Monday, March 24, 2014

Social Issue Project: Research Phase: Note-taking and Annotated Bibliography

Social Issues & Group Members

Issues and implications of socioeconomic in equality in education in the 21st century: Cody E, Dan C, Morey R, Joseph C

Issues and implications of gender in the 21st century: Gloria K, Josette T, Emma P

Issues and implications of environmental change in the 21st century: Emily N, Everest C, Winslow L, Rachael S, Ella B

The relationship between surveillance, safety, privacy, and freedom in the 21st century: Spencer T, Ryan C, Accursio O

Issues and implications of abuse of vulnerable members of society in the 21st century: Michael M, Lauren H, Tess B, Jaclyn W, Hannah L

Issues and implications of psychological disorders in the 21st century: Paula C, Melanie M, Kate P, Laura J, Johayne M

Issues and implications of psychoactive drugs in the 21st century: Meghan O, Ryan B, Zoe P, Bethany H

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Research Phase Products: Double-entry notes & Annotated Bibliography

Each member of your group is responsible for finding seven (7) sources.
Of your seven sources at least four must be from the following categories:

  • a text accessed through a database subscribed to by the GHS library
  • a text accessed through Google books or Google scholar
  • a text found on a university, nonprofit, or government website
  • a text found at the Sawyer Free Library
  • a section of a text found using a book’s index
  • a recorded lecture (such as a TED talk), recorded interview, or documentary film/video
 
By Friday, April 4 you will have completed double-entry notes for each of your seven (7) sources. 
* Put citation information at the top of each page of notes. 
* On the left side of your notes summarize, paraphrase, and quote information from the source. 
* On the right side of your notes analyze, evaluate, and assess the relevance of your source; you might also include your own ideas, opinions, and questions. 
* Be thorough on the left side and thoughtful on the right side. 
* Double-entry notes will be shared with me in a group Google document and, if necessary, in paper form.
* Make sure your name is on your notes.


On Monday, April 7 you will submit the final draft of your annotated bibliography*. (You will submit the work as a group, both in print form and using a Google Document. Your individual work will bear your name; you will be assessed on your own work.)

*Use MLA format for heading, citations, format, etc. Remember alphabetical order. Pay attention to spacing. Make sure citations are not only formatted properly but also thorough. Annotations should be 150-200 words in length (not longer); they should provide a summary of the source, an assessment (analysis and evaluation) of the source, and a discussion of the relevance of the source to your research topic and your developing opinions about the topic (including how you might use the source in an argument essay). Make sure you include your name or initials on your annotations.

Annotated bibliography definitions, purpose, and format
Annotated bibliography samples
Complete annotated bibliography with assessment 

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Brainstorming Topics (Day 0: Monday, March 24)
1. As a class create a list of twenty-first century social issues that we'd be interested both to learn more about and have an opinion on.
2. Individually, select the three issues you're most interested in.
3. Mr. Cook will create social issue groups based on the responses.
 
Getting started (Day 1: Tuesday, March 25)
1. With your group members create a Google document for your double-entry notes and annotated bibliography. Include the topic name in the title of document.
2. With your group members create a visual brainstorm (a mind map) of possible areas of research. Think about issues and implications. Think about subtopics. Think about information and opinion. Think about cultures and context. Map out your curiosity about the social issue.

Leave class with access to a group document, as well as knowledge of what aspects your topic your group as a whole is interested in researching and which of those aspects you in particular are going to pursue. 

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Exploring sources (Day 2-4: Wednesday-Friday, March 25-27)
1. Learn how to access the GHS general research resources (a.k.a. databases), Google scholar, and Google books. Sign up for a Boston Public Library e-card to expand your searching power. (Directions here.) Thank you, Ms. Whitney for the presentation.

2. Use your topic title and brainstorming map to select words and phrases to search using the various resources you've been introduced to. 

3. When you find a source you'd like to use in your annotated bibliography take double-entry notes (see above for directions) in your group's Google document.
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More notes and writing an annotated bibliography (Day 5: Monday, March 31)
1. Continue to work on finding sources and taking double-entry notes.
2. Create a Google document for your group's annotated bibliography.
3. Look closer at the annotated bibliography directions, format, guides, and examples (above).
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Finishing double-entry notes and the annotated bibliography (Day 6-10: Tuesday, April 1-Monday, April 7)
1. Work on your own time to finish double-entry notes. Due Friday 4/4.
2. Work on your own to finish the annotated bibliography. Due Monday 4/7.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Grammar in the news

This article appeared on the Guardian (Manchester, UK) website on Friday. Something to think about while working on your grammar tutorials and quizzes.

Why grammar isn't cool – and why that may be about to change

Despite its reputation, grammar is colourful and fascinating. Now experts report a renewed interest in the subject 

A 15-year-old boy made headlines last week after writing a passionate letter of complaint to Tesco regarding bad grammar on its bottles of orange juice. Tesco claimed it used the "most tastiest" oranges, rather than "tastiest", "most tasty" or "distinctly average".
The fact it was deemed newsworthy shows how rare it is to see enthusiastic pedantry at such a young age (especially if there's no strong family history of it). But before any grammar enthusiasts get excited, he admitted language was not the only motivation – he expected some Tesco vouchers for his ordeal.
Grammar rarely makes headlines, and when it does it's often due to conflict over something the size of an apostrophe. But there's a much greater issue that needs addressing. We complain that children cannot construct a sentence as they used to, but this nostalgic attitude towards literacy abilities has always been around. What we need to focus on is grammar's reputation among the young.
Last month I attended a talk on grammar. In the weeks leading up to it I told a few people and their reactions ranged from laughter to looks of disappointment to disbelief. It didn't get much better at the talk, where the discussion often steered towards the fact that students find grammar boring.
We are supposedly most receptive to learning a second language in childhood. But when it comes to grammar, it's difficult to imagine a typical group of 10-year-olds debating whether or not to precede a gerund with a possessive noun or pronoun.
It's a challenge for anything to be accepted as "cool" among younger generations, but we'd need to worry less about the future of society if grammar could finally earn some street cred.
Its current sorry state can be ascribed to several reasons. The first and possibly most insidious barrier to grammar's image is the trail of fear left behind by old-fashioned grammarians and their pedantic followers. Instead of explanations and advice, grammatical errors are often corrected with scorn and ancient rules. This can project a sense of inadequacy that isn't conducive to learning, and perpetuates the misconception that grammar is black and white, right or wrong.
I don't entirely blame them – the pleasure of finding a typo is unbeatable – but pedants should confine such self-righteous pleasures to the privacy of the home. For the unconfident learner, the best advice was given by William Strunk Jr, author of The Elements of Style, who is alleged to have said: "If you don't know how to pronounce a word, say it loud."
Grammar's second barrier is the argument between prescriptivists and descriptivists, and the confusion this causes. I was taught never to put a comma after "and", but what if I went to the shops with my parents, a sheep and a goat?
Outdated grammar rules are offputting when they create a barrier to clear communication. If I were to sneakily split an infinitive, would I not be understood? Grammar is instinctive. I never understood what it meant to enclose parenthetic phrases in commas, probably because it sounds too confusing, but I know to do it.
The third hindrance to grammar is its reputation. When we think of grammar we picture dusty textbooks, evil teachers holding canes and dry lesson plans. But grammar is colourful, and its ability to completely change the meaning of a sentence is fascinating.
The good news is that there have been a few small "cool" victories recently. YouTube channel jacksfilms regularly uploads Your Grammar Sucks videos for its 1.3 million subscribers. Perhaps the premise – laughing at grammatical errors – is one we should be steering away from, but it puts grammar in the spotlight.
Another example is the small victory for the word "selfie", named Word of the Year last year by Oxford Dictionaries. A modern word that adds clarity in its own, self-obsessed way caught the attention of younger generations. If they can be excited about a word, grammar can't be far behind.
Not everyone thinks grammar is doomed. Bas Aarts, professor of English linguistics at University College London, believes we are experiencing a grammar renaissance.
"Things have changed in recent years. Grammar was perceived as boring, but it was taught prescriptively and put people off. Language develops the way it wants to develop, and no amount of prescriptiveness will help. A lot of people who are against splitting the infinitive can't even explain why."
Aarts says the enjoyment of grammar depends on how it is taught. "There is a renewed interest in grammar, partly because of improved teaching, partly due to some very successful books on language."
To test the grammar renaissance theory, I asked a class of primary school children to describe grammar in one word. Three said "interesting", three said "helpful" and one said "boring". I also asked a class of year 8 pupils: nine described it as "confusing", two said "good" and the rest ranged from "useless" to "brilliant". In another secondary school, the teacher said that, in his class, almost everyone said it was boring or dull, and a few said "pointless".
The way we view grammar is subjective, and, as it turns out, the way we view how everyone else views grammar is also subjective. Perhaps grammar-lovers are just too uncool to know what's cool.
But I do know anything trying to be cool is automatically uncool, and grammar shouldn't have to try.
Grammar Day 2014, presented by UCL and Oxford University in association with the British Library, will take place on Friday 4 July.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Work to do at home before class on Tuesday

  1. Use your group’s map of the issues and implications to make a map of your own that you will use as the basis for a response to the consumerism and commodification prompt. Put your central argument in the middle. Connect the central argument to issues. Connect issues to implications. Connect issues/implications to support from sources. Do in class March 14. [All of the maps are now available. Click here. .]
  1. Write, self/peer assess, and revise an essay in response to the consumerism and commodification prompt. Click here for prompt. (Note: Using the locavore essay as a model we will all create narrative openings this time.)  Complete first draft Introduction (with narrative opening and thesis) and body paragraph (with synthesis of multiple sources) due Thursday, March 18. Final draft due March 20 Friday, March 21.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Work to do at home before class on Friday

As you work on step six (6) maps/webs in class on Wednesday and Thursday, there are two things you should do at home to be ready for Friday.

THESE DIRECTIONS ARE NOT IN YOUR PACKET.
Thursday night you should take the opportunity to look for issues and implications related to consumerism and commodification in some of the other sources. Choose at least one additional source. By class time Friday March 14 write a formal annotation and mini-map of the issues and implications related to consumerism and commodification in this source.

Documentary Films                                     
Source J (Merchants of Cool)                                          
Source K (The Ad and the Ego)+            
Source L (The Persuaders)                                          
Source M (Generation Like)

Images
Source N ("Are You Happy Yet?")
Source O ("Keep Consuming")
Source P (Wexler and Taylor)*

Texts
Source R (Childress)**
Source T (Gunelius)***

Notes:
+Source K: The link is to a transcript of the documentary.
*Source P: Infographic: What are teens doing online?
**Source R: Article: How does personal information become a commodity?
***Source T: Article: What is the difference between a consumer and prosumer? 

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Before Friday do this too.

  1. Read and annotate the “locavore” prompt and essay you are given. (You can find the prompt here and the essay here. The prompt and essay will also be passed out in class on Thursday.) Make a map of the essay. Put the author’s central argument in the middle. Connect the central argument to issues. Connect issues to implications. Connect issues/implications to support from sources. What does the map reveal about the effectiveness of the essay’s response to the prompt? Due Friday March 14.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Preparing for Wednesday's Class (#4 and #5)

Identifying and examining implications of issues within the “conversation”
  1. Annotate the “Consumerism and Commodification” prompt on the front of the packet. Identify key words and phrases. What is the prompt asking you to do? What does it mean to “identify issues”? What does "consumerism" mean? What does "commodification" mean? What does it mean to “examine the implications”? Due class time 3/12.
  1. Make a mini-map of the issues and the implications of the issues within the text you were assigned. Write the title and the purpose of the text in the middle of your paper. Connect the title/purpose to the issues related to consumerism and commodification that are revealed in the text. Connect the issues to implications. This will help your assigned group plan a response to the prompt. Due class time 3/12.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Going Deeper into a Single Text (#3)

Going deeper into a single text
I will assign you a text* in the packet to look at more closely. You will write a 150-200 word formal annotation. What does that mean? A formal annotation includes a summary, analysis, and evaluation of the text. (These annotations are important for creating annotated bibliographies, annotated works cited, and annotated works consulted pages. We’re not creating those now, but we’re practicing for later in the year.) Due Tuesday, March 11.

Here is a link to sample annotations.

*Here are the groups and assigned texts:

Ella, Zoe, Michael / Ryan B., Hannah, Lauren : Sources A, B, F, I [You may choose one for this step.]

Dan, Accursio, Rachael / Melanie, Kate: Source C

Ryan, Everest, Morey / Joseph, Emily, Tess: Source D

Kerri, Emma / Paula, Johayne: Source E

Cody, Josie, Spencer / Bethany, Jaclyn: Source G

Gloria, Winslow / Laura, Meghan: Source H

Friday, March 7, 2014

Consumerism and Commodification Synthesis Essay (Q1)



AP English Language and Composition
Synthesis Essay on Consumerism and Commodification

Consumerism is a term used to describe a social and economic system that encourages the ever-increasing consumption of goods and services. Commodification (or commoditization) is a related term used to describe the process of turning ideas, values, and other entities not normally regarded as a commodity (an economic product) into a commodity. 

Imagine that a school district looking to make its curriculum more relevant to life in the 21st century has asked to evaluate the role of consumerism and commodification in contemporary American culture. Carefully review the sources I've provided in this unit. Then synthesize information from at least five (5) of the sources and incorporate that information into a coherent, well-developed essay that identifies the key issues associated with consumerism and commodification and that examines their implications for life in the 21st century.

Make sure that your argument is central; use the sources to illustrate and support your reasoning. Avoid merely summarizing the sources. Indicate clearly which sources you are drawing from, whether through direct quotation, paraphrase, or summary. Cite the sources using the information provided below in parentheses.

Sources in the packet
Source A (Waterson)                                            
Source B (Kruger)                                            
Source C (Rockwell)
Source D (Shah)                                      
Source E (Chaddha)                                          
Source F ("Beyond Consumerism")                                              
Source G (Johnson)                                 
Source H (Seel and Wilensky)                                       
Source I (Banksy)      

Documentary Films                                     
Source J (Merchants of Cool)                                          
Source K (The Ad and the Ego)            
Source L (The Persuaders)                                          
Source M (Generation Like)

Images
Source N ("Are You Happy Yet?")
Source O ("Keep Consuming")
Source P (Wexler and Taylor)*

Texts
Source R (Childress)**
Source T (Gunelius)***

*Source P: Infographic: What are teens doing online?
**Source R: Article: How does personal information become a commodity?
***Source T: Article: What is the difference between a consumer and prosumer?



Understanding and Participating in a Societal “Conversation”:
Consumerism and Commodification

Understanding the range of positions within the “conversation”
  1. Read and annotate the “Consumerism and Commodification” packet by Monday, March 10.

  1. What is the purpose of each text in the packet? Write them down. (If the purpose is persuasion, what is the central position of the text? If the purpose is information, what is the information about and what does the information imply or suggest?) by Monday, March 10.

  1. In your assigned group make a map of the conversation. (In the middle of the map write “Consumerism and Commodification” in an oval. Draw lines from the oval out to the title of each text. Draw a line from the title of each text to a sentence stating the purpose of each text. Draw lines between purposes that seem related. Draw a series of x’s between purposes that seem to oppose or contradict each other.  In class on Monday March 10.

Going deeper into a single text
  1. I will assign you a text in the packet to look at more closely. You will write a 150-200 word formal annotation. What does that mean? A formal annotation includes a summary, analysis, and evaluation of the text. (These annotations are important for creating annotated bibliographies, annotated works cited, and annotated works consulted pages. We’re not creating those now, but we’re practicing for later in the year.) Due March 11.

Identifying and examining implications of issues within the “conversation”
  1. Annotate the “Consumerism and Commodification” prompt on the front of the packet. Identify key words and phrases. What is the prompt asking you to do? What does it mean to “identify issues”? What does consumerism mean? What does commodification mean? What does it mean to “examine the implications”? Due March 12.

  1. Make a mini-map of the issues and the implications of the issues within the text you were assigned. Write the title and the purpose of the text in the middle. Connect the title/purpose to issues. Connect the issues to implications. This will help your assigned group plan a response to the prompt. Due March 12.

  1. Get together with your assigned group. Together you will make a map of the issues and implications in the whole packet.
    • First your group will work from the mini-maps you created in step 5. Write “Consumerism and Commodification” in the middle. Draw a line to each issue your group members identified in their mini-maps. Connect each issue to one or more implication. Then connect each issue/implication strand to the particular texts in the packet related to the issue/implication. Do in class March 12.

    • Then you’ll link up with other groups. Add to your map using other groups’ ideas about issues related to consumerism and commodification, the implications of those issues, and the texts that contain those issues and suggest those implications. Do in class March 12 and 13.

Entering the conversation
  1. Read and annotate the “locavore” prompt and essay you are given. Make a map of the essay. Put the author’s central argument in the middle. Connect the central argument to issues. Connect issues to implications. Connect issues/implications to support from sources. What does the map reveal about the effectiveness of the essay’s response to the prompt? Due March 14.

  1. Use your group’s map of the issues and implications to make a map of your own that you will use as the basis for a response to the consumerism and commodification prompt. Put your central argument in the middle. Connect the central argument to issues. Connect issues to implications. Connect issues/implications to support from sources. Do in class March 14.

  1. Write, self/peer assess, and revise an essay in response to the consumerism and commodification prompt. (Note: Using the locavore essay as a model we will all create narrative openings this time.)  Complete first draft due March 18. Final draft due March 20.

At the end you’ll have
  1. informal annotations of each text in the packet
  2. a list of statements about the purpose of each text in the packet
  3. a group map of the “conversation”
  4. a formal annotation (summary, analysis, evaluation) of one text in the packet
  5. an annotated prompt (on the front of the packet)
  6. a mini-map of the issues/implications within the text you were assigned
  7. a group map of the issues/implications within the whole packet
  8. a mini-map of the “locavore” essay
  9. a pre-writing map to help you write your own essay
  10. an essay addressing the “commodification and consumerism” prompt. (You will have at least two drafts of the essay. The first draft will show evidence of self/peer assessment.)
 

Monday, March 3, 2014

Talking back to Grendel: What are your beliefs?



Read the following and be prepared to discuss each of these passages, beliefs, and questions in class.
Talking back to Grendel: What are your beliefs?

After the discussion, add additional thoughts and support in the comment box below. You can address one issue or multiple issues. You can stick to a topic we discussed in class or you can write about a topic we didn't get to. 300 words or so. Be thoughtful. Deal with complexity. Take a position. Support your thoughts with examples and reasons. Do this tonight. If for some reason you can't post your response on the blog, write it out by hand, bring it to class, and post it later. [Note to C-block: I was supposed to introduce a grammar assignment that you'll be completing over the next several weeks. Read the directions here. Then ask questions tomorrow.

Chapter 6 (Virgo, the virgin):
Heroism
“A hero is not afraid to face cruel truth…. [Grendel,] you talk of heroism as noble language, dignity. It’s more than that, as my coming here has proved. No man above us will ever know whether Unferth died here or fled to the hills like a coward. Only you and I and God will know the truth. That’s inner heroism.”
“…I didn’t know how deep the pool was,” [Unferth] said. “I had a chance. I knew I had no more than that. It’s all a hero asks for.”
                “I sighed. The word “hero” was beginning to grate. He was an idiot. I could crush him like a fly, but I held back.
                “Go ahead, scoff,” he said, petulant. “Except in the life of a hero, the whole world’s meaningless. The hero sees values beyond what’s possible. That’s the nature of a hero. It kills him, of course, ultimately. But it makes the whole struggle of humanity worthwhile.”
                I nodded in the darkness. “And breaks up the boredom,” I said.
What is inner heroism? Is it important to you to strive for inner heroism? Or, is inner heroism a form of foolishness and stupidity?

Chapter 7 (Libra, the scales/balance)
Beauty and Kindness
When drunken men argued, pitting theory against theory, bludgeoning each other’s absurdities, she came between them, wordless, uncondemning, pouring out mead like a mother’s love, and they were softened, reminded of their humanness, exactly as they might have been softened by the cry of a child in danger, or an old man’s suffering, or spring. The Shaper sang things that had never crossed his mind before: comfort, beauty, a wisdom softer, more permanent, than Hrothgar’s.
The queen smiled. Impossibly, like roses blooming in the heart of December, she said, “That’s past.” And it was. The demon was exorcised. I saw his hands unclench, relax, and—torn between tears and a bellow of scorn—I crept back to my cave.
I slammed into the bedroom. She sat up screaming, and I laughed. I snatched her foot, and now her unqueenly shrieks were deafening, exactly like the squeals of a pig. No one would defend her, not even suicidal Unferth at the door….
Do you believe in beauty—in all forms—as a way to inspire people to be better?
Do you believe in the importance of kindness, empathy, and sacrifice for the good of others?

Chapter 8 (Scorpio, the scorpion)
Government and Political Change

[Hrothulf] said angrily… “Nobody in his right mind would praise violence for its own sake, regardless of its ends!”
                The old man shrugged and put on a childish smile. “But I’m a simple man, you see,” he said, “and that’s exactly what I do. All systems are evil. All governments are evil. Not just a trifle evil. Monstrously evil.” Though he still smiled, he was shaking, only half controlling it. “If you want me to help you destroy a government, I’m here to serve. But as for Universal Justice—“ He laughed.
Do you believe in the necessity of government and law—even when you disagree with them?
Do you believe that through political change the world can be improved?

Chapter 9 (Sagittarius, the centaurian archer)
God and Religion
 [The Chief God] is the eternal urge of desire establishing the purposes of all creatures. He is an infinite patience, a tender care that nothing in the universe be vain.”
“The ultimate evil is that Time is perpetual perishing, and being actual involves elimination…. Such is His mystery: that beauty requires contrast, and that discord is fundamental to the creation of new intensities of feeling. Ultimate wisdom…lies in the perception that the solemnity and grandeur of the universe rise through the slow process of unification in which the diversities of existence are utilized, and nothing, nothing is lost.”

The Fourth Priest: … Now I see, I see! The will of the gods! The rhythm is re-established! Merely rational thought—forgive me for preaching, but I must, I must!—merely rational thought leaves the mind incurably crippled in a closed and ossified system, it can only extrapolate from the past. But now at last, sweet fantasy has found root in your blessed soul! The absurd, the inspiring, the uncanny, the awesome, the terrifying, the ecstatic—none of these had a place, for you, before. But I should have seen it coming. O I kick myself for not seeing it coming! A vision of the Destroyer! Of course, of course! Before we know it, you’ll be kissing girls! Can’t grasp it, brothers? Both blood and sperm are explosive, irregular, feeling-pitched, mess—and inexplicably fascinating! They transcend! They leap the gap! O blessed Ork! I believe your vision proves there is hope for us all!
Do you believe in a supernatural power (God) that gives purpose to all things? What is the nature of the supernatural power you believe in?

Chapter 10 (Capricorn, horned goat)
Memory, History, Storytelling
I think of the pastness of the past: how the moment I am alive in, prisoned in, moves like a slowly tumbling form through darkness, the underground river. Not only ancient history—the mythical age of the brothers’ feud—but my own history one second ago, has vanished utterly, dropped out of existence. King Scyld’s great deeds do not exist “back there in Time”…They do not exist at all. My wickedness five years ago, or six, or twelve, has no existence except as now, mumbling, mumbling, … I strain my memory to regain it.
Are memory, history, and storytelling about the past important to you? Are they necessary for our culture? Or, is the past gone, irretrievable, irrelevant, and meaningless?

Chapters 11 and 12 The rest of the book (Aquarius, water bearer; Pisces, fishes):

Finally, do you believe in the power of hoping for and imagining a better world here on earth? Or, is it foolish and na├»ve to hope for anything beyond personal pleasure? (In other words, do you agree with the dragon: “seek out gold and sit on it”?)