Tuesday, November 17, 2009

It's Almost Over!

Here is the revised schedule of events for the end of the semester!

Thursday, November 19th: Essay 3 is due
Tuesday, November 24th: NO CLASS
Thursday, November 26th: NO CLASS
Tuesday, December 1st: Extra Credit Day
Thursday, December 3rd: Portfolios are due
Tuesday, December 8th: Catch Up Day
Thursday, December 10th: Last day, Portfolios are returned

Driving to the Funeral

In class today, we discussed Anna Quindlen's essay "Driving to the Funeral." Quindlen writes about the fact that the number one killer of teenagers is car accidents. We spent class trying to figure out why this is true.

First, we discussed whether sixteen-year-olds are old enough to drive. Many of us said, yes. Age does not determine maturity. Sarah R. told us that in her home state of Michigan, kids begin to learn how to drive at fourteen and nine months. In many states out west, the age to drive is even lower. So we can't argue that sixteen is too young.

We decided to examine the different kinds of accidents that teenagers have on the road. Many of us felt that it takes time to understand the road. Teenagers simply haven't had the life experience to handle driving. Em argued that our parents can be at fault too. We learn from them - and they haven't had drivers' ed in years. Overall, we felt that it comes from teenagers driving too fast and driving drunk.

At Jenn and Ali's high school, wrecked cars were left out front of the school as a reminder to students that they were not invisible. It worked, too. There were no other accidents that school year. It's messed up though, Paige added, when kids see their friends die and it doesn't stop them from being careless.

Questions for Writing

1. Why do you think car accidents are the number one cause of death in teens? Support your belief with a story from high school. You can write about an accident or you can write about what you know about teens. What is it about teenagers that causes them to get into accidents?

2. Most adults believe that teenagers think they are "invisible." Is this true? Write about a time when you came a little too close to danger. How did you end up in this predicament? What did you learn from the experience? Consider the stereotype that adults have about teens. Do all teens think they are invisible? Make sure to think back and remember what it was like to be a teenager. If this question was asked of you when you were a teenager, how would you respond?

Friday, November 13, 2009

Liar! Liar! Pants on Fire!

Stephanie Ericsson's "The Way We Lie" approaches lying from a unique perspective. She casually describes different kinds of lies. It's something everyone does, she implies. But at the end of her essay, she argues that lies are not harmless and do hurt people. Our class examined the topic of lying by talking about our experiences with lying.

We started off by coming up with examples the different kinds of lies described in Ericsson's essay. There are lies that are told because the truth hurts, as Sarah R. pointed out. There are lies that make you look better, said Katie. Britt added that there are lies that make life seem more exciting, like embellishing a story. Joe brought up "A Child Called It," a true story about an abused boy who lied because of fear. There are also lies, like stereotypes, that are told casually every day. Lies range in levels of seriousness. So can we really say that all lies are harmful?

The discussion veered into stories about lies we've told our parents. Then it swerved into lies our parents have told us.

It seems like when we're the ones getting lied to, the lies feel more hurtful. Also, lies feel more harmful when they have a negative consequence. This is something to think about further. We may not know the consequence of our lies. Does that mean that lie is harmless?

Questions for Writing

1. Write about a time when you told a lie or someone told a lie to you. What was the lie? Why was it told? What were the consequences? Think about Ericsson's argument in relation to your story. Does your story prove that lies are harmless or harmful?

2. Ericsson's essay categorizes many different lies. Do you agree or disagree with her categories? Choose one category of lies to analyze in an essay. Write about a time when you told that particular kind of lie or someone told that particular lie to you. Use your experience to prove whether you agree or disagree with Ericsson's description of that lie. Feel free to write about a lie that she forgot to include, or a category that doesn't work as a lie, in your opinion.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Homework for Tuesday, November 10

Please use your Grammar Worksheets to edit Essay 1.

Study your Grammar worksheets as well. There will be a quiz on Tuesday, testing you on what you learned from our "Speed-Teaching" class.

Essay 1 and your Grammar Worksheets are due on Tuesday, November 10th.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Don't Forget!

This upcoming week, bring "The Everyday Writer" to class. You may also want to bring a current draft of Essay 1. We will be working on honing our editing skills. Don't get too excited!

Go Phils!