Monday, December 11, 2017

For Wednesday, read Abbey Fenbert, “I Was a Seventh-Grade Book Censor" and answer the following questions in your notebook:
  1. Do you think the conversation the middle-schooler Abbey Fenbert and her mother have with Abbey's seventh-grade English teacher (and the ensuing decisions the teacher makes) actually amounts to "censorship"? Why or why not?
  2. Later in the essay, Fenbert brings up "all the non-academic ways our culture celebrates censorship. Don’t provoke, don’t talk back, don’t 'make drama.'" Do you find this to be true? If so, how does this affect conversations we have about books, movies, history, etc. in school and out? If not, what would be your response to Fenbert's assertion about these other kinds of "censorship"?
  3. If you've read Brave New World: How would you have felt reading and discussing this novel in class as a seventh grader? Why? If you haven't read Brave New World: Later in life, Fenbert picks up the novel in question and realizes "It was . . . funny? ...The irony that had whooshed over my deathly earnest head in seventh grade now hit right between the eyes. How could I have found this nonsense threatening?" Why do you think she sees the book so differently from her adult point of view?

Friday, December 08, 2017

Multimedia project presentation

Sign up for a multimedia project presentation date on this form, and let me know whether you have any special presentation requests regarding space or equipment.

And if you haven't taken the "which essay shall we read?" poll yet, despite my many reminders, please for the love of all that is good and simple, take it right now.

Tuesday, December 05, 2017

Reading for Wednesday postponed

Today in class we voted to postpone our reading of one of the four essays listed in the post below until next week, in favor of one extra work day for the multimedia project.

Some of you still need to take the reading poll, however, so please do that now if you haven't already!

Friday, December 01, 2017

Reading poll, part II

Please take this reading poll to decide which essay we'll read and discuss together next week.

Here are links to the four possible choices:

David Foster Wallace, “Consider the Lobster

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Feedback on a very early draft of your portfolio reflection

Choose a partner, if possible someone you’ve worked with on peer editing one of your essays this semester (if not, that’s okay too). Take about 20 minutes to read their draft reflection and answer the following questions on their draft (questions 1-3) and on your own draft or in your notebook (question 4):
  1. What was the most interesting and/or surprising part of this draft reflection? 
  2. What did you want to hear more about?
  3. List between one and three questions you were left with after reading this draft reflection.
  4. Did reading this make you think of anything you want to add to your own reflection? If so, make a note of it in your notebook or on your own draft reflection. 

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Choose-one-of-two-essays discussion questions

For the Gelareh Asayesh essay:

1. Asayesh describes the veil she wears to the wake of a family friend as “this curtain of cloth that gives with one hand, takes away with the other.” How would you sum up the things she feels wearing hijab “takes away” from her (and/or women in general), and the things it “gives” her (and/or women in general)? Does each side of this divide seem equally compelling or powerful, given her essay?

2. Discuss whether the ambivalence Asayesh expresses toward wearing hijab is something you related to while reading this essay, and (if so) which aspect(s) of your life made it relatable for you.

For the Barack Obama essay:

1. What surprised you the most about this essay?

2. Obama says “everywhere I go across the country, and around the world, I see people pushing back against dated assumptions about gender roles.” This essay was published about sixteen months ago. Do you think that generalization is more or less true than it was then? How? Or is it both more true and less true? How?

For both essays:

3. Can you imagine writing an essay for publication sometime in the future? The two essays you chose from today are from Vogue and The New York Times, respectively. Can you envision a context where you might publish a personal essay in a similar publication? If not, is there any context where you see yourself writing an essay that an audience larger than a classroom would read? Why and/or why not? Discuss.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Reading for Tuesday, and a poll

Read one of the following essays for class tomorrow, and answer the questions below the essay in your notebook:

Shrouded in Contradiction” by Gelareh Asayesh

  • What new information or perspectives about the Islamic practice of women wearing hijab did this essay give you? 
  • Do you relate to the ambivalence Asayesh expresses toward wearing hijab? What in your life makes this relatable for you?
  • Consider this as a piece of writing. What is strong about it? Is there anything you would suggest to make it stronger?

This is What a Feminist Looks Like” by Barack Obama

  • What did you expect from this essay, based on the title and author? In what ways did the essay fulfill your expectations, and in what ways did it surprise you?
  • Did Obama's definition of and examples of feminism widen or challenge your definition of "feminism"? If so, how? If not, reflect on why your ideas and his might be so in accord.
  • Consider this as a piece of writing. What is strong about it? Is there anything you would suggest to make it stronger?

And please take this poll to decide which of the essays below we'll read for class next week:

David Foster Wallace, “Consider the Lobster
Alex Tizon, "My Family’s Slave"
Alan Burdick, “The Secret Life of Time
Kathryn Schulz, “When Things Go Missing