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

Monday, September 30, 2013

Domestic Violence in House of the Spirits, Kitchen God's Wife, and Things Fall Apart


All three world lit books in our "Times of Great Social Change" unit depict graphic scenes of domestic violence, including rape. These are tough issues to talk about, but also important parts of these books.

First, I'd like you to think about why we don't censor these books here, despite these disturbing topics.

Next, I'd like you to consider this definition of "rape culture", and think of examples you might have seen.

How many men in Asia have raped someone?

Definition of rape culture

Analyzing Rape Culture

Victim Blaming: Abused Women Behind Bars

The legal system not protecting victims

Violence Against Women: It's a Men's Issue

Tough Guise: How Boys are Taught to be Violent

What evidence do we have of rape culture in these books? What in the societies shaped Wen Fu and Estaban Trueba into men capable of such systemic violence?

What are positive things that we--both guys and girls--can do to prevent sexual violence in our communities?

10 Things to End Rape Culture

How can we widen our views of "acceptable" masculinity and femininity? What do the novels tell us about ways to push the boundaries of the gender restrictions that keep us so narrowly defined?

source here.

Also--if time:

Violence against Women in Video Games

Gamers' response to critiques of violence

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Fail better!

Seniors-- here is the message that I want to share with you today as you get your first AP essays back:

"It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all -- in which case, you fail by default." --JK Rowling

Here's another way to think about it, from the blog Zen Pencils:


Monday, September 9, 2013

Interview Tips for Sophomores

10th Graders,

For your first major paper, you will be writing a Biographical Portrait of one of your grandparents.

Here is the Assignment Sheet, in case you lost your copy.

Your first step is to interview them. Here are some hints to make sure that it goes smoothly:

Top 10 Interview Tips

My favorite tips from Ms. Ming Liu:

"Use neutral language. If you use emotional words, you skew the interview. Even seasoned professionals make this mistake, especially when they’re rushing to nail a quote. Question: “Are you happy that you won the Nobel Peace Prize?” Guess what the answer will be: “Yes, I am HAPPY that blah blah.” Instead, frame the question without emotion: “How do you feel about winning the Nobel Peace Prize?” Better! But if you do your reporting and know something about the interview subject, you could frame an even more dynamic neutral-but-fact-filled question: “Your grandmother, who scrubbed floors to buy your first chemistry kit, died of cancer two weeks ago. What would you say to her right now?” Can you imagine how rich the answer to that question would be?"

"Ask follow up questions. Sometimes, you have to dig a little bit more. A couple of questions might be in order. Help your subject to complete the thought. They are in their own heads and usually don’t realize that information is missing."

Remember to write your interview questions in advance and record the interview to share with me!

Here are some sample interview questions that you can choose from as you prepare for your interview:

Biographical Interview Questions . You may also come up with your own questions.

Remember to ask your grandparent for a picture or object that was important to them, in order to share that in your Appendix.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Introduction to The Crucible

10th graders,

Here is the Introduction to The Crucible power point I gave in class today. You're responsible for knowing the terms found within it.

The House of the Spirits Webquest

AP 12th graders,
Please complete the following webquest to prepare for our unit on The House of the Spirits.

The House of the Spirits Webquest
Part 1: Historical Context

Source A. CIA, Chile, and Allende (homework)

Source B. History.com: Allende's death (in class)

1) After the election of Allende, US President Nixon funded and instructed the CIA to disrupt and help overthrow the newly elected president.  What actions did they take to hurt President Allende and why might they have done this?  Do you agree with these actions?  Why or why not?  How does Isabelle Allende portray these events in the book?

2) "I can only say this to the workers: I will not resign," he declared. "With my life I will pay for defending the principles dear to our nation. I have faith in Chile and its destiny. Other men will overcome this gray and bitter moment where betrayal threatens to impose itself. Continue knowing, all of you, that much sooner than later, the great avenues will open through which will pass free men in order to construct a better society. These are my last words having the certainty that this sacrifice has not been in vain."  This was Allende’s last words heard over Chilean Radio.  What do you think this quote means and what was he trying to say? Compare and contrast how these historical sources portray this event with how The House of the Spirits portrays this event.

3) In your own words describe the events following the coup and why you think they happened.  Include five major events.

Part 2: Author's Context

Source C: Allende's musings (homework)

1. "What is true?"
Paraphrase Allende's definitions of good fiction. Respond with your own personal reflection on why we read literature.

2. "Childhood rebellion"
When did Allende start writing? List several reasons she gives for waiting so long to begin. Explain how these and other gender restrictions that she describes in this article remind you of the restrictions faced by characters in the novel.

3. "Why I write"
Compare Allende's motives for writing and feelings about her craft with Rosa and her embroidery, Clara and her notebooks, Blanca and her creches, and Alba and her family history.

Note--I have taken out source D because of time restraints.