Friday, December 9, 2016

AP Lit: Epic.

This week we dove into epics . . . and talked about all sorts of other stuff too including school climate, the WWE, dress codes and more.

I'm gonna leave this right here for you . . .

Tuesday's class was a great day of unexpected conversation about school climate and culture, making change happen, empathy between teacher and student, and seemed to not have much to do with AP Lit except for the fact that it most certainly did.  How might we use that conversation to inform our design challenge regarding poetry as a vehicle for solving problems on our campus?

Thursday we worked with the 1st Canto of The Inferno and all too briefly with the 1st book of Paradise Lost.  We will be returning to these texts regularly throughout the year because so much of what we read references these two works.  In other words, we ain't done wid 'em yet.

Here are some pics of our Literary 3x3 work.  We started with laying out our 3x3s for Inferno and then remixing and mashing them up into a united single 3x3 based on the collective ideas and language present.

From there I asked you to write two thesis statements based on that work -- one analytical in nature, one synthesis in nature.  We didn't get a chance to workshop those as a class so we will revisit them on Monday.  

Then we shared our 3x3s of Paradise Lost Book 1.

This week I didn't get this blog updated on time, so if you need the weekend to get your blog posts up, that's okay.  (I did tell you on Tuesday what the assignments were in class ANNNNNNND it's okay if you don't have it done until Monday.)


WRITE.  1st Submission Draft.  Synthesis Essay #2.
DUE. Monday 12.12.16

CREATIVE BLOG POST.  Write the 1st 20 lines of a Mock Epic. Use the language and form and qualities of epic poetry to start an epic about one of the most mundane tasks in your life.

READ. How to Read Lit Like a Prof.  "One Story."
ANALYTICAL & DESIGN BLOG POST.   Unpack the "One Story" chapter in Foster by asking what are the implications for this idea of "One Story" on our poetry as school solution design challenge.
DUE. Monday 12.12.16

Saturday, December 3, 2016

AP Lit: Bieber to Barbara Allen -- Exploring the Ballad

We opened today with a listen to the Beeb's masterpiece,  "Sorry."

We took a look at the lyrics as we listened to this cover  by Ben Rector.

This led to a discussion of tone, of voicing, of speaker, of aesthetics and presentation and its influence upon interpretation.  Rector's rendition lends an authenticity we felt missing from the original -- which we also discovered was written by The Beebs and a team of hundreds (or maybe like three or four other people.)

From here we shifted about a decade back to The Avett Brothers "Ballad of Love and Hate."

We started making a few connections here, seeing a couple of possible patterns, but it really didn't kick in until we dove a generation or two back.

And we discovered it's an emotional song for many of us.  We also discovered a great deal interesting about its structure and form, about Dylan's use of internal rhyme and alliteration, and about the effect of the song being in two voices -- the father and the son.   We dove briefly into the biblical allusions evident in the text and then turned our attention to a female balladeer.

Dolly Parton has become synonymous with 1980s country-pop and become more known for her personal style  than anything else.  But here's the thing: for people in the know?  Dolly Parton is one of the greatest songwriters that has ever lived.  Period.   "Jolene" is one of her many masterpieces.  We had a brief discussion of this song and made some interesting points about whether or not Jolene actually exists or is just the manifestation of the speaker's insecurity.  I'm looking forward to returning to this song when we are talking about different lens through which to read and view literature -- a feminist lens on the poem I think could reveal some new insights.

We ran short on time though we did talk even more more about what we could uncover about the ballad form from these selections.  We noted that they tell stories, that they are often quite straight forward even if they make use of figurative language and metaphor, that there is often a dialogue or two characters at the very least.  The stories are usually sad and involve love or romance of some sort.

Before we ended the class we took a look at a few of the traditional ballads of Great Britain's past.

Barbara Allen was the first.  

Barbara Allen

Related Poem Content Details

In Scarlet town, where I was born, 
   There was a fair maid dwellin’, 
Made every youth cry Well-a-way! 
   Her name was Barbara Allen. 

All in the merry month of May, 
   When green buds they were swellin’, 
Young Jemmy Grove on his death-bed lay, 
   For love of Barbara Allen. 

He sent his man in to her then, 
   To the town where she was dwellin’; 
“O haste and come to my master dear, 
   If your name be Barbara Allen.” 

So slowly, slowly rase she up, 
   And slowly she came nigh him, 
And when she drew the curtain by— 
   “Young man, I think you’re dyin’.” 

“O it’s I am sick and very very sick, 
   And it’s all for Barbara Allen.”— 
O the better for me ye’se never be, 
   Tho’ your heart’s blood were a-spillin’! 

“O dinna ye mind, young man,” says she, 
   “When the red wine ye were fillin’, 
That ye made the healths go round and round, 
   And slighted Barbara Allen?” 

He turned his face unto the wall, 
   And death was with him dealin’: 
“Adieu, adieu, my dear friends all, 
   And be kind to Barbara Allen!” 

As she was walking o’er the fields, 
   She heard the dead-bell knellin’; 
And every jow the dead-bell gave 
   Cried “Woe to Barbara Allen.” 

“O mother, mother, make my bed, 
   O make it saft and narrow: 
My love has died for me today, 
   I’ll die for him tomorrow.” 

“Farewell,” she said, “ye virgins all, 
   And shun the fault I fell in: 
Henceforth take warning by the fall 
   Of cruel Barbara Allen.” 

And "Lord Randall" the second.
We will be looking at more ballads in the week to come, but first we must take a look at epics and get our 2nd synthesis essays in good order.

This weekend read these openings of ancient, classical,  medieval and English Renaissance epics.

READ the 1st 20 lines of The Odyssey by Homer.

READ  the 1st 20 lines of Beowulf, the ancient poem of northern European origins.

Those two above are to give you some context for the epic form in its origins.

READ, NOTE & CREATE. For the next two, take the time to annotate, take notes, and/or sketchnote.  Bring LITERARY  3x3s of these selections by Dante and Milton to class on Tuesday, 12.6.16

READ.  the 1st Canto I of Dante's Inferno, a medieval story of descending into the underworld.

And finally READ.  Book 1 of Milton's Paradise Lost, the opening scenes depicting the beginning of the world according to Milton's take on Christian dogma.

UPDATE the Q2 BLOG TRACKER with your best evidence from November, as well as anything current.

WRITE to TURN IT.  Be prepared with 1st SUBMISSION DRAFT of your 2nd Synthesis Essay for THURSDAY'S class, 12.8.16. I want these back to you with plenty of time BEFORE the break.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Eng 9: Of Mice & Tiny Houses & Narrative Reflections & Lots of Goings On . . .

I realized that I have not updated the blog for English 9 in far too long!  Ack! Oversight!  Not intentional at all!   (And we know how much I preach intention -- so this is NOT good.)

Since the week before Turkey Break, we have been focused on reading Of Mice and Men.  Two of the three classes have finished the novel, the other is nearly there.

We are reading with a bigger purpose in mind.  We have a design challenge: How might we design tiny houses for the characters of Of Mice and Men

So while we are going to take a look at the conflicts and plot and characters in the novel, we are doing so because need to know about these characters and their needs so we may design for them, just as we designed for our users in the Cardboard Challenge.

MONDAY and TUESDAY this week.
READING.  We started with me reading the end of the book aloud and brief discussions of what happens to Lennie, George and the rest of the crew.  

STATIONS.  Then we broke into a three station rotation.
1. No Red Ink/Quizlet for Roots 6.  Complete the No Red Ink assignment, get familiar with Roots 6.
2. Pre-Writing and Getting Started on Narrative Writing Assessment 2: Lesson of the Cardboard Challenge
3. DISCOVERY Phase for Of Mice & Tiny Houses Design Challenge.   Explore the tiny house resources provided and complete Notice/Wish/Wonder graphic organizers.

Each class ended up in a slightly different spot because, well, every class is different and has different needs.  What follows here is the timeline for when the various work is due so you can use this to manage your time and all of the goings on.

NARRATIVE WRITING ASSESSMENT 2: Lesson of the Cardboard Challenge.
Tell the story of a lesson you learned from completing the Cardboard Challenge. 
See the rubric in Google Drive.
Period 4B/4G. WORKING DRAFT Due Wednesday/Thursday 11.30.16/12.1.16.
Period 2B.  WORKING DRAFT Due Monday 12.5.16

Period 4B/4G.  2nd WORKING DRAFT Due Friday/Monday 12.2.16/12.5.16.
Period 2B.  2nd WORKING DRAFT Due Wednesday 12.7.16.

Period 4B/4G.  1st SUBMISSION DRAFT.  TURN IT IN.  Due Tuesday/Wednesday 12.6.16/12.7.16
Period 2B.  1st SUBMISSION DRAFT.  TURN IT IN.  Due Friday 12.9.16

DISCOVERY Phase Materials of Tiny House Design Challenge.  
COMPLETE.   3 Notice/Wish/Wonder Organizers.  Keep asking yourself: How might we use this knowledge to help design a tiny house for the characters in Of Mice and Men?  Investigate for a purpose.  When you are noticing, when you are wondering, when you are wishing, look for connections to the needs of these characters.

Period 4G.  Due Friday 12.2.16
Period 2B/4B.  Due Monday 12.5.16

Of Mice & Tiny Houses DISCOVERY Resources

Roots 6 Quiz. 
Thursday/Friday 12.8.16/12.9.16

No Red Ink Quiz.
Commonly Confused Words I
Take by Thursday 12.8.16  (Already available.  Take when you are ready.)

Monday, November 28, 2016

AP Lit: Writing Workshop, Haiku & Blog Posts for This Week

Today we workshopped intros and thesis statements.  I got a ton out of it.  I hoped you did as well.

I don't have any pics of the work though, because I forgot my phone at home.  I'm doing ok.  Thanks for asking.

Here's the work for Wednesday and most of what's due on Friday.  Be prepared to read a ton of ballads for Friday.  Those are coming soon.  (And prepare this weekend to read some epic poetry of the epics.)

WRITE.  Revised.  Introduction and thesis statement for 2nd Synthesis.  (This is a change up from today's assignment.  I'm soft and crumpled like a wet newspaper in a hurricane.)

READ.  Haiku.

Overview of Haiku from


Haiku of Issa as translated by Robert Haas

Haiku of Basho from a variety of sources.

Haiku of Buson from a variety of sources.

READ.  The haiku inspired works of Matthew Rohrer available at  Read the notes he has provided for his methodology and mindset behind these works.

READ.  Some of the other haiku available at or a  Go hunting.  See what goodness you find.

READ.  What this writer learned by writing haiku.  Think about our work with Meg Willing and what resonates here.

On Wednesday night, expect a collection of ballads to compose.

CRITICAL CREATIVITY BLOG POST.  Compose an original a haiku or ballad.  Consider the three different lenses we learned from Meg Willing:  poet, editor, designer.   Then design the cover for a volume of your poetry based on this one haiku or ballad you created.  

DESIGN THINKING BLOG POST.   EXPERIMENT Phase.  8 Box.  Poetry as Problem Solver Design Challenge.  Put yourself on a 4 minute timer.  Generate 8 ideas for addressing a problem in the school in 4 minutes.  Select one of your ideas.   Get three sticky notes/scraps of paper/index cards.   Storyboard that idea in action.  Put those three panels on a blank piece of paper.  Add context and explanation.  Mark it up.   Take no more than 30 minutes total from start to finish on this entire exercise.

Take a picture of your work.  Post on your blog along with any written or audio/video recording explanations we may need to understand your current ideas.

Pop Culture: Movie Trailer by Design Production Week!

This is it folks!  Trailers are due on Thursday and Friday!  We'll be having screenings in a location TBD.  (Hopefully it won't be Room F215 . . . )

Here's the rubric that is also in your Pop Culture OUT Google Drive folder in the Movie Trailers by Design subfolder.

Pop Culture Fall 2016: Trailers by Design Single Point Rubric

How might we design movie trailers that make audiences want to see the whole movie?
Creative Constraints:  
  • Your prototype trailer must be for a film that has not been made
  • Your prototype trailer may be an adaptation of an intellectual property that exists, but it cannot be an IP that has been made into a film before
  • Your prototype trailer must have a run length of :30 to 2:00.  
  • You must submit a written or recorded explanation of the intentions behind your prototype trailer.
  • You must submit an Intention Map for your prototype trailer
Evidence of Exceeding the Standard (clever, insightful, unique, powerful, creative, meaningful, professional)
What Meeting the Standard Looks Like
Evidence of Needs for Improvement (gaps, missing pieces or evidence, incomplete thoughts)
Movie Trailer Prototype

I like how your trailer presents an effective solution to the identified problem.  I like how every aspect of your trailer seems purposeful. I like how your trailer seems to appeal to your users. I like how I only have to ask minimal questions to understand your solutions.

Design Process Documentation

I like how your design documentation shows that you have identified a problem, considered the users needs, explored several solutions, and worked up a prototype. I like how you organized your photos/video/notes/sketches in a way that it is easy to see your thinking.

Written Explanations

I like how your details are specific and make it clear to me what you intended with your prototype.  I like how well organized your writing appears and how it seems to show your voice.  I like how I get a strong sense of how your prototype will solve the problem.

Vocal Explanations

I like how articulate your explanations come across because your details are specific and you make it clear to me what you intended with your prototype.  I like clearly you speak with a deliberate pace. I like how I get a strong sense of how your prototype will solve the problem.

Mechanics, Usage, Grammar, Spelling

I like how your work is nearly error free in terms of MUGS.  There may be one or two minor errors but you generally show control of your writing.


The final product is turned in within 24 hours of the agreed upon due date.

In addition to the written/recorded explanation of design and intention, you must complete this Intention map -- also in your Google Drive Pop Culture OUT folder.  This connects the dots between all of the empathy work you've done and the prototype trailer you create.

Identify Three Key Pieces of Empathy Evidence that Helped You to Meet Your Users’ Needs
Empathy Evidence (Survey/ Interview Data screenshot, pic, or text)
Design Feature
(pic, vid or description)
How did your empathy evidence inform your design feature and help you meet your users’ needs?
What changes might you make to this feature in a future iteration?

Your blog post for this week asks you to document your trailer design process.   Photos, screenshots, drawings, doodles, maps, plans, anything and everything.  Consider it a behind-the-scenes DVD/Blu-Ray extra feature.

BLOG.  Document Your Movie Trailer by Design Process.  Photos, screenshots, drawings, doodles, maps, plans, anything and everything that shows the story of creating your trailer.  Explain your process as you document. You may prefer to post an audio or video recording of your explanation.
DUE. Friday. 12.2.16

DESIGN. MOVIE TRAILER BY DESIGN.  Complete your movie trailer.  Remember to check the rubric for expectations and creative constraints.  Remember to complete the written/recorded explanation of intentions as well as the intention map.  (See above in this post.  Graphic organizers and rubrics in your Pop Culture OUT folder on Google Drive.)
DUE. Thursday.12.1.16/Friday.12.2.16


Monday, November 21, 2016

Pop Culture: Film Trailer Design Challenge: Empathy & Experiment Phases

We're getting right into our film trailer design challenge and the ideas are coming fast and furiously . . .

Friday and Monday, empathy interview we conducted empathy interviews for our users: other English classes & Digital Media

From there we jumped into our production teams (Groups of 1, 2, 3 or 4 -- 4?! I know, right?) and unpacked our empathy interviews AND started in on experimenting.

The trailers are due for screening the Thursday and Friday immediately following the Thanksgiving break.

Here's the blog post due THIS WEEK.

Film Trailer Production Post.
What is the working title of the film you are producing the trailer for?
What is the name of your production company (the name of your group or your solo effort)?
What is the WHOLE story of your film?  Not just the trailer but the whole story of the film.
Post a storyboard of your trailer AND/OR a rough rapid fire prototype of your trailer.

The ideas I'm hearing sound great. REMEMBER the EMPATHY!  As you are working up your ideas, are you keeping your audience in mind?  Film studios and producers are constantly working to find a balance between artistic visions and audience tastes.  They want to make money and they want to create new ideas.  That's a challenge.  Here's an interview with Sheri Candler, a marketing strategist who makes her living dealing with that balance.

Friday, November 18, 2016

AP Lit: Poetry & Empathy & Problem Solving

Gonna keep this one short and to the point because it really outlines the work you need to do between now and next class and then over the Turkey Day break.

I added a reading/analysis piece that I did not mention during class.

We're diving into our first collaborative design challenge:

How might we use poetry to solve a problem at Mt. Blue Campus?

We've got to use our observations of the climate and culture at Mt. Blue to help us in this work, but more importantly we need to get to understand the users of our potential solutions and see what problems they are perceiving.

ASSIGNMENT 1. Empathy Interviews.  (Empathy PhasestInterview at least 3 Mt. Blue Campus students and/or staff.

Record/note answers to these five questions.

1. What day to day problems do you encounter?

2. How might these problems relate to a bigger problem you are seeing?

3.  How do you deal with the problems you encounter?

4. How do others contribute to solving those problems?

5. How do the problems you encounter affect the atmosphere of the school?

DUE. Monday, November 21.

ASSIGNMENT 2.  Sonnet Collection.  Investigate a number sonnets from the collection at

Curate a collection of least three sonnets, spread out across at least three different generations/schools/eras/, that share a common thread.  It may be subject matter.  It may be rhetorical.  It may be the placement or meaning of the volta.   It may be any sort of common thread.

Document your process of identifying and then forming this collection.  You may do so through an audio or video recording, written piece, sketchnote, any method you like, so long as you

a) document your process of curating your collection

b) explain your intentions for including each piece.

ASSIGNMENT 3. Synthesis Essay #2: Sketchnote & Introduction/Thesis Statement.
Just as last quarter, you are writing a multi-draft essay that discusses an observation, argument,  or understanding you have developed from our class readings as well as any other literature, film, music, art, culture, and/or life experience to inform  your argument.

For Monday, November 28, the Monday AFTER Turkey Day, complete a sketchnote that captures your intentions for your synthesis essay.  Think of a this as a visual map or outline of your essay.

THEN, compose a working draft of your introduction and thesis statement and be prepared to workshop these in class.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

AP Lit: Sonnets & Sonnets & Sonnets . . .

Today we rocked some more Literary 3x3s, we learned about Jacques and Miles' literary design solutions, and we briefly wrangled with Shakespeare's Sonnet 18 "Shall I Compare Thee?"

We ran our first Literary 3x3 battle as well, seeing how quickly we could create Dalloway from our decks, while stealing from others' decks as well.  Grand fun.

The Hours in 3x3

Calling Quietly Out/Watching Behind Windows/Cornered By Wanting

Three Women Intertwined/Wrapped Within Strife/[?] Blooms Up -- The Hours

We also learned about Miles' Death of a Salesman mirror, his prototype solution to help Willy Loman deal with reality.

And we learned about Jacques' The Stranger glasses to help Meursault adjust his vision to a less objectivist point of view.

Finally we tackled Shakespeare's Sonnet 18, "Shall I Compare Thee" and it turns out the answer is no, no you shall not.

We talked briefly about sonnet forms, something into which we will dive MUCH further next class.

SONNET Readings to Complete for Thursday:
Shakespeare's Sonnet 25

John Milton’s “When I Consider How my Light Is Spent”

Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s “How Do I Love Thee”

Thomas Wyatt’s “Whoso List to Hunt, I Know Where Is an Hind” 

Wilfred Owen’s “Anthem for Doomed Youth”

Claude McKay’s “America,”

Molly Peacock’s “Altruism”

Choose two of the above to annotate & sketchnote.

Choose one of the above to create a Literary 3x3.   (It may be one of the two you annotated and sketchnoted)

Put pictures of your sketchnotes & annotations in your AP Lit IN Folder.

BLOG Posts for This Week.

ANALYTICAL POST.  Identify a thread streaking through two or more of the sonnets we read this week.  Discuss the idea you've uncovered and how the sonnet form, with its structures, shape and design, helps the poets deliver this intentional meaning.  In other words, why did the poets choose  the sonnet to express these ideas?

CREATIVE POST.   Two Images.  One Question.  Select one of the sonnets from this week.  Create a three-slide presentation that consists of two images and a single question.  The three slides should work together to capture the essence of the sonnet, the images functioning as metaphors/analogies for the ideas in the sonnet and the question being a core question the poet raises with the piece.   Write or record an explanation of your your choices.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Pop Culture: 10 Minutes to Film Festival & Making Movie Magic Happen Storyboards


1. On the scrap paper you are given, you have 1 minute to make a list of things you enjoy.

2. Then you have 1 minute to make a list of causes  you care about (i.e. animal shelters, cancer research, volunteer firefighting, etc.)

3. Take 1 minute to make connections between the items in your list of things you enjoy and the list of causes you care about.

4. You then have 7 minutes to choose three films you would show in a film festival based on a theme of your choice based on your two lists above.

What's a film festival?  Take a look at any of these these examples:

After recreating that scene to develop a sense of how it all “works” in a finished product, use your skills to tell the following story. Create a storyboard through still photography and turn it into a slideshow to place in your Pop Culture IN folders and share on your blogs.
Screen Shot 2014-11-10 at 11.24.47 AM.png

Choose and recreate the camera angles to the best of your abilities from the following sources:

Great tool because it shows you examples from actual films

Several great examples of storyboarding at work

BLOG Post 1: Top 100 Film Scene Recreation.
Post your scene recreation on your blog.
Compose a written, audio or video explanation of your scene recreation in which you discuss:
* The original scene and why you chose it
* Challenges you encountered and how you overcame them and/or how you failed to overcome them
* What you learned about the challenges of filmmaking through this creative exercise

BLOG Post 2: Making Movie Magic Happen.
Post the storyboard/film on your blog.
Compose a written, audio or video explanation of your storyboard in which you discuss:
*Your intentions behind each shot in your storyboard -- even if they are are not as successful as you would have liked them to be
* Challenges you encountered and how you overcame them and/or how you failed to overcome them
* What you learned about the challenges of filmmaking through this creative exercise