your work, and save a copy for yourself. Then submit your work using the assignment submission window for this assignment.

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Pre-writing

  1. Identify which story (from the short readings in 16.03) you chose, and summarize the plot in three sentences or less.
  2. What will be the setting and situation for your story?
  3. Briefly summarize who the three main characters are, what the conflict in the story would be, and how the characters get pulled into the conflict.
  4. How would you create irony in the story?
  5. Briefly summarize how the events in your story would parallel or differ from the events in the original story. Make this a list of the main events in your story, in order.

Composing

  • Finally, write (in complete, detailed story form) ONE SCENE from the story you have summarized - 300 to 600 words.
  • You will be using dialogue, description, reflection (what the character is thinking) and the 'show, don't tell' technique.
  • Your scene should cover one incident or challenge from the story.
  • This draft will be scored according to the rubric below. Even though this is just one scene, make sure the scene has a bit of introduction and some conclusion to the particular action of this part of the story.
  • You are not required to revise/edit this story (though if you want to try to raise your scores, you may revise and resubmit)

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Category 4 (exceeds standards) 3 (meets standards) 1 (does not meet standards)
Introduction & organization Engage and orient the reader by setting out a problem, situation, or observation and its significance, establishing one or multiple point(s) of view, and introducing a narrator and/or characters; create a smooth, natural progression of experiences or events. Engage and orient the reader by setting out a problem, situation, or observation, establishing one or multiple point(s) of view, and introducing a narrator and/or characters; create a smooth progression of experiences or events. Establish a context and introduce a narrator and/or characters; event sequence may be confusing or seem contrived
Development of ideas and content Use the most effective narrative techniques, such as dialogue, pacing, description, reflection, and multiple plot lines, to develop experiences, events, and/or characters. Use narrative techniques, such as dialogue, pacing, description, reflection, and multiple plot lines, to develop experiences, events, and/or characters. Use only one narrative technique, such as dialogue or description, to develop experiences, events, and/or characters.
Development of relationships, cohesion and flow Use a variety of techniques to sequence events so that they build on one another to create a coherent whole and build toward a particular tone and outcome (e.g., a sense of mystery, suspense, growth, or resolution). Use a variety of techniques to sequence events so that they build on one another to create a coherent whole. Use some transitions; may not adequately signal sequence, setting shifts, or relationships.
Word choice, style & tone Use the best words (with attention to connotation) and figurative language to help establish voice and tone Use reasonably good word choice and appropriate style and tone Diction may be correct, but lack voice; generic
Sentence structure and conventions Good sentence structure; correct spelling, punctuation, capitalization, grammar, etc. Few awkward sentences or conventions errors Numerous sentence structure or conventions errors

Pacing: complete this by the end of Week 5 of your enrollment date for this class.


16.06.02 Read aloud narrative (LA 9)

teacher-scored 8 points possible 15 minutes

 Read your story aloud.

You may read it over your phone to my voice mail, or record it as a .mov, .mp4 or .mp3 file and send it as an attachment.  Don't send a .wma file.

Category 4 (exceeds standards) 3 (meets standards) 2 (partially meets standards) 1 (does not meet standards)
Speaking Read smoothly with excellent expression, enunciation and pronunciation Read smoothly with few or no errors in expression, enunciation and pronunciation Significant errors in smoothness, expression, enunciation and/or pronunciation, but correct reading prevails Has many errors in smoothness, expression, enunciation and/or pronunciation, interfering with the listener’s ability to follow the ideas

Pacing: complete this by the end of Week 6 of your enrollment date for this class.


17.00 Unit 17: Exposition (LA 9)

Climber reading guidebook: Elson image, CC Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 GenericClimber reading guidebook: Elson image, CC Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 GenericExposition is writing that describes something, explains, or informs. Expository writing should examine, explain, and communicate ideas, processes, concepts and information clearly and accurately.

Expository writing includes

  • technical writing like the manuals that come with games or software
  • 'how-to' writing like magazine articles about how to fly-fish, build a greenhouse, or make artisan bread
  • descriptive writing like a travel book, an article about the latest fashions, or information about a house for sale on a real estate website
  • scientific journal articles describing an experiment or study, and reporting the results
  • news reports about a current event
  • ...and many other forms

By now you may have noticed that the three types of writing (argument, narrative and exposition) sometimes overlap, and that many pieces of writing include aspects of two (or all three). When you aren't sure how to classify a particular writing, ask yourself what the main purpose is--to argue, to tell a story, or to inform?

Novels, short stories, and biographies are usually narrative though they are likely to include sections of exposition. Arguments are also likely to contain some exposition, and sometimes some narrative. In the same way, expository writing may include some elements of narration or argument, but its main purpose is to inform.

17.01 Expository writing: comparison, contrast and analysis (LA 9)

Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas, concepts, and information through the selection, organization, and analysis of relevant content.

Earth and the moon compared: NASA image, Wikimedia Commons, public domainEarth and the moon compared: NASA image, Wikimedia Commons, public domain
As human beings, we naturally compare and contrast things: Which candy bar is better? Who is taller, you or your brother? Who is the fastest/smartest/nicest kid in the class? What are the good and bad points of Ford, Chevy, Dodge and Toyota trucks? Is today colder than yesterday? How are spiders and insects similar, and how are they different? How am I like my parents? What are the similarities and differences between ballet and modern dance?

I doubt that you ever go through a day without making SOME comparison or contrast. We are all the time grouping and classifying things by their similarities and differences. What is my point? Writing a comparison/contrast essay isn't an entirely new skill--it's just applying your everyday, ordinary thinking process to writing.

Note - when we are being sticklers for precise meanings, 'compare' means find the way things are alike; 'contrast' means find the way things are different. However, in common usage, people often say 'compare' when they are looking for both likenesses and differences. Usually if a teacher tells you to write a comparison essay, s/he really means a comparison/contrast essay.*

Like many essays, a comparison/contrast essay usually begins with an introductory paragraph that includes a main claim ('thesis statement'). That's just a sentence that tells your main point. The introduction usually gives some background information, and maybe two or three basic, general statements about reasons for your main point. Jump right in and say what you think, WITHOUT phrases like "In this essay I will..." or "This essay will be about..." or "I'm going to write about..."

The middle paragraphs of your essay will have examples and specific details from the two or three things you are analyzing and comparing, organized in a logical way to support your main point. In a comparison/contrast essay, often you will alternate between a statement about one of the thing and a statement about some parallel aspect of the other. For example: "In the Harry Potter books, Harry is the young, inexperienced hero. In The Lord of the Rings, it is Frodo."   Most high school essays have from one to four middle paragraphs (three is most common). Each paragraph should be organized around some idea or topic that helps explain your main claim. When you have finished explaining and giving examples for one idea, end the paragraph and start another.

The last paragraph of your essay is the conclusion. Your essay shouldn't seem like it quits where you ran out of ideas, or like you just stopped because it was time to go eat dinner. The ending should sound/feel like a natural stopping place--like you have closed and locked a door, not run out and left the door standing open behind you. One way to accomplish this is to 'sum up' what you have been saying. You should take your original thesis statement and expand on it or give it a twist. You might include an evaluation of the things you analyzed - which is better, and why? - or you might make some prediction about how people in the future will view things, or about possible improvements or changes.

Useful transitional words and phrases for comparison/contrast essay include some like these: similarly, similarities, in contrast, by comparison, compared to, differences, however, although, parallels, likewise, on the other hand, however...

Analysis

 

The basic meaning of analysis has to do with studying the parts of an idea, question, object or system - figuratively, taking it apart to see how or why it works (or doesn't).  When you analyze an issue, you look at the component parts to find out how they are related and what it most important.  Consider not only the obvious, upfront assumptions and implications involved with the issue, but also assumptions and effects that may be unstated or forgotten.

Read at least the first two examples of analytical essays at the link below.

17.01 Expository writing: readings (LA 9)

17.02 Expository writing in the social sciences (LA 9)

Some writing about the social sciences (history, sociology, psychology, etc) is narrative (telling the story of what happened), but much writing in the social sciences is expository, explaining not just what happened, but why and how it happened, and how it relates to current times. In the next assignment, you will research and develop an expository essay about the rights of children, and the ways they have changed or stayed the same in different cultures.

The Lincoln family: Currier and Ives, public domain via Wikimedia CommonsThe Lincoln family: Currier and Ives, public domain via Wikimedia Commons

Your essay should compare and contrast examples from your research with examples from your current culture (your family or friends' families). If you want to protect the identity of specific people you write about, feel free to change their names.

What does it mean for something to be a "right"?  The Declaration of Independence says everyone has certain rights, including "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness". [Notice it doesn't say everyone has the right to be happy, only the right to pursue happiness.] If something is our "right", who is responsible for providing us with that right?  If a child is starving to death, and his/her parents and family have no food or money, does that child have a right to food?  Who must provide it?  What if it is an adult who is starving to death?  Is that different?

What about when one person's rights infringe on another person's rights?  We take away a murderer's right to "liberty" because s/he took away another person's "right" to life.  What about when a parent feels that you should be doing your homework, but you feel your "right to pursue happiness" in the form of hanging out with friends, playing games, or watching a movie is more important?  What "rights" should everyone have, and what "rights" should depend on the person's ability to pay for them?

Begin by focusing in on a particular area of children's rights (it's much too broad a topic for a short paper otherwise).  Here are a few possibilities you might choose from, but feel free to choose another area.

Education
Work/employment
Family roles
Custody
Discipline
Child abuse
Medical treatment

Remember to keep track of your sources of information!  You will need at least author, article title, publication date, and whether the source was web or print.  In any research writing, you should be scrupulous about giving credit to the sources for quotations, facts and ideas you use in your essay - even if you put them into "your own words" by summarizing or paraphrasing.

There are two main components in properly accounting for your sources:  a works cited page/list at the end of your essay, and in-text citations within your essay.

The works cited page lists enough information about each of your sources to make it easy for other researchers to find that source to read the whole thing for themselves.  Each entry on the works cited list starts with the author or authors' names, last name first.  If the source has no author given, then the entry starts with the title.  The entries are listed in alphabetical order (by authors' last names and/or titles).

The in-text citations supply the author's last name (or the first few words of the title, if no author is listed) and the page number within the source (unless it is an unpaged source, like many websites or video sources).  This may be done either by identifying the author in the sentence, or by adding, in parenthesis at the end of the sentence or section referencing that source, the author's last name and the page number.  See the examples in the links.

Review the links below about MLA style. Notice that one of the links will help you create a correct citation for your works cited page.

As you research, think about how each example supports or goes contrary to the cultural norms. Bear in mind the previous readings.

Make note of direct quotes and summarize ideas you may use in your essay, looking especially for cause and effect, similarities, differences, and other connections between ideas.

17.02 Using Easybib to create citations (LA 9)

How to use the easybib.com website to create a citation:

Suppose I am citing information from the website at http://indians.org/articles/cherokee-indians.html -

  • I go to the website www.easybib.com and enter the url for the web page with this article, and then click Continue.
  • Since we can't find an author, we skip the Contributors section. (If there was an author/authors listed, I would fill that in.)
  • I notice that part of the website title was cut off, so I type in the "Cherokee Indians", which was missing.
  • To find the publisher/sponsor, I click the "About Us" link on the source page, and I find out that American Indian Heritage Foundation sponsors this web page, so I copy and paste that into the Publisher/sponsor box.
  • Since I don't see a date on the source page, I right-click the page and choose "view page info". That tells me the date the page was last modified, and I put that date into the "Electronically published" boxes.
  • Then I click "create citation". That gives me this correct citation: "Cherokee Indians." The History of the Cherokee Indians. American Indian Heritage Foundation, 15 Jan. 2015. Web. 07 Mar. 2015.

17.02.01 Using expository techniques: compare, contrast, analyze (LA 9)

teacher-scored 30 points possible 60 minutes

Mother and children, Minnesota, 1932: Infrogmation, CC-BY-SA-3.0, WCMother and children, Minnesota, 1932: Infrogmation, CC-BY-SA-3.0, WC

 

In your culture, what are the differences between being a child and being an adult?  Think about this in terms of your own life, and the lives of your friends, family, and community.

 For this next set of assignments, try to observe what things are really like, not so much how people think things SHOULD be.  Be specific and give particular examples.

Remember that a "responsibility" is a duty or obligation - something you must do, or are supposed to do.  On the other hand, a "right" is something owed or due to you by law or moral tradition.

Answer the questions below.  Submit the questions and answers either by copy and paste, or as an attached document.

************************************

The first four questions are about children, under the age of 14:

1. Just on your own, brainstorm five responsibilities of children in your family and community.  List those here:

2. Now brainstorm five rights of children in your family and community.  List them here:

3.  Talk to friends or family members.  List at least five more responsibilities of children they suggested:

4.  After talking to others, list at least five more rights of children:

In the next set of questions, consider adults, age 21 or above, in your local community.

5. Brainstorm five responsibilities of adults in your family and community.  List those here:

6.  Now brainstorm five rights of adults in your family and community.  List them here:

7.  Talk to friends or family members.  List at least five more responsibilities of adults they suggested:

8.  After talking to others, list at least five more rights of adults:

Use your answers to questions 1-8 to compare and contrast:

9.  How are the rights of children similar to the rights of adults?

10.  How are the rights of children different from the rights of adults?  What are the reasons for these differences?

11.  How are the responsibilities of children similar to the responsibilities of adults?

12. How are the responsibilties of children different from the responsibilities of adults?  What are the reasons for these differences?

For each of the last two questions, choose one of the readings from 17.01 Expository writing: readings.

13.  Specify the title of the article you chose. Copy a quotation from that article. Write a paragraph explaining how it relates to the rights and responsibilities of children and adults.

14.  Specify the title of the second article you chose. Copy a quotation from that article. Write a paragraph explaining how it relates to the rights and responsibilities of children and adults.

Do an internet search on "children's rights".  Find three sources for information on a topic related to children's rights in another time period or culture that interests you.  Be sure to focus on one, particular issue so your three sources and quotations all apply to one main topic.

15. What particular issue, related to children's rights, are you going to research?

16.  Copy a quotation from the first article you choose, and write a correct MLA-style citation for that article.

17.  Copy a quotation from the second article you choose, and write a correct MLA-style citation for that article.

18.  Copy a quotation from the third article you choose, and write a correct MLA-style citation for that article.

******************************************

Pacing: complete this by the end of Week 6 of your enrollment date for this class.


17.02.02 First draft of expository essay (English 9)

teacher-scored 24 points possible 60 minutes

Boys working in textile mill, Georgia, 1909: Lewis Wickes Hines, WC, LC, public domainBoys working in textile mill, Georgia, 1909: Lewis Wickes Hines, WC, LC, public domain

 

Begin work on an expository essay about a tightly focused topic related to the rights of children, comparing and contrasting your family, culture and community to that of other cultures or time periods you researched. Include statistics, quotes, and paraphrases taken from this quarter's readings and from your research, but create your own, original essay.  Remember you will need to cite your sources, so keep track of where you find  your information.

Note that this is an expository, not an argumentative, essay, so the emphasis should be on explanations, examples, comparisons, analysis and information.  

Your main claim should address some element(s) of similarities and/or differences amongst cultures in different time periods or places.  Example - suppose you were writing about the rights of adults, rather than children.  Your main claim might be something like "In the United States now, women have the right to receive information about family planning from their doctors, but one hundred years ago, that was not the case."  Notice that the claim is specific and limited - it specifies where and when and to whom it applies; the claim also makes a comparison to another time period (your claim's comparison can be either to another time period or another place/culture).

Composing

Write your first draft of this essay, using information from at least three sources.
You will need an introduction, at least three paragraphs in the body, and a concluding paragraph.
See the rubric below for information on what you need to include, and how this draft will be scored. Only introduction/organization, development of ideas and content, and cohesion and flow will be scored in this draft, but I will offer comments on other elements to help you with revision.

  8 (exceeds standard) 6 (meets standard) 1 (does not meet standard)
Introduction & organization Writer introduces and defines topic, focusing in on a particular aspect of children's rights; organizes complex ideas, concepts, and information so that each new element builds on that which precedes it to create a unified whole. Set up and maintain logical comparison/contrast structure. Writer introduces topic; organizes complex ideas, concepts, and information to make important connections and distinctions; set up comparison/contrast structure Writer introduces a topic; order may seem random or confusing
Development of ideas and content Writer presents at least three specific, relevant, significant examples and details of how children's rights are similar, and at least three specific, relevant, significant examples of ways they are different (including some from the readings and from personal experience) across cultures and/or time periods. Some of the examples go beyond the obvious, and demonstrate good critical thinking or use of inference. Analyzes reasons for importance of issues.  Information is from at least five sources. Writer presents at least two specific, relevant, significant examples and details of how children's rights are similar, and at least two specific, relevant, significant examples of ways they are different (including some from the readings and from personal experience) across cultures and/or time periods.. Examples are fairly obvious, not requiring a great depth of understanding or inference, and from at least three sources. Only one or two examples, or details are not accurate. Does not show basic understanding of the topic.
Development of relationships, cohesion and flow Use appropriate and varied transitions and syntax to link the major sections of the text, create cohesion, and clarify the relationships among complex ideas and concepts. Use appropriate and varied transitions to link the major sections of the text, create cohesion, and clarify the relationships among complex ideas and concepts. Use some transitions; may not adequately clarify the relationships among ideas and concepts.

Pacing: complete this by the end of Week 6 of your enrollment date for this class.


17.02.03 Revised expository essay (LA 9)

teacher-scored 30 points possible 60 minutes

After you have read my feedback on your initial draft, revise your expository essay about a particular aspect of children's rights. Note that this is an expository, not an argumentative, essay, so the emphasis should be on explanations, examples, analysis, comparisons, and information. As you revise, consider especially the following possibilities:

  • Add examples, evidence, quotes, statistics, and/or personal experiences as relevant
  • Revise your introduction to help the reader anticipate the flow of ideas, and to consider the significance of the topic.
  • Revise your conclusion to 'sum up' what is most important, possibly making a statement about what you would want for future children.
  • Improve transitions between ideas within paragraphs, and between paragraphs, using phrases and clauses to clarify comparisons, contrasts, cause-effect and time relationships.
  • Add headings, graphs, charts or pictures if it will help the reader.
  • Improve word choice if needed to use the most precise words and maintain a formal tone.
  • Add parenthetical references and a works cited list, following MLA style

See the rubric below for information on what you need to include, and how this draft will be scored. Conventions will not be scored on this draft although I may offer comments on conventions to help you with your editing.

  4 (exceeds standard) 3 (meets standard) 1 (does not meet standard)
Introduction & organization Writer introduces and defines topic; organizes complex ideas, concepts, and information so that each new element builds on that which precedes it to create a unified whole. Set up and maintain logical comparison/contrast structure. Writer introduces topic; organizes complex ideas, concepts, and information to make important connections and distinctions; set up comparison/contrast structure Introduction may be lacking; order may seem random or confusing
Development of ideas and content Writer presents at least three specific, relevant, significant examples and details of how children's rights are similar, and at least three specific, relevant, significant examples of ways they are different (including some from the readings and from personal experience) across cultures and/or time periods. Some of the examples go beyond the obvious, and demonstrate good critical thinking or use of inference. Writer presents at least two specific, relevant, significant examples and details of how children's rights are similar, and at least two specific, relevant, significant examples of ways they are different (including some from the readings and from personal experience) across cultures and/or time periods.Examples are fairly obvious, not requiring a great depth of understanding or inference. Only one or two examples, or details are not accurate. Does not show basic understanding of the topic.
Development of relationships, cohesion and flow Use appropriate and varied transitions and syntax to link the major sections of the text, create cohesion, and clarify the relationships among complex ideas and concepts. Use appropriate and varied transitions to link the major sections of the text, create cohesion, and clarify the relationships among complex ideas and concepts. may not adequately clarify the relationships among ideas and concepts.
Word choice, style and tone Use precise language, literary vocabulary, and techniques such as metaphor, simile, and analogy to manage the complexity of the topic. Establish and maintain a formal style and objective tone while attending to the norms and conventions of writing about history. Use precise language and literary vocabulary to manage the complexity of the topic. Establish and maintain a formal style and objective tone May not accurately use language and literary vocabulary to explain the topic. A formal style may not be maintained consistently.
Conclusion Provide a concluding section that follows from, extends, and supports the information or explanation presented (e.g., articulating implications of the topic or looking to the future). Provide a concluding section that follows from and supports the information or explanation presented (e.g., articulating implications of the topic or looking to the future). Writing just stops without a concluding statement or section
Citing sources Include at least four parenthetical references within the essay to identify sources, and a list of works cited at the end, following MLA style Include at least three parenthetical references within the essay to identify sources, and a list of works cited at the end, following MLA style Minimal identification of sources
Revisions Many significant changes, additions or improvements in ideas, organization and/or style from first draft Some significant changes or improvements in ideas, organization or style from first draft Few or no revisions

Pacing: complete this by the end of Week 6 of your enrollment date for this class.


17.02.04 Edited expository essay (LA 9)

teacher-scored 12 points possible 20 minutes

Girls in India carrying water, 2006: Tom Maisey, CC-BY 2.0, WCGirls in India carrying water, 2006: Tom Maisey, CC-BY 2.0, WC

 

Edit your expository essay.

Edit for correct spelling, punctuation, capitalization, grammar, usage, paragraphing, formatting, parallelism, sentence structure etc. Underline or boldface at least one example of parallel structure.

Make sure you have referenced your sources in MLA style. Submit your edited essay.

  4 3 1
Sentence structure Demonstrates skillful use of parallelism and a variety of clauses and phrases, with correct sentence structure Demonstrates use of parallelism, clauses and/or phrases; few or no fragments or run-on sentences Many errors in sentence structure
Conventions and language skills  Has few or no errors in conventions (punctuation, capitalization, spelling, paragraphing, grammar or usage) Has few errors in conventions, grammar or usage Has many errors in conventions, grammar or usage, interfering with the reader’s ability to follow the ideas
Citations   MLA style in-text citations (at least three) and works cited list with at least three sources Has few errors in MLA style; at least two in-text citations and two sources Inadequate citations

Pacing: complete this by the end of Week 7 of your enrollment date for this class.


17.02.05 Unit 17 quiz (LA 9)

computer-scored 30 points possible 10 minutes

This quiz covers lessons and readings from unit 17. You may take this quiz multiple times, but you must score at least 70%. You are welcome to use the readings, links and lessons to help you on this quiz.

Pacing: complete this by the end of Week 7 of your enrollment date for this class.


17.03 Performance Assessment (LA 9)

Note that this quiz is different from other quizzes in the class.  It is longer and requires detailed, essay answers.

Read the material below, and discuss it with someone else who has also read or viewed it, before you work on quiz 17.03.  The links at the bottom will take you to the complete text from which the selections were taken, but you are only required to read the short selections.

From "THE FUNDAMENTAL ORDERS OF CONNECTICUT", written in 1638

"Children"

Forasmuch as the good education of children is of singular behoof and benefit to any commonwealth; and whereas many parents and masters are too indulgent and negligent of their duty in that kind: It is therefore ordered by this Court and authorized hereof that the selectmen of every town in the several precincts and quarters where they dwell shall have a vigilant eye over their bretheren and neighbors, to see, first, that none of them shall suffer so much barbarism in any of their families, as not to endeavor to teach by themselves or others their children and apprentices so much learning as may enable them perfectly to read the English tongue, and knowledge of the capital laws, upon penalty of 20s. for such neglect therein. Also, that all masters of families do, once a week, at least, catecize their children and servants in the grounds and principles of religion, and if any be unable to do so much, that then, at the least, they procure such children or apprentices to learn some short orthodox catechism, without book, that they may be able to answer to the questions that shall be propounded to them out of such catechisms by their parents or masters, or any of the selectmen where they shall call them to a trial of what they have learned in this kind. And further, that all parents and masters do breed and bring up their children and apprentices in some honest, lawful calling, labor, or employment, either in husbandry or some other trade profitable for themselves and Commonwealth, if they will not nor cannot train them up in learning, to fit them for higher employments. And if any of the selectmen, after admonition by them given to such masters of families, shall find them still negligent of their duty in the particulars aforementioned, whereby children and servants become rude, stubborn, and unruly, the said selectmen, with the help of two magistrates, shall take such children or apprentices from them and place them with such masters for years, boys till they come to twenty-one, and girls, eighteen years of age complete, which will more strictly look unto and force them to submit unto government, according to the rules of this order, if by fair means and former instructions they will not be drawn unto it....

From "Ode on Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood" by Willam Wordsworth, written in 1804

--But there’s a tree, of many, one,
A single field which I have look’d upon,
Both of them speak of something that is gone:
The pansy at my feet
Doth the same tale repeat:
Whither is fled the visionary gleam?
Where is it now, the glory and the dream?

Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting;
The Soul that rises with us, our life’s Star,
Hath had elsewhere its setting
And cometh from afar;
Not in entire forgetfulness,
And not in utter nakedness,
But trailing clouds of glory do we come
From God, who is our home:
Heaven lies about us in our infancy!
Shades of the prison-house begin to close
Upon the growing Boy,
But he beholds the light, and whence it flows,
He sees it in his joy;
The Youth, who daily farther from the east
Must travel, still is Nature’s priest,
And by the vision splendid
Is on his way attended;
At length the Man perceives it die away,
And fade into the light of common day.
 

From chapter 4 of David Copperfield by Charles Dickens, written in 1850

Let me remember how it used to be, and bring one morning back again.

I come into the second-best parlour after breakfast, with my books, and an exercise-book, and a slate. My mother is ready for me at her writing-desk, but not half so ready as Mr. Murdstone in his easy-chair by the window (though he pretends to be reading a book), or as Miss Murdstone, sitting near my mother stringing steel beads. The very sight of these two has such an influence over me, that I begin to feel the words I have been at infinite pains to get into my head, all sliding away, and going I don't know where. I wonder where they do go, by the by?

I hand the first book to my mother. Perhaps it is a grammar, perhaps a history, or geography. I take a last drowning look at the page as I give it into her hand, and start off aloud at a racing pace while I have got it fresh. I trip over a word. Mr. Murdstone looks up. I trip over another word. Miss Murdstone looks up. I redden, tumble over half-a-dozen words, and stop. I think my mother would show me the book if she dared, but she does not dare, and she says softly:

'Oh, Davy, Davy!'

'Now, Clara,' says Mr. Murdstone, 'be firm with the boy. Don't say, "Oh, Davy, Davy!" That's childish. He knows his lesson, or he does not know it.'

'He does NOT know it,' Miss Murdstone interposes awfully.

'I am really afraid he does not,' says my mother.

'Then, you see, Clara,' returns Miss Murdstone, 'you should just give him the book back, and make him know it.'

'Yes, certainly,' says my mother; 'that is what I intend to do, my dear Jane. Now, Davy, try once more, and don't be stupid.'

I obey the first clause of the injunction by trying once more, but am not so successful with the second, for I am very stupid. I tumble down before I get to the old place, at a point where I was all right before, and stop to think. But I can't think about the lesson. I think of the number of yards of net in Miss Murdstone's cap, or of the price of Mr. Murdstone's dressing-gown, or any such ridiculous problem that I have no business with, and don't want to have anything at all to do with. Mr. Murdstone makes a movement of impatience which I have been expecting for a long time. Miss Murdstone does the same. My mother glances submissively at them, shuts the book, and lays it by as an arrear to be worked out when my other tasks are done.

There is a pile of these arrears very soon, and it swells like a rolling snowball. The bigger it gets, the more stupid I get. The case is so hopeless, and I feel that I am wallowing in such a bog of nonsense, that I give up all idea of getting out, and abandon myself to my fate. The despairing way in which my mother and I look at each other, as I blunder on, is truly melancholy. But the greatest effect in these miserable lessons is when my mother (thinking nobody is observing her) tries to give me the cue by the motion of her lips. At that instant, Miss Murdstone, who has been lying in wait for nothing else all along, says in a deep warning voice:

'Clara!'

My mother starts, colours, and smiles faintly. Mr. Murdstone comes out of his chair, takes the book, throws it at me or boxes my ears with it, and turns me out of the room by the shoulders. 

17.03.01 Performance assessment quiz (LA 9)

computer-scored 25 points possible 30 minutes

Take this quiz after you have discussed the readings with someone else.

Pacing: complete this by the end of Week 7 of your enrollment date for this class.


18.00 Unit 18: Argumentation (LA 9)

Thompson-Baldwin debate, 2012: WisPolitics.com, WMC, CC-BY-SA-2.0Thompson-Baldwin debate, 2012: WisPolitics.com, WMC, CC-BY-SA-2.0

An important 'big idea' we focus on in English 9: Writers choose details, evidence, events and characters' words and actions to develop main ideas or themes; readers use details, examples and evidence to infer main ideas or themes.

In unit 18, you will consider important components of "argument," both in reading/listening and in writing/speaking. You should expect the lessons and assignments in this unit to take you about nine to eleven hours of concentrated work.

The purpose of argument is to set forth claims, counterclaims, reasons, and relevant evidence in such a way as to determine and clarify the accuracy or truth of the matter. 

"Argument?" you say. "I'm good at that - just ask my parents!"

In current usage, 'argument' means a discussion (often angry) between two or more people who disagree on something. However, that is not the way we will be using 'argument' in this class.

The classical meaning of 'argument' (remember that 'classical' refers to the Greek and Roman period, about 2000+ years ago) had to do with persuasion. The words 'rhetoric' and 'discourse' have related meanings. Many of our ideas about rhetoric are based on the work of the Greek philosophers/teachers/writers Plato and Aristotle.

Aristotle classified the techniques of rhetoric/argument into three categories. Their Greek names are ethos, pathos and logos.

Ethos has to do with changing how you perceive the speaker/writer himself (or herself) and his/her credibility or authority.
Do you trust the speaker? Do you like him/her? Does s/he have a reputation for being honest and accurate? If you answer "yes" to those questions, you are more likely to be persuaded to agree with the speaker. An attractive, charismatic speaker who seems to have a strong belief in his/her message will persuade or motivate more listeners.  If the speaker deliberately tries to use and improve his/her credibility as a way of persuading you, that is ethos.  A person's style of writing or speaking can have a major effect on whether you believe what s/he is saying.  In recent decades, many politicians running for president or other major offices have made a deliberate effort to seem more "folksy" or "down to earth" (think "Duck Dynasty") rather than more educated or sophisticated. Note that ethos is not about ethics (except in the limited sense that a speaker/writer might try to persuade you based on his/her ethical character).  Ethos is about the speaker/writer trying to manipulate the audience to trust and agree, based on his/her character, expertise, or position of authority.

Pathos has to do with emotional reactions. Appealing to listeners' concerns or hopes, the speaker tries to arouse fear, anger, shame, sorrow, happiness or sympathy, often using "loaded language" - words calculated to "push your buttons". (If you're thinking of political speeches or commercial advertising, you're on the right track.) References to patriotism or loyalty to one's group; examples of wounded veterans, dying children, abused animals, or unemployed people losing their homes; or images of sexy models, happy families, beautiful scenery, or the trappings of wealth are all often used to manipulate viewers' and listeners' emotions. It is human nature to be easily swayed by emotion. 

Logos has to do with logic, knowledge and facts. The use of statistics, scientific studies, cause-and-effect relationships, and parallels from history are all examples of logos. Note, however, that logos (like any of the techniques) can be used to mislead as well as to impart accurate information. A speaker who is working from false premises will arrive at false conclusions, even using logic. Logos should be the most important basis for persuasion, but generally, people are more easily persuaded by personal appeal and emotion. Why do you believe the things you do? Probably, in most cases, because your family members or friends believe those things.

In this class, we will use 'argumentation' to mean logos - the use of logic and evidence in communication. Just as a poet or fiction writer uses carefully-chosen specific details to shape and clarify a poem or story, a writer of argument uses facts, examples and evidence to shape and clarify the meaning.

 How is argument different from persuasion?

     The purpose of persuasion is to convince others of something. The purpose of argument is to determine the truth about something. That said, argument may sometimes be used as part of persuasion.

How is an argument different from an opinion?

    All of us have opinions. We may like school, or we may not like school. We may oppose abortion, or war, or higher taxes, or discrimination. We may think fried chicken is better than pizza or vice versa. Those are our views, or opinions. Sometimes your opinion may differ from someone else's opinion, and the two of you disagree. That is still not an argument. 

When we begin using logical reasons or evidence to determine whether a certain view is correct, then we are using argument.

18.01 More about logic, persuasion and critical thinking (LA 9)

Trace and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, distinguishing claims that are supported by reasons and evidence from claims that are not.

The readings and activities for this lesson will extend your understanding of argument.

“An argument is a set of reasons or evidence (premises) in support of a conclusion. An argument is not merely a statement of views, nor is an argument simply a dispute. Arguments are attempts to support certain views with reasons.” - Weston, Anthony. (1992) A Rulebook for Arguments

Notice, from this definition, that you could structure a simple argument something like this:

The reasons I believe that ____________ is best include ______________, ______________ and __________________. (if you had three reasons for your view) OR ______________________ is good (or bad) because _____________________.

Good argumentation uses valid logic and relevant examples to try to determine an accurate or useful view on an issue.  Persuasion, on the other hand, simply tries to convince the reader/listener of a pre-determined conclusion, whether it is true, valid, and in everyone's best interest or not.

Critical thinking: Persuasion, advertising, propaganda, logic, and argumentation 

I. Propaganda and advertising techniques

Propaganda is persuasion on steroids - it tries to convince people of something. It is not a single technique, but a combination of persuasive techniques. The idea or feeling spread by propaganda may be true, partially true, or not true at all, but the purpose of the propaganda is to persuade people to believe regardless of whether the idea is true. The word "propaganda" comes from the same root as the word "propagate", which is much used in the plant industry, where propagate means to reproduce and grow many plants of the same kind. Propaganda reproduces and "grows" a particular idea.

The word for advertising originally had to do with spreading information, publicizing. Now we usually associate advertising with media that tries to persuade us to buy something (though it may serve other purposes - for example, persuading us to vote for a certain candidate, or to attend a certain event).
The work of advertising and propaganda overlap, and they use many similar techniques. A few of the common techniques are listed below.

  • REPETITION:

Probably the simplest propaganda technique is simple repetition, which is based on the proposition that if people hear something often enough, they will begin to believe it - or at least come to recognize and remember the name. Radio, TV, magazine and billboards may simply state (over and over again): "Silver Edition toothpaste is the best!" or "Jane Smith will make a great governor!" Repetition is often paired with the next technique:

  • GLOWING GENERALITIES:

Generalities are statements which make broad claims, without specific explanations, proof or examples. For instance: "Mr. Candidate is the best man for the job!" Best in what way? According to whose judgement?

Truth-in-advertising laws often make exceptions for claims like "The fastest service in the universe!" because we (the public) are expected to understand that the claim is an exaggeration, not intended to be taken literally.

Generalities in advertising are usually in glowing, positive terms like the two examples above. However, some ad campaigns may use negative generalities:

"Candidate G is irresponsible with public money!"
"Using other brands may ruin your reputation!"

Negative generalities may degenerate into name-calling. In the 50s and 60s, many people who opposed war were called Communists, or "red". Propaganda often tries to polarize the community, suggesting that everyone must be either on one extreme or the other. In recent years, many people who worked for compromises on environmental issues were labelled "tree-huggers" by those who opposed government regulations on land use, and accused of "selling out" by those who favored strict regulation.

  • EXPERT or CELEBRITY TESTIMONIAL

Some ads feature an expert(or group of experts) who testifies that the product is good:

"98% of doctors recommend BrandX painkiller."

This technique is most reasonable if the person testifying is actually an expert on the pertinent topic. Doctors may reasonably be considered experts on health matters; lawyers, on legal matters; a beauty queen might be an expert on make-up.
Often, however, the person featured in the ad is just famous (a celebrity).

"Madonna uses Super Shampoo!"

A rock star may recommend voting for a certain candidate for president. A sports star may recommend a certain brand of car. In these cases, the person is not really an expert. The advertiser hopes that we will believe people who are famous, just because they are famous. Closely related to this ploy is the next technique:

  • ASSOCIATION (also called TRANSFER)

Many ads that feature famous people don't actually have the celebrity make claims for the product - they simply show the celebrity wearing, using, or near the product. These ads hope we will associate the product with the famous person, and will want to buy it/vote for it so that we will feel more like this person we admire.

Many ads use association to try to connect their product with something we see as desirable, rather than with a famous person. Most ads show happy, beautiful, slender women or good-looking, well-built men in the hopes that we will associate the product with being happy or having a good-looking boyfriend/girlfriend. This kind of advertising implies that if we buy the product, we may become (or seem) more beautiful, sexy, glamorous, happy and successful. Advertisers or propagandists hope we will transfer our positive feelings about what we see or hear to the product.

A recent example of political propaganda using association/transfer was in the 2008 election, when opponents of Obama made a point of calling him Barack Hussein Obama. His opponents hoped voters would associate him with Saddam Hussein, or with Muslim extremists in general. At the same time, opponents of McCain were trying to show him with President Bush, hoping voters would associate McCain with some of the unpopular policies of the former President.

Beautiful scenery or expensive luxury items are also often used for "association" purposes.  A sunny tropical beach scene or a spectacular mountain peak may be used to advertise a drink.  An exclusive country club or a highway winding past a castle in Europe may be a backdrop for an automobile ad.  There is a Russian leader who is well-known for doing photo shoots that feature him participating in "macho" activities or sports to create an image of power and masculinity.

  • EVERYBODY'S DOING IT (also called BANDWAGON)

Some ads claim or imply that everyone (or a large group of people) is buying or voting for their product, and that you should be part of the group. This appeals to the human need to belong. A TV or magazine ad may show a huge crowd of people, all holding a particular brand of pop, or wearing a particular brand of shirt. A speaker may claim that all Utahns oppose the law under consideration. The following statement implies ALL parents:

"Parents want the best for their children - join millions of other parents, and buy your children Encyclopedia Gizmo!"

A variation on this technique is to suggest that a certain group of people like you are all doing it:

"Everyone who opposes child abuse is voting for Suzy Candidate!" (Is there anyone who favors child abuse?!?)
"Patriotic Americans everywhere are displaying these over-sized flags!"
or
A television ad may show a group of happy young adults dressed in the latest style and listening to current music all drinking one brand of beer.

II. LOGIC

Logic is sometimes divided into two common types: Deductive reasoning and inductive reasoning.

Deductive reasoning moves from a general rule or rules ( the premise/s) to a specific case (or conclusion). If the premise(s) is/are true, then the conclusion MUST be true.Sometimes this becomes a bit tricky. For instance, this statement sounds like deductive logic, but it isn't: "My birthday is in October, and it is October now, so my birthday is tomorrow." Notice that this MIGHT be true, but it is not NECESSARILY true. October has 31 days, and not all of them are my birthday, so we can't be sure that tomorrow is the right day. When you use deduction, you are saying that the conclusion is always, necessarily, true.

Here is an example of valid deductive reasoning:

All squares have four sides. (The premise)
I drew a square.
Therefore, what I drew has four sides. (The conclusion - it MUST be true that if you drew a square, it has four sides. There are no other possibilities.)

Here is an example of deductive reasoning used incorrectly:
All squares have four sides.
I drew a shape with four sides.
Therefore, what I drew is a square.
What's wrong with this example?** (answer at the end of this section)

Here is an example of a different kind of misuse of deductive reasoning. What is wrong here?
All teenagers like country music. (premise)
Jenny is a teenager.
Therefore, Jenny must like country music. (conclusion)

Deductive reasoning is often used in argumentation. IF it begins with a correct premise, and IF it is applied correctly, it always yields a correct conclusion. However, often people make "mistakes" with deductive reasoning, either deliberately or accidentally.

Inductive reasoning begins by observing many individual cases, and then tries to create a general rule. 
This may lead to a correct conclusion, but is not always. Generally speaking, the more individual cases you consider, the more likely it is that your conclusion will be true - but you could only be absolutely certain if you had considered every individual case, or if you can figure out WHY it works.

We all use inductive reasoning naturally, from the time we are very young. How old were you when you realized that when it rains or snows, it is always cloudy? I bet you can't remember NOT knowing that. Over a period of your first few years, you noticed that whenever there were showers, there were also clouds, and from that you formed a 'general rule' - clouds and precipitation often go together.

Inductive reasoning leads to a conclusion that has a high probability of being true, at least if you have made enough observations, but leaves open the (very small) possibility that there might be an exception.

Many superstitions are a result of inductive reasoning. Someone notices that the last several times he pitched a winning game, he was wearing his blue socks, and he concludes "my blue socks are lucky. If I wear my blue socks, I will pitch a winning game." Now, we know that the color of a person's socks has NO effect on how well they perform an athletic task, so it wasn't the blue socks that caused the pitcher to win those games (although if he begins to believe the blue socks are lucky, he MIGHT pitch better when wearing them in the future because of his increased self-confidence).

Another example: You might notice, while doing your math, that every time you multiply a whole number by two, your answer is an even number. You would conclude (correctly) that multiplying whole numbers by two always yields an even answer.
Next, you might notice that 36 divided by two is eighteen, twenty-four divided by two is twelve, and 100 divided by two is 50. You might conclude (incorrectly) that whole numbers divided by two always yield whole number answers. (Recall that if you divide an ODD whole number by two, you get a fraction or decimal answer.)

Scientists use inductive reasoning when they study the results of thousands of experiments to find out, for example, whether a particular medicine is effective for treating heart disease. If one or two or three people take the medicine and get better, those people may believe that the medicine made them better. However, it may be that they got better for other reasons. On the other hand, if 90% of the thousands of people who took the medicine get better, it is highly likely that the medicine is effective.

Nevertheless, inductive reasoning is often applied incorrectly by politicians and advertisers:
"I have been talking to people all over this country, and they have told me they want lower taxes. All American citizens want Congress to lower their income taxes!"
In what ways is this statement poor use of logic?

Here are a few ways:
1. How many people (what percentage of all citizens) did he talk to? Certainly not ALL citizens! Probably not even 1% of 'all American citizens'.

2. How did he choose who to talk to? Probably he talked to people who chose to come see him - and those people were more likely to agree with him than the people who didn't choose to come see him.

3. Supposing that everyone really does want lower taxes (which may well be true), there are many kinds of taxes (sales tax, property tax & income tax, just to name the three best-known). How does he know that it is the income tax people favor lowering? Even if they favor lowering income tax, how does he know they want the FEDERAL income tax lowered, as opposed to the state income tax?

4. Did he just ask people if they wanted lower taxes, or did he ask them to consider the consequences - what services they wanted to give up, or what would happen to the deficit if taxes were lowered? Probably at least some people who would say they favor lower taxes would change their minds if told that lower taxes would be accompanied by poorer government services or a higher deficit.

**answer to "What's wrong with this example?":
The premise (all squares have four sides) is true, but its converse (Anything with four sides is a square) isn't true. There are many shapes you could draw with four sides that wouldn't be square. For example, a trapezoid and a rectangle each have four sides, but aren't usually square.

III. Correlation vs. Causation

Watch out for this one! Statistical studies often find a correlation between two sets of data. For example, there is a strong correlation between smoking, and dieing of lung cancer or heart disease.

Many people assume that a correlation means that one thing causes the other. This is not necessarily true, as you will quickly realize if you consider some examples. Think about these two:

  • Statistical analysis shows that most Americans who die have worn shoes every day since they were six years old. Does wearing shoes cause death? Of course not! Most people wear shoes, and all people die, but one does not cause the other.
  • If we were to study it, we would probably find out that most American children learn to read in the year after having eaten birthday cake at their sixth or seventh birthday parties. Does eating birthday cake help children learn to read?

Correlation does not prove causation! In the case of smoking and cancer, scientists noticed the correlation, and went on to study whether or not smoking causes lung cancer. They conducted many different kinds of studies and experiments, and eventually were able to show how and why smoking causes many cases of lung cancer. Finding a correlation is important, and it is a reason to wonder whether two things are connected, but it is only a starting point.

Just because two things happen at the same time, or in the same place, does not mean that one caused the other.

It is important to ask questions about correlations. For instance, in the birthday cake example above, we might ask:

* How did the percentage of children who learned to read after eating birthday cake compare to the percentage of children who learned to read without eating birthday cake? If we look at a culture where no one eats birthday cake, what percentage of THEIR children learn to read?

* In the original study, did we find out what other factors - like going to school, or having parents who read aloud to them, having adequate nutrition, or having their vision and hearing checked - also correlated to learning to read?

* What about kids who didn't eat birthday cake, but they did eat other kinds of cake? What about kids who ate birthday cake when they were one or two years old - why didn't they learn to read then?

* How could the ingredients of birthday cake eaten on a particular day affect learning for the following year? Can we figure out a reason why this would work?

* If we take people who haven't learned to read and feed them birthday cake, but don't change anything else they are doing, will they learn to read?
* Are the people who did the study trying to sell birthday cake?

Correlations may be positive (both numbers rising) or negative (one number rising while the other falls).  An example of a positive correlation might be the outdoor temperature and the number of people going swimming - when it gets warmer, more people want to swim.  An example of a negative correlation might be the number of people wearing heavy jackets and the outdoor temperature - the warmer it gets, the less likely people are to wear jackets.

When you evaluate arguments, or when you develop arguments, you need to carefully consider issues of logic and causation.

Read the links below:

18.01.01 Readings in persuasion and argument (LA 9)

Trace and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, distinguishing claims that are supported by reasons and evidence from claims that are not.

Do a close reading of the pieces at the links below. (Information from all required links will be covered on a quiz.)

18.01.02 Argument and readings quiz (LA 9)

computer-scored 20 points possible 20 minutes

Go to the quiz link in Module 3 on the main class page to take this quiz.  You may take the quiz multiple times, but you must score at least 70%.

Pacing: complete this by the end of Week 8 of your enrollment date for this class.


18.02 Planning and writing an argument essay (LA 9)

Develop an argument and specific claims in a text, supporting claims with reasons and evidence

Malala Yousafzai, Nobel Peace Prize winner and survivor of terrorist attack: Southbank Centre, 2014, WC, CC-BY-2.0Malala Yousafzai, Nobel Peace Prize winner and survivor of terrorist attack: Southbank Centre, 2014, WC, CC-BY-2.0

 

In the next set of assignments, you will be planning, researching and writing an argument essay - to be more specific, a problem and solution argument essay.

Topic:

Life is hard, and our society is far from perfect.  Growing up - negotiating the jump from being a dependent child to an independent adult - can be a difficult process even under the best of circumstances. I'm sure it is obvious to you that becoming a successful adult will be very important to you.  You might not have thought as much about how important it is to your family - and society in general - that teenagers get through whatever difficulties they face, and become responsible adults.

In choosing your topic for your argument essay, I want you to focus on an important difficulty that faces society and teens today (the "problem" in your essay) and argue in favor of a best way of helping young adults work toward improving society (the "solution" in your essay).

You may find some ideas about your topic from earlier readings in the class, but you will also be doing additional research.

Be sure to choose an arguable issue - one that people disagree about.  If everyone is in agreement about the topic, you will end up with another expository essay.  Hint: if you can't find counterclaims, your issue may not be arguable.

18.02.01 Argument essay: choosing a topic (LA 9)

teacher-scored 10 points possible 20 minutes

Excerpt from the Ctrl+Alt+Del webcomic: Tim Buckley, 2007, WC, CC-BY-SA-3.0-migratedExcerpt from the Ctrl+Alt+Del webcomic: Tim Buckley, 2007, WC, CC-BY-SA-3.0-migrated

 

Reminder:  In choosing your topic for your argument essay, I want you to focus on an important difficulty that faces society today (the "problem" in your essay) and argue in favor of a best way of helping young adults work toward improving society (the "solution" in your essay).

Copy and paste the section between the lines of asterisks into a word-processing document on your computer. Complete your work, and save a copy for yourself. Then submit your work by pasting it in to the assignment submission window for this assignment.

***********************************************

1.  Think of three possible social problems in our society - specific problems that affect a significant number of young people, and that interest you.  List and briefly explain each problem and why you are interested.

A.

B.

C.

2.  Choose which of the three topics you would prefer to research and write about, and write a brief paragraph defining the problem you want to research, and narrowing your focus.  How can you relate it to your community and people you know?

3.  List three possible solutions or ways of helping young people deal with this problem.   (You don't need to agree with all three approaches.)

A.

B.

C.

******************************************

SUBMIT THIS ASSIGNMENT AND WAIT FOR MY FEEDBACK.  THEN STOP.  DON'T CONTINUE TO THE NEXT ASSIGNMENT UNTIL I HAVE RESPONDED TO LET YOU KNOW THAT YOUR TOPIC WILL WORK.

Pacing: complete this by the end of Week 8 of your enrollment date for this class.


18.02.02 Argument essay: planning and research (LA 9)

teacher-scored 40 points possible 90 minutes

Begin work on this assignment AFTER I have responded to your choice of topics in the previous assignment.

Copy and paste the section between the lines of asterisks into a word-processing document on your computer. Complete your work, and save a copy for yourself. Then submit your work by pasting it in to the assignment submission window for this assignment.

***********************************************

Pre-Writing

A. Develop a list of at least 10 questions specifically about your topic and how it affects teens. What will you need to know in order to decide what is important, and how people may be affected, now and in the future?

If you are having trouble coming up with questions, try thinking in terms of "who, what, when, where, why, how, and so what?" You may not be able to find answers to all your questions, but they will help you in your research.

Specify the problem you are going to work on (you can just copy this from assignment 18.02.01). Then write the ten (or more) questions.

1.
2.
3.
4.
5.

6.
7.
8.
9.
10.

B. Significance: 

List three reasons why this problem is important to young people.  Include how many people are affected.

11.

12.

13. 

C. Get others' opinions: Ask two people over the age of 30 how things have changed, in regards to your topic, in their memory, and how they have been affected. Record their responses here. (Make sure you get their names so you can credit them in your essay.)

14.  First person:
15.  Second person:

D. Historical background 

16.  How long has this problem been around?
17.  What are some solutions that have already been tried?  How much did they help (or not)?

E. Causes 

Research and find at least five facts (including at least one example of expert testimonial), from at least two sources, about the causes of this problem.  Record the facts AND the source information here.

Make sure you have all parts for MLA format with sources cited:  Author. Title. Publishing Co. date published. website. date viewed. page number.

18.
19.
20.
21.
22.

F. Effects

Research and find at least five facts (including at least one example of statistics), from at least two sources, about the effects of this problem on young people and society.  Record the facts AND the source information here.

Make sure you have all parts for MLA format with sources cited:  Author. Title. Publishing Co. date published. website. date viewed. page number.

23.

24.

25.

26.

27.

G. Solutions 

Research and find at least five ideas (including at least one example of expert testimonial), from at least two sources, about possible solutions for this problem.  Record the ideas AND the source information here. 

Make sure you have all parts for MLA format with sources cited:  Author. Title. Publishing Co. date published. website. date viewed. page number.

28.
29.
30.
31.
32.

H.  Write your claim in the form of a complete sentence suggesting the best approach to work toward solving this problem. Be specific!  For example, if you were researching the problem of forest fires (not something that fits this assignment, but just to give you an idea of how to structure a claim), your claim might be something like this:  "The most effective approach to preventing major wildfires in the Manti-Lasal National Forest is using controlled burns."

For your claim, list two pieces of evidence supporting that claim (these might be from your answers in part G), and the source information.

Make sure you have all parts for MLA format with sources cited:  Author. Title. Publishing Co. date published. website. date viewed. page number.

33.  Claim:
Evidence:
Evidence:

I. Write a possible opposing claim for which you could also find evidence.  List evidence supporting it and the source information. (This counterclaim should directly oppose at least part of your claim for 33.  For example, my counterclaim might either argue "The most effective way to prevent major wildfires in the Manti Lasal National Forest would be to sell permits for the logging of dead timber" OR something like "Wildfires are nature's way of managing the forest, and we should not attempt to control them.")

Make sure you have all parts for MLA format with sources cited:  Author. Title. Publishing Co. date published. website. date viewed. page number.

34.  Counterclaim:
Evidence:

J.  Examine your evidence and do additional research as needed (any of these may be taken from your previous answers if you already have evidence that fits the criteria)

Make sure you have all parts for MLA format with sources cited:  Author. Title. Publishing Co. date published. website. date viewed. page number.

35.  Logos: List here two examples of statistics that could support your claim.

36. Logos: List here an example of inductive logic that supports your claim (hint: most research studies involve gathering many specific examples to come up with a general "rule" - that is inductive reasoning.)

37: Logos: List here an example of deductive logic that supports your claim (hint: applying a general rule to predict what will happen is a common use of deduction).

38: Pathos: list here an example of the use of loaded language or graphic/emotional statements that either support or oppose your claim.

39: Expert testimonial:  list here one example of expert testimonial that supports your claim.

Pacing: complete this by the end of Week 8 of your enrollment date for this class.


18.02.03 Argument essay: first draft (LA 9)

teacher-scored 20 points possible 45 minutes

 

Composing the first draft

Write an initial draft of your essay (at least 350 words, at least five paragraphs). Remember, it doesn't need to be perfect!

Your first paragraph should briefly introduce the topic, why it's important, your claim (about the best solution to the problem), and (very briefly and in general terms) the kinds of evidence and counterclaim(s).

Your second paragraph should briefly discuss causes of the problem you are addressing.

Next, you need one or two paragraphs going into more detail about your claim, reasons, statistics, and evidence supporting the solution you propose, and a paragraph for the counterclaim(s) with associated reasons and evidence.  Include evidence from at least three different sources (five sources if you are going for an A). 

 End with a concluding paragraph that reinforces your claim. You might want to include some prediction about the future significance and effects of the solution, or use a good quotation.

This draft will be scored primarily on ideas and organization, but I may comment on other components to help you with your revision.

 

Pacing: complete this by the end of Week 8 of your enrollment date for this class.


18.02.04 Argument essay: revising and editing (LA 9)

teacher-scored 36 points possible 40 minutes

After you have read my feedback on your initial draft, revise your argument essay (at least 500 words). Use the rubric and these suggestions to help you revise.

Smog in Salt Lake City: EPA, NARA, public domain via Wikimedia CommonsSmog in Salt Lake City: EPA, NARA, public domain via Wikimedia Commons

  • Review the instructions--have you included everything necessary?  Have you focused on a social problem and a solution? Is your main claim clearly stated in the introduction?
  • Review my comments on the first draft - make the recommended changes or additions.
  • Look back over your research. Make sure you have included the best, most relevant evidence.
  • Consider doing a little more research to find better or additional evidence.
  • Look critically at your sentence and paragraph structure. Add/change words, phrases or clauses as necessary to clarify transitions, relationships or cause and effect.
  • Make sure you have credited your sources properly, and created a Works Cited page. Refer to the links below for examples and instructions about citing sources with MLA style.
  • Add another paragraph, just before the conclusion, that evaluates the evidence you used, and suggests ideas for future research questions that could help develop better evidence or answers.

This draft will be scored according to the rubric below.

Category 4 (exceeds standards) 3 (meets standards) 1 (does not meet standards)
Introduction & organization Introduces precise, knowledgeable claim, establishes significance, distinguishes from opposing or alternate claims, and sets up logical organization of claims, counterclaims, reasons and evidence.  Main claim is clearly stated and applies to the assigned topic area. Introduces claim and main reasons; distinguishes claim from counterclaims; sets up basic organization of claims, counter claims, reasons, evidence. Main claim is clearly stated and applies to the assigned topic area. Introduces topic, but may not make a clear claim or distinguish between claim and counterclaim
Development of ideas and content Develops claims and counterclaims fairly and thoroughly, supplies most relevant data, statistics, expert testimonial, and logic, points out strength and limitations in discipline-appropriate form, anticipating audience knowledge, concerns, biases and values, using at least three credible sources Develops claims and counter claims fairly, supplies data, statistics, and evidence, pointing out strengths and limitations, in discipline-appropriate form, anticipating audience questions and knowledge, using at least two credible sources may not clearly support claim, or may not supply specific evidence
Development of relationships, cohesion and flow Uses words, clauses and phrases, as well as varied syntax, to link major sections of the text, create cohesion and clarify the relationships between claims and reasons, claims and counterclaims, reasons and evidence. Uses words, clauses and phrases to link major sections of the text, create cohesion and clarify the relationships between claims and reasons, claims and counterclaims, reasons and evidence. may not adequately signal sequence or relationships.
Word choice, style and tone Establish and maintain a smooth, formal style and objective tone while attending to the norms, vocabulary and conventions of science writing Establish and maintain a formal style and objective tone while attending to the norms and conventions of science writing Use mostly abstract, general words and phrases; may not establish a formal tone
Conclusion Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from and supports the argument presented, while providing a sense of confident closure, beyond just repetition of earlier statements Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from or supports the argument presented Writing just stops without a concluding statement or section
Revisions Significant improvements in organization, ideas and evidence Noticeable improvements in organization and/or ideas Negligible changes

Edit your argument essay (at least 500 words). Use the rubric and these suggestions to help you revise.

  • Review MLA style, and make sure your citations and Works Cited list are in correct form.
  • Check and correct conventions like spelling, punctuation, capitalization and grammar
  • Check sentence structure. Correct fragments, run-ons, and awkward or non-parallel constructions

This draft will be scored according to the rubric below.

  4 3 1
Sentence structure Demonstrates skillful use of parallelism and a variety of clauses and phrases, with correct sentence structure; Demonstrates use of parallelism, clauses and/or phrases; few or no fragments or run-on sentences; Many errors in sentence structure
Other conventions Has few or no errors in conventions (punctuation, capitalization, spelling, paragraphing, grammar or usage) Has few errors in conventions, grammar or usage Has many errors in conventions, grammar or usage, interfering with the reader’s ability to follow the ideas
Citations  Works cited list with at least three sources and at least five in-text citations, in correct MLA style  Works cited list with at least two sources and at least three in-text citations, mostly in MLA style Lacks works cited list and/or in-text citations

Pacing: complete this by the end of Week 9 of your enrollment date for this class.


18.03 Preparing for your final test (LA 9)

You are nearly finished with this class!  Use the link at the bottom of Module 3 on your main class page to take the review quiz.  It will pull computer-scored questions from all the lessons in the class, like the final test does.

Be sure to submit your "Ready" assignment at least 24 hours before you need to take the final test.

The main three differences between this quiz and the final test:

  1. The final test will be longer
  2. The final test will include three major essay questions
  3. You can take the review quiz multiple times, but you can only take the final test once, and you must pass the final (with at least a 60%) to earn credit for the class.

computer-scored 20 points possible 20 minutes

Go to the quiz link in Module 3 on the main class page to take this quiz.  You may take the quiz multiple times, but you must score at least 65%.

Pacing: complete this by the end of Week 9 of your enrollment date for this class.