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

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.