Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Your Transcendental Experience

For our Transcendentalist mini-project, I asked you to choose from several project options to explore the extent to which you're Transcendental or, perhaps, to cultivate your quiet, or even absent, but inner Transcendentalist.

Refer back to those questions that correlate with your project option or, if you chose an alternative project of your own creation, refer back to that handout to inspire your reflection, describing your experience and reflecting on it in a post below.

In addition to posting your own thinking, read your classmates' responses, thinking about them as the text you're reading in preparation for class tomorrow.  We will, then, wrap up our study of Transcendentalism by discussing our experiences and those of our classmates and how they helped us understand, or perhaps challenged our understanding, of this movement.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Fishbowl #6: "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been"

Isn't Joyce Carol Oates the best?  I love her.  This is one of my favorite short stories.  Let's, as T.S. Eliot suggests, end with a bang, not with a whimper.

117 comments last time.  Holy cow!  You guys are fast typists.  A few thoughts for today:

1)  As always, I love that you take the time to compliment one another's great ideas.  Keep it up!

2)  Your responses are thoughtfully crafted and proofread.  Well done.

3)  Thoughtful use of connections.

4)  I especially loved your text-based and level three/ theme questions.

5)  Avoid questions that result in yes/ no response (usually these begin with "were", "do", and "does") in favor of more open-ended constructions.

Happy last day of Gothic fishbowls!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Fishbowl #5: "The Lottery"

Afternoon, brilliant people.  Keep up the great thinking in our outer circle discussion.

A couple suggestions/ food for thought items today:

1.  In discussing Gothic elements, many of you have noticed the prevalence of the everyman.  In literature, the everyman is the nameless character that, by virtue of his or her identity's absence, becomes us.  Consider this in our last 2 stories.

2.  I would suggest avoiding hypothetical "what if" questions.  Be sure the prediction questions you pose can be answered in text and don't take us on tangents.

3.  With that in mind, continue to support your thinking in text.  Be sure your answers are, in fact, rooted in what the author suggests, not in our own assumptions.

4.  I challenge you to consider how the close-reading skill we talked about yesterday might play into our thinking and discussion today.  Use this as a forum for practice.

5. Provide the background that leads to your questions.  Rather than just throwing a question out there, provide the thought that came before it, when necessary.

Happy posting!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Fishbowl #4: "A Good Man Is Hard To Find"

I love that you guys are growing with each of your fishbowls, taking the constructive criticism and running with it.  Great job.  Your questions are fantastic.  Great job bringing in those elements of Gothic craft (doppelgangers, the uncanny, house/ guest/ host) that we've been talking about.  I love that you also considered our conversation about "important" parts of text, discussing Poe's epigraph and how it affected your thinking.

1 piece of constructive criticism today:  particularly because one does not have the chance to clarify his questions in written discussion, provide the background that inspires your thinking.  For instance, instead of just saying, "Why does the narrator's doppelganger always appear when the narrator is about to do something immoral?" instead you might write, "I noticed that Wilson's doppelganger appears when he's drinking, gambling, and doing other immoral acts.  Why do you think his appearances coincide with Wilson's bad behavior?"  Particularly for those of you who, perhaps, aren't getting many responses to your questions, more clarity might help people answer them more effectively.

Happy blogging!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Fishbowl #3: "William Wilson"

Great job using the threaded discussion with your "Minister's..." discussion.  Keep up the good work with this as well as your terrific, text-based questions.  As always, I also enjoy that you take the time to compliment one another's great thinking.

A couple of reminders from last time:
1.  Avoid "I thinks" and "I believes".  Remember, "brevity is the soul of wit". :)

2.  Avoid closed-ended "does" and "do" constructions in favor of more open-ended ones that allow a multitude of responses.

Happy blogging!! Keep up the great work!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Fishbowl #2: "The Minister's Black Veil"

Hey guys.  Great work last week on your discussion comments over "The Fall..."  Wow you guys are astute.  Great range of big idea questions & close-reading questions.  Well-proofread responses.  I also love that you guys take the time to compliment one another on each other's great ideas.

A couple suggestions for today:

1.  Avoid close-ended & leading questions in favor of open-ended ones.

     Closed-ended:  Do you think Mrs. Lee is wierd?
     This is a leading question, because in it, you (correctly?) presume that I'm strange.  Remember what we     talked about regarding unbiased survey questions?

     Leading:  "I think the fall of Usher house represents the crumbling of the European Romantic era.  What do you think?
     Let's be honest.  Here, you/ I may be simply trying to show off my critical thinking.  There is a place for that in responding to one another's questions or challenging one another's responses.  Questions, however, are not an effective place for for voicing your analysis.

     Open-ended:  The fall of Usher's house at the story's conclusion seems symbolic.  What do you think it represents and why?
      Here, I invite a variety of responses.  It could be, later, that I decide I want to interject my own interpretation, but begin by letting others express theirs.

2.  Avoid prefacing your comments with "I think..." and "I believe..."  Clearly, these are your thoughts and beliefs.  :)  Instead, just voice them.

3.  Use the threaded comment option to respond directly to people's comments and ideas.

Happy posting, and keep up the good work!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Fishbowl #1: "The Fall of the House of Usher"

If you are choosing to participate via comments on our class blog today, be sure you adhere to the same discussion expectations you would if you were in the inner circle:  respectfully challenging your classmates' thinking, basing your assertions on textual evidence, etc.

There is not a finite number of times you need to contribute; rather, I will check to see that you are thoughtfully and consistently contributing.  If you wait to post until 20 minutes into our fishbowl or you post once and are dormant for 15 minutes, that indicates that you're not using your time thoughtfully. If this is because you're a slow typist or perhaps you struggle with the muti-tasking of this activity, choose another way to show your understanding . If lack of focus continues to be a problem, you will be asked to hand-write a response to our next fishbowl or to verbally participate only.

A couple of things to keep in mind :
  • This is an academic assignment.  It should be properly written and proofread rather than assuming the appearance of a text message.
  • If addressing one person's post, respond to that discussion thread.