Monday, January 25, 2010

Select one of the following

Independent Reading books tonight by commenting on this post:

The Secret History By Donna Tartt
East of Eden By John Steinbeck
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay By Michael Chabon
Beloved By Toni Morrison
One Hundred Years of Solitude By Gabriel García Márquez
The Wind-Up Bird Chronicles By Haruki Murakami

Books will have to be completed by February 22nd.

There will be an AP style Question 3 prompt on that day and you will either need to complete 50 note cards or 12 D.J.s based on the "Ways to Analyze Fiction" handout.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Student work on page 45 of of A HUMUMENT by Tom Phillips

For Sandy’s essay:

Overall I thought Sandy did well in her essay to present an interesting, unique, and apt thesis and wrote about it throughout the essay. I was interested with how she ran the argument to the end and concluded. I also think she noticed some interesting and specific things in relation to the use of language within the poem.

I think, as I noted on the first page but then stopped, that her argument could be greatly improved with some work on stylistic phrasing. As the essay moves on, I think there are sentences and phrases that could be cut without affecting the overall meaning of the essay.

1. Find one sentence that could be cut from the essay (or edit a group of sentences to make your point) and explain why it is extraneous or ‘gets in the way’ of the more pertinent argument in the paragraph. By doing so, you will actually be complimenting Sandy on what she did well and why she does not need the sentence you are cutting. No repeats and nothing from the first two paragraphs please!

2. Include any compliments by cutting and pasting from her essay to show what you liked and why.

Click link below: (this one won't embed for some reason.)
Sandy Joseph page 45 of Phillips’ A Humument with meta

Make sure you label your comments for when you post in the comment stream by Monday, January 5th by class. You will be graded on the MHS Open Response rubric as a homework grade.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Student work on page 249 of A HUMUMENT by Tom Phillips

For Hillary’s essay:

I only included the 2nd and 3rd paragraphs for Hillary’s essay on page 249 of A Humument by Tom Phillips. I thought these two paragraphs were particularly well done in terms of offering analysis for specific moments in the piece.

1. Based on what you are reading in her essay (and what you see in the image, write the introduction to this essay for Hillary.)
2. Then explain what you would focus on to end the essay. (You don’t have to write the essay, just informally write what you would focus on to end the essay—a couple more body paragraphs and a conclusion.)

The 2nd and 3rd Paragraphs for Hillary Du's Essay on Page 249 of Phillip's a Humument
Make sure you label your comments for when you post in the comment stream by Monday, January 5th by class. You will be graded on the MHS Open Response rubric as a homework grade.

Student work on Laura Chester's "True or Untrue, Grit" from RANCH WEIRDO

For Kellie & Olivia’s papers:

I am not going to include commentary and compliments here, since I did throughout the papers, but here are the assignments:

  1. I think what Kellie’s paper is missing (besides another revision of things noted throughout) is another layer of analysis (a paragraph or two) that transitions away from tone. I would like to hear from you all about what you would do and why it would fit. (You don’t have to write the essay, just informally write what you would focus on.)

  2. I would like all of you, after reading Olivia’s paper, to come back to her intro and write the end of her intro: write what you think 2-5 sentences would help introduce the themes, ideas, and techniques addressed in her paper.
Olivia Kahn on Laura Chester's 'True or Untrue, Grit' With Commentary

Kellie Leonce on Laura Chester's 'True or Untrue, Grit' With Commentary

Make sure you label your comments for when you post in the comment stream by Monday, January 5th by class. You will be graded on the MHS Open Response rubric as a homework grade.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Tom Phillips: Explicating A Humument (Final Step)

The same basic premise applies for explicating a visual image as it does a poem, especially in your thesis. You are actually doing both in this essay. You are trying to explain how the artist creates meaning. Since there are words in the image, you must also analyze them. Use the same techniques you would for poetry.

On page_ _ _ of Tom Phillips' A Humument, Phillips [active verb] that_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ by [technique and effect]_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _.

Make sure you take yourself through the whole process of this assignment. There is a reason for each step. And please read the model essays I provided you.
  • Due Wednesday, January 13th, 2010.
  • You should have at least 3 pages worth of writing, Times New Roman, 12pt. font, double-spaced.

Tom Phillips: Writing About an Image OPTIC (Step 2)

OPTIC. I find Walter Pauk’s theory quite useful when writing about an image.[1] The AP Art History Course also uses this Acronym as a successful approach to writing about visual art. I have adapted it here with further commentary and explanation in light of your specific goals.

The point of the first two steps is pure description. What does your eye notice first? Then what? Think space, color, dimension, etc...Notice what you notice. You are doing this so that explicating will be easier and better. Pick and image that you can describe with words.

  1. Overview: Conduct an Overview of the visual or graphic. I recommend an extensive brainstorming process here.
  2. Parts: Key in on the Parts of the visual by noting any elements or details that seem important. The old cliché goes “a picture is worth a thousand words”, which translates to about three pages. I think this is a good rule of thumb, but by no means a fixed rule. Describe what you see. Where do your eyes go to first? Then what? Follow the natural progress of where your eyes go. Give as much detail as possible.
  3. Title: Explain the Title (if one is present) and its relation to the piece of art. Even an “untitled piece” may tell you about the artist’s aesthetic.
  4. Interrelationships: Use the title, or your theory, and the parts of the visual as your clues to detect and specify the Interrelationships in the graphic. In other words, this is where you develop your thesis about the image and connect ideas.
  5. Conclusion: Draw a Conclusion about the piece as a whole.
If you go through this process, you will have plenty of writing to cull from to start explicating the piece.


But here are two model papers from previous year: Meg6 and Kevin Ta5

[1] Pauk, Walter. How to Study in College. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1997, 271.

Tom Phillips: Explicating *A Humument* (Step 1)

You will be explicating a page from Tom Phillips' A Humument. Click the link and visit this fascinating website--you could spend days in the world he creates. There are links on the site that introduce the work and give Tom Phillips' biography. There are essays on the work and plenty of stuff to read up on. All of it will be great background knowledge. None of it will end up in your essay.
  • When you've found the page IN THE GALLERY you are going to explicate, post the page number in this comment section of this post to claim it. SORRY, NO REPEATS AND IT IS ON A FIRST COME, FIRST SERVE BASIS.
  • Also, I would like you to hyperlink your title to the image you pick. Below is a mini-lesson on how to do this.
Kevin Ta 5 said...
Alright, here’s my quick mini lesson on how to hyperlink in comment boxes. Say you want to make a link like
this. All you have to do is type the following into the comment box:

<"a href=">"this"<"/a">

and get rid of the quotation marks. When you publish it, it will look like:


Replace the URL (making sure you have the http:// part) and the “this” and it’s as simple as that.

Remember that the Preview button is your friend. Hope that helps.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Agenda for Weeks of 1.4.10 & 1.11.10

image: Oyster Bar, Counter, NY (c) 2008
photo / photo-collage by Raissa Venables.

Hello all. Hope you are all well-rested and ready to go for next week.

Here's the schedule of events that will take us to the end of the quarter:

: in-class work on Question 3 with your Indie reading Notes for book #2, in groups. Turn in notes.
1.5.10: Poem practice, "It's a Woman's World" Eavan Boland.
1.6.10: TBD, something poetry related, also explain assignments due for next week.
(long block) Begin Poetry Research Project, introduce
Poetry Out Loud class competitions, meet in the cafe to support Sandy!

1.11.10: no class, work on Independent Reading book # 3 and Poetry assignments due Wednesday.
no class, work on Independent Reading book # 3 and Poetry assignments due Wednesday.
1.13.10: Homework assignments: explication on Tom Phillips, assignment TBD & something else blog related, assignment TBD. In class: Poetry madness, TBD.
In class: Poetry madness, TBD.
In class: Poetry madness, TBD.

Midterm: Wednesday 1.20.10

1.22.10: (Friday) Last day of quarter: 50 post-its due in 3rd independent reading book. Question 3 on either of the last two indie reading titles.

When we return for 3rd quarter, we will focus primarily on completing your first research paper before February break. You will also have an independent reading assignment for February.

After February break: Hamlet, 2nd Research Paper & Jane Eyre (three of my favorite things) with a healthy dose of lit. crit.