Sunday, December 18, 2011

an education is not a packaged product.

For-profit colleges: Just say no.

• Is that recruiter interested in your success or your financial aid?
• Should colleges be advertised like a new video game or a diet plan?
• Is education a consumer product or an arduous but beneficial process?
• Does your local community college offer better classes for far less money?
• Does a worthwhile post-secondary institution need high-pressure salespeople?
• Student debt can never be discharged—even in bankruptcy. It will follow you for the rest of your life. With a third-rate, online degree from a questionable institution, will you ever get a job in the field you pretend to study? Will you make enough at your back-up job to pay back your loans? The wall street guys who own the "school" have already spent your money.

Be careful. Ask questions. Think about it.

Friday, December 9, 2011

English 11 final exam leaked early?

English 11 crawford

The Great Gatsby Exam

Instructions: Complete all parts of Question A. Then, Among Questions B-F please choose three of the five questions and answer each with a single well organized paragraph. Then answer question Z with a well-organized multi-paragraph essay.

Staple written response to this prompt. Do not submit Early.
A) Write three or four sentences explaining the importance of each of the following items:

• the enchanted room in chapter 1 and 7
• the billboard
• the dog
• the library
• the medal from Montenegro
• the world series fix
• the pile of colorful shirts
• Cody’s yacht
• The room at the Plaza Hotel
• Gatsby’s marble swimming pool--last chance to use it.
• The green light compared to the green island as viewed by dutch sailors

B)“ . . . not through her own fault . . . . It had gone beyond her, beyond everything”(101). What is not her own fault? What is this passage about? What is the antecedent for the pronount “It”?

C) “That’s an advertisement” (167). Who says this? In response to what statement and in what context? What does this mean?

D) Describe Nick’s last conversation with Jordan Baker and (separately) Tom Buchanan. How does the content of these two conversations contribute to our understanding of the first few pages of the novel?

E) Why does Nick imagine seeing Long Island through the eyes of “Dutch sailors”? (189) Nick contemplates this after all the tragic events of the summer. What does this mean?

F) “He did not know that it was already behind him, somewhere back in that vast obscurity beyond the city, where the dark fields of the republic rolled on under the night” (189). What is Nick talking about here? What does this mean? What is the antecedent of the pronoun “it?” Why is it behind him? In what ways is this true?

Z) While working on Gatsby in 1924, Fitzgerald wrote, “That’s the whole burden of this novel—the loss of illusions that give such color to the world so that you don’t care whether things are true or false as long as the partake of the magical glory.” (from Brucoli’s preface to the novel) Now that you’ve read the novel, use your understanding of it’s plot, characters and themes to explain what Fitzgerald meant when he said this. Who goes through this loss of illusions? Why are these illusions lost? Is this a good thing? Use evidence from the text.

AP English final exam leaked early?

AP English language and composition m crawford

Final Exam: December 2011

This final exam is made up of four parts:

1. Content questions on “Letter From a Birmingham Jail” (handout)
2. Essay question on content of “Letter From a Birmingham Jail”
3. Essay question on rhetorical strategies in Letter From a Birmingham Jail”
4. Self-evaluation and reflection. Remember agreement to be a genuine AP student?

Please make sure to write neatly and to provide clear headings for each section of the exam. Specific instructions for each section follow. You will have two hours to complete this exam. You are encouraged to use your notes and textbook. Please budget your time carefully by devoting 25-30 minutes to each section of the exam. Do not turn in your work early. We will spend the final 10 minutes of the exam preparing your work for submission.

Section 1: Short Answer On Dr. King’s Letter

Answer the questions provided with two or three clear sentences. (handout)

Section 2: Content Essay Question

Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail”� is a response to a published statement by eight Alabama clergymen who were criticizing King’s course of action. His letter is so well organized that the reader can easily determine the concerns of King’s critics. What points of critique are answered in King’s letter? Explain—using evidence from the text—both the points of the critique by the eight clergymen and the powerful answers King crafts in response to his critics. For an excellent score find and explain an example in which King not only defends himself against the criticism but turns it around in a way that challenges his critics and persuades his readers to take action.

Section 3: Rhetorical Strategies

Write a brief essay in which you do an analysis of the rhetorical strategies used by Dr. King. It’s a long letter; you don’t have time to deal with all of it. So choose two or three powerful examples of King’s rhetoric. Identify the strategy in the terms used by our textbook or our rhetorical terms glossary. Then use evidence from the letter to explain how that strategy is employed. You may also want to speculate why each strategy was used in its particular place in the argument. (For example, why did he use that particular analogy to answer criticism x? Why was this strategy effective?)

Section 4: Reflection, Self-Evaluation (Know Thyself.)

Clearly and honestly describe your participation in this class. Did you simply do what was required? What about your attendance? Did you rush through the required work with little concern for how well it was done? Did you approach each assignment as an opportunity to learn something new or sharpen your skills? Did you arrive prepared, ready to discuss the assigned reading? What about independent reading? Did you choose books for the challenge or for their relative thinness? Did you read all you claimed to read? Did you do other homework or put your head down during USSR? Play with your phone? What about your behavior in class? Were you consistently polite and respectful? How can you improve your participation as we move into the second semester? Should you continue in this course?

“Hmmm. Did I study enough? Did I take my English class seriously? I mean I do go to class, and I’m not one of those annoying girls who plays with her phone rather than reading, but could I have worked harder? Shouldn’t I be working harder? Have I read enough? Have I challenged myself? Have I wrestled with books that ask me to think in ways I haven’t before?”

Collaboration. Letter to Santa. Excerpts from student's letters to Santa.

8 December 2011

Dear Santa,

Hope all is well up there. Things continue to go reasonably well down here in San Diego and at Mar Vista high school. Most of the kids here really are nice—not really so naughty except for a few who don’t read and maybe an even smaller number who turn in IRA’s (independent reading accountability—its an assignment in Crawford’s class) without reading—but you know who they are—I mean you’ve got the naughty list, right?

Here’s the thing. Since you’re going to be in the home of every kid—I mean you have to visit even the naughty ones to deliver their lump of coal, right?—could you do something for me? I don’t even want a present in the conventional sense—I mean, I do, but I’m willing to trade in my present request for this: While you’re in the homes of my peers could you please re-appropriate all the cell phones and Ipods and video games of these children?

With all due respect, sir, these gifts are not good for these students. I’m worried that these sweet kids will become self-absorbed and less thoughtful because they are in thrall to these devices. Watch them for a while—older kids even go on dates and “text” virtual others while sitting at dinner ignoring their actual date. They’re losing the ability to talk to each other. I’m not sure they understand the difference between a digital signal and an actual human being any more.

A more cynical person might suspect that this is your plan, Santa—you are getting older and I imagine your job is rather tiring. If you allow kids to possess these soul-suffocating devices, more of them will grow more self-absorbed and subsequently more naughty. Then you don’t have to make and deliver a gift for those kids next year—a lighter workload for you and the elves. But I can’t really believe you’d be involved in such a thing—I mean you are (in part, at least) evolved from St. Nicholas. He was generous enough to provide the dowries for those orphan girls to save them from a life of shame, right?

So, since I choose to believe that you are interested first in the growth of goodness/niceness (and of course in the reduction of naughtiness) I feel comfortable asking this favor of you. I’ve been good (not perfect, but good). This is my Christmas wish. Please re-appropriate all these niceness-destroying devices.

You could replace them with books.


Miguel Buenaventura
505 Elm Ave.
Imperial Beach, CA 91932

Some highlights from the letters of the kids in Crawford’s classes:

. . . I would like the economy to get better so Christmas won’t be so stressful

And my other brother, who hasn’t made the best choices in life, get him what he needs, not what he wants.

I want world peace. Oops, wrong thing---that’s for the beauty pageant.

I want free health insurance for everybody! And free admission to universities just like in France! Or a plane ticket to France and a home there! If you can’t do that then I’d like an IPod.

I want for you to put the idea in people’s heads that Christmas is celebrated because Christ was born and that you were doing good deeds but that people carried it a bit too far into consumerism.

My very adorable turtle requires a light that goes out about every two weeks and costs $20. I want a lifetime supply of lights for my turtle . . .I won’t ask for anything else.

. . but don’t forget that the poor kids need you more than I do so don’t worry about me, worry about them.

Don’t give me anything. I have done wrong to my family and they have always been there for me so make their dreams come true.

I want my sister to get a life and move out so I can finally have my own room.

For my deported brother in law to be allowed back in so he doesn’t have to be away from my nephew and sister . . .and for my parents to forgive each other.

Help those who are addicted. Help struggling families pay the bills and get through these hard times.

Somehow I don’t feel Christmas spirit this year. I’m kinda sad. So I guess what I want most for Christmas, is Christmas!

My wish is for my mother, not for me. Help her get the money to pay for her house in TJ.

So we come to this time and I don’t even have money for gifts for my family nor for my SAT test so my only wish right now is can you make my family happy for all that I can’t give them right now? Could you grant me that wish? PS. And one of those BF’s that is perfect for me that everybody talks about.

Santa, I really want peace with myself and maybe a novio wouldn’t be so bad 4 me this year but I don’t mind if it doesn’t come.

I would like a new straightener for my hair because my hair is getting really nappy . . .and a pony and some oreos and maybe a boyfriend for my mom.

I’ve applied for lots of jobs. Help me get one so I can help my family pay the bills.

My parents were very generous this year so I don’t need much. Just make sure my friends have as good a Christmas as I do.

I want my mom to stay home instead of going away with her stupid boyfriend and leaving me by myself. And my brother’s dad to come home because he really wants to see him.

I would greatly appreciate it if you could help me to help my sister with her life. I just wish I could be a better brother for her. . .another thing I want to be is patient; that would help me be while talking to my parents . . .

Salud, felizidad, amor y prosperidad para mi y los que amo! Ps. Si se me olvido pedir un novio.

I honestly have everything I could ask for—a loving family, bread for every day and a roof over my head . . .you can skip me this year and give to those less fortunate.

For me and my mom and my brother to stick together.

Please help our President really make the change we voted for.

It’s not like Santa is going to come to my house—not even Santa wants to go to TJ right now.

I hope my dad visits me . . .the economy is going down the drain and so is my family.

College tuition, an A on my Gatsby paper and a puppy.

I hope you help people who need it more than I do.

Help and protect our new President.

Teach my dad to ask about my boyfriend’s character, not about his ethnicity.

If you could find my father a job . . .my mother works but its not enough to pay the basic bills.

Could you fix the world so that everybody could be content and not always want more and kinda balance things out so things could be more peaceful?

Please help my father succeed in his job as well as my aunt

I also would like to see my dad for the first time.

A world with less bigotry and more food? World peace and Nintendo Wiis for everybody!

So could you help my father’s business pick up again so things will be less stressful for my parents?

and give my mom the reassurance that she is loved and cherished—something she’s been doubting because of my behavior.

I want to be a kid again and get rid of all this stress—I want to feel like everything will be ok.
Help my sister feel better about herself.

I want to be able to see how good my life is. I wan to be happy and enjoy it and not be so negative.

My parents work so hard. They’ve worked so hard all their lives. Is there some way you could make them happy?

I’ve been good except for when I used my phone in class. Could you please ease my dad’s stress and maybe get me some cheesecake and penguin pajamas?

My stepdad has been out of work for about six months and it’s getting very stressful worrying about bills. Can you help?

Please help my brother help himself and do the right thing. If you can’t do that please help my mom pay the bills. It’s getting really hard.

Please help my grandpa get better. I want him to remember who I am.

Please help my friend believe that there is good in the world even though he’s had such a hard life.

We need help to pay for my dad’s surgery. If he has the surgery he can go back to work. But we can’t pay for it when we can’t even pay for rent and food and gas and electricity.

And Santa? Mr. Crawford says I need an alarm clock.

My brothers are too young to understand what happened to my mom. Could you help them have the best Christmas ever?

I’d like to fight with myself less and laugh more.

I want to have the gift of faith to believe that love actually exists.

My wish is for my mom. She’s been through a lot and I’m not making it any better.

Take care of our troops. They risk their lives to protect our country.

If you could help my brother make better decisions and make it so my mom doesn’t have to work so hard. Maybe if my dad could get his old job back.

And if you could get us our own apartment or get mom’s boyfriend of 15 years to actually propose to her then I’d believe that miracles are real.

Take the cancer away from my Grandma and make her feel better.

Help my English teacher have a better attitude about Texas.

Maybe if you could help us all want less, we’ll be in less need as well.

I need something that can magically keep me organized.

I feel like I’ve lost myself this year and I don’t know who I am. I’m confused and I’d like to get my confidence back.

Having things disconnected because we’re late on bills is really hard. And there’s too much fighting in my house. I wish we could be closer.

Could you somehow bring my whole family together for Christmas?

Could you make my brother happy again. He’s been so very sad because of the navy and his marriage.

My brother should live with us instead of his father. And could you help with my mother’s illness?

Help my mom with her gambling problem and help the people who are dealing with bullies.

I wish I could have some real friends.

If the economy could just get better.

If I could just have another year with my grandmother.

I want the conflicts to stop so the troops can come home.

If my parents could be home for once, instead of always working.

And if our president could really make a difference for good. And a dinosaur.

Some emotional support once in a while.

I would like to have the strength to make myself have better study habits.

Prince charming. The die-hard romantic, the genuine guy, the sweet guy, the honest guy.

My family all getting along and my uncle out of jail even if it is for one day.

When my boyfriend is with his father this Christmas, help him see how much his father loves him and supports him.

I don’t like stumbling onto nice things without working for them, it makes me feel undeserving . . .nothing worth having is easy to obtain.

I want to obtain the qualities that noble people have. I want to learn not to give up, to work hard and to succeed.

I want a permanent home where I can feel safe. And I want my mother to be happy.

I just want to finally be happy and for mother to stay off drugs and fix her life.

I don’t want to go away because I want to spend my Christmas here with her.

I want my teacher to give me another chance even though I plagiarized.

I have been good—and my surfboard broke.

I wish people would care more. The generation I’m in—what’s going to happen in the future?

I want to be motivated to do better with my life. I need something to scare me into focusing on school.

If my mom could just be cancer-free.

I wish I could have a better functioning immune system so I don’t always worry people.

I don’t want to ever get hurt again. I’ve learned my lesson.

During this time of year when some people get so selfish could you enlighten them and help them focus on what’s truly important.?

If you could give my father the gift of insight so he could actually see what’s going on and see the opportunity for change. And give my mom more hope and strength—especially on the days when she cries about the hug mess we’re in.

Please keep my family healthy—especially my brother and if you could just send an elf that looks like me to take my math final---the score doesn’t have to be perfect—even a 90 percent will do.

I could earn my own money to buy material things, so maybe if you could just help my parents get along like they used to—if they could just respect each other and learn how to act like adults.

People get more focused on the newest electronics and less interested in sheltering the homeless and feeding the hungry. If there’s anything I want for Christmas, it’s a change in this attitude; a change from the focus on oneself to the needs of others.

If you could help find a cure for cancer.

I don’t want any presents just a fresh start for my family because we have been struggling financially.

I know some people who need help so they won’t lose their home.

I want to be less vulnerable. I’ve been hurt too many times.

I need to stop being lazy and go to college and make something of myself. And could you help the girls realize that not all guys are the same?

I need a new beginning, something to help me change my life.

I want my mom to get out of jail and go to rehab. And if you can’t do that, can I please have a puppy?

All I ask is that my mother’s chemo goes well. She tries not to show it but it’s really hard. Help her get through this and end up stronger and better please.

Santa, I think I’ve got a lot of growing up to do.

Have a great holiday, scholars.
May we all find peace.

Sincerely, Miguel Paniagua Salsipuedes Cienfuegos Buenaventura

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

When you had your first kiss, the crows were there . . .

Count on Crows

March/April 2001

Ian Frazier DoubleTake (

Lately, I’ve been working for the crows, and so far it’s the best job I ever had. I fell into it by a combination of preparedness and luck. I’d been casting around a bit, looking for a new direction in my career, and one afternoon when I was out on my walk I happened to see some crows fly by. One of them landed on a telephone wire just above my head. I looked at him for a moment, and then on impulse I made a skchhh noise with my teeth and lips. He seemed to like that; I saw his tail make a quick upward bobbing motion at the sound. Encouraged, I made the noise again, and again his tail bobbed. He looked at me closely with one eye, then turned his beak and looked at me with the other, meanwhile readjusting his feet on the wire. After a few minutes, he cawed and flew off to join his companions. I had a good feeling I couldn’t put into words. Basically, I thought the meeting had gone well, and as it turned out, I was right. When I got home there was a message from the crows saying I had the job.

That first interview proved indicative of the crows’ business style. They are very informal and relaxed, unlike their public persona, and mostly they leave me alone. I’m given a general direction of what they want done, but the specifics of how to do it are up to me. For example, the crows have long been unhappy about public misperceptions of them: that they raid other birds’ nests, drive songbirds away, eat garbage and dead things, can’t sing, etc.—all of which is completely untrue once you know them. My first task was to take these misperceptions and turn them into a more positive image. I decided the crows needed a slogan that emphasized their strengths as a species. The slogan I came up with was Crows: We Want to Be Your Only Bird.™ I told this to the crows, they loved it, and we’ve been using it ever since.

Crows speak a dialect of English rather like that of the remote hill people of the Alleghenies. If you’re not accustomed to it, it can be hard to understand. In their formal speech they are as measured and clear as a radio announcer from the Midwest—though, as I say, they are seldom formal with me. (For everyday needs, of course, they caw.) Their unit of money is the empty soda bottle, which trades at a rate of about 20 to the dollar. In the recent years of economic boom, the crows have quietly amassed great power. With investment capital based on their nationwide control of everything that gets run over on the roads, they have bought a number of major companies. Pepsi-Cola is now owned by the crows, as well as Knight Ridder newspapers and the company that makes Tombstone frozen pizzas. The New York Metropolitan Opera is now wholly crow-owned.

In order to stay competitive, the crows recently merged with the ravens. This was done not only for reasons of growth but also to better serve those millions who live and work near crows. In the future, both crows and ravens will be known by the group name of Crows, so if you see a bird and wonder which it is, you don’t have to waste any time: Officially and legally, it’s a crow. The net result of this, of course, is that now there are a lot more crows—which is exactly what the crows want. Studies they’ve sponsored show that there could be anywhere from 10 to a thousand times more crows than there already are, with no strain on carrying capacity. A healthy increase in crow numbers would make basic services like cawing loudly outside your bedroom window at six in the morning available to all. In this area, as in many others, the crows are thinking very long term.

If more people in the future get a chance to know crows as I have done, they are in for a real treat. Because I must say, the crows have been absolutely wonderful to me. I like them not just as highly profitable business associates but as friends. Their aggressive side, admittedly quite strong in disputes with scarlet tanagers and other birds, has been nowhere in evidence around me. I could not wish for any companions more charming. The other day I was having lunch with an important crow in the park—me sipping from a drinking fountain while he ate peanuts taken from a squirrel. In between sharp downward raps of his bill on the peanut shell to poke it open, he drew me out with seemingly artless questions. Sometimes the wind would push the shell to one side and he would steady it with one large foot while continuing the raps with his beak. And all the while, he kept up his attentive questioning, making me feel that, business considerations aside, he was truly interested in what I had to say.

Crows: We Want to Be Your Only Bird.™ I think this slogan is worth repeating, because there’s a lot behind it. Of course, the crows don’t literally want (or expect) to be the only species of bird left on the planet. They admire and enjoy other kinds of birds and even hope that there will still be some remaining in limited numbers out of doors as well as in zoos and museums. But in terms of daily usage, the crows hope that you will think of them first when you’re looking for those quality-of-life intangibles usually associated with birds. Singing, for example: Crows actually can sing, and beautifully, too; so far, however, they have not been given the chance. In the future, with fewer other birds around, they feel that they will be.

Whether they’re good-naturedly harassing an owl caught out in daylight, or carrying bits of sticks and used gauze bandage in their beaks to make their colorful, free-form nests, or simply landing on the sidewalk in front of you with their characteristic double hop, the crows have become a part of the fabric of our days. When you had your first kiss, the crows were there, flying around nearby. They were cawing overhead at your college graduation, and worrying a hamburger wrapper through the wire mesh of a trash container in front of the building when you went in for your first job interview, and flapping past the door of the hospital where you held your first-born child. The crows have always been with us, and they promise that by growing the species at a predicted rate of 17 percent a year, in the future they’ll be around even more.

The crows aren’t the last Siberian tigers, and they don’t pretend to be. They’re not interested in being a part of anybody’s dying tradition. But then how many of us deal with Siberian tigers on a regular basis? Usually, the nontech stuff we deal with—besides humans—is squirrels, pigeons, raccoons, rats, mice, and a few kinds of bugs. The crows are confident enough to claim that they will be able to compete effectively even with these familiar and well-entrenched providers. Indeed, they have already begun to displace pigeons in the category of walking around under park benches with chewing gum stuck to their feet. Scampering nervously in attics, sneaking through pet doors, and gnawing little holes in things are all in the crows’ expansion plans.

I would not have taken this job if I did not believe, strongly and deeply, in the crows. And I do. I could go on and on about the crows’ generosity, taste in music, sense of family values; the 'buddy system' they invented to use against other birds, the work they do for the Shriners, and more. But they’re paying me a lot of bottles to say this—I can’t expect everybody to believe me. I do ask, if you’re unconvinced, that you take this simple test: Next time you’re looking out a window or driving in a car, notice if there’s a crow in sight. Then multiply that one crow by lots and lots of crows, and you’ll get an idea of what the next few years will bring. In the bird department, no matter what, the future is going to be almost all crows, almost all the time. That’s just a fact.

So why not just accept it, and learn to appreciate it, as so many of us have already? The crows are going to influence our culture and our world in beneficial ways we can’t even imagine today. Much of what they envision I am not yet at liberty to disclose, but I can tell you that it is magnificent. They are going to be birds like we’ve never seen. In their dark, jewel-like eyes burns an ambition to be more and better and to fly around all over the place constantly. They’re smart, they’re driven, and they’re comin’ at us. The crows : Let’s get ready to welcome tomorrow’s only bird.

FromDoubleTake(Fall 2000). Subscriptions: $32/yr. (4 issues) from Box 56070, Boulder, CO 80322-6070.

“Count on Crows” (some questions)

A) Describe this text. Fiction or non-fiction? Genre? Who wrote it? In what magazine or on what website did it appear? When? How many paragraphs?
B) Describe the first sentence of this piece? On what does it depend for its effectiveness?
C) Describe the vivid visual and auditory imagery in the first paragraph. What purpose does it serve?
D) At what point might the reader decide that this is not exactly realistic fiction? If it’s not realistic, then what is it? How does one describe it?
E) In what way does the content of the second paragraph contradict itself? Explain. What does this reveal about the crows? About the narrator?
F) Describe the content and the language register of the third and fourth paragraph? In what context might such language appear? Describe the effect of using this type of language to discuss the crows.
G) Paragraphs 5 and 6 (and again quite notably paragraph 9) seem to be an effort on the part of the narrator to try to convince himself of something as much as to convince the reader. Explain. What might the narrator have doubts about? Is it the reader reassured by these efforts?
H) Review your answers above and characterize the narrator. What label would you apply to his professional role? His services? What kind of person might he be? What can we infer about his values and goals?
I) One reader described the imagery in paragraph 7 as “haunting.” Why might this be a good description? Why is the imagery in this paragraph so effective?
J) Some readers describe the last paragraphs, (or this whole piece) as dark and ominous. Are these descriptions accurate? What details support this assessment?
K) What if this whole piece were read as a fable or parable? What might the relationship between the crows and the narrator represent? What, in other words, is this text saying figuratively?
L) Now use the best insights from your answers to the above questions and compose a two or three paragraph response to this text.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

From the MLA handbook


Derived from the Latin word plagiarius (“kidnapper”), to plagiarize means “to commit literary theft” and to “present as new and original an idea or product derived from an existing source” (Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary [11th ed.; 2003; print]). Plagiarism involves two kinds of wrongs. Using another person’s ideas, information, or expressions without acknowledging that person’s work constitutes intellectual theft. Passing off another person’s ideas, information, or expressions as your own to get a better grade or gain some other advantage constitutes fraud. Plagiarism is sometimes a moral and ethical offense rather than a legal one since some instances of plagiarism fall outside the scope of copyright infringement, a legal offense (see 2.7.4).


A complex society that depends on well-informed citizens strives to maintain high standards of quality and reliability for documents that are publicly circulated and used in government, business, industry, the professions, higher education, and the media. Because research has the power to affect opinions and actions, responsible writers compose their work with great care. They specify when they refer to another author’s ideas, facts, and words, whether they want to agree with, object to, or analyze the source. This kind of documentation not only recognizes the work writers do; it also tends to discourage the circulation of error, by inviting readers to determine for themselves whether a reference to another text presents a reasonable account of what that text says. Plagiarists undermine these important public values. Once detected, plagiarism in a work provokes skepticism and even outrage among readers, whose trust in the author has been broken.

The charge of plagiarism is a serious one for all writers. Plagiarists are often seen as incompetent—incapable of developing and expressing their own thoughts—or, worse, dishonest, willing to deceive others for personal gain. When professional writers, such as journalists, are exposed as plagiarists, they are likely to lose their jobs, and they are certain to suffer public embarrassment and loss of prestige. Almost always, the course of a writer’s career is permanently affected by a single act of plagiarism. The serious consequences of plagiarism reflect the value the public places on trustworthy information.

Students exposed as plagiarists may suffer severe penalties, ranging from failure in the assignment or in the course to expulsion from school. This is because student plagiarism does considerable harm. For one thing, it damages teachers’ relationships with students, turning teachers into detectives instead of mentors and fostering suspicion instead of trust. By undermining institutional standards for assigning grades and awarding degrees, student plagiarism also becomes a matter of significance to the public. When graduates’ skills and knowledge fail to match their grades, an institution’s reputation is damaged. For example, no one would choose to be treated by a physician who obtained a medical degree by fraud. Finally, students who plagiarize harm themselves. They lose an important opportunity to learn how to write a research paper. Knowing how to collect and analyze information and reshape it in essay form is essential to academic success. This knowledge is also required in a wide range of careers in law, journalism, engineering, public policy, teaching, business, government, and not-for-profit organizations.

Plagiarism betrays the personal element in writing as well. Discussing the history of copyright, Mark Rose notes the tie between our writing and our sense of self—a tie that, he believes, influenced the idea that a piece of writing could belong to the person who wrote it. Rose says that our sense of ownership of the words we write “is deeply rooted in our conception of ourselves as individuals with at least a modest grade of singularity, some degree of personality” (Authors and Owners: The Invention of Copyright [Cambridge: Harvard UP, 1993; print; 142]). Gaining skill as a writer opens the door to learning more about yourself and to developing a personal voice and approach in your writing. It is essential for all student writers to understand how to avoid committing plagiarism.


Innumerable documents on a host of subjects are posted on the Web apparently for the purpose of being shared. The availability of research materials and the ease of transmitting, modifying, and using them have influenced the culture of the Internet, where the free exchange of information is an ideal. In this sea of materials, some students may question the need to acknowledge the authorship of individual documents. Professional writers, however, have no doubt about the matter. They recognize the importance of documentation whether they base their research on print or electronic publications. And so they continue to cite their sources and to mark the passages they quote.

In the culture of the academy, too, the free exchange of information is a long-standing ideal. Under certain circumstances, this ideal is described as academic freedom. But nothing about academic freedom or the free exchange of information implies ignoring authorship. Academic standards require all writers to acknowledge the authors whose work they use when preparing papers and other kinds of studies and reports.

New technologies have made information easier to locate and obtain, but research projects only begin with identifying and collecting source material. The essential intellectual tasks of a research project have not changed. These tasks call for a student to understand the published facts, ideas, and insights about a subject and to integrate them with the student’s own views on the topic. To achieve this goal, student writers must rigorously distinguish between what they borrow and what they create.

As information sharing has become easier, so has plagiarism. For instance, on the Internet it is possible to buy and download completed research papers. Some students are misinformed about buying research papers, on the Internet or on campus. They believe that if they buy a paper, it belongs to them, and therefore they can use the ideas, facts, sentences, and paragraphs in it, free from any worry about plagiarism. Buying a paper, however, is the same as buying a book or a magazine. You own the physical copy of the book or magazine, which you may keep in your bookcase, give to a friend, or sell. And you may use whatever you learn from reading it in your own writing. But you are never free from the obligation to let your readers know the source of the ideas, facts, words, or sentences you borrow. Publications are a special kind of property. You can own them physically, but the publisher or author retains rights to the content. You should also know that purchased papers are readily recognizable, and teachers can often trace downloaded materials through an Internet search.


You have plagiarized if:

-you took notes that did not distinguish summary and paraphrase from quotation and then you presented wording from the notes as if it were all your own.
-while browsing the Web, you copied text and pasted it into your paper without quotation marks or without citing the source.
-you repeated or paraphrased someone’s wording without acknowledgment.
-you took someone’s unique or particularly apt phrase without acknowledgment.
-you paraphrased someone’s argument or presented someone’s line of thought without acknowledgment.
-you bought or otherwise acquired a research paper and handed in part or all of it as your own.

You can avoid plagiarism by:

-making a list of the writers and viewpoints you discovered in your research and using this list to double-check the presentation of material in your paper.
-keeping the following three categories distinct in your notes: your ideas, your summaries of others’ material, and exact wording you copy.
-identifying the sources of all material you borrow—exact wording, paraphrases, ideas, arguments, and facts.
-checking with your instructor when you are uncertain about your use of sources.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

poem of the week


I, too, dislike it: there are things that are important beyond
all this fiddle.
Reading it, however, with a perfect contempt for it, one
discovers in
it after all, a place for the genuine.
Hands that can grasp, eyes
that can dilate, hair that can rise
if it must, these things are important not because a

high-sounding interpretation can be put upon them but because
they are
useful. When they become so derivative as to become
the same thing may be said for all of us, that we
do not admire what
we cannot understand: the bat
holding on upside down or in quest of something to

eat, elephants pushing, a wild horse taking a roll, a tireless
wolf under
a tree, the immovable critic twitching his skin like a horse
that feels a flea, the base-
ball fan, the statistician--
nor is it valid
to discriminate against "business documents and

school-books"; all these phenomena are important. One must make
a distinction
however: when dragged into prominence by half poets, the
result is not poetry,
nor till the poets among us can be
"literalists of
the imagination"--above
insolence and triviality and can present

for inspection, "imaginary gardens with real toads in them,"
shall we have
it. In the meantime, if you demand on the one hand,
the raw material of poetry in
all its rawness and
that which is on the other hand
genuine, you are interested in poetry.

From The Complete Poems of Marianne Moore. Copyright © 1961 Marianne Moore, © renewed 1989 by Lawrence E. Brinn and Louise Crane, executors of the Estate of Marianne Moore.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Poem of the Week


The glass does not break because it is glass,
Said the philosopher. The glass could stay
Unbroken forever, shoved back in a dark closet,
Slowly weeping itself, a colorless liquid.
The glass breaks because somebody drops it
From a height — a grip stunned open by bad news
Or laughter. A giddy sweep of grand gesture
Or fluttering nerves might knock it off the table —
Or perhaps wine emptied from it, into the blood,
Has numbed the fingers. It breaks because it falls
Into the arms of the earth — that grave attraction.
It breaks because it meets the floor's surface,
Which is solid and does not give. It breaks because
It is dropped, and falls hard, because it hits
Bottom, and because nobody catches it.

A. E. Stallings
TriQuarterly Books

CRQs chapter 9 of The Great Gatsby

English 11
Gatsby Ch. 9

Answer all parts of the following questions. Write your answers on your own piece of paper in complete sentences/paragraphs. Staple your answers to this sheet when you turn it in.

The first three words of Chapter 9 remind us of the narrator’s relationship to the events described in the novel. (When was he writing and where? When and where did the events of the novel occur? Explain.

The police, Michaelis and Catherine provided the information for the press. How did the story play out in the papers? What does this reveal about larger questions—questions about narrators and knowledge of events?

Describe Gatsby’s father and his response to the events.

How is Nick able to finally get through to Meyer Wolfsheim? What is revealed in this conversation?

About what does Gatsby’s father say, “It just shows you, don’t it?” What does he mean? What other object does his father show/carry around with him?

Describe Gatsby’s funeral. Who attends?

“I see now that this has been a story of the West, after all. . .”(184). What is Nick trying to explain in this passage?

Describe Nick’s last conversation with Jordan Baker and (separately) Tom Buchanan. How does the content of these contribute to our understanding of the first few pages of the novel?

Why does Nick imagine seeing Long Island through the eyes of “Dutch sailors”? (189)

“He did not know that it was already behind him, somewhere back in that vast obscurity beyond the city, where the dark fields of the republic rolled on under the night” (189). What is Nick talking about here? What does this mean? What is the antecedent of the pronoun “it?” Why is it behind him? In what ways is this true?

CRQs chapter 8 of The Great Gatsby

English 11
Gatsby Ch. 8

Answer all parts of the following questions in complete sentences/paragraphs on your own piece of paper. The first questions are the most complex—be sure you make an effort to do the required interpretive work.

Nick tells us that it was on this morning, the morning after Myrtle’s death, that Gatsby talks about his youth with Dan Cody because “‘Jay Gatsby’ had broken up like glass against Ton’s hard malice and the long secret extravaganza was played out” (155). Why does he put “Jay Gatsby” in quotes? What has “broken like glass?” What does that mean? What is this “long secret extravaganza” that “has played out”? What does this mean?

“In any case,” he said, “it was just personal” (160). Who says this? What is he talking about? What does Nick say about it as he tries to figure out what the man meant? What does his explanation mean?

What was Nick talking about when he asserts, “I’ve always been glad I said that. It was the only compliment I ever gave him, because I disapproved of him from beginning to end” (162). How can both what he said and the disapproval part both be true? What lines from the first few pages of chapter 1 might be recalled here?

On 162-3 Nick gets a personal phone call at work. From whom? How does it go? How does it end?

How did George Wilson begin to suspect his wife’s affair with Tom Buchanan? How does the reader learn this?

“That’s an advertisement” (167). Who says this? In response to what statement? What does this mean?

Describe Gatsby’s last afternoon? What was he doing at the end? What was he waiting for?

How does Gatsby meet his end? What about Wilson?

Thursday, October 27, 2011

CELP (Catalina Environmental Leadership Program)

image from the Poseidon Academy field trip 24 October 2011

Poem of the week. "Tergvinder's Stone" by W. S. Merwin

Tergvinder's Stone

One time my friend Tergvinder brought a large round boulder into his living room. He rolled it up the steps with the help of some two-by-fours, and when he got it out into the middle of the room, where some people have coffee tables (though he had never had one there himself) he left it. He said that was where it belonged.

It is really a plain-looking stone. Not as large as Plymouth Rock by a great deal, but then it does not have all the claims of a big shaky promotion campaign to support. That was one of the things Tergvinder said about it. He made no claims at all for it, he said. It was other people who called it Tergvinder's Stone. All he said was that according to him it belonged there.

His dog took to peeing on it, which created a problem (Tergvinder had not moved the carpet before he got the stone to where he said it belonged). Their tomcat took to squirting it too. His wife fell over it quite often at first and it did not help their already strained marriage. Tergvinder said there was nothing to be done about it. It was in the order of things. That was a phrase he seldom employed, and never when he conceived that there was any room left for doubt.

He confided in me that he often woke in the middle of the night, troubled by the ancient, nameless ills of the planet, and got up quietly not to wake his wife, and walked through the house naked, without turning on any lights. He said that at such times he found himself listening, listening, aware of how some shapes in the darkness emitted low sounds like breathing, as they never did by day. He said he had become aware of a hole in the darkness in the middle of the living room, and out of that hole a breathing, a mournful dissatisfied sound of an absence waiting for what belonged to it, for something it had never seen and could not conceive of, but without which it could not rest. It was a sound, Tergvinder said, that touched him with fellow-feeling, and he had undertaken - oh, without saying anything to anybody - to assuage, if he could, that wordless longing that seemed always on the verge of despair. How to do it was another matter, and for months he had circled the problem, night and day, without apparently coming any closer to a solution. Then one day he had seen the stone. It had been there all the time at the bottom of his drive, he said, and he had never really seen it. Never recognized it for what it was. The nearer to the house he had got it, the more certain he had become. The stone had rolled into its present place like a lost loved one falling into arms that have long ached for it.

Tergvinder says that now on nights when he walks through the dark house he comes and stands in the living room doorway and listens to the peace in the middle of the floor. He knows it size, its weight, the touch of it, something of what is thought of it. He knows that it is peace. As he listens, some hint of that peace touches him too. Often, after a while, he steps down into the living room and goes and kneels beside the stone and they converse for hours in silence - a silence broken only by the sound of his own breathing.

W. S. Merwin


CRQs Gatsby chapter 6 and 7

English 11
Gatsby Chapter 6 and 7

While working on Gatsby in 1924, Fitzgerald wrote, “That’s the whole burden of this novel—the loss of illusions that give such color to the world so that you don’t care whether things are true or false as long as the partake of the magical glory.”
(from Brucoli’s preface to the novel)

When did Gatsby tell Nick his real background? Who was Cody? What was Gatsby’s relationship with him? Who was Ella Kaye? Where was Gastby really from?

Explain the visit by the party on horseback to Gatsby’s house. What is revealed by this incident? How do they treat Gatsby? Does he realize this? How does he respond? How does Nick describe it?

When the Buchanans actually go to a Gatsby party, how do things proceed? What’s up with the polo player comments? Why does Daisy give Tom a pencil and notebook?

Reread pages 116 and 117. Does Gatsby think you can repeat the past? In what sense? What does he seem to want from Daisy? What does Nick seem to think of this?

Why does Gatsby’s house go dark and silent rather suddenly? Why the change of staff?

Nick is invited to the Buchanan’s for another gathering in Chapter 7. How does this party proceed? The weather? Plans? Phone calls? Blessed Precious? Passing through the valley of ashes? Significance of what is taking place in the ballroom below? Biloxi? “The transition from libertine to prig”?

“Oh you want too much!” Who says this and what does it mean?

Why is the car arrangement important in this chapter?

How is the accident scene revealed? By whom? What happened?

CRQs Gatsby chapter5

English 11
Gatsby ch. 5

While working on Gatsby in 1924, Fitzgerald wrote, “That’s the whole burden of this novel—the loss of illusions that give such color to the world so that you don’t care whether things are true or false as long as the partake of the magical glory.”

1) Describe Gatsby’s plan to finally meet Daisy. What does Gatsby offer in exchange for his participation? How does Nick feel about this?

2)“He had passed visibly through two states and was entering upon a third” (97). Who is described here? What two states? What is the third?

3)What is up with the shirts? Why is Daisy crying?

4) “His count of enchanted objects had diminished by one” (98). At what point does Nick make this judgement? Why? What does this mean? Is this a happy moment or sad?

5) Who is Ewing Klipspringer? What’s he doing here? What song does he play?

6) “ . . . not through her own fault . . . . It had gone beyond her, beyond everything”(101). What is not her own fault? What is this passage about? What is the antecedent for the pronount “It”? Is this related to question #4? If so, how?

CRQs Gatsby chapter 4

English 11
Gatsby Chapter 4

Explain the description of Gatsby’s car. “Everybody had seen it,” Nick says. What does this suggest?

How well does Nick know Gatsby at this point (page 68)?

What is unusual about the way Gatsby tells Nick about his life? What are some of the significant details?

Who is Meyer Wolfsheim? Why does he appear in the text? About whom do we learn something when we meet Wolfsheim?

What story does Jordan tell on page 79-83? Why does the story go back to 1917? What missing pieces of the story are being filled in here?

On page 83, Nick asserts, “It was a strange coincidence.” Jordan tells him, “But it wasn’t a coincidence at all.” What are they talking about? Why does Jordan think it wasn’t a coincidence? Where did she learn this? What does Gatsby want Nick to do?

CRQs Gatsby chapter 3

Engish 11

Gatsby Chapter 3

Describe the preparations for Gatsby’s party.

Nick, who claims he resists the temptation to judge people, describes differences between himself an other party guests. What distinctions does he describe? What status does he claim for himself?

Who is “owl eyes”? Where do Nick and Jordan find him? What is he doing? Why does he care about this?

Describe the way in which Nick first meets Gatsby.

Explain Gatsby’s smile. How is it described? What powers does it seem to have?

“Anyhow he gives large parties,” said Jordan, changing the subject with an urban distaste for the concrete. “And I like large parties. They’re so intimate. At small parties there isn’t any privacy” (54). Is this a paradox? What is a paradox? What does Jordan mean?

Who is told that she should ‘sing the notes on her face’? Describe the scene in which this appears. It’s after two in the morning and Jordan has gone to talk to Gatsby. What does Nick see during this waiting period?

Owl Eyes appears again outside Gatsby’s house after the party has broken up. What happens? Why is the conversation hard to follow?

Nick concludes the chapter with a narrative intrusion in which he “reads over” what he has “written so far” (60). What is revealed in this passage? About him? About Jordan Baker?

Thursday, October 20, 2011

poem of the week (because it is important that awake people be awake)

A Ritual to Read to Each Other

If you don't know the kind of person I am
and I don't know the kind of person you are
a pattern that others made may prevail in the world
and following the wrong god home we may miss our star.

For there is many a small betrayal in the mind,
a shrug that lets the fragile sequence break
sending with shouts the horrible errors of childhood
storming out to play through the broken dyke.

And as elephants parade holding each elephant's tail,
but if one wanders the circus won't find the park,
I call it cruel and maybe the root of all cruelty
to know what occurs but not recognize the fact.

And so I appeal to a voice, to something shadowy,
a remote important region in all who talk:
though we could fool each other, we should consider—
lest the parade of our mutual life get lost in the dark.

For it is important that awake people be awake,
or a breaking line may discourage them back to sleep;
the signals we give—yes or no, or maybe—
should be clear: the darkness around us is deep.

—William Stafford

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

My Name assignment.


Read the original "My Name" passage by Sandra Cisneros. Annotate. Note organization, (summarize each brief paragraph) note use of vivid imagery and emotional content rescued from abstraction by means of such imagery.

Read the "My Name" sample written by Michael. Note how closely he follows the original.

Write your own.

My Name

In English my name means hope. In Spanish it means too many letters. It means sadness, it means waiting. It is like the number nine. A muddy color. It is the Mexican records my father plays on Sunday mornings when he is shaving, songs like sobbing.

It was my great-grandmother's name and now it is mine. She was a horse woman too, born like me in the Chinese year of the horse--which is supposed to be bad luck if you're born female-but I think this is a Chinese lie because the Chinese, like the Mexicans, don't like their women strong.

My great-grandmother. I would've liked to have known her, a wild, horse of a woman, so wild she wouldn't marry. Until my great-grandfather threw a sack over her head and carried her off. Just like that, as if she were a fancy chandelier. That's the way he did it.

And the story goes she never forgave him. She looked out the window her whole life, the way so many women sit their sadness on an elbow. I wonder if she made the best with what she got or was she sorry because she couldn't be all the things she wanted to be. Esperanza. I have inherited her name, but I don't want to inherit her place by the window.

At school they say my name funny as if the syllables were made out of tin and hurt the roof of your mouth. But in Spanish my name is made out of a softer something, like silver, not quite as thick as sister's name Magdalena--which is uglier than mine. Magdalena who at least- -can come home and become Nenny. But I am always Esperanza.

I would like to baptize myself under a new name, a name more like the real me, the one nobody sees. Esperanza as Lisandra or Maritza or Zeze the X. Yes. Something like Zeze the X will do.

-Sandra Cisneros
From House on Mango Street

My Name (modeled after Sandra Cisneros)

My name comes from the Bible. My mom explained to me that it was the name of an angel. Michael, it seems, was not just an ordinary angel, but an archangel. If Jesus sits at the right hand of God, she said, then the archangels probably sit at the right hand of Jesus. My name doesn’t feel like any of that religious stuff, though. It feels more like sitting on the toolbox in the garage and getting up to pass tools to my father when he sticks his left hand out from under the car.

It was my grandfather’s name and now it’s mine. He was an Orange County sheriff’s deputy who had played football for Santa Ana High School. On the wall in my dad’s office there is a newspaper clipping from the 1930’s that describes my grandfather as “the biggest high school football player in the country.” He was a big guy. But still. People must have been smaller back then.

I wish the heart in his big old body had not quit when I was so young. I wish I could have talked to him more. Or listened. He used to sit in his creaky old chair and smoke his pipe. He didn’t talk much and he put ketchup on his fried eggs.

My grandma used to say that we needed to pray for him. He put up with that most of the time but my dad says comments like that made him want to go to the lodge more often. My mom says the same thing about me to my brother and sister. Or she did before she died. If Grandpa Mike were still alive, we could sit on the porch and I think we’d understand each other without saying much at all.

At first only my family called me Michael; everybody else called me Mike. Then I had this girlfriend. It felt pretty good to hear her say Michael this and Michael that. The way she said it. Before long I started signing my name Michael instead of Mike. My brother, I call him Steven, still goes by Steve, but now almost everybody calls me Michael.

My mom’s name was Ilene. When she died in July, on the day before her birthday, I didn’t want to hear anybody but my brother or my sister or my father say my name for a few days. It felt like the sound of my name had been bent or broken. And somehow, now, I don’t seem to care too much any more if people call me Michael or Mike.

Friday, September 30, 2011

for APEng lang/comp scholars during fall break

AP Lang/Comp
Gatsby Chapter 1

Some content questions:

• Who is our narrator? Where is he from? Where did he go to school? What is he doing now? What has he done in the interim?
• What is West Egg? East Egg? What is the difference between them?
• Who is Tom Buchanan? How is he described? (Physically and otherwise?)
• Who is Daisy? How is she described? Why is her laugh described? What is its effect? What are her first words in the novel? What might this mean?
• Who is the other girl at the party? How is she characterized?
• Other human beings are present. Are they described as such? Why or Why not?

Close reading:

What are the first things our narrator reveals about himself? (pages 5-7) Think carefully about what he reveals and what it might mean. What’s all this about his father’s advice and his summary of how others understood him? Is he consistent? And then his statement about personality: “a series of unbroken gestures”? What does that mean? And his cryptic remarks about the title character: “unaffected scorn. . . something gorgeous about him . . . all right in the end” What might all this mean?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Questions to accompany "Targets of Aggression" by David Barash

AP English Language and Composition mcrawford
12 sets of questions to accompany “Targets of Aggression” by David Barash
(from the 5 Oct. 2007 issue of The Chronicle of Higher Ed.)

1. With what literary examples does Barash open his essay? How does he make use of these examples?

2. Which paragraph or paragraphs mark the transition from literary examples and introduction to the attempts by scientists to understand stress and misdirected aggression? How does Barash signal this transition?

3. Explain what has come of the experiments with rats. Are the conclusions drawn reasonable?

4. Why, at the close of the information about the experiments with the rats, does the writer put the words “good” and “natural” in quotes?

5. After brief mention of the town of Banja Luka in Bosnia as an example, Barash asks us to consider another more recent example. Explain. Why does he see this as misdirected aggression?

6. After the above example, he returns to the research of physiologists. What does he explain?

7. What is a scapegoat? What does the price of cotton example reveal?

8. Reconsider justice? Explain.

9. “Modern science may even owe its existence to scapegoating”? Explain.

10. What “difficult questions” arise from what Barash brings together in this article?

11. Why do you think he closes with a review of some religious ideas? Why the quote by Chesterton? What does it mean? What does it do for the essay?

12. What does he seem to be holding onto in the final sentence? What does he mean by “bio-logic?” What does this conclusion have to do with the concerns of question #4 above?

Monday, September 19, 2011

sentences about tomatoes.

Sentence Structures

simple sentence: one independent clause (must have at least a subject and verb and express a complete thought)
ex: I like tomatoes.
compound sentence: two or more independent clauses
ex: I like tomatoes and I eat them often.
complex sentence: one independent clause and one or more dependent clauses
ex: I like tomatoes that are organically grown.
compound-complex sentence: two or more independent clauses and at least one dependent clause.
ex: I like tomatoes and I eat them often, but only if they are organically grown.

Sentence Types (in terms of purpose)

Declarative—makes a statement: I eat tomatoes.
Imperative—gives a command: Eat that tomato right now.
Interrogative—asks a question: Who can resist tomatoes?
Exclamatory—for emphasis—makes an exclamation: This tomato is delicious!

Sentence Styles

Periodic—begins w/subordinate elements, postpones main clause. (builds suspense?)
ex: Now truly depressed and sadly glancing at the trashcans while thinking, “here is a metaphor for my meaningless life,” he vowed to never again go a day without tomatoes.
Loose sentence—subordinate elements come at the end to call attention to them.
ex: He lost interest in school, sports, even tomatoes, caring only about the number of “friends” he had gathered on myspace.
Interrupted sentence—subordinate elements in the middle, often using dashes.
ex: Mikey—after months of eating only tomatoes while locked in his room—ran away with a girl he met online who shared his love of the delicious red fruit.
Parallel Structure—repeated grammatical structures.
ex: We must not ignore the schools without access to quality books, the children without access to quality healthcare, and the honest citizens without access to organic tomatoes.
Balanced sentences—grammatically parallel components balanced against each other.
ex: Outside of a dog a book is man’s best friend; inside of a dog it’s too dark to read. (Groucho) ex2: His garden was well-tended and full of tomatoes but his brain was neglected and bereft of ideas.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Crucible Act 3 CRQs

English 11
The Crucible CRQs Act 3

A) When and where does Miller set Act 3? How does he set the scene? How does he describe the room? How might the set contribute to the tone of this part of the play?
B) How does Miller describe Judge Hathorne and Judge Danforth?
C) Explain Hathorne’s logic as he questions Martha Corey. When she denies knowing anything about witchcraft, how does Hathorne respond? Does this make sense? What does this reveal?
D) Who does Proctor bring to the court? What does she say? How does Danforth respond?
E) “Plow on Sunday!” (95) What does this mean? Who says it and why? What is being discussed?
F) What does Parris say about Cain and Abel? Why? What is his point?
G) Danforth reveals that Elizabeth Proctor has claimed to be pregnant. He then offers John Proctor a kind of deal. What does he offer? How does Proctor respond? Why does he respond in this way? What does Danforth mean then when he says, “Then your purpose is somewhat larger.” (97)
H) What happens when John Proctor and Francis Nurse submit a “testament” signed by 91 people? Who are these people and why did they sign this document? How does Danforth respond to this document? What does he decide to do with these people?
I) What kind of document does Giles Corey try to submit to the court? What happens to him?
J) Describe Reverend Hale’s changing sense of what’s happening. How does he feel about Rebecca Nurse having been condemned? (see page 104)
K) On page 105 Danforth explains the logic of his procedure for investigating witchcraft. How does he see it? What might be the problem with this logic?
L) How does Abigail respond to the content of Mary Warren’s deposition? When she does this how does John Proctor respond?
M) Near the end of this act, Elizabeth is brought in and questioned. In the end she lies. What does she lie about? Why? What will happen now as a result of this?
N) Why does Hale quit the court?

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Poem of the Week by Thomas Lux

The Voice You Hear When You Read Silently

is not silent, it is a speaking-
out-loud voice in your head: it is spoken,
a voice is saying it
as you read. It's the writer's words,
of course, in a literary sense
his or her voice, but the sound
of that voice is the sound of your voice.
Not the sound your friends know
or the sound of a tape played back
but your voice
caught in the dark cathedral
of your skull, your voice heard
by an internal ear informed by internal abstracts
and what you know by feeling,
having felt. It is your voice
saying, for example, the word barn
that the writer wrote
but the barn you say
is a barn you know or knew. The voice
in your head, speaking as you read,
never says anything neutrally — some people
hated the barn they knew,
some people love the barn they know
so you hear the word loaded
and a sensory constellation
is lit: horse-gnawed stalls,
hayloft, black heat tape wrapping
a water pipe, a slippery
spilled chirr of oats from a split sack,
the bony, filthy haunches of cows. . . .
And barn is only a noun — no verb
or subject has entered into the sentence yet!
The voice you hear when you read to yourself
is the clearest voice: you speak it
speaking to you.

Thomas Lux
The New Yorker 14 July 1997

CRQs Act 2 The Crucible

Interesting poster from a performance in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

English 11
The Crucible CRQ Act 2

A) When and where does Miller set Act 2? How does he set the scene? How does he describe the room. What takes place—before any of the dialogue—that might help an attentive audience understand the relationship between the Proctors?
B) Copy down two or three sentences that reveal how Proctor’s earlier indiscretion with Abigail still hangs over the relationship between Proctor and his wife.
C) What differences are there between the court’s disposition toward Goody Osburn and its disposition toward Goody Good? Of what are they accused? Why will one hang but not the other?
D) “I saved her life today!” (page 63) Who says this? About whom? What is then revealed? What, after learning this, does Elizabeth Proctor urge her husband to do?
E) Rev. Hale comes to visit then “without the court’s authority.” Why has he come? What does he want to know about the Proctors? How does he go about investigating this?
F) What does Proctor say about “golden candlesticks”? What does he mean?
G) Which of the Ten Commandments does Proctor fail to remember? Is this significant? Why? Or why not?
H) How does Rev. Hale respond when Proctor reveals that Abigail told him that this all “had naught to do with witchcraft?”
I) When Giles Corey and Francis Nurse come in we learn that others have been accused and arrested. Who? How does Hale respond? How does Proctor respond? Elizabeth?
J) Explain why the doll (the poppet) plays such an important role. Who made it? To whom was it given? Why does Cheever get so worked up about it?
K) Why is Mary Warren scared to testify about the poppet? What does she tell Proctor to persuade him not to testify against Abigail? How does Proctor respond?
L) What does Proctor seem willing to do as the curtain falls on Act 2?

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

AP students. CRQs for "What Me? Showing Off?" by Judith Viorst

(the essay appears on page 108 of your Patterns of Exposition text.

A) Who wrote this essay? Where is she from? Where did she go to school?

B) Where did this essay first appear? For what kind of audience was it written?

C) Your editors describe this essay as having a "breezy, humorous" tone but with a more serious purpose. What is the serious purpose?

D) What major rhetorical strategy does the writer of this essay employ? (hint: in what section if your text does it appear?)

E) What is an NSO? A CSO?

F) In what paragraph does the writer explicitly state her thesis? What is her thesis?

G) In paragraph 17 the writer describes a "Phi Beta Kappa key gleaming in the cleavage." What kind of showing off is this? What message is being sent?

H) In the penultimate paragraph the writer quotes Lord Chesterfield. Why? What was Chesterfields advice to his sons?

I) In the final paragraph the writer does what might be described as a call to action. What does she suggest we do (or not do)?

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Reading is an act of resistance (but then you're reading this online, right?)

"Reading is an act of resistance in a landscape of distraction.... It requires us to pace ourselves. It returns us to a reckoning with time. In the midst of a book, we have no choice but to be patient, to take each thing in its moment, to let the narrative prevail. We regain the world by withdrawing from it just a little, by stepping back from the noise."

-David Ulin

Read the article in which this passage is quoted here in the Independent.

Monday, August 29, 2011

it's the poem of the week.

Last Trip to the Island

You're mad that I can't love the ocean,

but I've come to this world landlocked
and some bodies feel permanently strange.
Like any foreign language, study it too late and
it never sticks. Anyway,

we're here aren't we? —
trudging up the sand, the water churning
its constant horny noise, an openmouthed heavy

breathing made more unnerving by
the presence of all these families, the toddlers

with their chapped bottoms, the fathers
in gigantic trunks spreading out their dopey
circus-colored gear.

How can anyone relax
near something so worked up all the time?

I know the ocean is glamorous,
but the hypnosis, the dilated pull of it, feels

impossible to resist. And what better reason to
resist? I'm most comfortable in

a field, a yellow-eared patch
of cereal, whose quiet rustling argues for
the underrated valor of discretion.

And above this, I admire a certain quality of
sky, like an older woman who wears her jewels with
an air of distance, that is, lightly,
with the right attitude. Unlike your ocean,

there's nothing sneaky about a field. I like their
ugly-girl frankness. I like that, sitting in the dirt,

I can hear what's coming between the stalks.

Erin Belieu
Black Box
Copper Canyon Press

Friday, August 19, 2011

La Dolce Vita (opening sequence: Jesus flies over Rome)

Did the old man mention this film in class today? His connection between this sequence and the shots in Baz Luhrman's Romeo and Juliet? Probably a stretch, but sometimes you have to humor the old man. Whether or not Luhrman was thinking Fellini, this clip is worth watching. Hope it makes you want to watch the whole film.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Poem of the week. By our new Poet Laureate.

What Work Is

We stand in the rain in a long line
waiting at Ford Highland Park. For work.
You know what work is--if you're
old enough to read this you know what
work is, although you may not do it.
Forget you. This is about waiting,
shifting from one foot to another.
Feeling the light rain falling like mist
into your hair, blurring your vision
until you think you see your own brother
ahead of you, maybe ten places.
You rub your glasses with your fingers,
and of course it's someone else's brother,
narrower across the shoulders than
yours but with the same sad slouch, the grin
that does not hide the stubbornness,
the sad refusal to give in to
rain, to the hours wasted waiting,
to the knowledge that somewhere ahead
a man is waiting who will say, "No,
we're not hiring today," for any
reason he wants. You love your brother,
now suddenly you can hardly stand
the love flooding you for your brother,
who's not beside you or behind or
ahead because he's home trying to
sleep off a miserable night shift
at Cadillac so he can get up
before noon to study his German.
Works eight hours a night so he can sing
Wagner, the opera you hate most,
the worst music ever invented.
How long has it been since you told him
you loved him, held his wide shoulders,
opened your eyes wide and said those words,
and maybe kissed his cheek? You've never
done something so simple, so obvious,
not because you're too young or too dumb,
not because you're jealous or even mean
or incapable of crying in
the presence of another man, no,
just because you don't know what work is.

By Philip Levine

Monday, August 15, 2011

Scarlet Letter Chapter 5 Hester at Her Needle

Respond to the following questions with short (two or three sentences) answers:

How did Hester make her living? Explain. (extra: what was the one item she was never asked to work on? And why not?)

Where did she live?

How did children respond to her?

Describe what was likely to happen when Hester tried to go to church.

What seemingly extrasensory ability did Hester sometimes imagine she had gained with the scarlet letter? What might our writer be suggesting by describing this?

(Slightly longer response)

Hester’s condemnation did not require that she stay in the settlement. Why did she then stay? (The narrator offers more than one potential reason. Can you explain?

Scarlet Letter ch. 3-4 CRQs (critical reading questions)

AP English language and composition mcrawford

The Scarlet Letter Ch 3-4

In chapter 3, a stranger arrives in town on the very day that Hester stands upon the scaffold. What a coincidence! How is this stranger described? With whom has he apparently been traveling? Where has he been? How is he dressed? About what does he immediately ask?

On page 63, Hawthorne writes that the stranger “bowed courteously to the communicative townsman.” Why? About what has the townsman been so communicative? Is Hawthorne being playfully self-aware here? What narrative purpose has this communicative townsman served?

Who are these men sitting on the balcony during Hester’s time on the scaffold? Which speaks to her first? Describe what he says. How does he succeed in getting the younger man to address Hester?

Who is this younger minister? What is his name? Why do the others think he is the one who should speak to Hester? How is he described? What kind of appeal does he make to Hester? Contrast his tone with that used by the others that address Hester.

How does the “misshapen scholar” gain access to the jail?

In chapter 4, (on page 77) one reads, “Thou knowest that I was frank with thee. I felt no love, nor feigned any.” Who says this? To whom? Is this significant? Why?

Hester’s hunchbacked husband accepts that he is in part responsible for the course their lives have taken. Explain. (“We have wronged each other.” p. 78)

Why doesn’t he just renounce her and move on? Settle elsewhere?

What deal does Hester make with the man? She swears an oath? What does she swear to do or not do? What does she then, in the penultimate paragraph of the chapter, worry that she has done?

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Intro to some characters in "The Crucible" (for Thurs 28 July)

English 11 mcrawford
The Crucible (character description and quotation)
In this important, still relevant and oft-performed play, Miller provides rather detailed character introduction/descriptions. Read the descriptions. Then, using the model below as your guide, write a summary of the character descriptions for the characters listed. using a balance of your own words and quotations from the text.

Abigail Williams:
Miller describes the 17 year-old Abigail as a “strikingly beautiful girl, an orphan, with an endless capacity for dissembling” (9). Webster’s says to dissemble is “to hide under a false appearance.” She is also described as speaking “with an ill concealed resentment.” Later in Act 1 when John Proctor appears, we learn that something has taken place between him and Abigail.

Reverend Parris:

Thomas Putnam:

Rebecca Nurse:

John Proctor:

Monday, July 25, 2011

Resources for part 2 of First Day Survey

Lucien Freud Self Portrait

Dead Hand
Temptations still nest in it like basilisks.

Hang it up till the rings fall.
-W. S. Merwin

(Three Sentences—choose one)
“The narrative impulse is always with us; we couldn’t imagine ourselves through a day without it.”
-Robert Coover

“If God didn’t want them sheared, he would not have made them sheep.”
(from The Magnificent Seven)

“The only paradox, if there is one, is that language has shaped our expectations so extensively that real reality has become the most detached and incomprehensible one of all.”
-Cesar Aira The Literary Conference page 41

First Day Survey part 2

37. What is a noun?
38. What is a verb?
39. Write a sentence using the word “walk” as a noun. And a sentence using the word “house” as a verb.
40. What is an adjective?
41. What is an adverb?
42. Complete the following sentence. Then write two more sentences that support the first. I think I was most ______ when . . . .
43. Write three sentences describing the portrait by Lucien Freud (who died last week) that appears in the next (above) blog post.
44. Write three insightful sentences about one of the quoted prose sentences that appear in the next blog post.
45. Write three insightful sentences about the poem by W. S. Merwin that appears in the next blog post.
46. Write three insightful sentences about the book you’ve chosen to read for independent reading.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

First Day Survey: if you don't know it, look it up.

First Day Survey

1. Write the name of the President of the United States of America.
2. Write the name of the Vice-President.
3. Write the name of the current speaker of the House of Representatives.
4. How many members are in the House of Representatives?
5. Write the name of the current Senate majority leader.
6. Who is the current mayor of San Diego?
7. Who is the current mayor of Imperial Beach?
8. What is the name of the new principal of Mar Vista High?
9. Write the names of the three assistant principals of MVH.
10. Who is the current ASB president at MVH?
11. What does ARC stand for here? AEC?
12. Name three community colleges in San Diego county.
13. Name three universities in San Diego county.
14. Briefly explain the difference between a college and a university.
15. The A-G requirements are requirements for what? For whom?
16. What does the “compact for success” require of students?
17. Who is the current governor of California?
18. Name a Republican candidate for President for 2012.
19. Who is the Prime Minister of the UK?
20. Who is the Prime Minister of Canada?
21. Who is the President of Mexico?
22. Name a composer of classical music.
23. Name an established American visual artist.
24. Name an American film director.
25. Write the name of a famous film made before 1960.
26. Name a famous American poet.
27. Name a famous American poem.
28. Name a famous American play.
29. Name a famous American novel from before 1950.
30. A woman named Casey has been in the news recently. Why?
31. Who is Rupert Murdoch? Why is he in the news?
32. What is meant by the phrase “Arab spring”?
33. Name a country that might be discussed in terms of the “Arab spring.”
34. Why are the “gang of six” in the news?
35. Who is Elizabeth Warren? Why is she in the news?
36. What is Fukushima?

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Summer is not over.

Repeat after me: summer is not over.

School starts tomorrow at Mar Vista High school, but please don't give up on summer. Summer is not over. See you in room 205.

Monday, May 30, 2011

a provocative link for those thinking about the final exam

The wikipedia entry for simulacrum might be useful. Link, contents and some passages pasted below:

wikipedia: simulacrum

1 Simulacra in philosophy
2 Simulacra in literature, film, and television
2.1 Artificial beings
2.2 The work of Philip K. Dick
2.3 Simulated environments
2.4 Other uses
3 Simulacra and recreation
4 Caricature as simulacra
5 Simulacra in iconography
6 Word usage
7 See also
8 References
9 External links

Simulacra and recreation

Recreational simulacra include reenactments of historical events or replicas of landmarks, such as Colonial Williamsburg and the Eiffel Tower, and constructions of fictional or cultural ideas, such as Fantasyland at The Walt Disney Company's Magic Kingdom. The various Disney parks have by some philosophers been regarded as the ultimate recreational simulacra, with Baudrillard noting that Walt Disney World Resort is a copy of a copy, “a simulacrum to the second power.”[10] In 1975, Italian author Umberto Eco expressed his belief that at Disney’s parks, “we not only enjoy a perfect imitation, we also enjoy the conviction that imitation has reached its apex and afterwards reality will always be inferior to it."[11] This is for some an ongoing concern. Examining the impact of Disney’s simulacrum of national parks, Disney's Wilderness Lodge, environmentalist Jennifer Cypher and anthropologist Eric Higgs expressed worry that “the boundary between artificiality and reality will become so thin that the artificial will become the centre of moral value.”[12] Eco also refers to commentary on watching sports as sports to the power of three, or sports cubed. First, there are the players who participate in the sport, the real; then the onlookers merely witnessing it; then, the commentary itself on the act of witnessing the sport. Visual artist Paul McCarthy has created entire installations based upon Pirates of the Caribbean, and theme park simulacra, with videos playing inside the installation itself.

Caricature as simulacra

An interesting example of simulacra is caricature. Where an artist draws a line drawing that closely approximates the facial features of a real person, the sketch cannot be easily identified by a random observer; the sketch could just as easily be a resemblance of any person, rather than the particular subject. However, a caricaturist will exaggerate prominent facial features far beyond their actuality, and a viewer will pick up on these features and be able to identify the subject, even though the caricature bears far less actual resemblance to the subject.

History transformed into nature: A passage from Roland Barthes

Does this have something to do with the old man's final exam?

"We reach here the very principle of myth: it transforms history into nature. We now understand why, in the eyes of the myth consumer, the intention, the adhomination of the concept can remain manifest without however appearing to have an interest in the matter: what causes mythical speech to be uttered is perfectly explicit, but it is immediately frozen into something natural; it is not read as a motive, but as a reason."

-Roland Barthes Mythologies

The Return of Odysseus

The Return of Odysseus

by George Bilgere

When Odysseus finally does get home
he is understandably upset about the suitors,
who have been mooching off his wife for twenty years,
drinking his wine, eating his mutton, etc.

In a similar situation today he would seek legal counsel.
But those were different times. With the help
of his son Telemachus he slaughters roughly
one hundred and ten suitors
and quite a number of young ladies,
although in view of their behavior
I use the term loosely. Rivers of blood
course across the palace floor.

I too have come home in a bad mood.
Yesterday, for instance, after the department meeting,
when I ended up losing my choice parking spot
behind the library to the new provost.

I slammed the door. I threw down my book bag
in this particular way I have perfected over the years
that lets my wife understand
the contempt I have for my enemies,
which is prodigious. And then with great skill
she built a gin and tonic
that would have pleased the very gods,
and with epic patience she listened
as I told her of my wrath, and of what I intended to do
to so-and-so, and also to what's-his-name.

And then there was another gin and tonic
and presently my wrath abated and was forgotten,
and peace came to reign once more
in the great halls and courtyards of my house.

"The Return of Odysseus" by George Bilgere.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

In Room 205 this week we're watching the Elizabeth Taylor, Paul Newman, Burl Ives version of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof directed by Richard Brooks in 1958.

Some lines we paused to discuss today:

Big Daddy: But it's always there in the morning, ain't it — the truth? And it's here right now. You're just feelin' sorry for yourself. That's all it is — self-pity. You didn't kill Skipper. He killed himself. You and Skipper and millions like ya are livin' in a kid's world, playin' games, touchdowns, no worries, no responsibilities. Life ain't no damn football game. Life ain't just a bunch of high spots. You're a thirty-year-old kid. Soon you'll be a fifty-year-old kid, pretendin' you're hearin' cheers when there ain't any. Dreamin' and drinkin' your life away. Heroes in the real world live twenty-four hours a day, not just two hours in a game. Mendacity, you won't... you won't live with mendacity, but you're an expert at it. The truth is pain and sweat and payin' bills and makin' love to a woman that you don't love any more. Truth is dreams that don't come true and nobody prints your name in the paper 'til you die... The truth is, you never growed up. Grown-ups don't hang up on their friends... and they don't hang up on their wives... and they don't hang up on life. Now that's the truth and that's what you can't face!
Brick: Can you face the truth?
Big Daddy: Try me!
Brick: You or somebody else's truth?
Big Daddy: Bull. You're runnin' again.
Brick: Yeah, I am runnin.' Runnin' from lies, lies like birthday congratulations and many happy returns of the day when there won't be any.
Big Daddy: I'll outlive you. I'll bury you. I'll buy your coffin... It's death, ain't it?
Brick: You said it yourself, Big Daddy. Mendacity is a system we live in.