Friday, November 20, 2009

Thursday and Friday, November 20th-21st (shortened to to ITEDs)


  • Mr. Collins was here to sub for me.  You all had the whole block to read.
  • I had individual conferences with about a third of the class.  You updated your yellow sheet as necessary, and you talked with me about your daily reading grade.  And some of you had book report chats with me.  We had about fifty-five minutes for reading today.



Writing Workshop
  • We continued workshopping essays and read Allie's and Brad's.
  • Thank you to John for running the LCD, and thank you, Greta, for trying to keep time, even though no one would listen to you.  :-(

Jack London's "To Build a Fire"

  • We discussed the story briefly, then took the quiz.

“To Build a Fire” journal assignment

After reading the introduction here in italics, write or type for at least twenty minutes on ONE of the questions below.

To Build a Fire (1908 version) is one of the best-known and most graphic works of American literary naturalism. But literary naturalism has an odd commerce with social history and fact. Sometimes we read these works as faithful to actual events and to human nature and prospects; sometimes these works are read as fables, as narratives with (at best) oblique connections to "life" or "truth," more suggestive of romanticism than of realism or reportage. The historical setting is accurate enough: the Yukon Gold Rush at the end of the nineteenth century and the hard, cold trail to the Chilcoot Pass. But beyond that, we have to ask ourselves what we are reading.

1. Who narrates “To Build a Fire”? The nameless protagonist, "the man," is by himself in the middle of a frozen wilderness, accompanied only by his dog. Describe the narrative strategy and viewpoints, and comment on the overall effectiveness of this strategy. Consider especially the passages which tell the tale from the point of view of the dog--including the thoughts of the animal.

2. Why do the man and the dog have no names? Are there perhaps several reasons for this reticence in the tale?

3. Does the story induce us to see this journey in the Yukon as a representation or allegory of life elsewhere, or even everywhere? Or are we led by the story to see its action as representing life at one particular extreme or edge, where the usual rules and protections have no bearing? Are we supposed to learn something from "the man's" mistake and from his death? If so, what is it? And how true do you think it is?

  • Homework Due:  "To Build a Fire" Journal
  • Although, according to Nolan, everyone already knows what these two things are, we talked about them a little more today.  I read two poems about cockroaches aloud (pages 120-122), and everyone picked out words that were "loaded", that had connotations.  We discussed those, and I reminded everyone that thinking about the connotations of the words you use in your writing is not just for poetry, but for all the writing you do.
Writing Workshop
  • We talked about Nick's essay.  He read it aloud to us, and it was posted on the big screen.
  • #1  Read the short story, "Lamb to the Slaughter", on pages 131-137.  Just read it (and hopefully enjoy it), and be able to discuss it on Monday.
  • #2  Do some online research on WILLIAM FAULKNER.  After surfing and reading for a while (twenty minutes?), write down five important aspects of this author, and be ready to share them on Monday.  Please do NOT write down things like, "He was a man," or "His first name was William."  Thank you!  :-)


Homework Due

  • Please turn in your Wr. Ex. #5.
Prompt Word Poem

  • Take a few minutes to CAREFULLY and THOUGHTFULLY fill out the purple rubric for your Prompt Word Poem.  (5 minutes)
  • Get the yellow sheet entitled “Prompt Word Poem Trade-and-Grade Directions”.  Read through it so you know EXACTLY what you’re going to be doing. (3 minutes)
  • Trade your Prompt Word Poem with a partner, and work your way down yellow sheet list.  Be THOUGHTFUL and THOROUGH.  (15-20 minutes)
Writing Tip:  Dialogue

  • Follow the directions on page 39 for the Dialogue Worksheet.  You’ll need to read pages 37-8, as well as page 41.  You can work with a partner, or work on your own, as long as you’re working.
  • Put page 39 in the drawer (with your name on it), when you have completed it (due by 3:20).

  • Get online, and check your grade for missing assignments.  Anything you still want to hand in for me to read needs to be in by Monday.
Homework:  None (unless you have make-up work to complete)


Writing Assignment
  • I introduced the Autobiographical Poem (p. 44).  I talked about how the poem might SEEM like a contender as a boring robot poem, in reality, you should be creative with it, and make it your own.  I read Kyle Smothers' as an example (p. 45), and I also shared Martha's and Deidre's.
Writing Workshop
  • We worked for twenty minutes to create a first draft of this poem.
  • Journal #3--two pages, minimum, typed or handwritten, over any topic

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