Tuesday September 29
Class today began with the passing back of detail and imagery worksheets from the last two weeks, our pop quiz on Sarah Vowell’s “Shooting Dad,” and the essay we wrote on Friday on Joan Didion’s passage on the Santa Ana winds. After Mr. Eldridge welcomed all the Jewish kids back to class (with the exception of Simone, who chose to attend school over joyful Yom Kippur services) and interrogated them on their eating habits, he forced Caitlin and Kate to return to their respective groups. Then we peer edited each others’ essays. We were given twenty minutes, during which time we had to examine three other essays according to a set of guidelines and try to learn from each others’ writing.
After the end of the twenty minutes, we discussed as a class how we could improve our essays. Because AP essay graders read hundreds of essays in a row, Mr. Eldridge suggested that we liven up our essays with unique diction. This does not mean that we should make up our own words in a Shakespearean fashion, as Kris proposed, or use puffy paint, much to Shira’s dissapointment. Rather, we could use alliteration, a personal favorite of Mr. Elderidge, and should consider connotations of words to make the biggest impact.
Sometime during this conversation, Simone began making faces at Shira, prompting Shira to giggle uncontrolably. After a look from Mr. Eldridge, the two calmed down, at which point Shira asked if “lastly” is a word. Mr. Eldridge determined after a moment of consideration that it is a word, but “last” can work just as well. He then collected our peer edit sheets, promising to make copies so the other group members can see the feedback, and our essays.
At this point, Mr. Eldridge noticed Allison Valdez looking a bit droopy over in the corner of the room. He expects that she will recover from her swine flu, as only five percent of people who get it do not.
Next Alison Chang passed out her trope worksheet on litotes (pronounced “lie-toe-tees”). She explained that a litote involves the use of a double negative to make something positive. Her creative examples were conversations between classmates. (For example: Paul said, “Do you think period 6 is exponentially greater than period 5?” and Mr. Eldridge responded, “I couldn’t disagree less.” What Mr. Eldridge really means is that period 6 is indeed greater than period 5.) Then we went over the practice section – all of the answers were either “not” or “no.”
Our final activity of the day was syntax worksheet 2. The passage we were focusing on was a quote from Chief Red Jacket regarding his opinion of the White Man’s religion. As syntax is about the meaning of words, we discussed the repetition of the phrase “you say” in the passage, as well as the rhetorical question at the end. Mikey commented that the phrase “you say” creates a seperation between Chief Red Jacket and the White Man he is speaking two, while Megan said that the phrase emphasizes “say,” showing that the White Man’s promises are meaningless. Ryan expressed to Mr. Eldridge that he felt alienated and rejected by Chief Red Jacket.
Sometime during our discussion of the worksheet, Mr. Eldridge was distracted by his knees and began to test his reflexes. Several people piped up then, saying that you can’t test your own reflexes, so Mr. Eldridge provided a reenactment to prove them wrong. The bell rang before we got to the apply section, so we all wrote out a quick paragraph before turning our worksheets in and leaving the classroom.
It should also be noted that John Stamos the fish is still alive and well. Ryan was without a hat today, and Kris’s lockbox clipboard was nowhere to be seen. Also, Sharon has yet to solve the word game of the week, which involves lots of E’s, and is not too happy about it. And one final piece of advice from Mr. Eldridge: in order to get rid of her swine flu, Allison should swaddle herself in blankets overnight and sweat it out.
-Today we went over the essays we did on Friday, the ones about the Santa Ana winds by Didion. We traded essays amongst our group and did some active reading. Mr. Eldridge gave us a rubric for us to check off what the writer did right and give constructive criticism. The writer himself will not directly read the criticisms; they were meant to help us learn from their mistakes. This took 20 minutes, which is, way longer than how long it takes the actual AP graders. According to Mr. Eldridge, those graders spend, on an average, about 90 seconds reading one essay and evaluating it.
-So a few things we learned by going over the essays:
- Transitions are like signposts. They direct your essay and tell the reader what to expect. “Therefore” is a good transition to use.
- Make the introduction short and to the point. With only 90 seconds, the extra fluff is not going to make the grader want to give you a high score.
- Thesis is crucial, but we already knew that.
Then Chelsey Honma gave her presentation about metaphors. It was short (or maybe the others have been too long?) and it got the point across, like a good introduction. We learned that metaphors are used to add flavor to a passage, and make the reader make an extra intuitive mental leap. Authors would use metaphors to make their writing more lively.
Syntax worksheet: you need to know the meaning first to analyze the syntax.
Mr. Eldridge thinks uniforms are not a bad idea, and I agree. You wouldn’t have to worry about what to wear in the morning, or spend heaps of money on clothes. Don’t egg my house!!
It was funny today when Mr. Eldridge gave us another sentence where punctuation makes a huge difference. It was “A woman without her man is nothing”. When Colleen pointed out that it SHOULD be written “A woman: without her, man is nothing,” the students’ “ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh” was quite a sound. It was near amazing to hear that collective sigh of realization. Almost like eating…
Period 5 is starting to loosen up. Much improvement from our first 3 weeks. Period 6, your goldfish is very lovable.
fyi, you should bring your own napkins to Eldridge’s class. And if you dont’ have one, certainely don’t ask Eldridge for one unless you want crusty snot powder all over your hands. Have a good day.