31 January 2012

Don't call it a comeback!

LL Cool J knows what does and doesn't qualify
as a comeback.

Clearly, this blog has seen better days when it comes to the frequency of posting. Part of the reason for the infrequency of posting has to do with the fact that some jerks robbed my house in the early part of December, which definitely has an adverse effect on how much a person wants to interact with the world. Fortunately, no one was hurt and the damage was minimal. The things they took were just that: things. No one was home at the time (Although, our personal Batman-style detective work points to the fact that the perpetrators were teenagers interested in skinny jeans and anime, so my presence filled with menacing teacher looks may have been a deterrent.), and our dog was perfectly fine.

My wife and I are at the point now where we can joke about what a terrible guard dog our Spider-Man is; he barks incessantly at a perceived doorbell or knock, whether it's someone actually arriving at our house or something that occurs on television, yet a real threat to our abode leads to me arriving home to a perfectly happy dog.

I'm torn as to whether I should carry the burden of trying to catch up on all of the days I have missed in the nearly two months since I last wrote a classroom post, or if I should cut bait in the hopes of maintaining a motivation for writing. I'm leaning towards the latter. As a compromise, I'll merely discuss what we've gone over instead of doing a day by day breakdown. Heck, if that works better overall, I might adopt that for classroom posts in the future.

After finishing up Fahrenheit 451, we focused on a research style project where you read through several articles on the idea of juvenile justice. You completed an essay on the subject after going through a plethora of pre-writing activities.

When we returned from winter break, we began to focus on the life and times of William Shakespeare in preparation for the third quarter text. Our focus will be on Othello this semester, but, since it's the first time I've taught that play, we'll also turn our attention towards Romeo & Juliet at times. This will serve the dual function of expanding your knowledge of Shakespeare's plays while also providing you the core literature the college prep classes cover.

We also spent a good portion of time on sonnets and iambic pentameter in an effort to prepare you for the style of writing Shakespeare employs. This is not to say that every single thing in either Romeo & Juliet or Othello will appear in this style, but it does prepare you for the diction and syntax present in the plays. Today, we'll be focused on reading through the famous balcony scene from Romeo & Juliet.

After completing the senior literature project, we spent some time on Chaucer and the Canterbury Tales. However, the time available towards the end of the semester couldn't do justice to the time needed to properly cover the literature. I know this breaks everyone's heart.

When we returned from break, we also started our focus on William Shakespeare. This is the one time of year where the subject matter of both my senior and frosh classes dovetail, presenting both opportunities and challenges in how to differentiate the instruction for the varying levels. You focused on reading through the cleverly titled Shakespacket, writing a short four paragraph essay with the provided topic sentences.

Now, we are currently in the thick of reading Macbeth, having just completed act I today in class. Everyone should be looking for examples of thematic dichotomies in the text in order to complete the paragraph due on Friday. Remember that a key aspect of completing said paragraph is to be able to distinguish your evidence from your analysis through highlighting.

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