Tuesday, November 25, 2014


It's Thanksgiving, so thanks, Squanto!

Please be ready to present your creative work on the day of your return to class. Also, read all of Act I of The Piano Lesson.

Monday, November 24, 2014


We spent today hearing and seeing heartbreaking works of staggering genius. I hope you all have a great Thanksgiving. I'm thankful for all of you.

Friday, November 21, 2014


TOK met and I kept the remainder of the class. Students read Act 1 to its completion and selected a section to extract for a commentary and provided justification for their choices.

Berta Berta

Thursday, November 20, 2014


Nobody showed up! Work on those creative projects!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014


Students discussed and questioned the text about Doaker's railroads today and then read the remainder of I.i aloud. They then received a new text for Friday's discussion. Here is the selection.

For one thing, look at it for signs of authenticity. Contrast Avery's speech with Doaker's.


Tuesday, November 18, 2014


Today was a repetition of yesterday's material. This class also circulated a sign-up sheet for things to bring for the coffee house on Monday.

Monday, November 17, 2014


Students read more of the play in class and received a passage to mark up for Wednesday. What world review is revealed in this passage? (Several world views are placed into competition. This one is Doaker's). Here is the extract.

Friday, November 14, 2014


Students today did the same as B-day yesterday -- posted below.

Thursday, November 13, 2014


Students wrote a commentary on the setting and stage directions of The Piano Lesson by August Wilson.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014


Like yesterday, but with these additional topics

  1. Black Muslim
  2. Origin myth of Elijah Muhammed
  3. Malcolm X and his differences with Elijah Muhamme
  4. Bessie Smith, her music, and her influence on Wilson (can you insert "Jelly Roll"?)
  5. Race and religion to Wilson and in his work

Tuesday, November 11, 2014


The show

Students created slides for a class slide show on the life and times of August Wilson. Those who missed class should band together into two small groups to complete the assignment on

5. quotes from August Wilson
7. quotes about Wilson's work

Do this on August Wilson:
Go to lab.
Fire up Powerpoint and Explorer.
Check into Discus and a couple of other reputable sites.
Research one of the following about Wilson:

  1. August Wilson: the Early Years (through high school)
  2. Education after high school
  3. Primary influences on Wilson's work -- include patrons and support groups
  4. Major themes running throughout Wilson's work (view on history/identity/religion?)
  5. A selection of quotes by (and maybe one about) Wilson
  6. The man's legacy
  7. Critical quotes ABOUT Wilson's work

Each slide should have
  • a clear, proportional, RELATED image
  • CONCISE text
  • a tiny citation in MLA style at the bottom of the slide (like, 10 pt.)
  • drop it to me as Names.Wilson1 or Names.Wilson2

Monday, November 10, 2014


Brie 1
Blake 2
Victoria 3
Ryan 4
Daniel 5
Zephania 6
Kayla 7
Holden 8
Le 9
Kailyn 10
Andy 11
Taylor 12

I think all these students have their books, but if not, they should get the appropriately numbered book. The copies of The Piano Lesson are on the long table.

Look at "Woman's Constancy." Here is a paraphrase. After reading and comprehending the poem on a literal level, look closely at the highlighted part. Write EXACTLY ONE PAGE of clear, precise analysis of the sound, structure, and rhythm of these lines. But first, we have to determine a purpose for these enjambments, caesuras, and de-emphasized rhymes. Could it be something like, "The sound, rhythm, and structure of these lines reflect the emotional insecurity (aggressiveness, anger, instability?) of the speaker." Then show what is unstable, insecure, or aggressive about it. Determine whether you think the speaker really believes that women are so untrue or whether the speaker is actually driving her away and trying to blame her for it.

Really check the world premier assignment posted Friday. Make Thanksgiving week special.

Read Act 1, Scene 1 in The Piano Lesson for Wednesday. Pay special attention to stage directions.

Friday, November 7, 2014


Students reviewed "Woman's Constancy" and received The Piano Lesson by August Wilson. The assignment is to read Act I, Scene 1 for Tuesday. Students should pay special attention to stage directions and all they reveal.

They also received the premier announcement of the next big thing, a three-part creative assignment: "Variations on a Theme."

CONSIDER a theme or recurring obsession of your own.
DECIDE how to comment on that theme.
CREATE a poem as either a spoken word performance or as a written piece that you will read to the class.
CREATE an audio-visual show that presents the same theme and a similar comment but in a new medium of video or slide show. Avoid lyrics in music that will interfere with or carry the theme: go for instrumentals. No spoken language allowed. The language must be visual and accompaniment must be aural.
CREATE a prose piece that works the same theme. Make it between one and three pages in length. Double space and type. Present it as well.

Have this art show ready for Thanksgiving week performances: that will be Monday and Tuesday, November 24 and 25. If you are skipping off to St. Thomas on the Friday before, then your due date is the Friday before, and you will miss the party (with pie).

This project is an INDIVIDUAL expression. You may certainly recruit help in producing its constituents, but YOU, individual guy, are solely responsible for its final form. I recommend you ask for and give help to classmates in the video portion.

Thursday, November 6, 2014


Students reviewed "Hymn to God, My God, in My Sickness." They also viewed two quality commentaries on separate poems. Of Donne, one remains: "Woman's Constancy."

Students also received The Piano Lesson by August Wilson.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014


Many students were in TOK. Remaining students shared their takes on sound in "The Prohibition" and did preliminary work on "The Indifferent." For next class, we'll look at "The Indifferent" in-depth as a class.

Monday, November 3, 2014


A-day students, being somewhat confusing or confused, studied "The Indifferent" in class today.