Monday, October 31, 2011

October 31

JOURNAL TOPIC: [today's tunes: "Excitable Boy" by Warren Zevon; "What's He Building in There" by Tom Waits; "Monster Mash" by Bobby 'Boris' Pickett and the Crypt-Kickers]

As you listen to today's tunes reflect on how authors use irony, allusion, symbolism, and even humor to help an audience suspend disbelief long enough to get scared out of our minds! How does Shakespeare use these tools in Hamlet, and to what effect?

1. Journal
2. Discuss essay/ hero prompt
3. Vocab

1. Find your next literature analysis book (if you haven't already) and bring it with you to class tomorrow (Tuesday 11/1).
2. Define the term "meme" and explain why the concept is important in online communication. Comment to this post with your answer.

Vocabulary: Fall List #10

in medias res
quid pro quo

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Wednesday's Event

If you haven't already, please download/print the on-campus activity form for our video conference on Wednesday. Please be sure to get it signed, and bring it to class Monday or Tuesday.

If you haven't already been to Roy Christopher's site please have a look; of special importance are his ideas about Digital Natives and the way your generation is using technology to tell stories and think in different ways. Imagine if Hamlet expressed himself through transmedia remixes and mash-ups; how would this change his "performative utterances" and "self-overhearing"? How would he and his circumstances have been different? If some of these terms are new or unfamiliar don't worry, we'll be discussing them on Monday. In the meantime, consider the following monster mash-up (can you spot the allusion to Macbeth?) produced by Cody Kiniry, Savannah Lyon & Nicole Montoya.

Personalize funny videos and birthday eCards at JibJab!

The Legend: October 2011

The October issue of the Legend is out and here it is. Some of our own and Mr. Garcia are responsible--kudos! Keep up the good work. And check out the editor's very chic photo, a couple of paragraphs below his "moaning and groaning" about me.

RHS Legend October 2011

Friday, October 28, 2011

Hamlet Essay

Using what you've learned about Hamlet the character and Hamlet the play, evaluate the impact of performative utterance on Hamlet and your own sense of self. How does the way Hamlet speaks constitute action in itself? How does it impact the characters and the plot? How does this compare with your own "self-overhearing"? How does the way you reflect on your experience create a sense of memory, expectation, and real-world results? Use the text, your reading/lecture notes, the experience of memorizing the "To be, or not to be" soliloquy, de Boer's paper (and Bloom's/Austin's theoretical frameworks), and the many online and offline discussions we've had.

Please comment to this post with any questions or ideas about the topic or ways to write about it. Please bring a hard copy (typed or handwritten) to class on Monday (10/31).

Kudos n' Stuff: October (II)

There is too much good news to wait for November! If I'm missing anyone, or if you did something amazing today, please let me know.

Tatianna Alvarez (admitted to Fresno State)
Marie Alverado (admitted to Fresno State and CSULA)
Carson Dacus (admitted to Fresno State)
Edith Gonzalez (admitted to Fresno State)
Arianna Farmer (Chamber of Commerce Scholarship Winner)
Lizzie Level (admitted to Simpson University)
Ryan McGinley (admitted to The Art Institute of San Francisco)
Alex McKinney (Chamber of Commerce Scholarship Winner)
[UPDATE 10/29] Lupe Perez (admitted to Fresno State)
Sarah Rayburn (admitted to University of Oregon)
Nancy Rubio (admitted to Fresno State)
Nathan Seidenberg (admitted to University of Oregon)
Patrick Sims (admitted to Oregon State University)
Chelsea Stevenson (admitted to Fresno State)
Adriana Zamudio (admitted to Fresno State & CSULA)
Marisol Zepeda (admitted to CSULA)

Don't forget that we have a guest speaker next Wednesday 11/2-- please download and print the on-campus activity form so that you can get it signed and delivered to me ASAP.

October 28

JOURNAL TOPICS: [today's tunes: "My Hero" by the Foo Fighters; "Heroes" by David Bowie]

Heroes are essential to humanity. Every culture throughout history has chronicled their experiences. Today their role is more important than ever; heroes inspire us to think differently, act differently, and ultimately become better versions of ourselves. Even though everyone gets the general idea of a hero, however, the people we admire are as individual as we are. They may have impressive personalities, intellects or physical attributes; they may be ordinary people who accomplish extraordinary goals; they may be public or private. They may even be our friends and relatives.

Write a letter to someone you consider to be a hero. Explain to this person why s/he is heroic and tell the person how s/he has moved or inspired you.

1. Journal
2. Vocab test
3. Discuss/begin Hamlet essay

1. Hamlet essay

Thursday, October 27, 2011

October 27

JOURNAL TOPIC: ["Say What" by Stevie Ray Vaughan; "Say It Now (I'm Black and I'm Proud)" by James Brown; "Say It To Me Now" by Glen Hansard]

How does what we say relate to what we do? Does telling ourselves or other people what we think/feel/intend change our thought process and/or feelings? Does it make us more or less likely to act? Does it teach us anything about ourselves?

1. Journal
2. Socratic Seminar: "The Performative Utterance in Hamlet"

1. STUDY "The Performative Utterance in Hamlet"

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

October 26

JOURNAL TOPIC: [today's tunes: "The End" by The Doors]

Now that we've finished reading Hamlet, reflect on the play as a whole. Describe the major theme(s) and provide at least two examples from the text to support your ideas.

1. Journal
2. Group discussion/analysis of Hamlet

1. Read "The Performative Utterance in William Shakespeare's Hamlet" and: a)post any comments/questions that help you understand it here; and b)take notes/know it well enough for a quiz tomorrow (Thursday, 10/27)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

October 25

JOURNAL TOPIC: [today's tunes: "Killing With Kindness" by Tears for Fears; "Psycho Killer"]

Why does Shakespeare end so many of his plays in death? Is that what makes Hamlet a tragedy, or it is something else...? Provide examples from Hamlet, Julius Caesar and Romeo & Juliet to support your answer.

1. Journal
2. Q & A: Hamlet Acts I-IV
3. Hamlet: Act V

1. Finish any remaining online assignments: last chance for any credit whatsoever...
2. Check blog and respond to comments

Monday, October 24, 2011

Vocabulary: Fall List #9

carte blanche

October 24

JOURNAL TOPIC: [today's tunes: "Happy Days" (TV Theme) by Fox/Gimbel/Pratt/McLain based on B. Haley's "Rock Around the Clock"; "Make Someone Happy" by Jimmy Durante; "Happiness" by Built to Spill; "Happiness is a Warm Gun" by The Beatles]

As we head down the Act V home stretch of Hamlet, how do you see this ending? What would a Hollywood studio have to do in order to twist this into a happy ending? What would it take for any of the characters to emerge satisfied?

1. Journal
2. Discuss blogs/literature analyses
3. Hamlet: Act V
4. Vocabulary 9

1. Review your notes on Hamlet Acts I-IV
2. Prepare to summarize the plot from memory in class on Tuesday
3. Review vocab and comment to the post with questions/ideas

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Guest Speaker: Roy Christopher

On Wednesday, November 2, we will join a live video conference with Roy Christopher ( Next week I will give some background information on Roy and suggest ways for us to make the most of the experience. In the meantime, please print the on-campus activity form below and get the necessary signatures from your period 3 and/or 4 teacher(s). Bring the signed forms to me ASAP so I know how many people will be attending. Thanks!

on campus activity form 02nov2011

Friday, October 21, 2011

October 21

JOURNAL TOPIC: [today's tunes: "Lose Yourself" (slightly abridged) by Eminem; "Bella" by Carlos Santana; "The Three Stooges (Three Blind Mice)" arr. by Spud Murphy]

How do you suggest Hamlet "get his mind right" in order to come through in the clutch and overcome his "paralysis by analysis"? How does Shakespeare manipulate characters through situational irony? (Consider what each character doesn't know.)

1. Journal
2. Vocabulary quiz
3. Hamlet: Act IV
4. Your weekend & preview of coming attractions

1. Finish reading Hamlet: Act IV
2. Post Literature Analysis #2 to your blog and email five colleagues (including me) with invitations to comment-- when you write the invitation be mindful of the art of hosting good conversations online

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Hamlet: Act IV vids

Derek Jacobi/Claudius does damage control (Scene i)

Tennant calls Rosencrantz a sponge (Scene ii)

Olivier tells Claudius he's worm food (Scene iii)

Branagh asks, "what is a man?" (Scene iv/note cheesy soundtrack)

Gielgud asks (via Linguaphone), "What is a man?" (Scene iv)

Girl asks, "What is a man?" (Scene iv)

Laertes storms the castle & Ophelia goes cuckoo (Scene v/part 1)

Laertes storms the castle & Ophelia goes cuckoo (Scene v/part 2)

This clip begins with Tennant meeting Captain in country and asking, "What is a man?" (Scene iv) and goes through the end of Act IV (Scene vii) Note the departures from the original script

Hamlet: Act III Scenes ii, iii, & iv vids

Branagh's Moustrap (Scene ii)

Tennant's Mousetrap (Scene ii/part 1)

Tennant's Mousetrap (Scene ii/part 2)

Patrick Stewart/Claudius confesses (Scene iii)

Branagh shivs Polonius (Scene iv/part 1)

Branagh shivs Polonius (Scene iv/part 2)

Tennant shivs Polonius (Scene iv/part 1)

Tennant shivs Polonius (Scene iv/part 2)

Tools That Change the Way We Think

Please read the following passage and respond to the questions below. Write your answers as a comment to this post. Then, cut/paste both the passage and your thoughts to your own blog in a post entitled, "Tools That Change the Way We Think."

"Back in 2004, I asked [Google founders] Page and Brin what they saw as the future of Google search. 'It will be included in people's brains,' said Page. 'When you think about something and don't really know much about it, you will automatically get information.'

'That's true,' said Brin. 'Ultimately I view Google as a way to augment your brain with the knowledge of the world. Right now you go into your computer and type a phrase, but you can imagine that it could be easier in the future, that you can have just devices you talk into, or you can have computers that pay attention to what's going on around them and suggest useful information.'

'Somebody introduces themselves to you, and your watch goes to your web page,' said Page. 'Or if you met this person two years ago, this is what they said to you... Eventually you'll have the implant, where if you think about a fact, it will just tell you the answer."

-From In the Plex by Steven Levy (p.67)

Answer this not-so-simple question: How does extensive Internet/media/technology use change the way you think? Focus on your memory, your ability to concentrate, your sense of time and priorities, and the subjects/topics that interest you most. If you find "thinking about your thinking" difficult to assess, try the following strategies: compare yourself with older people who did most of their formal learning before smart phones and 2.0 existed; compare yourself with contemporaries who don't use those tools much today; read up on what education leaders and thinkers have to say about generational differences in thinking (and remember to cite your sources).

October 20

JOURNAL TOPIC: [today's tunes: "Meadows" by Joe Walsh; "Bargain" by The Who]

Now that Hamlet has been "put out to pasture" by Claudius, how do you think he'll manage to execute his plan for revenge-- and his uncle? How much do you think Hamlet is willing to sacrifice in order to succeed?

1. Journal
2. Discuss HW/ Shakespeare search/ general search strategies
3. Hamlet: continue Act IV

1. Read "Tools That Change the Way We Think" and answer the questions in a comment to the post. THEN, go to your blog, create a post entitled "Tools That Change the Way We Think," and cut/paste your answers there as well.
2. Don't forget we have a vocab quiz tomorrow...

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Filter Bubbles

October 19

JOURNAL TOPIC: [today's tunes: "Right Place Wrong Time" by Dr. John; "Wrong 'Em Boyo" by The Clash; "So Wrong" by Patsy Cline]

Why does Hamlet kill Polonius? How does Hamlet feel about it? How do the King and Queen react? Did you see this coming?

1. Journal
2. Hamlet: Act IV

1. Watch Eli Pariser's TED talk on "Filter Bubbles"
2. Post a comment to the "Filter Bubble" post in which you respond to the video by answering these questions: a)What new information did you learn from the video? b)How does this information make you think differently about what you see online? c)What questions does this video raise about the Internet in general? and d)How can you improve the effectiveness of your searches?
3. Post to your blog under the heading "In Search Of." Summarize your experience of watching the video (you can cut/paste your answers to #2) and describe how you re-did the Shakespeare search with the filter ideas in mind (this means you have to re-do the search and think critically about how filters influence results).

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

October 18

JOURNAL TOPIC: [today's tunes: "Step Right Up" by Tom Waits; "Mercy" by The Shys]

Terms such as values and common sense can take on different meanings (how can something you define as common sense confuse me--isn't common sense the sense we share in common?) Cultural anthropologists and social psychologists describe values as learned, enduring, epistemologically grounded moral conceptualizations that assist us in making judgments and in preparing us to act. What values do you see in Hamlet? In Facebook/contemporary American culture? How do the characters in the former and executives in the latter use values to inform and justify their decisions and behavior?

1. Journal
2. Discuss Facebook article/intro to the Internet
3. Discuss Shakespeare article/context of Shakespeare's plays
4. Finish discussing Hamlet: Act III

1. Post to your blog under the title, "To Facebook or Not to Facebook?" Write about your initial impressions of Facebook, the benefits and risks associated with using Facebook, and an explanation of how reading the article and discussing in class informed your thinking.
2. Post to your blog under the title, "Who Was Shakespeare?" Do a quick search (remember to document search engine, terms, URLs and links followed) and see if you can piece together who Shakespeare was. What do we know about him, and what are we left to wonder? Write about how Shakespeare is perceived by students-- the name alone inspires strong feelings-- and how you have progressed in your understanding of his work over the years. What do you "get" now that you didn't before? What still causes you to struggle?
3. Post to your blog under the title, "Notes on Hamlet." Explain how your thinking about the play has evolved from the time we began reading to the end of Act III. Has anything changed your mind about the plot or characters since the ghost showed up at midnight? Where do you see things going from here?

Monday, October 17, 2011

Vocabulary: Fall List #8

ad hoc
de facto
piece de resistance

October 17

JOURNAL TOPIC: [today's tunes: Symphony #1 by Ludwig van Beethoven, performed by Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Leonard Bernstein)

Why does Hamlet go to the trouble of orchestrating an elaborate ruse with the play-within-a-play, when the ghost's testimony and his intuition appear to provide sufficient justification for revenge?

1. Journal
2. Return/discuss midterm
3. Hamlet: Act III quiz & discussion

1. Read "Hollywood Dishonors the Bard" (see below; online original here)
2. Read "Why Facebook is After Your Kids" (see below; online original here)
3. It's back to business as usual-- Vocabulary List #8 is ready and waiting...

Hollywood Dishonors the Bard
Published: October 16, 2011/ New York Times

ROLAND EMMERICH’S film “Anonymous,” which opens next week, “presents a compelling portrait of Edward de Vere as the true author of Shakespeare’s plays.” That’s according to the lesson plans that Sony Pictures has been distributing to literature and history teachers in the hope of convincing students that Shakespeare was a fraud. A documentary by First Folio Pictures (of which Mr. Emmerich is president) will also be part of this campaign.

So much for “Hey, it’s just a movie!”

The case for Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford, dates from 1920, when J. Thomas Looney, an English writer who loathed democracy and modernity, argued that only a worldly nobleman could have created such works of genius; Shakespeare, a glover’s son and money-lender, could never have done so. Looney also showed that episodes in de Vere’s life closely matched events in the plays. His theory has since attracted impressive supporters, including Sigmund Freud, the Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia and his former colleague John Paul Stevens, and now Mr. Emmerich.

But promoters of de Vere’s cause have a lot of evidence to explain away, including testimony of contemporary writers, court records and much else that confirms that Shakespeare wrote the works attributed to him. Meanwhile, not a shred of documentary evidence has ever been found that connects de Vere to any of the plays or poems. As for the argument that the plays rehearse the story of de Vere’s life: since the 1850s, when Shakespeare’s authorship was first questioned, the lives of 70 or so other candidates have also confidently been identified in them. Perhaps the greatest obstacle facing de Vere’s supporters is that he died in 1604, before 10 or so of Shakespeare’s plays were written.

“Anonymous” offers an ingenious way to circumvent such objections: there must have been a conspiracy to suppress the truth of de Vere’s authorship; the very absence of surviving evidence proves the case. In dramatizing this conspiracy, Mr. Emmerich has made a film for our time, in which claims based on conviction are as valid as those based on hard evidence. Indeed, Mr. Emmerich has treated fact-based arguments and the authorities who make them with suspicion. As he told an MTV interviewer last month when asked about the authorship question: “I think it’s not good to tell kids lies in school.”

The most troubling thing about “Anonymous” is not that it turns Shakespeare into an illiterate money-grubber. It’s not even that England’s virgin Queen Elizabeth is turned into a wantonly promiscuous woman who is revealed to be both the lover and mother of de Vere. Rather, it’s that in making the case for de Vere, the film turns great plays into propaganda.

In the film de Vere is presented as a child prodigy, writing and starring in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” in 1559 at the age of 9. He only truly finds his calling nearly 40 years later after visiting a public theater for the first time and seeing how easily thousands of spectators might be swayed. He applauds his art’s propagandistic impact at a performance of “Henry V” that so riles the patriotic mob that actors playing the French are physically assaulted. He vilifies a political foe in “Hamlet,” and stages “Richard III” to win the crowd’s support for rebellious aristocrats.

De Vere is clear in the film about his objectives: “all art is political ... otherwise it is just decoration.” Sony Pictures’ study guide is keen to reinforce this reductive view of what the plays are about, encouraging students to search Shakespeare’s works for “messages that may have been included as propaganda and considered seditious.” A more fitting title for the film might have been “Triumph of the Earl.”

In offering this portrait of the artist, “Anonymous” weds Looney’s class-obsessed arguments to the political motives supplied by later de Vere advocates, who claimed that de Vere was Elizabeth’s illegitimate son and therefore the rightful heir to the English throne. By bringing this unsubstantiated version of history to the screen, a lot of facts — theatrical and political — are trampled.

Supporters of de Vere’s candidacy who have awaited this film with excitement may come to regret it, for “Anonymous” shows, quite devastatingly, how high a price they must pay to unseat Shakespeare. Why anyone is drawn to de Vere’s cause is the real mystery, one not so easily solved as who was the true author of Shakespeare’s plays.

James Shapiro, a professor of English at Columbia, is the author of “Contested Will: Who Wrote Shakespeare?”

Why Facebook Is After Your Kids
Published: October 12, 2011/New York Times

In May, Consumer Reports announced that 7.5 million kids age 12 and younger are on Facebook. The magazine called this “troubling news,” in no small part because their presence is at odds with federal law, which bars Web sites from collecting personal data about kids under 13 without permission from their parents. “Clearly, using Facebook presents children and their friends and families with safety, security and privacy risks,” Consumer Reports concluded.

Within weeks of the Consumer Reports news, Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, called for challenging the 1998 Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (Coppa), which prevents Facebook from signing up young kids legally. “That will be a fight we take on at some point,” Zuckerberg said at the NewSchools Summit in California. And indeed, with the Federal Trade Commission poised to tighten Coppa’s regulations, Facebook has tripled its spending on lobbying, formed a political action committee and hired former Bush and Obama officials to push for its agenda.

We don’t really know yet how joining Facebook at a tender age affects kids socially and emotionally. There’s the fun and freedom of Facebook, and then there’s the Consumer Reports finding that the site exposed a million teenagers to bullying and harassment last year. What is clear is that Facebook thinks it needs access to kids’ lives in order to continue to dominate its industry. The younger the child, the greater the opportunity to build brand loyalty that might transcend the next social-media trend. And crucially, signing up kids early can accustom them to “sharing” with the big audiences that are at their small fingertips.

Increasingly, Facebook is staking its future relevance and profits on this idea of sharing, which it made “frictionless” in late September. With certain apps on Facebook, like Spotify, you can choose to enable a feature where everyone can see what you’re listening to or viewing, without your hitting another key. Before rolling out frictionless sharing, Facebook emphasized that it is now easier to see what your default settings are. But the company refuses to change those settings so that the default would establish more privacy, no doubt because it affects Facebook’s bottom line.

The more people you’re connected to on the site and the more “likes” you post, the more ads can be personalized — hey, buy these shoes because your three friends did! — and the more potential advertising dollars can be generated. Facebook encourages widespread sharing by making the default settings for an adult’s Facebook page public to all. The site has made a concession when it comes to teenagers: the default setting allows basic personal information (name, networks, photo) to be public, while posts are shared with Facebook friends and also the friends of those friends. My son is too young to be on Facebook, but imagine that after his bar mitzvah, he posts photos of it. Along with the 300 people he knows, he could have an audience of 1,000 or more friends of friends he doesn’t.

As Zuckerberg put it in a radio interview: “We help you share information, and when you do that, you’re more engaged on the site, and then there are ads on the side of the page. The more you’re sharing, the more — the model all just works out.” Default settings are particularly important to this vision because most people (and especially teenagers) never change them. A recent Columbia University study of 65 college students found that 94 percent were sharing personal information on Facebook that they had not intended to make public.

It’s true that Facebook has taken action against the graver dangers of sharing. For example, the site is using a new technology to find and remove child pornography, and it’s a partner in the police’s Amber alert system for missing children. In September, Facebook started testing a special e-mail address with a small group of principals and guidance counselors that gives schools an inside track for urgent reports on bullying and fighting. These steps on behalf of kids are all good. They also don’t get in the way of all the sharing that makes Facebook prosper. Changing privacy settings for teenagers would.

For Zuckerberg and others in Silicon Valley, the assumption is that nonstop sharing, at every age, is inevitable. A week or so after Zuckerberg said he was ready to fight Coppa, Larry Magid, a co-director of the nonprofit ConnectSafely, seconded the idea in a blog post called “Facebook Ought to Allow Children Under 13.” Magid argued that given the millions of young kids already on Facebook despite the law, we’re better off letting them on legally and then hoping Facebook comes up with stricter privacy controls. Stephen Balkam, who runs another nonprofit, the Family Online Safety Institute (FOSI), similarly inveighed against “techno-pessimists” in his blog on The Huffington Post when Facebook’s geolocation service, called Places, met with a wave of criticism over privacy last year.

Magid and Balkam’s groups are both on what Facebook calls its “safety advisory board,” which the company has said is “independent.” Yet they also receive financing from Facebook as well as from other media companies. (FOSI receives $30,000 from each of 15 of its corporate sponsors, including Facebook; Magid did not disclose how much his group receives from Facebook and 15 other sponsors.) In September, Facebook held a reception on Capitol Hill at which the safety board members stood alongside Facebook reps promoting the company’s work on privacy, and Balkam lauded Facebook’s “remarkable maturity.” As a commentator on a CBS radio show and a columnist for The San Jose Mercury News, Magid sometimes criticizes the company but has defended it at key moments. (Headlines: “Online Privacy Concerns Often Misplaced” and “Facebook Privacy Lawsuit a Jumbled Mess.”) Magid discloses his financial link to the company because, he says, he can understand a potential conflict. On his Huffington Post blog, Balkam does not.

Facebook stresses that Google and others also finance many of the same organizations, which is true. This is a cozy corner of the online world. It is not frictionless, however. Last fall, Common Sense Media, an advocacy group for kids online that reviews movies, games and apps, left Facebook’s advisory board because, the C.E.O. James Steyer says, he and his staff saw Facebook’s approach to teenager privacy as worsening over time and insisted on saying so publicly. “When we disagreed with them on privacy, they wanted us to keep it quiet,” Steyer says. Facebook says it respects Common Sense Media’s decision.

Meanwhile, in Washington the F.T.C. wants to require Web sites to get parents’ permission before they can track the online movements of kids under 13 for marketing purposes. A bill recently introduced in Congress would go a step further. Called Do Not Track Kids, the legislation would bar Web sites outright from using kids’ data to target ads to them until they are 17. In a rare show of bipartisanship, Republicans and Democrats in the House have come out in favor of Do Not Track Kids. Facebook, needless to say, has not.

Emily Bazelon, a contributing writer, is a senior editor at Slate. She is working on a book about bullying.

Friday, October 14, 2011

October 14

JOURNAL TOPIC: [today's tunes: "Try [Just A Little Bit Harder]" by Janis Joplin; "The Hardest Button to Button" by The White Stripes]

According to Hunter S. Thompson, "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." What do you do when the going gets tough/weird?

1. Journal
2. Vocabulary midterm

1. Brush up on Hamlet: Act III (quiz Monday)
2. Read literature analysis book (schedule to finish Monday or Tuesday)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

October 13

JOURNAL TOPIC: [today's tunes: "Won't Get Fooled Again" by The Who; "They're Coming To Take Me Away-- Hahaaa!" by Napoleon XIV]

Prediction time. How do Hamlet's conversations with Ophelia and his mother foreshadow what he'll do after being sent off to England with Rosencrantz and Guildenstern? Do you see a resolution on the horizon? (If you've read ahead link back to the ideas in these scenes and look for specific textual clues.)

1. Journal
2. Residual "To be, or not to be" recitals (including mine)
2. Discuss Hamlet: Act II & III
3. Last chance to review for vocab midterm

1. Plan how good you're going to feel when you ace the midterm (and make sure you're going to ace the midterm).

October 12

JOURNAL TOPIC: [today's tunes: "Straighten Up and Fly Right" by Nat King Cole; "Joe Cool" by B.B. King; "I'm Looking Through You" by the Beatles/performed by the Wallflowers]

Hamlet agonizes over his fate; Hamlet freaks out at Ophelia; Hamlet confronts his mother; Hamlet stages a play that tells Claudius the cat is out of the bag. Is Hamlet acting intentionally or is he as unpredictable as he seems? Explain your answer and include examples from Acts II & III.

1. Journal
2. "To be, or not to be" (git 'er done!)
3. Discuss Acts II & III

1. Read literature analysis book
2. Study for Friday's (10/14) vocabulary midterm

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Hamletator

October 11

JOURNAL TOPIC: [today's tunes: "Taste the Pain' by the Red Hot Chili Peppers; "Whipping Post" by The Allman Brothers]
Whether or not you've memorized the "To be, or not to be..." soliloquy, reflect on what makes this a difficult assignment. Compare the experience to the military's Basic Training, football's Hell Week, and other assignments/quests that are demanding and uncomfortable-- but also give people a way to share the experience of improving and conquering a challenge.

1. Journal
2. To
3. Be
4. Or
5. Not
6. To
7. Be
8. Vocab midterm review (depending on class preference)

1. "To be, or not to be..."
2. Make sure your blog is up and includes literature analysis #1 and last night's essay.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Peace Club, Microfinance & Guest Speaker Valence Lutisaire

This couldn't wait until next month's kudos...

Last Thursday's Peace Club event was a huge success. Congratulations to organizers Trevor Hudgins and Ian May. Special thanks to Valence Lutisaire for coming all the way from Uganda to introduce us to YOFAFO. Thanks also to Ms. Barbarick for opening her room so we could webcast to an overflow crowd.

The purpose of Peace Club ("First rule: talk about Peace Club") is to improve global understanding by identifying and investing in small businesses. Traditionally we have worked through Kiva-- now we are able to establish a direct connection to loan recipients. Have a look at the videos that follow and visit YOFAFO and the Peace Club if you are interested in participating.

October 10

JOURNAL TOPIC: [today's tunes: "Nothing Else Matters" by Metallica; "Lost in the Supermarket" by The Clash]
Now that you've mastered the text of "To be, or not to be..." reflect on Hamlet's dilemma and help him make up his mind. Use the text of the play and your own logic to support your opinion.

1. Journal
2. Recitals: "To be, or not to be..."
3. Briefing about the vocabulary midterm (Friday, 10/14)

1. Finish reading Act III of Hamlet
2. Expand your journal topic into an essay and post it to your blog under the title "(Don't) Be Hamlet"

October 7

Describe an idea, skill, topic or profession that you want to learn more about-- and can't in school.

1. Journal
2. Study for vocab midterm
3. Read literature analysis book

1. (See blog over weekend)

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Hamlet: Act III Scene i

Here are several versions of "To be, or not to be..." (including one by a girl with a guitar who wrote a melody to memorize it for an English course):

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Kudos n' Stuff: October

Introducing "Kudos N' Stuff"-- a monthly summary of good news and general updates.  Please give your news/updates to me in class or send via email to:

  • Kudos to Arianna Farmer, the first winner of the 2011-2012 Elks' Club scholarship competition;
  • Kudos to Sarah Rayburn on being admitted to the University of Oregon (a mere TEN DAYS after submitting her application!);
  • Here is the Facebook page for RHS Seniors; page author Alex McKinney requests that students "like" the scholarships/college apps page and remember (even though it's F.Book) to apply what they've learned about hosting good conversations online...
  • For those people who wanted the whole story of the FG-kicking Homecoming Queen:

October 6

JOURNAL TOPIC: [today's tunes: "Imagine" by John Lennon; "Truckin'" by the Grateful Dead; "But I Might Die Tonight" by Cat Stevens]

As many of you know, Steve Jobs passed away yesterday. As quoted by (which also listed his 10 favorite albums, including today's tunes), Jobs described himself this way: "I grew up in the apricot orchards that later became known as Silicon Valley, and was lucky enough to have my young spirit infused with the social and artistic revolution of the day called rock and roll. It has never left me." If this moment signifies the end of one era, surely it signifies the beginning of another. There are the people tinkering in their garages today who will leave legacies tomorrow. What do you think the next great inventions will be? How will they be flavored by the current social and artistic moment? What problems will they solve? What opportunities will they create? How will they make the world more entertaining, more creative, more efficient, and more sustainable?

1. Journal
2. Vocab midterm (review)
3. Hamlet: Act III

1. Continue studying "to be, or not to be"
2. Continue studying for vocab midterm
3. Continue reading literature analysis book

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

October 5

JOURNAL TOPICS: ["Song From M*A*S*H (Suicide is Painless)" by Johnny Mandel & Mike Altman; "Numb" by Linkin Park; "Ophelia" by The Band; "Until The End" by Breaking Benjamin]

Now that you've spent some time with Hamlet's "to be, or not to be" conflict, analyze his dilemma. What issues does the choice present? How does Hamlet filter the pros and cons through his identity as a prince, a person of moral character, a person of religious belief, and a grieving son?

1. Journal
2. Quiz on Act II (c'mon, you knew this was coming)
3. Discuss Hamlet's soliloquy and end of Act II/beginning of Act III

1. Study "To be, or not to be"
2. Study for vocab midterm
3. Read literature analysis book

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Hamlet: Act II Scene ii vids

Here is a comparison of multiple productions (in three parts):

October 4

JOURNAL TOPIC: [today's tunes: "Messin' With The Kid" by the Blues Brothers; "You Turned The Tables On Me" by Anita O'Day & Oscar Peterson; "Let Your Conscience Be Your Guide" by Marvin Gaye]

Hamlet suspects that he is being dealt with falsely, but still he assumes that Claudius has a conscience and will show his guilt on his face. Why? Do you agree? How do people manufacture "truths" that are clearly unsupported by facts? What makes a person believable? How can you tell when someone is telling the truth or covering it up?

1. Journal/check literature analysis books
2. This week's vocabulary: good news/bad news
3. Discuss Hamlet: Act II

1. Study Hamlet's "To be, or not to be" soliloquy (to be memorized by Monday 10/10)
2. Read literature analysis book

Monday, October 3, 2011

October 3

JOURNAL TOPIC: [today's tunes: "I Spy (TV Theme)" by Earle Hagen; "Our House" by Madness; "You Call It Madness" by Nat King Cole]
Although madness is typically synonymous with insanity, it also serves as a metaphor of freedom from emotional or intellectual constraint. Many have observed the fine lines between genius, inspiration, intense emotion and madness. Consider this quote from Jack Kerouac:
"The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn, like fabulous yellow Roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes, 'Awww!'"

How do you interpret the concept of madness? By your definition, is Hamlet mad? Support your point with the text of the play.

1. Journal/check literature analysis books
2. "We Have A Winner!" (scholarships, college apps & personal statements)
3. Review/discuss Act I
4. Begin reading/taking notes on Act II

1. Finish reading/taking notes on Act II
2. Begin memorizing Hamlet's "To be, or not to be" soliloquy (Act III Scene i)