Upload any digital stuff for your presentation here!

Hi all – To make things easier next week, I’m including a dropbox link below where you can upload anything you need to access for your presentations. This way, you won’t have to  worry about whether you’ll be able to easily access it day-of. Not everyone will necessarily present the visual part of their project digitally, but probably most of you will, so I think this will make things go more smoothly. The link is below!

 

https://www.dropbox.com/request/duqDbp9TMWIfmzYHqaSk 

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Weekly Writing for Thursday, May 9

Hi all – as a reminder, I’m changing the way I’m going to assess the weekly writings for the rest of the semester. Starting now, I’m going to post writing prompts for every class we have going forward, but you are only required to respond to three of these writing posts between now and the end of the semester. This way, you can choose to engage with these writings whenever you have the time/mental capacity to do so, and I can still give you weekly writing credit as it’s laid out in the grade breakdown. So, you may respond to one of the prompts below if you choose, or you may wait and respond some other day.

Some possible prompts on “Patchwork Planet”:

  1. Why do you think this piece is framed as a “prehistory”? Why does it borrow the language and forms of the social sciences, and talk about Brooklyn the way one would talk about an archaeological dig?
  2. Talk about the epigraph (the quote at the beginning) from William Maxwell. How does it help you understand what’s to come?
  3. Why do you think he sets the piece up as this numbered list? What effect does that have on the way you read the piece?
  4. Choose one of the numbers from the list – what does story does that numbered description tell about Gowanus or Brooklyn?
  5. What role does Lethem’s personal experience have in this piece, and how does it interact with the information he provides to the reader – the history?
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Weekly Writing for Tuesday, May 7

Hi all – as a reminder, I’m changing the way I’m going to assess the weekly writings for the rest of the semester. Starting now, I’m going to post writing prompts for every class we have going forward, but you are only required to respond to three of these writing posts between now and the end of the semester. This way, you can choose to engage with these writings whenever you have the time/mental capacity to do so, and I can still give you weekly writing credit as it’s laid out in the grade breakdown. So, you may respond to one of the prompts below if you choose, or you may wait and respond some other day.

Some possible prompts on Cosmos:

  1. This is a text that talks about our scientific knowledge of the universe and our planet’s place in it. What role would you say imagination is playing here?
  2. What kind of story is being told about Earth here? Beyond facts, what kind of feelings or ideas do you think this description is trying to impress on you about the world we live in?
  3. What do you think is the significance of the two quotations this chapter starts with?
  4. What do you think is the significance of its title? Do a close reading of that title – what ideas does it set us up to think about as we begin reading the chapter?
  5. This chapter uses a lot of narrative strategies to take this scientific information and humanize/dramatize it – choose and discuss one of these strategies. How do you think it’s working?
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Weekly Writing for Thursday, May 2

Hi all – as a reminder, I’m changing the way I’m going to assess the weekly writings for the rest of the semester. Starting now, I’m going to post writing prompts for every class we have going forward, but you are only required to respond to three of these writing posts between now and the end of the semester. This way, you can choose to engage with these writings whenever you have the time/mental capacity to do so, and I can still give you weekly writing credit as it’s laid out in the grade breakdown. So, you may respond to one of the prompts below if you choose, or you may wait and respond some other day.

Some possible prompts on “Nightfall”:

  1. In a science fiction text, every detail presented that differs from our known reality has been crafted to fit the story and its ideas. Choose some physical detail about place in this story, and talk about why you think Asimov made that choice. What ideas about this story, or this place, are connected to that physical detail? How does it help us to better understand the world he’s created?
  2. At the same time, science fiction asks us to think creatively about the world we already live in. Choose some physical detail about the place described in this story, and think about how it comments on some element of our environment & its culture – whether that be on Earth, in America, in Brooklyn, etc.
  3. Ursula LeGuin talks about science fiction as thought experiments – what-if scenarios that take elements of our current lives and spin them out to their logical (if extreme) conclusions (think Black Mirror). What would you say is the “thought experiment” that’s happening in this story? What questions does it ask us to consider?
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Weekly Writing for Thursday, April 18

Hi all – as a reminder, I’m changing the way I’m going to assess the weekly writings for the rest of the semester. Starting now, I’m going to post writing prompts for every class we have going forward, but you are only required to respond to three of these writing posts between now and the end of the semester. This way, you can choose to engage with these writings whenever you have the time/mental capacity to do so, and I can still give you weekly writing credit as it’s laid out in the grade breakdown. So, you may respond to one of the prompts below if you choose, or you may wait and respond some other day.

Some possible prompts on Leaves of Grass:

  1. What do you think of the repetitive lists (we call them catalogues) in this poem? What effect do they have on you?
  2. What do you think is the role of place in this poem? It is a poem that seems to be everywhere at once. How does that affect the way you read it?
  3. Choose an image in this poem that feels particularly vivid to you and talk about your interpretation of it.
  4. What role does imagination play in this poem? What sort of imaginative work is happening, and how does it fit into the poem’s ideas/themes?
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Weekly Writing for Tuesday, April 16

Hi all – as a reminder, I’m changing the way I’m going to assess the weekly writings for the rest of the semester. Starting now, I’m going to post writing prompts for every class we have going forward, but you are only required to respond to three of these writing posts between now and the end of the semester. This way, you can choose to engage with these writings whenever you have the time/mental capacity to do so, and I can still give you weekly writing credit as it’s laid out in the grade breakdown. So, you may respond to one of the prompts below if you choose, or you may wait and respond some other day.

Some possible prompts on the opening chapter of Dreamland (respond to whichever one you want):

  1. This opening chapter of Dreamland is framed with the phrase “I know a story.” Why do we start with this framing device of story? Obviously a novel is a story, but here, our attention is drawn to its status as a story. Why? What do you make of the way this particular story is characterized at the end, as “the usual”?
  2. The cast of characters here is a troupe of carnival workers. They are described one at a time – can you talk about the way those descriptions create a contrast between appearance and reality? How do appearances seem deceiving in this chapter?
  3. Over and over in this chapter we get images of the park as old, ruined, and rotting, with specters of attractions that no longer stand. However, we can also see that the park is still operational, and we know that Coney Island’s appeal will live far beyond the time period of this story. Why do you think there’s so much focus on the past, and what has not survived?
  4. Talk about the imagery of the lights in this chapter – their harshness and their softness. What do those descriptions communicate to you?
  5. Talk about the song in this chapter, “Meet me tonight in Dreamland…” What do its lyrics suggest to you about this place? These people? This story?
  6. Or, pose  and discuss your own interpretive question
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Weekly Writing for Thursday, April 11th

Hi all – as a reminder, I’m changing the way I’m going to assess the weekly writings for the rest of the semester. Starting now, I’m going to post writing prompts for every class we have going forward, but you are only required to respond to three of these writing posts between now and the end of the semester. This way, you can choose to engage with these writings whenever you have the time/mental capacity to do so, and I can still give you weekly writing credit as it’s laid out in the grade breakdown. So, you may respond to one of the prompts below if you choose, or you may wait and respond some other day.

Some possible prompts on the Game of Thrones chapter (respond to whichever one you want):

  1. How is the description of King’s Landing on the final two pages of this chapter communicating something about how Martin wants us to understand this place? What ideas do you connect to the physical description of the city?
  2. George R.R. Martin based King’s Landing on the image of Staten Island he saw as a kid looking across the river from New Jersey. What ideas about King’s Landing mesh with the associations you already have with NYC? Or Staten Island?
  3. What does the fantasy setting add to or change about the ideas we already connect to NYC?
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Weekly Writing for Tuesday, April 9th

Hi all – as a reminder, I’m changing the way I’m going to assess the weekly writings for the rest of the semester. Starting now, I’m going to post writing prompts for every class we have going forward, but you are only required to respond to three of these writing posts between now and the end of the semester. This way, you can choose to engage with these writings whenever you have the time/mental capacity to do so, and I can still give you weekly writing credit as it’s laid out in the grade breakdown. So, you may respond to one of the prompts below if you choose, or you may wait and respond some other day.

Some possible prompts on “Recuerdo” and “A Trip on the Staten Island Ferry” (respond to whichever one you want):

  1. Both of these poems are about being in a transitional place – or being between places. In either poem, what role do you think that setting plays? Why place the poem on a boat that brings passengers from one place to another?
    QUESTIONS ON THE LORDE:
  2. Why do you think this poem is addressed to someone who we know nothing about? Who do you imagine Jonno is? What does their role seem to be?
  3. Talk about the pigeons – what seems important to you about this image of creatures who make their home in a transitional, moving place, never touching land?
  4. What relationship do you see between the “old men” in the poem and the pigeons?
    QUESTIONS ON THE MILLAY:
  5. Why do you think there’s so much repetition in this poem? What effect does that create for you?
  6. What kind of relationship is being depicted here? What kind of moment in the lifespan of a relationship? How does the setting on the ferry communicate that?
  7. What seems to be the point of all the romantic language Millay uses to describe the setting (the sun like a bucketful of gold, etc.)?
  8. Why do you think the title of the poem is “Recuerdo”?
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Weekly Writing for Thursday, April 4, 2019

Hi all – as a reminder, I’m changing the way I’m going to assess the weekly writings for the rest of the semester. Starting now, I’m going to post writing prompts for every class we have going forward, but you are only required to respond to three of these writing posts between now and the end of the semester. This way, you can choose to engage with these writings whenever you have the time/mental capacity to do so, and I can still give you weekly writing credit as it’s laid out in the grade breakdown. So, you may respond to one of the prompts below if you choose, or you may wait and respond some other day.

Some possible prompts on John Patrick Shanley’s Doubt scenes 7-9 (respond to whichever one you want):

  1. On p. 35, Father Flynn says “What actually happens in life is beyond interpretation.” If this is what he believes, why do you think he offers these parables that simplify and interpret life?
  2. How do you understand the role of Father Flynn’s black book that he’s always writing in?
  3. In scene 8, what ideas about race become important to this play’s progression? How do these questions of racial oppression relate to the other ideas in this play? Why bring in Mrs. Muller at all?
  4. On p. 47, we learn what Sister Aloysius’ conviction in Flynn’s guilt is based on – a small touch on the wrist. What do you think of this? Why do you think she’s so sure? Does she have a right to be?
  5. What do you make of the end of the play, and Sister Aloysius’ confession? Why do you think the play presented her as so sure throughout, only to have her admit her doubts at the end of the play?
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