"[I]f I had to live my life again, I would have made a rule to read some poetry and listen to some music at least once every week…The loss of these tastes is a loss of happiness, and may possibly be injurious to the intellect, and more probably to the moral character, by enfeebling the emotional part of our nature." --Charles Darwin

Thursday, March 26, 2009

This is the reason the Internet was invented

I do a lot of work on my computer and, therefore, on the Internet. And it helps me get a lot of things done. I also read a lot of news, especially in politics and the arts.

But sometimes you really need to be goofy. In 10 years of surfing, I've rarely found anything quite so goofy as The Institute of Official Cheer. It features the kind of industrial, corporate art (using the word "art" in the largest sense) that I grew up with, especially my pre-adolescent years. It condescends a bit to the past, but what's history for, if you can't make fun of old stuff?

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Senior English, 26th March

Today we are going to perform an exercise to practice the use of note cards in creating a research paper.

Our topic is: "How Old Is Hamlet?" The pages you should use to research this are found here:

1. "How Many Years Has Hamlet The Dane?"

2. Footnotes on Hamlet's Age

3. Hamlet's Age - A Puzzle

4. Excerpt from On Hamlet

Use these numbers to identify the sources as you pull facts off them. One fact per card. Then practice re-sorting and shuffling your cards.

Here is how your note cards might look (click on them to expand the picture):

Thursday, March 12, 2009

The plan for English Class today

[I have no idea why this post is in several different font sizes. I have spent a half-hour trying to fix it, and I have to move on...]

The goal today is to spend the entire period writing, but not necessarily about the same thing. You can take breaks by adding pictures or gadgets or otherwise decorating or re-decorating your blog. Make sure that I have the URL of your blog and that I am following it. You may want to link to your friends’ blogs this period, and you can spend some time reading their blogs and leaving comments.

Following are some suggestions to write. At least some of your entries must be about English class matters—about reading and/or writing.

Blogging Prompts

1. If you don’t have an entry on this blog for any of my suggestions for your Shakespeare pre-write, select one of those and write about it. Here's the link for freshman classes. Here's the link for seniors. Or go to my homepage.

2. What is your procedure for reading Shakespeare? Is it difficult or simple to understand at first pass? What do you do about words you don’t understand? What if you think you understand the words but the whole phrase doesn’t make sense? Even without understanding all of their words, do the characters and their actions make sense? What about the verse structure—how does that affect your reading experience—or does it at all? How difficult is it to see through the archaic language and the verse and get a sense of the characters? Do they feel like living people? Why or why not?

3. Write about your independent reading. Concentrate more on the experience than the book. Where and when do you read? Are you having a good time with it or has it become a chore? Is it a “good” book, and what do you mean by that? What makes a book a “good” book? What are some of your personal “Top Ten” books and why?

4. Write about anything that's happened to you of interest in the last two weeks, something that's made you think, amused you, anything that you think someone else might want to read.

5. What have you read on the internet, news or anything else that you want to bring to other people's attention? Make a link to that item and then write your comment. For instance, you could talk about how proud you are of the NMHS Women's Basketball team making it to the Group One finals, and playing with such spirit. It doesn't have to be news. It can be anything that interests you.

6. You can also link to a favorite site and comment on it.

7. You could embed a picture, like I've done at the top of this post, and comment on it.

8. If you can't think of anything to write about, try this. If you don't like the suggestion you see, click "Next Prompt" until you find one you like.

9. Have fun and make this your own!