Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The final book in the Twilight series

For all of you Twilight fans out there- here is a partial draft of the final novel in the series- Midnight Sun

It is a retelling of Twilight from Edward's point of view.

Monday, November 24, 2008


Under the recommendation of several students I have been reading the Twilight series. I have read the first two and am sort of stuck on the third. I see the appeal for students, forbidden love is always a good story. However, I have some issues with the protagonist. She always is in need or rescuing. Come on ladies, we don't need a man to rescue us, even if he is a dashingly handsome vampire. I want a strong protagonist who rescues the guy for once. If you really want a story of forbidden love, read Romeo and Juliet or for a lighter approach try A Midsummer Night's Dream.
This weekend I went to the movies to see The Changeling, but somehow messed up the times and ended up going to see Twilight. Just another case of the book being better than the movie. The actress who plays Bella only seems to have one expression and relies on it, no matter what the circumstance. Her character seemed just as weak in the movie as it does in the novels.
I heard on the radio this morning that the movie quickly hit number one this weekend, with a primary audience of young women ages 15-25. Who else saw this movie? What are your thoughts?

Movie Poster Compliments of: Twilight Movie Poster (Online Image)., November 24, 2008.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Politics of Language

After reading Orwell's essay "Politics and the English Language"
and discussing it in class, I have come to several conclusions. The first one being how smart all of you are. I thought this essay would be more troublesome reading for all of you and you proved me wrong. Your ability to draw out the main points and understand some of the complex ideas Orwell discusses amazed me. As far as what Orwell is discussing, I keep coming back to a line from Hamlet, "Brevity is the soul of wit." Of course, it isn't quite so simple, but the ideas are similar. Say what you mean, mean what you say. There is no need to flower our ideas with big words or unnecessary adjectives in an attempt to make ourselves sound smarter or worse yet, to conceal the fact we might not be saying anything at all.

Orwell's six rules are:

Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.

Never use a long word where a short one will do.

If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.

Never use the passive where you can use the active.

Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.

Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Identify the Propaganda Techniques

What is being implied in this ad? What is the effect of the statement "Big Brother is Watching You"? What sort of technique is the creator using to influence behavior?

What is being implied by "Victory Waits on Your Fingers"? Does this make absolute sense? What technique is being used here?

Appealing to patriotism is a technique, what is it?

Works Cited:
Save food (Online Image). Available November 18, 2008.
Victory Waits (Online Image). Available November 18, 2008.
Big Brother (Online Image). Available http// November 18, 2008.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

1984 Introduction

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1984 cartoon (online image) Available:
November 11, 2008.

Propaganda is all around us. This year's election was no exception. In the week prior to election day I received at least one "robo-call" a day, in an effort to influence my decision. In The Fine Art of Propaganda, the IPA stated that "It is essential in a democratic society that young people and adults learn how to think, learn how to make up their minds. They must learn how to think independently, and they must learn how to think together. They must come to conclusions, but at the same time they must recognize the right of other men to come to opposite conclusions. So far as individuals are concerned, the art of democracy is the art of thinking and discussing independently together." This year National Honor Society conducted a mock election. They are now in the process of conducting a survey to figure out what influences people to make decisions. Are we adequately informed? Are our thoughts and decisions controlled by what we see in the media? Turn on the television, what do you see? Go online, what happens? Read a magazine or newspaper- is the information you are receiving completely unbiased? It is hard to avoid being bombarded with messages in this technology age we live in today. Look around you. In what ways is the media trying to influence you? Check out this site on propaganda for more information.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Poetry Speaks

I just bought this new book Poetry Speaks (click on posting title for product description) to use in my classroom. I can't wait to use it with my students. It has recordings of poets reading their own poems, including Sylvia Plath, Gwendolyn Brooks, Jack Kerouac, Tennyson, James Joyce and Robert Frost. What a way to for students to hear how a poem should be read! I am hoping this may increase student involvement in the Poetry Out Loud competition this year.

Monday, November 3, 2008

The Humble Farmer

Today I took the Young Writers to Bates College. What a fantastic day. We arrived early and had just seated ourselves on the couches, when an older gentleman in coveralls walked into the room. With a scowl on his face (he later explained that he never smiles when first meeting people), he walked straight up to one of our students and stood about two inches from said student's face and said "Who are you? What are you doing here?" in a very thick Maine accent. As the student stumbled over an explanation, the man cupped both his ears and got even closer. At this point I had a sneaking suspicion that this might be the writer for the day. My instinct proved right. The man in coveralls was none other than Robert Skogland, aka, The Humble Farmer. He was quirky, somewhat rude and absolutely hilarious.
When all the students arrived, one young woman was reading an article he had left on the table. "What are you doing?" he demanded of her. "Reading your article," she responded hesitantly, as we all squirmed in discomfort for her. He walked to the table, grabbed one of his cds out of box and threw it to the girl, congratulating her on showing an interest.
He was an absolute riot. He kept both the teachers and students engaged and laughing all day. As he read students' work he would be struck by something funny and the room would fill with his booming "HA! HA!" He talked about the difference between a humorist and a comedian and explained that sometimes a punchline need not even be delivered. My personal favorite was his commentary the Bangor Daily News refused to publish. He stated that when a group of men from Saudi Arabia attacked New York City, we proceeded to invade Iraq. Ecuador responded by saying they were sure glad that Peru hadn't chosen to start a war with the U.S. This is the kind of humor I crave. For Skogland's thoughts on dry humor, click on the title of this post.