08 September 2010

Banner Day, Banner Weekend, and a New Banner

Banner courtesy of Samir's Photoshop skillz (with a z!)
Take the time to check out the new banner of the blog. The previous one was made with my woefully inadequate Photoshop skills where I did a poor job of using the clone tool. Now, however, thanks to Samir, we have a banner worthy of a high school English class blog. Seriously, Samir took time out of his schedule to create this awesome banner, and for that, everyone should give him a hearty pat on the back.

My wife and I finally moved into a home that we "own." The bank actually owns most of it for the next 15 years or so, at which point, she and I become the majority owners. We won't own it outright until 2040, but all the problems that come with owning property are now mine, so it gives me the appearance of ownership. After all of the hassles of getting to last Saturday (of which there were many), I'm going to give into the illusion and say that I am a homeowner. Amazingly enough, I will be 60 years old when 2040 rolls around, and it's hard to believe that between now and that year is the same amount of time between the year of my birth and today. Our concept of time is astounding sometimes.

You received the personal narrative essay guidelines and prompts on Thursday. Through writing the essay, you'll showcase the skill of demonstrating the difference between concrete detail (CD) and commentary (CM) by writing a four paragraph essay with a total of four chunks. Remember that a chunk consists of three sentences, a concrete detail followed by two commentary sentences.

Friday was our first Forward Friday where you took a pre-test to provide a baseline for where you currently stand in your test-taking abilities. The idea here will be to provide you with tips, tricks and knowledge to do well on the CSTs in the spring and the CAHSEE next year. The effort you put into this will directly correlate into how well you ultimately do, so make sure to be here and take it seriously.

Tuesday, you finished the pre-test and we briefly covered MLA format. Formatting your essay in the MLA stye will not be a major priority for this essay, but the sooner you get the hang of doing so, the easier the rest of your high school English classes will be. The final draft of the personal narrative essay will be due on Thursday, September 9.

On Thursday, we really got the chance to discuss Plato's Allegory of the Cave in depth. Much like DFW's This is Water, Plato's Allegory provides a way of looking at life from a different point of view than many aren't used to taking. Part of why I really enjoy discussing this text is its relevance. Nearly 2400 years later, we can find connections between the prisoners in the cave, the puppeteers and the enlightened to any number of institutions. In a media-fueled world on a 24/7 news cycle, it's probably more relevant today than it has ever been.

Corporations that own the few media outlets available to a majority of the populace decide what those people are able to see; they determine what qualifies as news. Oftentimes if a piece of news doesn't fit the narrative that they wish to be the driving force of a story, it doesn't make air. Those in charge -- the puppeteers -- will attempt to make it more difficult to achieve enlightenment. There are avenues that you are able to explore, though. And that leads us to our bonus time down at the bottom of the entry.

Friday, you took the first lit terms test. A second test will be coming up on Friday, September 17.

Meanwhile, just about everyone had a lit project book on Tuesday. We discussed some of the best methods to be successful when annotating said books. Here are the things we decided:

  • examples of lit terms in action (especially the proceeding three)
    • motif
    • theme
    • symbol
  • unfamiliar words (define them)
  • commentary on what happens (explain your thoughts & opinions)
  • important/notable passages (briefly explain why you think said passages are notable or important)
  • character development (note new characters, character descriptions, or major changes to characters)
  • ask questions (provide answers later, when possible)
  • chapter summaries (describe three important things that happened)

Keep in mind that I'm a big fan of making sure you have equal parts highlighting and writing in your annotations. The first annotation check will be on Thursday, September 23.

Bonus Time (10 points) -
 In a modern world, what is the best practical way to achieve enlightenment? Notice the word practical is emphasized here. Keeping an open mind and allowing yourself to accept new ideas are ways to achieve enlightenment, but what is a specific action that an individual can take? What is something that an individual can do in today's world to achieve enlightenment? Respond in the comments in a minimum of five sentences with your name and period. This is geared toward seniors, but it's an opportunity that is open to everyone. Freshpeeps that wish to take a stab at answering will seem extra cool and probably earn a few more points if the answers are impressive.  Answers must be submitted by 11:59pm on Friday.

P.S. I won't have Internet access at home until at least Friday, but I do receive email during that time, which means that I will have the ability to read your comments. Blog updates (for the five people that actually follow) will probably be light until then.


  1. Anonymous10:45 PM

    Achieving enlightenment nowadays is the same as how it was centuries ago. Read a book. Truly great literature will stir the minds and hearts of many, and often shed insight on aspects of life that we wouldn’t necessarily care to accept or appreciate otherwise. Literature creates the inspiration and understanding we need in order to achieve enlightenment. Literature is practical because all it takes is an open mind to read and understand the passions of another mind.

    Bridget Manjarrezzzz

  2. Anonymous11:48 PM

    Achieving enlightenment has drastically changed over time. Achieving enlightenment 300, 200, or even 40 years go was much easier than it is now. The media has effected enlightenment in a negative way for the younger generation with inappropriate television shows. However technology has also made achieving enlightenment much easier. If a person wants to achieve enlightenment they can simply search anything on the internet and read about it. Instead of sticking to one principle one can search things such as art or things outside of their bubble. Things like is this right or wrong, is god real, or even things that they have never thought about. People can read forums, read posts, watch rant videos or watch news videos. The thoughts or views of others can influence how people think or feel leaving them open to new information. Reaching enlightenment simply takes an open mind and the willingness to try.

    Loui Hernandez,
    Period 5

  3. Anonymous12:37 AM

    Correction: Period 6