Writing Skills:
Writing for the web (blogging, commenting, linking, tagging)
Writing a proposal
Writing a formal letter/email
Writing a formal essay
Writing the SAT essay
Writing a research essay (conducting research, analyzing and synthesizing sources)
Writing about media

Reading Skills:
Active reading strategies (asking questions; writing in the margins; reflecting)
Independent reading (documenting independent reading, booktalks)
Close reading for detail and word choice
Close reading to understand perspective and point of view
Close reading to understand structure
Character clues
Critical reading for the SAT

Language Arts III (Fall 2010)
The Chinquapin School
Your Future Is Now!

Contact Information:
Susan Davis
(see handbook for phone numbers)

Twitter: suludavis
Skype: susanlucilledavis (call me first so that I can log in)
Note: Please do not call me after 9 p.m.

The last few decades have belonged to a certain kind of person with a certain kind of mind—computer programmers who could crank code, lawyers who could craft contracts, MBAs who could crunch numbers. But the keys to the kingdom are changing hands. The future belongs to a very different kind of person with a very different kind of mind—creators and empathizers, pattern recognizers, and meaning makers. These people—artists, inventors, designers, storytellers, caregivers, consolers, big picture thinkers—will now reap society’s richest rewards and share its greatest joys. – Daniel Pink, A Whole New Mind

It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity
-- Albert Einstein

Huxley, Brave New World
Cracking the SAT
Selected readings (from contemporary news sources, etc.)

This course aims to improve your confidence and skill as a reader, writer, and thinker; to help you improve as a communicator; to enrich your learning; and to help you become an active agent in building your own future.

Regular assignments will focus on “real writing” – that is, proposals or plans, comments/reflections and reviews, reports and memos, analyses and presentations, writing that is or will be a real part of your life. Our reading of Brave New World and other resources will allow us to question and probe what your future lives will consist of – how you will work and learn, how you will live and relate to others. We will consider the ways reading and writing are changing, even as we read and think about these things, under the influence of new technologies and scientific developments. Students will also practice regularly for the PSAT/SAT by composing short persuasive essays, taking multiple choice quizzes, and correcting sentences and paragraphs. In addition, students will undertake a research project on the impact of some aspect of media in our rapidly changing world. All of these elements combine to help students gain access to the power of language, delivered in their own voices, conveying their own ideas about the world in which they live. We will also discuss how these new media also come with responsibilities and concerns (if not dangers) that we need to negotiate together.

This course assumes a high level of independent thinking and responsibility with regard to student work. But every participant can gain confidence as a reader and writer if he or she approaches the course with the seriousness of purpose, pluck and fortitude, openness and playfulness of spirit that any writer or thinker worth encountering must employ.

Writing assignments (polished essays) (30% of term grade)
Moodle Work/Blogging (20% of term grade)
SAT Review, Editing quizzes (20% of term grade)
Research Project/Presentation: (15% of term grade)

Initial Schedule
Week 1: Introductions
Practice SAT (critical reading, essay)
Brave New World, Chapter 1
Basic Writing Errors (review), Moodle work (online discussion)

Writing Assignment #1: Reading Plan/Proposal
Due Friday, August 27
1-2 pages typed

1. Examine honestly and critically the role that reading plays in your life. When and where do you choose to read? How do you challenge yourself to build your reading skills (especially in English). What do you want to achieve with regard to reading? How do you expect reading will play a role in your future life? If you have limited reading skills, how will this affect your future?

2. Conduct some research to discover the kind of reading that will be expected of you in the future: as you finish high school, as you pursue your interests in college, and as you enter the work force. Your research may consist of reviewing college catalogs in the library, talking to seniors or recent graduates, interviewing faculty or mentors, or researching online. Consider as well the reading you may undertake to enrich your personal life. Describe in detail, using specific examples and sources (document appropriately) the kind of reader you need to become.

3. Propose what you will need to do to gain the skills that will make you successful in your reading endeavors. Lay out in specific terms the regimen or plan you will undertake this semester in order to build a discipline (and even joy) for reading in your life. Nail down what you do on a weekly basis in order to reach your goals.

Week 2:
Brave New World, chapter 2
Vocabulary (see Moodle for list)
SAT Practice; vocabulary quiz


Be prepared for class.

Be on time for class. Meet your deadlines. (Penalties to your grade apply when you do not meet these expectations.)

Participate actively and respectfully in discussions (in person and online). Listen actively and respectfully too.

Address your work with respectful enthusiasm, seriousness of purpose, and a desire to learn.

Contribute to the learning of others by collaborating fruitfully, by critiquing thoughtfully during peer review sessions, by asking more of yourself, and generally by raising the bar for your class. Settling for anything less brings everyone down.

All work submitted is assumed to be your own. Document all help, sources, and interaction with others – which are a natural part of the process of reading, writing, and developing ideas. This includes your work online as well.

I will ask you for permission to publish your work on occasion; you are expected to do the same when you incorporate the work of others.

See me for conferences when you need them. See me for conferences when you need them. See me for conferences when you need them….