Friday, October 31, 2014

Suspense! Hitchcock on Halloween

1.  Any Chekov's guns?
2.  Watch 3;00 through 6;50.  Listen very carefully again to any back story that reveals an ominous tone for the remainder of the action. You should pick up on at least two issues.
3.  Now note the time where we see an escalation of tension.
#1- Hmmm
#2- Uh oh
#3  (curley panic) Gna gna gna
#4  YIKES!
# 5 Maximum squirm!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

AP Editorial Project 2014

Writer Apprenticeship Final IRP #1 for 1st Semester

“Good writing isn’t a science. It’s an art, and the horizon is infinite. You can always get better.” -David Foster Wallace

Task:  Inspired by DFW's words on writing, we will continue our study of the craft. Our next project will involve you following a columnist from a major newspaper/ publication over the next few weeks.  The purpose of this project is for you to learn at the feet of a contemporary master of argumentative prose.  You will collect a minimum of five current columns and analyze the patterns of persuasion and style of this writer.  The editorial you select should not exceed 700 words, regular length of an editorial.  Using Google Sites and the template I provided, you will post the article and your annotations in your editorial analysis site.  Too easy!  

Areas of annotation for each column:
  • Speaker’s tone and possible tone shifts
  • Rhetorical strategies
  • Organization and arrangement
  • Methods of appeals
  • Intended audience reactions- laughter, anger, confusion

Questions to guide your observations for analysis:

  1. How does the title inform the piece?
  2.  What is the thesis and where is it?
  3. What introductory technique(s) did the author use?  Is the technique weaved through the essay?  How?
  4. Our texts have reflected some of the purposes of argument.  Using the language of your text, identify the purpose (s) of this argument.
  5. What appears to be the balance of ethos, pathos, or logos in this editorial?
  6. Comment on the method of conclusion.  What can you learn from this method of closing?
  7. What appeals are in the argument?
  8. After studying this piece, what, if anything, would you like to emulate as a writer?

Look no farther than New York Times Opinion pages or the syndicated columnists from Yahoo News Opinion for your selection of writer.

Remember that the "I" in IRP stands for Independent. Outside of today there will be limited time to work on this project. This means that there is a level of trust and academic maturity required to meet the demands. If you wait until the last few days to complete the analysis of the writer, the project will suffer as your analysis will be weak as will your Apprentice essay. On the flip side, keeping a disciplined regiment of analysis of a new editorial piece every 3-4 days will pay off as you will be less stressed and will allow for a proper reflection on the technique of your writer. This reflection will make the drafting of the Apprentice essay smooth.
Model Editorial Project and Apprentice Essay from Matt Wenz

Due date- November 21 (Project Free over break) or December 1.
Expect one drop in where I verify that you are keeping up with the intent of this project.  

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

I'm Coming Home...

Prompt: In 2010, LeBron James, arguably the most gifted professional basketball player of his generation, stunned the sports world as he left the Cleveland Cavaliers, team from his home state that originally drafted him, and competed for the Miami Heat where he subsequently won 2 championships. In the summer of 2014, LeBron James optioned out of his contract and rejoined the Cavaliers. Read the following open letter LeBron penned to the fans of Cleveland. Then write an essay in which you analyze the rhetorical strategies James uses to win back the allegiance of the fan base.

 HW:  Write two rhetorical analysis paragraphs uncovering the strategy from LeBron's letter home.
A) How does James build the bridge to the fan base?
B)  Textual evidence?
C)  Why would this technique work on this audience?  *snap*

Friday, October 24, 2014

Spooky Friday Film Study- ALMA

This weeks submission for Gary Oldman's Touch of Evil performance... I want you to dwell in this performance before you write your description.  Submit over the weekend!

Alma from Rodrigo Blaas on Vimeo.

A) Touch of Evil description
B) Two more paragraphs for rhetorical analysis
Strategy #2- Appeal to….
1) Describe the rhetorical strategy and its intended effect on Downe’s wife.
2) Rhetorical strategy #2- Textual Evidence/Rhetorical Device?
3) Why would this strategy specifically appeal to someone who is currently in poverty?

Strategy #3 – Patterns of language to reveal Downe’s tone.
A) Do you see any patterns?  What is unique about this word choice?  
B) Specifically reference the amount of times the pattern occurs and provide a sample.
C)  What positive effect would this tone have on Downe’s intent?

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Downe to the basics!

Sorry 7/8

HW: Write a rhetorical analysis paragraph from Downe's letter. Look over your annotation notes and start with this outline:
Strategy #1- How does Downe “build a bridge” to his wife?
A) What does Downe do to reach out to his wife? 
B) Rhetorical strategy #1- Textual evidence/ (Rhetorical Device-if there- comment on its function to amplify the strategy)?
C) Why would this effectively persuade her ?

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Yes! Halloween Week Starts in AP!

I love this short horror film as it does so much more with less.

HW:  Read the questions from the Queen Elizabeth passage (10-13).  Read through the AP MC types of questions and link them to the question.
For example: Q1= Meaning & Purpose

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Draft Outline for Review

One minute horror movie adapted from 2 sentence horror story...eeek
I begin tucking him into bed and he tells me, “Daddy check for monsters under my bed.” I look underneath for his amusement and see him, another him, under the bed, staring back at me quivering and whispering, “Daddy there’s somebody on my bed.”
-Juan J Ruiz

Preliminary outline- to include preliminary opening idea (Wells), articulated support paragraph ideas

Not acceptable example:
                       III.  Actors
                                         = Terrible

This is a better start:

                        III. Actors confirming every tired cliche of action films
                             A) Actor X- Reluctant hero-Love turns his heart for good
                                  1) Sample of cheesy dialogue
                                     a) "Cassandra I never knew what love was until I looked into your beautiful blue eyes..."
                                     i) Insert sarcasm

                             B) Retired Assassin comes back for one last job.
                                 1) # times we hear how he was the best
                                     i) "Do you know who you are messing with?!"
                                 2) Big boss sends out younger/eccentric team to "neutralize" our hero.

This outline reflects sharper observation and an obvious strategy to organize the critique.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Table 7- Film Friday & Federal Doughnuts Review

HW:    Read Pete Wells review of Federal Doughnuts (Check out the link- Yum!)-Till the Last Doughnut and Drumstick.  Write a rhetorical analysis of how Wells uses the introduction to capture the excitement of this restaurant.


  • 2 paragraphs
  • Textual evidence
The Babadook!  

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Repost from 2011- Brutal Review

I know this is an old review of The Happening from several years back, but it is dripping with sarcasm.  Here are some of my favorite zingers by Christopher Orr:

M. Night Shyamalan’s latest movie, The Happening, is not merely bad. It is an astonishment, so idiotic in conception and inept in execution that, after seeing it, one almost wonders whether it was real or imagined. It’s the kind of movie you want to laugh about with friends, swapping favorite moments of inanity: “Do you remember the part when Mark Wahlberg … ?” “God, yes. And what about that scene where the wind … ?”
The single most absurd element of The Happening, the wellspring from which all other absurdities flow, is its conceit: Across the Northeastern United States, people are succumbing to a toxic airborne agent that makes them commit suicide, often gruesomely. At first it hits major population centers, followed by smaller towns, and on down to groups of even just a handful of people. Initially, it’s assumed to be some kind of terrorist attack. But as we learn pretty early in the film, it’s not. It’s trees. Yes, the trees (and perhaps some bushes and grass, too, the movie’s never too clear on this point) have tired of humankind’s ecological despoilment and are emitting a complicated aerial neurotoxin that makes us kill ourselves en masse. I bet you wish you were the one who came up with this blockbuster idea.
But enough about the boring interpersonal melodrama: On to the boring arboreal genocide! Each time the airborne toxin strikes, everyone ceases what they were doing and freezes in their tracks for a moment. It took several such episodes before I stopped anticipating that they’d commence tapping their feet in unison, as in the beginning of a big musical ensemble number.
Alas, there’s no singing. But the methods of suicide chosen often seem chosen for their entertainment value, in particular: the man who meticulously starts an industrial mower and then lies down in front of it; the woman who wanders around a house methodically smashing her head through windows until she embeds enough glass in her skull to keel over; and, of course, the zoo lion keeper who invites his charges to bite off his arms so he can stand around, Black Knight–like, spraying blood from the stumps.
Equally odd is their insistence, even though they’ve known from the beginning that the deadly nerve agent is airborne, on spending as much time as possible outdoors. When fleeing by car, they leave the windows rolled down; anytime they want to look at a map or discuss what to do next they get out of the car to do so. It never seems to occur to any of the protagonists that they should get inside somewhere and tape the windows and doors --even though this is the only strategy we’ve seen work for anyone else. Eighty minutes into a 90-minute movie, Alma and Jess are still sitting in a small guest house with all the doors and windows open. When Elliot, who’s just watched someone fall victim to the toxin nearby screams, “Close the windows and the doors!” Alma innocently inquires “Why?”

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Target- Language of the medium

Today we begin to build our available vocabulary for your future review.  It is important that you select the medium for your review (musicfilmtelevisionfoodvideo gamesbooks, etc.) so we can begin the process of drafting.  The preliminary step is to build our vocabulary that is specific to the target of our review.  So we need to read several reviews and prune the language specific to this medium.

A) Select your target
B) Peruse critics from established professional publications. Select one critic that you enjoy and pick a range of their reviews from positive, negative, to "meh".
C) Create a Google doc (do not need to share with me) and copy and paste no less than 4 lengthy reviews reflecting a range of ratings.
D) Begin to read reviews and copy the vocabulary unique to the  target (cacophony, wide angle, etc) into the Review Vocabulary notes in Classroom.  Here is a big pile of music vocab not tilting for positive or negative)
E) Of course, observe the structure of the review but what is most essential today is for you to fill the well of available descriptive vocabulary.

I have linked for you several quality professional reviewers below.  So what is your medium of choice for a review?  musicfilmtelevisionfoodvideo gamesbookstheater, etc.

Here are some of my favorite reviewers of Film/TV
A.O. Scott       Manohla Dargis       Peter Travers  (Rolling Stone)

Roger Ebert- Suntimes          AV Club                      
TV-Andy Greenwald ( Grantland)

 MusicRolling Stone (Brief)               Paste               Pitchfork             AV Club                              Steven Hyden (Grantland)

TechnologyRecode   Wired

AV Club has sharp reviews as well...MoviesMusicTVBooks,

Monday, October 6, 2014

Rhetorical Analysis of Film review tone

This is the best...
Read through the recent batch of reviews and unpack which review earned the A,B,C,D from the writer.  Highlight the words that reveal tone and * the sentences that are most clever/complex.  

Task:  Write a rhetorical analysis of the review earning the highest or lowest grade.  This analysis must unpack the patterns of tone that reveal the writer's method.  

1-2 paragraphs (must include textual support)

Friday, October 3, 2014

Transformer Reviews- Sarcasm Code

1st Practice AP MC- Click here

Franco Winners
2nd Period-
He was nervous. What do you say in a situation like this? Maybe he'll break the ice with a joke... Yes, girls always go for the comedian, right? Leaning against the wall, he suddenly forgot that all he could see was his own reflection. It was like he could see her, there, just on the other side. He could see her leaning towards the glass, and he just went for it. His lips met the cool, smooth glass and he hoped hers did the same. He wished he could do it again, somehow widen the crack, lessen the distance that kept them separated, but he knew in his heart it could never be.
                                                                                                -Kendra W

3rd Period-
Causally conversing and flirtatiously giggling, James becomes more enthralled by his reflection by the second. Completely enchanted by the gorgeous man in the mirror, he slowly, cautiously leans in for a peck on the lips behind glass, leaving the mirror clouded and steamy. Now, with more confidence, James strikes up another conversion with himself, ending with a deeper, more passionate kiss than before. 
                                                                                               -Jeana B
Fantasizing of a luxurious dream an individual man, eye seeking with compassion. Mirrors his irresistible charm of satisfaction foretelling his romantic display, sealing his heart with the kiss of a twin.

                                                                                               -Kyle A

Vampire Academy Review-
Period 2 Voting
Period 3 Voting
Period 7/8 Voting


Read the Ebert review & the Tribune review of the Transformers.  We are on the hunt for sarcasm and to be able to crack the code.  To do this I need you to trap the following:

  • Identify 2-3 sarcastic expressions per review (to include A.O Scott review- 6 minimum).
  • Write out the full sarcasm.  Sometimes this builds over several sentences so be patient in revealing its development.  If you want to copy and paste from Google Doc, go ahead.
  • Here is the tough part- Sarcasm is not easy to pull off in writing so we have to be very careful how we use it or we lose our reader to mixed message.  What is the code to writing sarcasm?  To answer this you need to unpack any patterns of syntax and tone from the sample you just created.  
Task:  Write a paragraph(s) that explains the rules of writing effective sarcasm.  Use your samples to illustrate the rules.

In order to write effective sarcasm, the writer must first...

Some cowbell to start your weekend off right...

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Finally Franco Vote & Round 3

Period 2
Period 3
Period 7/8

Could there be a more cliched mess of a movie that this?  Challenge accepted...

I.Summarize the precise function of each paragraph from A.O. Scott's "One Small Step for Man, One Giant Leap for Autobots" review. Google Doc has paragraphs numbered.  Be very clear as to the job of that paragraph in the overall context of the review.
(1) Scott establishes early on that...
II. Write out 3 of his best sentences (command of diction, sarcasm, complexity, etc)

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Chekov's Gun Example # 21,359- Home Alone

Remember when the spider got loose?  Kevin meticulously prepared for the intruders but like all best laid plans there was a slip.  Chance had it that the lost spider was the Chekov's gun that released him from the burglar's grasp and continue to foil their robbery.

Great way to add description where the right word is not available to capture it.  Add "esque" to a either a pop culture allusion, movements, or significant figure.  Adds flavor but as always use in moderation.

While reviewing Yoko Ono's performance of We're All Water, steal another syntax idea from today's batch of negative reviews and work it into another review (similar requirements from previous).  Post under the Youtube link on Google Classroom.