Thursday, October 27, 2011


I thought we had some very strong performances today. Congratulations and thanks.

The written commentaries are looking a little thin, however. To start, ask yourself, 'What is the author doing with this scene? What is its purpose, and how does the author accomplish that purpose?" The characters are simply tools and have no importance in and of themselves: they communicate something. What is the author communicating, and why this way in this particular extract?

Then, recognize the sentence as the basic unit of logic. Each one must make sense and transition logically (in time, space, and meaning) to the next. Finally, use these sentences to construct one paragraph at a time. Write good paragraphs. That's important. It's not about dashing off sacred genius thoughts. It's about figuring out a tough problem and explaining it to someone else.

Then look at this model for body paragraphs:

Hypothesis (or topic sentence; it should include a word suggestive of WHY the author chose the methods he did).
Evidence from the text (quotes or very close references)
Analysis of component parts of the quoted text (break it apart and look at how each piece functions to do the WHY of the hypothesis. You are looking at sentence and paragraph structure; word choice (diction); figures of speech; temporal and spatial arrangements and changes; punctuation; ANYTHING that signifies.
Evaluation of the analysis and connection to what has come before. No randomizing here; every piece contributes to some overall effect (theme, character, mood, tone (try looking up the difference between tone and mood if you insist on not listening)). All the analyzed parts work to communicate something. What? Answer, on the paragraph level, SO WHAT?

Now look back. I called the first sentence a hypothesis. Does your evidence support it? If not, go back and modify it. You are not ramming a thesis through the text, or cramming evidence into the Procrustean bed of a thesis, but you are testing your way through the text to find out what hypothesis the evidence can support. Then double check to make sure you make sense, sentence by sentence from beginning of the paragraph to the end.

Conclude the multiparagraph commentary by making meaning of the entire extract and how it fits within the whole work. Connect up as many loose ends as you can. If you are deliberate and logical, and don't hurry just to dash something down, you will enlighten yourself through this process. Plus, your paper and your score will be MUCH BETTER!

You have to work to get anything. If you don't do something, nothing will happen.

Friday, October 21, 2011


Since the college day will interfere with individual performances for A-day on Wednesday, those performances are rescheduled for Monday, as they were originally.

Have fun at the ball game...GO STALLIONS!

(Just kiddin'.) (Not about the Stallions).

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


OK OK OK. I'm the soft one.

See calendar update.

Monday, October 17, 2011


See the individual rubric to the right. Note that performance and commentary have equal weight. See the descriptors as you prepare. I will apply it as it is written. If you spot problems or have suggestions, post as a comment or email me.

October 20-21: individual parts
October 24-25: group skits

The group rubric is also to the right. It is beneath the individual rubric and is far more simple.

Monday, October 10, 2011


Discussions led us to declare due dates of October 20-21 for the memory pieces and October 24-25 for the skits.

The calendar has been updated.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Wednesday, Part Deux

Are you remembering the blog assignment?

See below (Wednesday) for the next big assignment. Meanwhile, look at the following responses and vote on the right for the one you think is the best IB answer. We'll discuss your responses in class.

A. There are two pictures, one of Willert and one of a stone idol. It is a much darker image than at the beginning of the movie, which has fire in the background. There is a sound over it all: "The horror. The horror." The idea has changed completely from when all Willert wanted was a mission.

B. The image communicates the transition of power from Kurtz to Willert through Willert's killing Kurtz. It also shows the harsh effects of the river and the jungle and how they change the personalities of Willert and the other soldiers. It shows how Willert has changed, but also how he leaves and does not want to stay in the jungle and assume the role of a new Kurtz when he knew it was possible. It is obvious that, though he sides with Kurtz over the army, he does not want to stay and become Kurtz.

C. The visual shows how the war went from the soldiers all the way to the native culture and that it affected all and how they could never truly be meshed together.

D. It looks as if Willert has become Kurtz, and they also show a stone idol which strengthens Willert's tranformation into Kurtz because Kurtz was an idol to his people. Also, compared to the opening credits, Willert has face paint on and knows the effect of his journey on him.


As assigned in class:

  • Students must, as singles or as pairs, choose from Macbeth a monologue of at least 20 lines for singles or 40 lines for pairs to memorize. Each group (or individual) should choose from Act 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5 in sequence until every act is covered by at least one group. Performance groups are not to let their scenes overlap, and the beginning, middle, and end of the play should be represented.
  • When the speech is memorized, it is to be performed in front of the class. The performance should include
    • An intro that contextualizes the speech and explains its importance to the meaning of the play as a whole.
    • A fluid demonstration of memorized lines.
    • A review, after the main performance, of the scene in a line-by-line fashion that thoroughly investigates every image and figure of speech, connecting them to meaning. The speaker should re-recite two or three lines, and then stop to explain them thoroughly, so that a fifth grade CP student could understand it AND so that a scholar could recognize the speaker’s insight. That is, be critically astute but plain-spoken in explanation.
    • A written commentary on the same scene to be turned in on the day of the performance.
    • The tentative date for performance is October 12 and 13. I will further discuss this date with you if there are known conflicts.
  • Also, form larger groups of four and ADAPT a complete scene from the play – the way Apocalypse Now adapts Heart of Darkness. Use new language to suit a new time and place. The adaptation should emphasize at least one motif from the original play. Actors may hold a script – it does not have to be memorized. This scene should be about ten minutes in length, and the actors should be ready for an interview about their choices after the performance. The tentative due date for this performance is October 18 and 19.
If you have questions, post them as comments here and I will answer in another comment.

Monday, October 3, 2011


Write one or two fully developed paragraphs in response to one of the following prompts. Post your responses as comments below this post. Interact with each other's thoughts. The deadline is class time Wednesday/Thursday.