Sunday, September 28, 2008

Literary Terms handout & Poetic Meter website

This is the list of Literary Terms that I mentioned in class. If you review these regularly, especially before the multiple choice tests, your performance should improve steadily.

This is the comprehensive site on Poetic Meter as discussed. Again, review throughout the year, you should be all set.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Practice Essay 1.2 coming back at you

You'll be getting these back on Wednesday...take a look at the rubric, commentary and sample essays. See me if you don't understand the score you received."

'Tis the Season for Personal Statements and other miscellaneous things

Some helpful sites to get you started, or improve what you have:

This is from Cal, it walks you through the process pretty much step by step:

From Santa Barbara, a worksheet to help you brainstorm and develop ideas:

Remember, on Monday 9/22, you will need to be prepared to WRITE during class. You can bring in a rough draft to share, but if you want me to look at it, you'll need to bring in a SECOND copy to leave with me while you peer edit with your classmates. In any case, you need to make sure to get a stamp for the day's work if you want full credit on the portfolio.

PLEASE NOTE: It was brought to my attention that some people are reading the novelization of Sweeney Todd based on the Johnny Depp movie. That is NOT the text that we're working with in class. We are going to read the book* for the Sondheim version, by Hugh Wheeler. See the link below:

I will have xerox copies available next week, but if you could find your own copy, even to share amongst yourselves, that would be very, VERY helpful.

*'The book of a musical refers to the "play" or story of the show – in effect its spoken (not sung) lines; however, "book" can also refer to the dialogue and lyrics together, which are sometimes referred to (as in opera) as the libretto (Italian for “little book”). The music and lyrics together form the score of the musical.' (from Wikipedia)

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Email check & Essay rubric

The following 56 people are on the emergency email list. If your name is NOT here, I strongly, STRONGLY suggest you send me an email before the end of the week. I will probably never need to use it, but IF a situation ever arose where I needed to contact you urgently via email, it could make a tremendous difference. My philosophy is that it's always best to be prepared for all possibilities. (There's more stuff beneath the list, make sure you read it.)

Aieman Zehra
Alex Ho
Alex Kwon
Alexandria Smith
Amber Serpa
Amy Dunford
Amy Scott
Anne Tran
Bharathi Ramachandran
Brian McMahon
Britt Higgins
Christy Bauer
Dave Kwong
David Hoang
Disha Gandhi
Elise Bandy
Elizabeth Tse
Eric Yang
Felicia Chow
Geoffrey Liou
Himanshi Arora
Holly Burgess
Ilham Awad
Jackie Eugster
James Ching
Jennifer Hudiono
Johnny Li
Josh Yim
Kavyashree Thota
Kristina Schenck
Lane Prescott
Lydia Cuarezma
Martha Perez
Mary Wheeler
Michelle Griffith
Patrick Flynn
Quanisha Smith
Rabell Afridi
Rachel Geyer
Raymond Kyaw
Rebecca Kennedy
Robert Pipes
Sai Devana
Saloni Shah
Samantha Ho
Saranya Nandagopal
Sergio Puno
Shelby Steadman
Shelley Lai
Shikha Sheth
Stephanie Tung
Stevie Walsh
Vanathi Ganesh
Veniamin Meyerzon
Vivian Zhang
Willie Du

The multiple choice diagnostic has been scored, and you all did much better than I had hoped. Of the 90 people who took the MC, only 17 did not score above 50% (26/51). If you are one of those 17, please come see me on Monday to discuss whether you want to remain in the class.

I want to emphasize that a low diagnostic score does NOT mean that you should drop the class, just that you have to be prepared to work a lot harder to catch up on skills and confidence if you want to pass the exam in May. We have plenty of time for a committed, hardworking student to improve enough to score at least a 3...but if you don't want to work that hard, say so (and I won't judge you if you don't, we all have different priorities in life, I promise I won't be insulted if you decide that you'd rather spend your time and energy somewhere else). You have to be honest about it, though...don't tell me you want to do it if you don't. Don't tell me you just had a bad day if you're simply not prepared. Don't bs me, it wastes your time and mine.

In 2004, I had a student who scored very poorly on the diagnostic--well below 50%, like less than 20%--and he wanted to drop the class. Fortunately, because he had been in my college prep sophomore class, he talked to me about it before he went to see the counselor, and I was able to convince him to stay. This kid was amazing...he'd come to the U.S. in the middle of his freshman year with virtually NO English. In my sophomore class, he earned a C for first semester (understandable, being here for less than a year) but by June, he was a solid A student. 18 months in the United States, and he was outperforming most of the native English speakers in his classes.

I promised him that if he came to me whenever he felt like he was struggling, I would help him pass that exam. And he did...I reviewed his exams with him a few times, gave him a couple of extra writing exercises...and he PASSED, with a 3. I think that was an incredible accomplishment...when he took the AP exam, he'd been in the U.S. for just over three years!

You know what he's doing now? He graduated from college in 3.5 years, got married this summer (to his high school sweetheart) and is now a first year Ph.D student in Chemistry at UCLA. Pretty impressive, don't you think?

So, my point is, you can do it if you want to, but you have to really want to.

Finally, I'm working on your diagnostic essays this weekend, but I can't promise they'll be done by Monday. I am going to post the rubric I'm using to score them below, so you understand why you got the score you did. Please review the criteria, and think honestly about where your essay would've fallen on the rubric. I hope you won't be unpleasantly surprised.

The first link is the overview page, you can click on "Scoring Guidelines," "Scoring Commentary," and "Sample Responses Q1," but I am also pasting in the individual links below:

Hope your weekend is restful and rejuvenating...we have a busy week ahead.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

First day details

It was great to finally meet you all today. Thank you for a smooth and painless opening for what looks to be a terrific year.

Here's a quick recap of the stuff we went over, since we had to rush it:

1. Get the parent signature page turned in asap, due BY next Thursday, 9/11.

2. Write an intro letter. My apologies to 3rd period, I think I forgot to tell you about this, but it's due on Friday, so you have plenty of time.

3. Subscribe to the blog: scroll down to the VERY BOTTOM, and click on the "Subscribe to posts" link. You will need to choose an application/server through which to receive updates.

4. If you haven't yet, SEND ME AN EMAIL!!! I have a contacts list for all AP English students with 55 names so far...if you want to receive emergency notices, you need to give me your email address.

5. Field trip on Wednesday 9/17, pick up a permission slip if you're interested. See links below for more information:

Incidentally, if this trip is a success, I'd love to take you to see _Peter and Jerry_ at the end of the year.

6. Special notice to those in 3rd & 6th periods: If there's ANY way you can move to 2nd period, I suggest you put in a request to do so as soon as possible. Because the classes are SO imbalanced, they will almost DEFINITELY be moving people in the next few weeks. If you voluntarily move, you may be able to make some choices that you will NOT be able to make if they decide to move you. Be proactive and protect your interests.

7. Finally, you have a diagnostic multiple choice exam tomorrow: come to class ready to start IMMEDIATELY! The test is designed for 60 minutes, we only have 53 in a class period. Every minute counts.