22 September 2010

A Night of Progress

First off, check this out: The Brave and the Bold: Mr. T

Alta Loma High School implemented Report Card Night three (or so) years ago in an attempt for parents to conference with teachers about a student's progress in the class up to that point. I can't say I'm all that big a fan of the process. While I enjoy meeting parents, the night feels a bit contentious, since the parents most interested in meeting are the folks who think their student is doing poorly. That's not to say that I didn't meet some fine people who just wanted to introduce themselves, but for the most part, meeting someone who is upset with their student or the student's grade makes for an awkward first meeting.

Having now experienced both, I much prefer the Back to School Night format. It allows me to explain my philosophies about grading and teaching so that parents have an idea going into the year while also capturing the initial excitement of the school year when students, teachers and parents haven't been bogged down with all that life has to throw at them. There's also more urgency for all parents to attend Back to School Night, since the prevailing attitude of parents wanting an explanation from the teacher about a poor grade doesn't exist, so all parents feel a need to attend. Plus, I have never felt that the first six weeks of school is in any way an accurate reflection of a student's performance in a class, especially if the administration is still balancing the schedule up to four weeks into the semester.

Still, despite the sweltering heat in the small gym compared to the relative coolness outside, I enjoyed meeting each and every one of the parents from Report Card Night. It's always nice to put parents to students and faces to names.

Monday, we came to a consensus about the climax of The Most Dangerous Game, deciding, despite many different guesses by some, that Rainsford's dive into the water to avoid General Zaroff was the moment filled with the most tension and the ultimate turning point of the story. You then received your mapping assignment where you need to create a map of Ship-Trap Island, noting a minimum of four landmarks supported by quotes from the story and noting Rainsford's journey around the island. This is due Thursday, September 23. Remember that students who would like to earn an A will need to go above and beyond the minimum by including more than four landmarks with accompanying quotes. The map should include color and should follow the plot of the story.

Tuesday was a minimum day due to the aforementioned Report Card Night, and you continued working on the mapping assignment.

My goal is to go over Elements of Character today after you take a brief quiz on the story.

We began discussing argumentation terms and common logical fallacies Monday and Tuesday. The goal here is that I want you to be able to argue better and not fall into the usual traps that many people assume are valid when trying to make a point. Even better, if you can identify the use of the fallacies in someone else's argument (even mine), then you'll have a way to shut down your opponent. Who doesn't like being able to do that?

Today, the plan is to finish going over the rest of the fallacies and then read some Op-Ed (opinion/editorial) pieces that commit every fallacy under the sun.

Also, seniors need to be aware that Thursday is a bighugegiganticimportantsuperexcitingcrazy day. Your first Article Selection is due and you need to have the first 20% of your book read and annotated. That day will also have the first timed writing which you'll revise, type and return the following Tuesday.

SENIOR Bonus Time (15 points): We went over identifying logical fallacies in writing today in class. So my challenge to you is to find logical fallacies on the Internet, specifically in news stories. Yahoo, CNN, Huffington Post, Fox News and many local news sources allow readers to leave comments on specific stories. Find a comment that utilizes a fallacy and fill out the following in a comment with your name and period:
  1. Headline of the story:
  2. Brief (1 to 2 sentences) synopsis of the article: 
  3. Comment (copy and paste the whole thing):
  4. Logical fallacy employed:
  5. Explanation of how the comment qualifies as a logical fallacy (2 sentences minimum, more would be preferable):
Numbers 2, 4, and 5 need to be in complete sentences or else you will earn 0 points. The deadline for submission is Sunday, September 26, at 11:59 PM and the limit is one per student.

No comments:

Post a Comment