"Liberating education consists in acts of cognition, not transferrals of information." -Paulo Friere

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Their Eyes Were Watching God: Harlem Renaissance Project

10th graders,

Zora Neal Hurston's novel was just one of the many influential pieces of art to come out of the Harlem Renaissance. Your project is to choose one other writer, visual artist, or musician to research. On our new class blog, you will write a blog post explaining your research. Later, other students will read your post and respond. Maybe students from other schools will even find your work on the internet and use it when they learn about this topic!

Include your name and the name of the work you're analyzing in the title of the post.
Within the post, include the following:

Part 1: A biography of the artist. (300 words) Answer the following questions:

  • What are the most interesting and important parts of the artist's life? 
  • How did racism directly or indirectly impact the artist?
  • What music, writing, etc influenced the artist's work? 
  • What later art or music or writing was influenced by this artist?

Please use at least two reliable websites to find your information. Include at least 2 quotes in your biography, and be sure to cite your sources any time you get information from them, including when you put it in your own words. Your citations should be in MLA format. Try to make your writing interesting, while still including the most important information about your artist.

Part 2: Choose one piece of work that your artist did. This can be a single song, poem, novel, play, painting, etc. Link to a page that features that work. If it's a song, a link to the audio or video of the song.

Part 3: Response to the art: (300 words)

  • Main theme or message of the work.
  • Interesting literary or musical features of the work. This includes figurative language or sensory imagery, but also many other features. You should explain the impact of these features on the meaning of the art, just like you do with our literature.
  • Your personal evaluation/response to the work: what do you like about it? What other art does it remind you of?
You are not required to cite any sources for Part 3 if you do all your response without looking at anyone else's analysis of the work. However, if you DO use others' ideas, you must cite them. No plagiarizing!

 Part 4: Works Cited Page
Write an MLA formatted works cited page that includes your two or more sources. This of course will not be a separate page. It will just be at the bottom of your blog post.

Here are some great resources:

Harlem Renaissance Materials at the Library of Congress


There are many more reputable places to find information about your artist and their work. You may start at Wikipedia, but you cannot quote it. You need to go to sources sponsored by universities or organizations in order to find reliable information. Have fun!

List of Artists to research:


Countee Cullen
Arna Bontemps
Claude McKay
James Weldon Johnson
Jean Toomer
Paul Laurence Dunbar


Billie Holiday
Duke Ellington
Count Basie
Louis Armstrong
Lil Armstrong
Bessie Smith
Ella Fitzgerald
Dizzy Gillespie
Thelonious Monk
Earl "Fatha" Hines
Jelly Roll Morton
Fletcher Henderson
Josephine Baker
Billy Strayhorn
Mamie Smith
Ivie Anderson
Lena Horne
Roland Hayes
Lucille Bogan
Bill Robinson
The Nicholas Brothers
Marian Anderson
Ethel Waters
Fats Waller
James P. Johnson
Noble Sissle

Visual Artists: 

Lois Mailou Jones
William H. Johnson
Jacob Lawrence
Aaron Douglas
Archibald Motley
Charles Alston
Henry Bannarn
Augusta Savage

You will choose one writer, musician, or visual artist in class on Monday. You can do some preliminary research before then if you wish to make a more informed choice.


Tues, Dec 13--computer lab, research
Wed, Dec 14--computer lab, research + rough draft
Friday, Dec 16--computer lab, finish writing and revise. 

Post your finished blog post by Tuesday, Dec 20. Make sure you have revised your work: you will be graded by the same research rubric as your last research writing assignment.


Here are the directions for how to comment on each other's writing.

1. I will assign you one person to comment on, and then you must also choose 2 other essays to comment on, for a total of 3 comments.

2. Your comments should include three specific suggestions and one complement. Each of these 4 parts should be a short paragraph.

3. Your suggestions must be kind, and must quote the post you are commenting on.

4. Please refer to the research essay rubric  in your comments. You should comment on different aspects of the paper--not only on grammar, but also on sentence structure, ideas, etc.

5. Your suggestions are very specific, but your complement can be about anything in the paper that you think they did well. Refer to the rubric.

6. You will be graded on your comments: on your thoroughness, kindness, and independence of thought.


Monday, October 31, 2011

The Bell Jar and Date Rape

Esther was almost raped by her date Marco in chapter 9 of The Bell Jar.  Read the following two links:

Facts and Myths about Date Rape

Safety Tips

Then, pretend you had a chance to write Esther a letter that she would receive right before walking outside with Marco. What advice would you give her? Write a one page letter with information from the websites and the details from the early parts of her date with Marco, giving her advice.

Second,  read the following links aimed at men:

Next Gent: We end sexism, we end rape.

This one is a joke, but with a serious point: Top Ten Rape Prevention Tips for Men

Then, write a letter to Marco, before he goes on the date. I want to see references to what we know about him in the book. Try to persuade him not to assault Esther.

Read over the letters to check for careful edits, then email them to me: ruth.andronica@gmail.com.

Oedipus the King correct text version

12th graders,

This is the translation that your reading test will be drawn from. You are not required to do notecards for this book.

 Good luck!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Welcome to a new school year!

Hello students! I'm very excited about all the great books we're going to read together, and all the interesting ideas we'll encounter along the way. 

Your first assignment is to answer the following questions, sending them in an email to me. Follow these directions carefully.

The subject of the email should be your full name and your class. If you have both a Chinese and English name, write the one you want me to call you first, and your other name second. Here is an example of what a subject should look like: Sofia (Shu Fay) Poulsen, 10A.

Answer these questions in the body of your email:

Contact information:

1. Write the email address where I can contact you.

2. Write your parents' full names, their email addresses, and phone numbers where I can contact each of them.

Now I want to check that you can find your way around my blog.

3. On the side of this blog, you'll see a box that says "Classroom documents." Open the document titled "Rules and Procedures". What is the difference in my late policy for daily assignments verses major assignments? What consequence will you receive if you cheat in my class?

. Open the document "Sourcebook guidelines." What is Mrs. Poulsen's opinion about the type of thinking you're likely to find on websites like Sparknotes? 

5. Go down to the bottom of the blog, and look at the Assignment Calendar. If you click on the blue "next" arrow, you will see the next month's assignments. Each class's due dates are written in a different color. What color code did I give your class?

6. From the assignment calendar, what is the date of your first test, and what will the general topic of the test be?

Send the answers to these 4 questions (check that you got the subject right, or I'll take points off!) to my email address: ruth.andronica@gmail.com. This email is due September 2.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Sticky Notes Project

Have you ever looked up from reading a book, only to look down at the page and realize that you had no idea what you just read? Happens all the time, and is particularly frustrating when you’ll be tested on the material you just read. One skill we will be working on in this class is active reading: being involved with the text, talking back to it, in a way.

Active reading engages you with the text on a deeper level, allowing you to both comprehend and remember what you read better. To help you become a better active reader, I have created the following assignment:

I would like you to write short notes on sticky notes and put them in your book. These notes will be personal responses to the text, and should show the Bloom’s skills of applying, analyzing, synthesizing, and occasionally evaluating. We will use your sticky notes as discussion starters during our units on each book.

Kinds of sticky notes to write (include a variety of these):

  • Questions--These include a range of types of questions, like, “Why is this character doing this?” or “What is this character talking about here?”
  • Predictions--Once you finish the book, go back to these and write another sentence about how close you were to what actually happened.
  • Analysis--notice the literary ideas that we’ll be talking about in each unit, like characterization, interesting use of language, etc.
  • Connections--particularly to other books you've read, but also to movies, the news, your experience, practically anything.
  • Evaluations--one or two of these only. What do you like or don’t like about the book?

Further Directions:

  • I will specify in class how many sticky notes you should write for each book. I will only grade and respond to a selection of your notes, not each one.
  • This assignment will be due on the day of the reading test.
  • The sticky notes should stick out of the side of your book just 1-2 millimeters. More and they get wrinkled, less and I can’t find them.
  • They must be legible, and numbered. They should be about one sentence long.
  • They should not be mere summaries of the plot or lists of characters. Those kind of notes can be useful for studying for the reading test, but don’t fulfill the parameters of this assignment.
  • You will be graded on on your understanding of the book, your independence of thought, and your neatness and organization.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

A Farewell to Arms Webquest

10th graders,

For this webquest, write paragraphs on each of the following topics:

1. World War I: causes, dates, participants.
2. Ernest Hemingway's personal experiences in the war.
3. Hemingway's writing style and popularity as a writer.

Each paragraph should be a summary of what you find on the internet about these topics, and should be in your own words. You may quote short phrases from sources. After each paragraph, write the name of at least 2 sources for the information: they should be reliable, scholarly sources.

Email me your answers.

Monday, May 16, 2011

End of Year Survey

12th graders:

Here is the end of year survey for you to complete. You can be completely anonymous if you wish, or you can add your name in the last comments box.


Monday, April 25, 2011

Persuasion Unit

10th graders,

Here is a link to the power point I showed you on Monday on Logos, Pathos, and Ethos.

Next, here's a link to the power point on Logical Fallacies.

Here's a video that explains logical fallacies, and here's one with good examples.

Here's the power point on Detecting Bias.

Here's your final project worksheet.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Gatsby Vocabulary

10th graders,

Here is the list of SAT vocabulary words from which your quizzes are drawn.

Here is where you can find the list from which I drew your Great Gatsby vocabulary.

Remember, your assignment has three parts:

a. copy the context of the word in The Great Gatsby.
b. restate the context in your own words
c. define the word with a definition that makes sense for this context.

Follow each of these steps for each of the 15 words I gave you.

Mrs. Poulsen

Monday, March 7, 2011

Their Eyes Were Watching God Vocabulary Project

10th graders,

- Your current project is to find a video on Youtube that illustrates one of the chapters 1-20 vocabulary words from Their Eyes Were Watching God.

- YOUR TARGET TIME IS UNDER ONE MINUTE. No video should be longer than two minutes. Videos need to be PG or a tasteful PG-13. When you are assigned a vocabulary word, you may take these steps to find a pertinent video:

1) To broaden your understanding of the word, do a Google search for "define: (vocabulary word)"
- My example here is "Sodden:"

2) You usually won't get a good Youtube example by just searching your vocab word.
- For example, no great results the results for "Sodden:"
- So, look at the vocab list definition and the Google definitions; look for key words and think about an example of something that would  illustrate your word.
- "Sodden" means to get soaked with water. Trying to think of a way something would get covered in water, my ideas for searches are: "wet cat," "wet dog," "fall in pool," and "lots of rain."

3) Search Youtube.
My results are:
-"wet cat" - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nHGjn_F63H8
- "wet dog" - nothing good
- "fall in pool" - I found a funny example, but there was swearing at the end
- "lots of rain" - nothing good

4) If you're stuck ask a neighbor.
- I got the idea from somebody else, "trampoline pool fail."
- Searching "trampoline pool fail" - lots of funny results, but not much showing somebody actually soaked: just lots of videos of people getting hurt. After looking at a couple, I found this one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GUc9ivjSoHo

5) Turn in your assignment as a reply to this post:
-A) Write our name and homeroom
-B) Have a link to your video
- check that your link works

Friday, March 4, 2011

It's Socratic Seminar Time!

Hi Seniors,

Here you will find the Socratic Seminar assignment sheet, in case you forgot which poem is being discussed in your seminar.

Here are the two poems that are not in Sound and Sense. If you are a leader or member or those seminars, please print these for your use.

Lady Lazarus

The Bitter River