Tuesday, October 27, 2009

fluency growth scale

When we read, or listen to reading, how do we know good reading?

When we began this course, we participated in Minnesota Can Clap -- this gave us some ideas about how we could create a framework for quality, growth, and assessment.  Today we will talk about what is fluent reading and compare to what we hear and perform in class.

On Reading Friday, we will begin our literacy coaching with the guidelines for fluent reading.

Agenda for Thursday:
  1. Finish-up Scarlet Letter and packets
  2. Finish up Piano Lesson and packets
  3. The role of voice in reading fluency -- the creation and awareness of voice as a reader/performer
  4. Reading Friday

Monday, October 26, 2009

Scarlet Letter / / BAV

Literary Interpretation and Criticism

This last week we examined Hester Prynne as a scapegoat for the wealthy citizens and their disregard and flaunting of the sumptuary laws and the current parallels in society-- moral issues becoming more prominent than big issues: like obfuscating the national debt with emotional issues like same-sex marriage etc. rather than the way the rich are getting richer and the middle class has more debt than it ever has.

We also explored the book from the feminist perspective when we looked at the role of religion and intermingling of religious belief and law -- connecting the patterns of rule through the original sin and the vilification of women and matriarchal religious belief systems such as the original sin, sexuality, and agency. In brief, we examined the state of women and the roles of women in this narrative.

To look at gender equity, please look here to gain better understanding of global rights based upon gender


These two perspectives come from established traditions of literary theory and criticism.

You should not be surprised if this type of content is on your next open-book exam after Thanksgiving Break.

Literary Theory

In 1957 Northrop Frye published the influential Anatomy of Criticism. In his works Frye noted that some critics tend to embrace an ideology, and to judge literary pieces on the basis of their adherence to such ideology.


The English literary critic and cultural theorist Terry Eagleton defines Marxist criticism this way:
"Marxist criticism is not merely a 'sociology of literature', concerned with how novels get published and whether they mention the working class. Its aim is to explain the literary work more fully; and this means a sensitive attention to its forms, styles and meanings. But it also means grasping those forms, styles and meanings as the product of a particular history."[1]
The simplest goals of Marxist literary criticism can include an assessment of the political "tendency" of a literary work, determining whether its social content or its literary form are "progressive"; however, this is by no means the only or the necessary goal. From Walter Benjamin to Fredric Jameson, Marxist literary critics have also been concerned with applying lessons drawn from the realm of aesthetics to the realm of politics.
Feminist literary criticism is literary criticism informed by feminist theory, or by the politics of feminism more broadly. Its history has been broad and varied, from classic works of nineteenth-century women authors such as George Eliot and Margaret Fuller to cutting-edge theoretical work in women's studies and gender studies by "third-wave" authors. In the most general and simple terms, feminist literary criticism before the 1970s -- in the first and second waves of feminism -- was concerned with the politics of women's authorship and the representation of women's condition within literature. Since the arrival of more complex conceptions of gender and subjectivity and third-wave feminism, feminist literary criticism has taken a variety of new routes. It has considered gender in the terms of Freudian and Lacanian psychoanalysis, as part of the deconstruction of existing relations of power, and as a concrete political investment.[1] It has been closely associated with the birth and growth of queer studies. And the more traditionally central feminist concern with the representation and politics of women's lives has continued to play an active role in criticism.
Lisa Tuttle has defined feminist theory as asking "new questions of old texts." She cites the goals of feminist criticism as: (1) To develop and uncover a female tradition of writing, (2) to interpret symbolism of women's writing so that it will not be lost or ignored by the male point of view, (3) to rediscover old texts, (4) to analyze women writers and their writings from a female perspective, (5) to resist sexism in literature, and (6) to increase awareness of the sexual politics of language and style.[2]

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The American Dream continued -- BAV

The American Dream

The term the American Dream was first used by James Truslow Adams
in his book, The Epic of America (1931). He states: "The American
Dream is "that dream of a land in which life should be better and richer
and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or
achievement. It is a difficult dream for the European upper classes to
interpret adequately, and too many of us ourselves have grown weary
and mistrustful of it. It is not a dream of motor cars and high wages
merely, but a dream of social order in which each man and each woman
shall be able to attain to the fullest stature of which they are innately
capable, and be recognized by others for what they are, regardless of the
fortuitous circumstances of birth or position." (p.214-215)

This notion lays at the heart of the U.S. and there are many rich
examples throughout our history: people left the big cities of the East
coast to search for gold in the West; immigrants came to the country in
the pursuit of happiness, liberty and their Dream; when veterans returned
from World War II, they yearned to settle down with a home, family and
a car; and Martin Luther King Jr. spoke of a dream when we would not
be judged on the color of our skin but the content of our characters.

You might argue that the American Dream is now a slightly different
concept, in which we dream about winning the lottery, becoming famous
or becoming a millionaire, rather than having moral or ethical goals.
Some families where the head of the household must work two jobs to
make ends meet might not be living the American Dream. On the other
hand, you might feel that the American Dream is about living a simpler,
more fulfilling life.

Sumputuary Laws and Inequity in Early America

From the Wikipedia:

Sumptuary laws (from Latin sumptuariae leges) are laws that attempt to regulate habits of consumption. Black's Law Dictionary defines them as "Laws made for the purpose of restraining luxury or extravagance, particularly against inordinate expenditures in the matter of apparel, food, furniture, etc."[1]. Traditionally, they were laws that regulated and reinforced social hierarchies and morals through restrictions on clothing, food, and luxury expenditures. In most times and places they were ineffectual.[2]
Throughout history, societies have used sumptuary laws for a variety of purposes. They attempted to regulate the balance of trade by limiting the market for expensive imported goods. They were also an easy way to identify social rank and privilege, and often were used for social discrimination. This frequently meant preventing commoners from imitating the appearance of aristocrats, and sometimes also to stigmatize disfavored groups. In the Late Middle Ages sumptuary laws were instituted as a way for the nobility to cap the conspicuous consumption of the prosperous bourgeoisie of medieval cities, and they continued to be used for these purposes well into the seventeenth century.

In the Scarlet Letter, Hester sews fancy clothing like wedding veils, linings for coffins, and outfits for the magistrates and the ministers for religious an government ceremony.

Is there a contradiction here? Hypocrisy?

That Hester should be an outcast by the town, but provide finery for their most important citizens and civil and religious ceremony?

In fact, why is that the ordinary citizens should be subject to sumptuary laws, but the wealthy and powerful should not?

What are the belief systems that justify this?

Do the poor create valor for their sacrifice?
How do the wealthy justify their privilege?

Is this an issue today?

A study by the World Institute for Development Economics Research at United Nations University reports that richest 10% of adults accounted for 85% of the world total assets.

In the United States

In the United States at the end of 2001, 10% of the population owned 71% of the wealth, and the top 1% controlled 38%. On the other hand, the bottom 40% owned less than 1% of the nation's wealth.[15]
In 2003, the 1% with the highest salaries paid more than 34% of the nation's federal income tax; the 10% with the highest salaries paid nearly 66% of the total income tax; the top 25% of paid 84% of the income taxes; and the upper 50% accounted for nearly 97% of US income tax revenue, primarily because, as stated above, the bottom 40% had comparatively no wealth (less than 1%) to be taxed in the first place. [16] The US has a progressive tax structure which taxes less for smaller incomes; correlating income taxation to wealth is misleading. Also, wealth is not taxed in the United States except with estate taxes upon death, so a small amount of wealth has nothing to do with who bears the most income tax.


A one percenter or 1%er is an individual that lies in top 1% of the American Tax bracket. These are the top earners in American society. It has been noted that the richest 1% of the American population owns as much as the combined wealth of the bottom 90%. Typical 1%er's include top-level executives, high-rung politicians, professional athletes, celebrities and wealthy heirs. Ivy League educations are common amongst these individuals. Famous 1%er's include Bill Gates, George Bush, Tiger Woods, Stephen Spielberg and Paris Hilton.

Debt in inches  =  11 trillion

189, 393, 936 in Miles

distance to Sun

93,000,000 Miles

debt= 11, 959, 391, 588, 204.

$38,937.72. per citizen

$3.92 billion per day

With this in mind, is there a reason the wealthy would prefer that we focus on moral and privacy issues and sin rather than wealth and sumptuary laws? 

Why did the leadership allow Hester to be made an outcast? 
Does it focus attention away from the social financial inequities? 
What are the belief systems that enable this scapegoating?

Is there irony in her producing the finery that decorates weddings, funerals, civil, and religious functions?
How do the townspeople feel about her living a more charitable and plain life than most of the other townspeople?  

Friday, October 9, 2009

Am Lit --The Scarlet Letter /// BAV Langston Hughes Packet

The Scarlet Letter
Painted by T.H. Matteson

Audio Files for listening 

Redemption Monday will be rescheduled for Tuesday, October 20th.

We will begin the Scarlet Letter on Monday, October 12th, 2009

and end this unit with Exam 2 on Monday, November 9th, 2009

There will be one more quiz before Exam 2.

I would like to suggest that you purchase this book or go to the library and borrow it -- reading it in class will not be enough. In college, one must often read a thing twice to really get it.

A strategy for you:

  1. Read the Enotes
  2. Read the Packet B and GUESS --yes -- Guess, but write in pencil; then write the correct answer when you find it in the book.
  3. Read the book before we meet so you can participate in discussion and ask questions about the classroom activities -- packet A
  4. Take notes on vocabulary, note page numbers in your packets and journals for the open-notebook exam.
  5. Answer the study guide packets thoroughly since this is where the next quizzes will come from.
  6. Form discussion groups and really use them -- test each other; create a project to help you extend beyond memorization.
One of the key differences between high school learning and college learning is the difference between




Typically students are not asked beyond facts--things recalled from the reading. In college you will be asked to take what you remember from the books and formulate theories and inference about what is going on, or what could possibly happen in the story, equation, or setting being observed. This is called hypothesis testing, where you create a theory based upon the available evidence, make a prediction to test the theory, and then see if the theory passes the test.

The ideal is not to prove your theory, but to test your theory and find a truth.

Being correct does not make a thing a truth.

A truth needs testing.


Langston Hughes

Go through the packet and follow the directions. You may work with one other person, no more.

This packet is due when I return on Tuesday and will be part of the next quiz and exam -- do a good job!

Monday -- Am Lit // BAV

Redemption Monday

We will be 
  • going through the Quiz 
  • reviewing the cooperative work from Girl 
  • Getting ready for Scarlet Letter    ////////////   Radio Golf

Obama wins Nobel

OSLO — The Nobel Committee announced Friday that the annual peace prize was awarded to Barack Obama, just nine months into his presidency, “for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples.”

Doug Mills/The New York Times
President Barack Obama speaking at the United Nations on September 23.
out nuclear weapons.”

Read more . .. .

Monday, October 5, 2009

Tuesday -- Am Lit // BAV

Always remember 
the library is where they keep banned books

Am Lit

pages 3 through 10

pages 10 to end

Journal 13: Review the Authors style identifying themes, syntax, and word choice.

Review reading guide and vocabulary


Compound sentences packet due at beginning of class
Quiz -- from study guide and compound sentences packet

10 questions / 30 points
Restate question - Complete Sentences -- Correct answer with support.

Chapters 1 - 5

Chapters 6 - 11


Compound sentences packet due at beginning of class
Quiz -- from study guide and compound sentences packet

10 questions / 30 points
Restate question - Complete Sentences -- Correct answer with support.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Monday -- Am Lit // BAV

 This picture might give you some sense of what it might have looked for the early American colonists.
We briefly explored who these people were, and why they might have come to America:
  1. Speculators
  2. Tradespeople looking to create new markets
  3. People wanting their own land and escape from feudalism
  4. Indentured servants
  5. Criminals
  6. People facing religious persecution

We will be reading in class, however, BAV has their own books, so I would like to see you reading ahead.
We also have access to the study guides -- which you should print out and put in your 3-ring binder.

We will be briefly going over 7.5 in class from your SYNTAX packet on Compound Sentences
We will read with the audio file playing for both classes.

Be sure to have all handouts and any papers that have been returned in your 3-ring binder for a grade for being complete to this day -- all handouts.

If you do not have them, you should go to the blog and print them out.

We will have a quiz on Thursday from the study guide and SYNTAX packet.


7.5 due in class Monday

Complete packet for compound sentences is due on Thursday at the beginning of class! 
Look for a POP - Quiz Thursday -- no notes -- all questions come from packets.



7.5 due in class Monday

Complete packet for compound sentences is due on Tuesday! 
Look for a POP - Quiz Thursday


Study Guide for Frederick Douglass

Audio/ MP3 files for download 

Time line of Early African American Experience

Slavery in the Colonial United States