Archive for the ‘activities’ Category

Evernote and Applications that Enhance

In activities on February 16, 2013 at 10:52 pm

As we experiment with Evernote for the next few units, I’d like you to take a few moments to make the application as effective as possible for you. Sure, it might mean a bit more time fiddling with Evernote, but you’ll find yourself saving time on research and writing in the long run.

  • So, check out this basic web tutorial for Evernote 5, the version you’ve currently downloaded onto your computer.

In the coming week or two, I’ll be posting more about how you might use Evernote here at school. Until then, keep experimenting, and stay organized and stress free!

Oral Presentation Readings

In activities on January 29, 2013 at 5:03 am

It’s been a long time, hasn’t it? Well! We’re just warming up for our official return to

As I just mentioned in class, I’d like you to check out the following few resources for more tips and ideas regarding oral presentations. Review these resources and think about how you’ll integrate this information into your own presentation. After all, this material will really help you thrive when you’re up in front of class!

Dennis Jerz’s Tips on Oral Presentations. Dennis Jerz is an English professor at Seton Hill, and he’s stellar at what he does. Do read and retain his coaching on oral presentations: it’s top-notch. 

The Professor’s Guide to 15 Strategies for Giving Oral Presentations  posted on US News.

Rice University has a fantastic site on oral presentations skills. Check it out here.  There are plenty of sample clips to show you what to do (and what not to do) in your oral presentation.

Soobin’s Annotation

In activities, Beloved on December 6, 2012 at 10:10 pm

My annotation is on pg.144-145 and it is the moment when Denver and Beloved are playing together and all of a sudden Beloved goes missing; Denver instinctively panics in fear that she lost her “sister.” This is an interesting moment because it shows both the progression of Denver’s emotions as this scene progresses, and it also shows how much Denver has grown to depend on Beloved.

I focused mainly on Denver’s emotional state at a certain moment. I first identified Denver’s emotion right after Beloved is missing. As no one answers when Denver calls out for Beloved, Denver starts to get uneasy and nervous. The dialogue may at first seem as though Denver is still addressing Beloved, but through further reading, it is possible to see that she is actually talking to reassure herself that Beloved is still there and has not left her: “‘Oh, shoot. Beloved… Stop fooling.’”

The next stage that Denver’s emotion shifted to after nervousness was panic. Denver “moves slowly toward the door” and makes slow movements that show she is starting to panic. This is the moment when Denver realizes that Beloved is really not there: “The room is just as it was when they entered- except Beloved is not there.” In the previous part, Denver was also in a stage of disbelief, but as she opens the door and confirms that Beloved isn’t there with her own two eyes, she panics.

As her feelings intensify from panic to despair, she recalls memories from the past. She recalls when Paul D came and feels that this is worse than that. The pivotal moment comes when Denver firmly asserts “she won’t put up with another leaving, another trick.” This shows how Denver grew as a character by spending time with Beloved and taking care of her like a sister and a mother.

One thing that I tracked was the reference to light or dark. I thought that light was a moment spent with Beloved or being with Beloved and dark was without.
* “The minnows of light still swim there; they can’t make it down to where she is.”
She is still thinking of the times with Beloved and can’t even imagine what it’d be like without Beloved.
* “Cold sunlight displaces the dark”
It was better to be with Beloved than without her, even when Beloved considered her to be unimportant, only Sethe was important.
* “Darkness or not, she moves rapidly around”
Denver is determined to find Beloved and also desperate to find her sister.
-The next two were very confusing and they were some of the questions that I had unanswered.
* “It is hard to breathe and even if there were light she wouldn’t be able to see anything because she is crying.”
* “She decides to stay in the cold house and let the dark swallow her like the minnows of light above.”

Another unanswered question I had from reading this passage was:
1) Why does this particular memory of Baby Suggs’s death hit Denver instead of a more impactful memory such as one of Sethe killing Beloved and Denver having to drink her mother’s milk and sister’s blood?


The Top Interview Questions

In activities, Century Girl, core texts, discussions on October 24, 2012 at 5:59 am

Two of our class imitations of CENTURY GIRL, based on minor characters that appear in that text. Charles Lindbergh (from artist T.T.) is on the left, and Babe Ruth (from artist A.K) is on the right

As we prepare for our interview with Lauren Redniss, here are the questions that earned the top votes along with some questions that dovetail nicely from the top questions.  If you have a moment, try using  the comment space to brainstorm a few of the ways you might answer these questions given what we’ve read of the text. Then, it’ll be really interesting to see how our answers differ from what we discover in the interview!

1. What inspired you to write a book about Doris Eaton? Where did the idea come from in the first place? Did you bump into her at the supermarket and just decide to write about her?

2. Whom did you write Century Girl for?

3. What gave you the idea of design the book out the way you did? (for instance, the collage type layout and the handwritten text).

4. When you first imagined writing this book, what did you imagine the finished product would be like. And was the result the same as you thought it would be?

5. What was the process that you had to go through to create this book? Were there any that you particularly liked or disliked?

6. As one of the assignments the classes are to complete as they study your book, we’re imitating your style create a page about a minor character. Do you have any advice or rules on design?

7. Is there anything that you wish you would have put in the book that you didn’t include?

8. What was it like talking to Doris in person? I bet the stories were more amazing when told directly from her. Were there any stories that you found interesting that you didn’t include in the book?

9. What was Doris’s reaction to the publication of this book?

10. What have you learned from creating CENTURY GIRL that helped you approach your newer works (whether RADIOACTIVE or other pieces) with new perspectives?

Vote Here on Questions for Our Interview with Lauren Redniss

In activities, Century Girl, core texts, discussions on October 22, 2012 at 12:58 am

Here are most of the many questions we have developed for our interview with Lauren Redniss. I have included so many questions because I did not want to disenfranchise you from the process. I only omitted questions that overlapped from the ones that appear below.

As you decide on the questions, please remember that we only have a short period of time to interview Ms. Redniss. Select the questions that you think are most important for Ms. Redniss to answer. You will want to avoid selecting any question that you could answer yourself with your own analytical abilities (and our trusty paragraphing friend, I-E-A).


Chapter 5: Live-Blog

In activities, Century Girl, discussions on October 10, 2012 at 10:26 pm

Photo Credit: Brian Lanker

If you’re interested, check what the video reports as the last live-event Doris Eaton Travis ever participated in. The videos are long, but the writer’s project (and Doris’s comments) are interesting to entertain.

Interview Part 1
Interview Part 2
Interview Part 3

Besides that, let’s keep moving with the live-blogging. In our last few live-blogs, we’ve relied on a few too many questions-as-comments. Since we’ll quickly turn our attention towards essay preparation, let’s start flexing additional mental muscle when live-blogging. Explicate particular images or literary events in the text. Ask yourself a content or structural question and then answer it. Finish Chapter 5 and then read parts of previous chapters to see the book transition its portrayal of Doris.

Deeper comments don’t necessarily mean longer comments. Just make your comments useful for your thinking and writing later on!

Chapter 4: Live-Blog

In activities, Century Girl, core texts, discussions on October 8, 2012 at 4:41 am

Since some of us are really charging forward with the reading schedule (go you!), I’m quickly posting this without much prompting. Check back in a day or two for some (hopefully) thought-provoking videos, images, or ideas to work with as you post. Of course, you always have Century Girl to push your thoughts, as I know it will.

Keep up the great Live-Blogging!

Chapter 3: Live-Blog

In activities, Century Girl, core texts, discussions on October 3, 2012 at 11:05 pm

SOURCE: The Ziegfeld Club

If you have a minute, please check out this Washington Post obituary on Doris Eaton Travis. What moments in the obituary also appear in Century Girl? How does Century Girl add to the experience of reading about Eaton’s life when compared to the article?

For this live-blog, let’s aim for an even deeper understanding of how these pages work. What do you see or notice on an individual page? What patterns are at work? What interpretations are you leaning towards? Can you apply those interpretations to elsewhere in the text?



Chapter 2, Part 2: Live Blog

In activities, Century Girl, core texts, discussions on October 2, 2012 at 10:05 pm

If you have a chance, check out the above video, as it shows Mary Eaton singing “When Dreams Come True” in The Cocoanuts, the first feature length film the Marx brothers starred in. It’s difficult to describe the importance of Mary appearing in the 1929 film, especially since it was one earliest attempts at putting a musical on the big screen. How would someone have felt to see a dance legend on the screen? What do you think?

As we move forward with the next round of live-blogging, let’s start to focus our discussion even more. We all admit that the images help us relate to the subject of this biography to a much greater extent.

If the images makes us feel like we’re more connected to this history, why does Redniss intentionally select particular images? What effect do those particular images have? And, as always, what other literary elements are at play in this section of the text? Can we start to point towards more thematic tendencies?

Chapter 2, Part 1: Live Blog

In activities, Century Girl, core texts, discussions on October 2, 2012 at 4:26 pm

Above, you’ll see Lauren Redniss present at TEDxEast regarding her most recent book, Radioactive. By no means is this required viewing, but you may be interested in seeing the process this artist employs to create her work. The video shows just how careful and deliberate she is when developing her material.

Since some of us are already ready to forge ahead with our reading, I’m posting the second live blog here.

Currently, we’re developing  great insights from Century Girl. Some pages are “easier to read,” and some pages are packed with images that can distract. The handwritten text takes some time to get acquainted with. The “Timeline of Contents” juxtaposes large world events with less influential moments from the 21st Century.

Some images are hand-drawn, and others are scrapbooked into the text. Some material provokes more questions (“what is that picture doing there?”), and some enhance our ability to immerse ourselves into the person’s life.

Moving forward, what else do we see happening in the text? What patterns do we notice? Can we start formulating themes? Can we identify any literary elements at work?

So far, I’ve been impressed with the spirit you’ve infused in these live-blogs. Keep going!