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Passages: "Notes of a Native Speaker"

Why do I need to have these?
Because you just do. Trust me.

Block 1
(This is all I received. Also, some groups did not follow directions and select 1-3 sentence passages, but instead chose entire paragraphs.)

Section 1 (we heard them all)

Section 2
p. 257 paragraph 20 "I was...did it not?"
p. 258 paragraph 26 "My possess them."

Section 3
p. 261 paragraph 34 "I looked...pigeonholed." (evidently the whole paragraph)
p. 262 paragraph 39 "As...jocular" (the other group says the whole paragraph)
p. 262 paragraph 39 "As I had with the swift." (again, whole paragraph)

Section 4
p. 264 paragraph 50 "For here I am now, standing in a new..." (they selected a HUGE chunk)
p. 265 paragraph 52 "I may have been born a Chinese baby...for me to have remained Chinese."

Block 2

Section 1
p. 252 paragraph 2 "Some are born white...thrust upon them."
p. 252 paragraph 4 "The meaning of 'American' has...fixed in whiteness."
p. 253 paragraph 7 "Who made their way..."
p. 254 paragraph 8 "Slap! I was out of the womb and sprinting...eyes forward, never backward."

Section 2
p. 255 paragraph 13 "No one had warned me...the great labors of fitting in."
p. 255 paragraph 13 "Suddenly I could no longer...private concept of self."
p. 256 paragraph 14-15 "It was essential...suffice as explanation."
p. 258 paragraph 24 "Chinese families...beside the point."

Section 3
p. 260 paragraph 26 "I recently dug up a photograph...tucked the wrong way into the wrong slacks."
p. 261 paragraph 36 "Nor did it ever occur..."
p. 263 paragraph 46 "It has taken me until now...not always necessary." 
p. 264 paragraph 48 "By the time I left Yale..."

Section 4
p. 265 paragraph 50 "I can speak some Mandarin...claim to be Chinese at the core."
p. 266 paragraph 53 "This, we must remember... something new is emerging from the torrent..."
p. 266 paragraph 53 "America is white no longer..." (2x)


Wayzata Idol

So um, I've been at Wayzata for five years now and I'd never been to Wayzata Idol until tonight, when I had the honor of judging and I can't even begin to explain how ridiculously talented y'all are. Doing something you love seems easy enough but getting up on stage and singing in front of peers is actually the hardest thing to do and I'm so very impressed. (See, look, I used very: a word I hate. You know I mean it.)

Shout out to Shreya. It takes some serious skill and courage to sing a song that difficult and it takes some serious soul to make it genuine. You nailed it. I might have teared up a little, but don't tell anyone. I can write that on my blog because only like five people read it so my heartless, ice-queen image can remain unscathed. Just kidding (sort of).  But back to the winner. Enjoy this feeling, and let it carry you at other times when you may need a pick-me-up. This is where it would be apropos to talk about running free or something symbolic like that, but I'm still at a loss for words. Such a great song. I'm gonna go listen to it and pretend that I can sing it half as well as you did.

Everyone else who performed or was backstage or backup band or vocals, your efforts have not gone unnoticed. Outstanding work all around. I'm impressed. Me--ice queen--I'm impressed. Have I said that I'm impressed? Because I am.


Gah. Late Start Advisory Days!

These days are so short! I had big plans to do other things in addition to what we did, but that's okay. You did a nice job with your small group discussions, statement-writing, and collective annotating. Aren't some of those ads crazy?

What we were going to do in addition to what we did, was read a couple interesting articles that we'll now read tomorrow. No big deal. And we were also going to look at this website: The Image Deconstructed. specifically the Ants, Art, and Ashtrays one that chronicles the process of creating an ad. Snoop around this site on your own, there's much to learn.

It's true, you have no homework tonight. Take this opportunity to acquaint or reacquaint yourself with the blog you found and followed (or maybe go find a better one if you've discovered that the original one you chose is boring or inconsistent or never updated). We'll be talking more about what you'll eventually be doing with this blog pretty soon, but remember that end product isn't due until the very end of the semester. Something that will be coming up a little sooner (but still not immediately) is a visual essay. It's cool, I promise. I mean, it's going to take work, but hopefully it's work that you'll enjoy. That will be due after winter break. You'll get the details of that next week.

Also, I love this image:


Media Analysis

First, the papers. Read over my comments. Re-read your paper. Re-read the assignment sheet. I am certainly willing to sit and chat with you about your paper, but that can only happen once emotions subside and I will only sit down with you and talk about your paper if the goal is genuinely for your improvement rather than something else.

There were A papers. There were B papers. There were C papers, D papers, and F papers. There always are. Awhile back I posted this about grade breakdown because it is a fair and accurate and broadly applicable explanation of what letter grades represent in writing. I will enter your paper grades today. The grading term ends tonight at midnight, but as I said before it opens again for adjustments later (ooooh, what does this mean?) so that if this devastated your grade (as in, you're not not passing or barely passing, not you went from a B- to a C+ or something), we can do some disaster recovery, but this option is only at my discretion and it involves quite a few other factors.

Remember that the letter scrawled at the end of this document is a symbolic indicator of your success on this assignment, it says nothing about you as a person.

On to MEDIA ANALYSIS. I love this stuff. I think it's so interesting and troubling and I find that video, Killing Us Softly 4 (2010), so fascinating and relevant every time I watch it. Consider Jean Kilbourne's opening remarks that she has continued to remake this film for the past few decades! While Susan Bordo's essay was published in the 1990s and sure, some of what she says dates the essay, it's relevance is still clear and she and Kilbourne have an important message. I hope you begin to notice these arguments being made constantly all around us. Awareness is the first step in being an informed consumer.

Your homework tonight has two parts:

Part I is to continue analyzing and annotating that advertisement/image that you began annotating in class. Then, choose one of your other ads (or, if you want a "better" one to work with, you can go find one online -- it's up to you) and analyze and annotate it using all of your rhetorical arsenal: Psychology of Color handout, yesterday's notes on image composition and design (see website for PDF of those notes), your EAA book, Bitzer -- EVERYTHING! Bring annotations and ideas to share tomorrow.

Part II is to read some combination of the following selections from chapter 23 of your Everything's An Argument text. You do not need to do a CRJ for any of these, but you should write down your comments, thoughts, responses, ideas, etc. to share. Each reading has "Respond" questions and I would suggest considering those questions as you're jotting down your ideas to share. "Some combination of" means that you need to read more than one of these. I would suggest reading three. They're pretty short passages and they're interesting.

"One Picture is Worth a Thousand Diets" p. 466
"Globalization of Beauty Makes Slimness Trendy" p. 474
"The Culture of Thin Bites Fiji" p. 477
"It's All in the Mix: A Plastic Reality Show" p. 480
"Turning Boys into Girls" p. 486

Questions about this assignment? E-mail me. Freaking out about your paper? Wait a little while, let the freak out subside. Calm down. Then we can chat.


On Grading and Final Exams and Being Awesome

So today I learned that I'm awesome.

Just kidding, but only kind of. I was in a lecture/seminar/presentation/workshop all day with other teachers of AP Language & Composition and it was led by a fellow teacher who also serves as a reader for the AP Exam and who has become something of an expert on the exam and thus, the course. When I say that I learned that I'm awesome, what I mean is that everything I'm making you do was affirmed today and reinforced and even promulgated if I may dare say so. I already knew that I was assigning exercises and running lessons that would help you, but this guy, this expert, gave me the the professional equivalent of a high-five/pat-on-the-back/fist-bump. What does this mean? Why am I sharing this with you? So that you know that I wasn't "taking a day off" to grade your papers or something and so that you know how much we think about and care about the assignments we give. "We" can be interpreted in many different ways, I know, but here I'm using it to mean we, the AP Lang & Comp teachers at WHS.

Now, we also discussed paper grading and since my desk sort of looks like this right now...

...and you're eager dying to get your papers back as soon as possible, I wanted to spend a moment reminding you of a few things that we touched on before, when the Rhetorical Analysis Paper assignment was unveiled, and even before that, when you were first getting the hang of things in this class.

Thing 1: Rhetorical analysis = (you know this, I know you know this) investigation and explanation of how an author uses language to some end (to strengthen/support his argument). This is the primary component of your paper that I am looking for.

Thing 2: At this level of an English course, the expectations for your written work are high. If you were in 10th grade or Honors 10th grade last year, you've essentially jumped three grades ahead to lucky 13. That's why it's hard. So these standards? Consistent and accurate formatting, and clear, controlled, grammatically and punctuationally correct prose (I just made punctuation an adverb. It really isn't one.) that is interesting and lively. This is the second component of your paper I am looking for.

Basically, that's it.

Well, maybe not.

Thing 3: Teachers are actually not robots, though we sometimes go by the moniker "grading machines," and grading your work takes A MILLION YEARS! a while, so do be patient and do know that I try to get your work back to you as soon as I possibly can.

Thing 4: You already know that I do not use rubrics. I have many reasons for not using rubrics, but the short version is that they are too often misunderstood and misused and are generally inadequate. Instead, I read your work several times and comment where and how appropriate to your work and I evaluate where your finished product falls on the standard A-F scale. I've talked about what the levels on that scale mean before, and while you may think the process goes something like this, it doesn't. Here is the guideline my colleagues and I adhere to when determining A-F. Yes, it's from Harvard. No, I don't think Wayzata is Harvard. We use it because it is clear, and it accurately captures the distinctions between those symbolic letters.

Your grade as it stands is pretty much 1/3 of the way complete. The paper will be factored into the 85% category (2/3) and then the final on Friday will make up the rest (3/3). So about that final.

DO NOT RE-READ EVERYTHING. Re-visit key ideas and terms. Re-familiarize yourself with the main arguments or strategies of the essays we've read. Review vocab. Review quizzes. Review everything, but don't create some artificial "I need to study x" mentality. The final contains, rightly, a little of everything. It is not designed to trap you, but to evaluate how well you have learned the course material thus far. This is what exams do. You know this and I think you know what to expect. Don't freak out; focus.