Senior Project Presentations – Being Prepared, Overcoming Anxiety

Your senior project presentations are only two weeks away, and many of you have shared that you feel nervous, anxious and unsure about your performance and public speaking skills. Over the next two weeks we will be practicing and preparing for your presentation – I want you to feel as comfortable speaking in front of a class as possible, and to feel confident in the presentation you have assembled. Many of you have put in a lot of work, time, and effort into your senior project, and should be proud of what you’ve accomplished and excited to share it with others.

First, let’s assess how nervous you are, and which areas you’re concerned about. Click here to follow the nervousness-flowchart to determine where you should focus.

Below you’ll find two videos that provide examples of good student presentations, and poor student presentations, with suggestions on how to be successful and combat anxiety.

Once you’ve followed the steps on the flow chart, click here to review the powerpoint I’ve created for you as an example of how to set up your senior project presentation. You do not have to use powerpoint  – you can use Prezi, or any other software you feel comfortable with for your presentation. Be sure to incorporate handouts, physical/tactile visual aids, or event audience participation during you presentation.

Finally, be sure to click here and review the rubric for presentation – I’ve also given you all feedback on your practice presentations in class that you should review.

Remember, we can work on building your public speaking skills, but if you have not completed your project or put in the work to grow and learn from the experience, there isn’t really any ‘trick to presenting’ that will cover that up. Be sure to use the time you have these last two weeks to finish up any loose ends and put the finishing touches on your project!

Senior Project

1984: Part Three

As we begin Part Three of 1984 of 1984, you will be preparing for another round of group discussions over key points in the first three chapters. While you debated with other groups over about the interpretation of key scenes and were assessed on your use of rhetorical language and traits of an effective communicator last time, this round of discussions will focus on your ability to conduct ‘conversational threading’ and connect your topic of discussion with the different topics of your classmates.

The topics for chapters 1 and 2 of Part Three in 1984 are:

  1. How is juxtaposition used in chapter 1? What purpose does it serve, and how does it relate to Orwell’s overall use of paradox and irony in the novel?
  2. What is the only reason political prisoners are captured? How is this different from the proles, and how does this clearly highlight the differences between the two classes of society?
  3. Who else is imprisoned with Winston, and why are they imprisoned? How are the subtle differences in their crimes still related?
  4. What is ironic about Parson’s imprisonment? How does his reaction to his punishment differ from Winston, and what does this say about Parson?
  5. Why is physical torture used to change Winston’s mind? What is O’Brien and the party’s ultimate goal?

Questions/Topics for Round Two:

  1. Is O’Brien a former members of the brotherhood? How does the ambiguity around his character further serve Orwell’s use of paradox?
  2. Why does 2+2=5? What is the ultimate goal of the party’s torture of Winston?
  3. What is in room 101?

Additionally, we continued to discuss the possible connections and parallels to events in the book to real life. We’ve already identified to similarities between Orwell’s ‘telescreens’ as smartphones, and the ‘speakwrite’ as voice-to-text, the constant running of the screens to our constant need to be ‘plugged in’ to our phones or devices, and the microphones scattered around Airstrip One to our microphones and video recorders on our phones.

In Part Three O’Brien attempts to change Winston’s thoughts through rather drastic means – while we don’t see this in the real world, we do see  our ‘telescreens’ attempting to influence and change our habits (and maybe thoughts) through online advertising and the algorithms used to run them. After watching portions of a TED Talk about “We’re building a dystopia just to make people click on ads” (00:00:00-00:12:00 and 00:16:33-00:18:00), we discussed how our apps and ads target us for information, and how the information gathered on us is sold – in order to gather more information and sell us more stuff. As you browse the web, play Angry Birds or use Facebook over the weekend, pay attention to the ads and videos you are shown online – how does your phone know what to show you? Do advertisements you seen online influence you to click on or buy things? Do you think this is similar at all to the ideas Orwell discusses in 1984? Algorithms aren’t people, and therefore cannot make ‘bad’ decisions – however, what are the ethics involved in using these algorithms?

Also, I shared my anecdote in class of talking about buying new wedding bands, and having my phone show me specialized ads later for the exact rings Mr. Pierce and I were discussing – even though we never typed them into our phone – and you guys were really interested and (understandably) unnerved. After a little bit of researching I found out that apps that use software from Alphonso automatically enable your microphone to record and analyze what you say, and then use algorithms to show you ads. While this is pretty benign, it is something to consider in relation to the ideas Orwell presents us in the novel 1984 – plus, as users of digital platforms, you should be aware of how your private data is being used. Searching “Alphonso Automated” in iTunes or the PlayStore will show you a list of apps that use this software, and  You can read a New York Times article about the software here.

Just a few of the apps that use Alphonso software – do you recognize any of them?

As you consider the questions above over the weekend, also consider software like Alphonso – should companies be more up-front about using this software? Should they make it easier for users to disable it on their smart phones? How is this similar or different to the surveillance and thought-manipulation in 1984? What would Orwell say about this? You’ll have a Google Classroom discussion post about this later in the week, so consider it!

12th Grade Literature Fall 2018

1984 – Exemplification Essay

For this unit you will be writing a series of essays which relate directly to , or to the themes of, George Orwell’s novel 1984. In each essay you will be practicing a new mode of writing – for our first essay you will be writing an exemplification essay.

What is exemplification?

Exemplification essays use examples to illustrate or explain a point or abstract concept. Think of exemplification as a more sophisticated version of the informational essays you’ve written in the past.

What is effective exemplification?

The most effective presentations, discussion and speakers use plenty of specific examples – they don’t provide vague generalizations or broad statement. The same is true to the most effectively written examples of exemplification: you need plenty of specific examples from reliable sources to illustrate the point you are making or topic you are discussing. You can use examples in exemplification for three purposes:

  • Explain and clarify – this makes your point clear and answers any questions the reader may have.
  • Add interest – this makes your point clear and keeps the audience engaged.
  • Persuade – this makes your point clear, while convincing your audience your point is reasonable and worth considering.

How many examples should I use?

You are required to use a minimum of five examples for this essay, but you can use more if you like. You have to have enough examples to support and explain your idea – however, you should not simply have long block quotations or paraphrases that make up the bulk of the writing – you are making a clear point, and illustrating that point with well chosen, relevant examples.

Make sure you use transitions between the examples you’ve chosen as well – otherwise your paper can seem choppy if it is not obvious to the reader what the connection between you examples is.

What type of examples can I use?

You should use relevant, reliable examples. Remember, this means sources from scholarly, peer reviewed sources; government documents or surveys (.gov); studies or reports from educational institutions (.edu); reports and data from non-profit, unbias organizations (.org); interviews and unbias articles from reliable news organizations.

Remember, you MUST LOOK CRITICALLY at .org and news sources – many are unbias and should not be referenced for this paper.

How should I order my examples?

Be sure to choose an organizational strategy that works best  – either presenting your examples to help illustrate your point in chronological order, order of importance or order of complexity. Which strategy you choose will depend on which examples you’ve chosen.

 

Now that you’ve reviewed what exemplification is, you can begin brainstorming and finding examples to illustrate your point to the question:

How important is language to society?

In responding to this prompt, you must use 1984 as one of your sources, as well as one current event from a reliable source. The paper must be formatted in MLA, with a minimum of 5 citations total.

Click here to access the Exemplification Rubric for grading

Click here to access a sample exemplification article.

12th Grade Literature Fall 2018

1984 – Part One

In Part One of Orwell’s 1984, we are introduced to the protagonist Winston Smith, the setting of Airstrip One, and the oppressive power of Big Brother and INGSOC. Part One of the novel is full of Winston’s exposition, and is important to ‘set the stage’ and help us understand the day-to-day life for Party members, the depth of surveillance instituted by Big Brother and the mental and emotional state of our main character.

As we work through part one, you should work to familiarize yourself with the important characters:

  • Winston Smith
  • O’Brian
  • Parsons
  • Smye
  • Mr. Charrington
  • Emmanuel Goldstein
  • The Proles
  • Katherine

Additionally, you should pay attention and be sure to understand the Newspeak words used in Part One, as well as understanding what Newspeak is:

  • Totalitarianism
  • socialism
  • communism
  • telescreen
  • two minutes hate
  • INGSOC
  • speakwrite
  • thought crime
  • thought police
  • the party
  • inner party
  • outer party
  • Proles
  • the Spies
  • Junior Anti-Sex League
  • The Brotherhood
  • Newspeak
  • OldSpeak
  • Doublethink
  • groupthink
  • memory hole
  • floating fortress
  • FFCC
  • unperson

Finally, be sure to understand the themes of Part One, and be able to explain how we see these themes in the text:

  • The Power of Language
  • Privacy and Technology
  • The Control of Information
  • The Importance of History
  • Individual Freedoms
  • Relationships and Human Connections

Please see the video below for background information on 1984.

12th Grade Literature Fall 2018

George Orwell’s 1984

This unit we will be analyzing the novel 1984 by George Orwell. Published in 1948, it is a work of dystopian science fiction, set in England (called Airstrip One) in an alternate version of the year 1984.  As we read and analyze this novel over the course of the next few weeks, keep in mind the overarching theme that we have been examining this entire semester – the importance of language.

Orwell believed very strongly in the importance of simple language and literature to expose truth and highlight the reality of ‘ordinary people’. Please review the video below from class for background information on Orwell and his motivation for writing.

Additionally, we are reading Orwell’s short essay “Why I Write”, where he highlights the motivations behind all writers, and specifically discusses how he balanced these motivations within himself. Click here to access the essay.

As we discussed in class, the differences between a uptopia and a dystopia follow the chart below. However, you also discussed that a utopia would have a strong family focus, and would be efficient and planned, with little waste.

However, you very perceptively discussed how, if we want a system of ‘perfect’ laws, happiness, cleanliness and efficiency, we have to cede a certain amount of individual control (whether its governmental, economic, educational, or legislative) to make that happen – and that if that control is corrupted, a utopia can easily become a dsytopia.

We will be examining these ideas in-depth throughout our reading of Orwell’s 1984, so be aware of examples of dystopian control when they appear.

Additionally, please be sure to plan your time wisely to complete the readings for each week. You should come to class each Monday prepared for that week’s chapters. Please also prepare to have a test over each part of the novel. 

Part One

  • Chapters 1-4, October 8th-12th
  • Chapters 5-8, October 15th-19th

Part Two

  • Chapters 1-5, October 22-26th
  • Chapters 6-10, October 29th-November 2nd

Part Three

  • Chapters 1-2, November 5th-9th
  • Chapters 3-6, November 12th-16th
12th Grade Literature Fall 2018

Our Changing English Language

For our final project this nine weeks, we are going to examine the changes that have been the greatest influences on our ‘modern English’. For this assignment each group will randomly select one of the following important influences on the English Language:

  1. Shakespeare
  2. Colonalism
  3. Science
  4. The Dictionary
  5. Globalization
  6. The Internet and Technology

You will need to research how one of the topics above has influenced or changes our language, and then work to create a mini lesson and presentation for your classmates, so you can share what you’ve researched with them.

  • Background information on your topic (this can include time period, important people or events, history).
  • An explanation of how it specifically has changed and influenced the English language
  • Examples that illustrate this change in the English language.
  • Visuals that aid your classmates’ understanding of the factor’s impact on English (videos, images, skits, maps, charts, graphs, ect.)
  • Guided Notes or Worksheets that they can fill out that go along with your lesson (these should focus more on ‘how’ and ‘why’ questions that ‘what’ and ‘when’ questions).
  • Three seminar ‘questions to think about’ – one literal, one evaluative and one interpretive.

With these resources you have created, you will then teach your classmates about your topic. As you teach I will be looking to make sure:

  • Everyone in the group participates using traits of an effective communicator.
  • You ‘use the room’ and teach to everyone (no standing in the front, not moving).
  • You ask the class questions throughout the presentation to engage them.

Finally, you will demonstrate your understanding of how these topics have changed our language by participating in a Socratic seminar after all of the groups have presented. Each group will present three questions for consideration at the end of their presentation (literal, evaluative, and informative) and these will guide our Socratic discussion.

Click here for the assignment sheet and grading rubric for this project.

Below you will find a series of resources I have already complied for your for this project – use them, and be sure to add two of your own to the list!

Shakespeare

 

Colonialism

Science

The Dictionary

Globalization

 

The Internet and Technology

 

Students, please find your classmates’ presentations for this assignment linked below:

12th Grade Literature Fall 2018

Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales

In Chaucer’s time the church was the established cultural center of British life, and the power and importance of the church outranked even the monarchy. Towns and villages that once grew around lords providing protection now grew up around church and cathedrals. Worshipers traveled to receive sacraments and to indulgences, and to see the relics of holy saints. Men gained social status and education through working their way up through the clergy, and the church provided guidance to the people on all moral and spiritual matters.

At the same time, British society was changing – a new merchant middle class meant that upward mobility was possible for a greater number of people, as was societal influence.

Chaucer’s famous work, The Canterbury Tales, comments on these societal changes. Throughout the text we see the relationship between the classes and their expected behavior, the role of women in medieval society, the importance (and sometimes corruption) of the church through the stories of 29 individuals who are going in a pilgrimage to the cathedral at Canterbury.

Watch the video below for information on how Chaucer used language to make this social commentary.

Click here to access the stories from class with interlinear translations.

You have each been given one of four tales: The Prioress’ Tale, the prologue to the Pardoner’s Tale, the Miller’s Tale and the Reeves’ Tale. Watch the videos below for background information on each tale you’ve been assigned. Then click here to access your project over the tale from The Canterbury Tales. 

The Prioress

The Pardoner

 

The Reeve

The Miller

12th Grade Literature Fall 2018

From ‘Old’ to ‘Middle’ English

As we move away from the warrior culture and oral tradition of Beowulf and “The Dream of the Rood”, and into the established British culture of the middle ages, we will also look at how English changed form ‘Old’ to ‘Middle.

With the Norman Conquest in 1066AD, French became the language of the royals, the court, and the legal system, while Latin was still the language of the Catholic Church. With the introduction of French, ‘Old English’ began to change, losing the special endings off of adverbs and adjectives, introducing

Tyndale Bible

‘softer’ sounds and the upward inflecting vowel at the end of words. Over 10,000 words were also introduced into English from French during this time, though were distinctions existed French was still preferred. Despite these changes, English was still the language of the ‘common people’.

Once the black plague decimated the population and the working-merchant class grew (1340-1360)  – once the British took back over the monarchy from France (1453) – and once the Bible was translated into English by WilliamTyndale (1534), English began to take its place as a language with more power in British culture.


12th Grade Literature Fall 2018

Old English – The Dream of the Rood

So far in the course we’ve focused heavily on the depiction of the Anglo Saxon warrior culture and the comitatus – the relationship between a warrior and his lord is the focus of the poem “The Wanderer”, and a key part to understanding characters and motivations in “Beowulf”.

In our reading of the poem “The Dream of the Rood”, we will see a clearer example of how the early Anglo Saxon culture blended with the introduction of Christianity to the British Isles. Be sure to pay attention to how this text works to very different ideas – the violent, warrior culture of the Anglo-Saxon’s with the mild and forgiving culture of Christianity.

The poem comes to us from engravings on a large cross from the 8th century (700’s AD) – in fact, this version of the story is older than any of the manuscript versions that still survive. The story of “The Dream of the Rood” is engraved on the surface of the cross, and would have served the purpose of telling the story of Christ to those who could not read (because they were illiterate in general, or in Latin). The Ruthwell Cross was also created during the period of ‘The Cult of the Cross’, where the crucifixes roll as an important symbol is Christian religion was born. During this period the role and worship of the cross as a physical manifestation of Christ was common, with stories of crucifixes coming to life to protect the churches they houses in from invaders being common.

The cross was destroyed during the early 17th century (1600’s AD) during a period when Protestants rejected the praise of icon/iconography in the church. It was reassembled in the 19th century.

For more background on “The Dream of the Rood” and the Ruthwell Cross on which the oldest remaining copy of the poem exists, please watch the videos below (note: the audio on the background video about the Ruthwell Cross is very poor – apologies).

 

Click here to access a copy of the poem, if you have lost your own copy from class.

The poem of “The Dream of the Rood” also give us the chance to examine the narrative technique of ‘framing’.

The poem itself is the recounting of a dream by a monk – he opens up the poem by describing going to sleep and being awoken by a brilliant ‘tree of glory’, and from there the tree itself tells us the story of his journey to become the cross that Christ was crucified on, before the narrative returns to the monk finishing up his retelling.

The frame narrative is used often to highlight the mystical, fantastic or magical nature of the ‘inner story’. By first presenting the reader/listener with a ‘normal’ set of characters and actions, it make the interior story seemed even more removed and distant, thus heightening how fantastical the actions of the story are view.

In “The Princess Bride”, a grandfather tells his sick grandson the tale of Princess Buttercup and the Pirate Wesley. The frequent interruptions by his grandson into the story remind the viewer of the framing device, and heighten the absurdity of the story.

Forrest Gump is actually sitting on a park bench, telling each new stranger the story of his life. By cutting back to the framing device bench and finding a seemingly new person/listener each time, the also unbelievable and fantastic events of his life are broken up. This means the accepting reactions of the individuals on the bench make it easier for the viewer to accept the reality that Gump is presenting.

cruc62

In “The Dream of the Rood”, the visitation of the ‘tree of glory’ that Christ was crucified on heightens the mystical, supernatural power of God in the poem. The fact that it is a Monk, a man of God, that see the cross in a dream reinforces this idea. The supernatural elements of the tale would also appeal to the recently converted Anglo Saxons.

12th Grade Literature Fall 2018

Senior Skills: Communicating through Speaking AND Listening

Being able to communicate with others verbally is one of the most important skills you can learn, and can improve your outcomes in all areas of life – personal, academic and career oriented. Though we live in the 21st century, with a smartphone in every pocket, you will not be able to get by in life through your mastery of text-messages, emails and DM’s (sorry guys).

But being a successful communicator isn’t just about learning how to talk to others – it is also about learning how to listen. 

Over the course of the semester we’ll be building your skills as a public speaker and an active listener. You’ll be assessing each other as we go along as well, and providing feedback to classmates (as well as receiving feedback from me). You will eventually be graded on your performance as a speaker and active listener based on your ability to demonstrate 16 key skills:

  1. Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.
  2. Come to discussions prepared having read and researched material under study and draw on that preparation by referring to evidence from texts and other research on the topic or issue to stimulate a thoughtful, well-reasoned exchange of ideas.
  3. Work with peers to set rules for collegiate discussions and decision-making, set clear goals and deadlines, and establish individual roles as needed.
  4. Propel conversations by posing and responding to questions that engage others’ reasoning and evidence and ensures that you are hearing for a full range of positions on a topic or issue.
  5. Clarify, verify, or challenge ideas and conclusions of others in a respectful manner that promote divergent and creative perspectives.
  6. Respond thoughtfully to diverse perspectives by synthesizing comments, claims, and evidence made on all sides of an issue.
  7. Work together to resolve contradictions in information when possible and determine what additional information or research is required to deepen the investigation or complete the task/discussion.
  8. Integrate multiple sources of information presented in diverse formats and media (visually, quantitatively, orally) in order to make informed decisions and solve problems.
  9. Evaluate the credibility and accuracy of all sources and note any discrepancies among the data.
  10. Evaluate a speaker’s point of view, reasoning, and use of evidence and rhetoric, assessing the stance, premises, connection among ideas, word choice, points of emphasis, and tone used.
  11. Present information, findings, and supporting evidence, conveying a clear and distinct perspective, so that listeners can follow the line of reasoning.
  12. Address perspectives that are alternative or opposed to your own, and do so in a counter argument where the organization, development, substance, and style are appropriate to purpose, audience.
  13. Make strategic use of digital media (textual, graphical, audio, visual, and interactive elements) in presentations to enhance understanding of findings, reasoning, and evidence and to add interest.
  14. Adapt speech to a variety of contexts and tasks, demonstrating a command of formal English when indicated or appropriate.
  15. Apply knowledge of language to understand how language functions in different contexts, to make effective choices for meaning or style, and to comprehend more fully when reading or listening.
  16. Vary syntax for effect, consulting references for guidance as needed; apply an understanding of syntax to the study of complex texts when reading.

Before you are assessed though, you’ll need to learn how to do these things and practice. 🙂 Working in your groups, you need to watch the following videos and answer two questions:

What makes a ‘good’/active listener?

What makes a ‘good’/effective communicator’?

Then, you’ll need to work on step 3 above – “Work with peers to set rules for collegiate discussions and decision-making, set clear goals and deadlines, and establish individual roles as needed.” Establish who will fulfill the following roles for your group:

The ‘Eyes’ of the group works to look for resources to be used in discussion – they conduct research and are responsible for sharing documents and information with the group. If something needs to be found to improve discussion or arguments, they look for it. They are also responsible for keeping their ‘eye’ on all group members to ensure they are fully engaged, and reports any lack of engagement to the other group members and the teacher.

The ‘Ears’ of the group are in charge of assessing if active listening is taking place, and redirecting group members when it becomes clear that it is not. They report any group members that are not actively listening to the other members and the teacher. They have an important role in ensuring true communication is taking place. These students also are responsible for actively listening to other groups and the teacher, and relaying that information back to their group.

The ‘Nose’ of the group is responsible for sniffing out the accuracy and honesty of statements and resources being used. They check for bias and reliability in all resources and documents the group decides to reference. They also work to give feedback to group members when their communication seems bias or disingenuous. Any use of plagiarism or overly bias/disrespectful communication is identified by the nose and reported to the group and teacher. When debating with other groups, they are responsible for checking the opponents’ credibility.

The ‘Mouth’ is the group member who checks that others are using effective verbal communication. They must assess if others are demonstrating the seven traits of effective speakers, and give feedback based on their performance. Group members that consistently cannot improve verbal communication are reported to the teacher by the mouth. When conversing with other groups, they are the first member to speak on behalf of their party.

 

12th Grade Literature Fall 2018