Friday, November 20, 2009

Extra Credit for Thanksgiving Week

Extra Credit Opportunities

You may complete one of the following for extra credit in Quarter 2. I will make another option available at the end of the quarter. Th assignment below is due by Friday, Dec. 4, 2009.

The Road: Movie vs. Novel
The movie version of The Road will be released on November 25. As an extra credit opportunity, you should attend the film with a parent/guardian. Then complete the following steps in order to earn up to 5 extra credit points. Trust me; these seemingly small assignments do make a difference in your overall grade for the quarter.

1. Go to the theater and watch the movie, The Road. You will need to attend this with a parent/guardian since the movie is rated R.
2. Save your ticket stub to submit with your paper.
3. Create a detailed double bubble comparing/contrasting the movie to the novel. Each bubble requires a specific example from the film and the novel.
4. Type a 3/4 to one-page, thoughtful observation about the most striking similarities and differences between the film and movie. This must provide evidence that you considered both texts carefully. Do discuss at the end of your paper, which version of the story you preferred and why. Offer specific examples.
5. Discuss the film's themes and comparisons to the book with your adult viewing partner. After this discussion ask the parent/guardian, with whom you viewed the film, to hand write or type his/her reflections about the film and sign the paper.
6. Submit the movie stub, double bubble, your paper, and your adult's reflections (these can be brief) by Friday, December 4.

If you are unable to attend the film but would still like to do an extra credit assignment, complete the following:

Invocation of the Muse

Your Task: Imitate the first sixteen lines of The Odyssey, imagining that this is the opening to an epic about your life.


1. Think about a Hero Quest you’ve taken in your own life. Make this the basis of your piece.
2. Begin with an invocation to the Muse: “Tell me, Muse…” or “Sing to me, Muse…” or similar.
3. Include epithets about yourself and the other characters of your epic.
4. Give a snapshot of your quest.
5. Include a bit of “formal-sounding” language. The idea is to play with Homer’s language in order to become more comfortable with it.
6. Describe the setting. Make the setting sound grand in scale.


Tell me, Muse, about the man of many miles,
Who many times dashed as he ran through the streets of Santa
Monica. He saw the Fatigue of his teammates and knew their pain.
On the course, he too suffered great pains within his lungs,
Yearning for the finish line, and his teammates’ success.
He could not guide his team to victory, though he wanted to:
His teammates had lost the race because of their laziness.
The slackers had disregarded the wise words
Of the well-traveled coach Cady, who knew the path to victory.
Tell the tale for us, beginning with the previous day,
Sometime after the piercing bell had sounded.
When all the others, seeking refuge from the torments of school
Had fled, light-footed to the safety of their homes.
Yet he alone, longing for the final mile and his own return,
Wan confined by sound-minded Coach Cady, who strives for excellence,
To the fenced-in, crimson rubber surface that was his training ground.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Upcoming Events

Tuesday, November 17
Last day to turn in The Road essay for full credit

Friday, November 20
Final exam on The Odyssey--25 scantron questions and theme paragraph

Tuesday, December 1
Vocabulary test of The Odyssey and "Transformation"

Monday, November 9, 2009

The Odyssey Characters

Below is the list of characters in The Odyssey that you will be tracking during the film and selected book reading sections. For the books that we read in class (Books 5, 9, 10, 12, 21, 22 and 23) note direct quotations that prove character traits on the chart in your notebook.

The Suitors
Scylla and Charybdis

The Odyssey on Google Earth

Now that you are getting into the epic with Odysseus trying to get home from Troy to Ithaca, you may enjoy charting our hero's course. Click here to see Odysseus's journey on google earth.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

The Road Essay

The Road Essay blue prewriting packet is due Monday, November 9.
The typed rough draft is due Wednesday, November 11.
The final essay's last day for full credit is Monday, November 16.

Writing Prompt:

In a well-organized and thoughtful essay answer one of the following questions. Work to say something that is uniquely your own about this text and to move beyond plot summary to thematic analysis.

1. What is McCarthy’s thematic message about good versus evil? Create a complex thematic statement and use well-selected evidence to support your statement. To get at your theme statement you may compare and contrast good and evil in a double bubble or examine causes and effects of both good and evil in two multi-flow maps.

2. Is this novel optimistic or pessimistic about humanity? In other words, does McCarthy believe that humans are basically good or evil? Take a stand on one side or the other and use convincing evidence from the text to prove your position.

3. According to McCarthy, what causes people to remain good in the face of evil and what are the effects on their humanity? Create a complex thematic statement and use insightful quotes to defend your ideas.

Grading Rubric


___ The introduction engages the reader, introduces the topic, and includes a thesis statement that will serve as a blueprint for the main ideas developed in the body paragraphs.
___ Body paragraphs follow solid paragraph structure by beginning with a topic sentence, including two or three PIEs, and ending with a concluding sentence which refers clearly to thesis statement. PIE = Point, Illustration, Explanation
___ Transitions from part to part and paragraph to paragraph are smooth and logical.
___ Conclusion summarizes the ideas presented in the paper and leads the reader to an interesting idea—the So what? or the So why does this matter to life?


___ Thesis is clearly stated, fully expanded, specifically states the main ideas of your paper
___ Thesis says something specific about the topic being explored. Theme = topic + author’s lesson about topic
___ Ideas are presented logically and clearly in body paragraphs that are relevant to the thesis
___ Each paragraph includes at least two illustrations quoted from the text to support ideas.
___ All ideas are explained and analyzed fully.
___ Papers that exceed expectations also analyze how the elements of McCarthy’s style contribute to the theme—in other words, how McCarthy uses language to convey a message.


___ Words are clear, precise and spelled correctly
___ Sentence formation is clear and varied
___ Proper punctuation is used, especially with conjunctions.
___ MLA format is used to document direct quotations, and a works cited entry for The Road is included at the end of the essay. Other sources used are properly cited.

Due Dates

Typed rough drafts, with proper MLA formatting, are due in class on Wednesday, November 11.
Final draft window: 8:30 a.m. Thursday, November 12 to Monday, November 16 at 3:10 p.m. Papers submitted on the 17th will lose 25%. Papers submitted on the 18th or after will lose 50%.

Tips for Better Writing

Common Mistakes from The Namesake Essays

Your essay needs a creative title. Using the title of the novel, play, or short story is not okay.

Make sure you get the title of the book being discussed correct. Look at the cover of the book. Underline book titles and capitalize important words of the title.

Include the author when discussing the title the first time you mention the book.

Don’t use numerals for numbers under 10—you have to write them out.

Your body paragraphs need topic sentences that are tied to your provable thesis statement. Your paragraphs need summary sentences and transitions.

In the conclusion make a connection to the world and the significance of the text.

You should focus on ANALYSIS instead of on retelling the plot. Speaking of analysis, your quotes need to advance your analysis, not prove plot. It’s not interesting for you to tell me that Ahsima is lonely and then offer a quote that reads, “Ashoke, I feel so lonely.” The explanation of your quotes has to include DISCUSSION—what is the author SAYING? What’s the message? What’s the point? Why is this significant? SO WHAT?

Never, EVER, EVER use “I” in a paper (I believe, I think, In my opinion). You can’t write in the second person either. Every time you write, “you,” replace it with “Jackie Roehl” and see if it makes sense. It won’t. Write in the third person ONLY.

Don’t start or end a body paragraph with a quote. Quotes need to be discussed and used as proof of your argument and to further your analysis.

The text is a NOVEL, not a STORY. For future reference, the text might be a PLAY, not a STORY. Make sure you write the correct genre distinction.

It’s/its. Of/have. Your/you’re. Witch/Which. They’re/There/Their. Whether/Weather. To/Too. Then/Than. Make sure you know the differences. Don’t rely on spell check.

Don’t forget your friend the apostrophe, but ignore him when he’s not needed.

Don’t include long quotes in your paper—use only what’s necessary.

Refer to authors by their last names. “Lahiri writes…” She’s not Jhumpa.

Double space your paper and also follow the MLA format for internal documentation and works cited.

Avoid vague pronouns.

Don’t say things like, “This shows,” or “That is important.” Say what “this” and “that” are.

Don’t misspell character names. It makes me think you haven’t read the book. And while you’re at it, don’t misspell the AUTHOR’S name. That one’s on the cover of the book.

Don’t pose questions—the purpose of the paper is to ANSWER questions, not pose them.