Archives for October 2017

Due 11/1: Welcome

1. Course website: Blackboarddreams.com (I will tell you more about that name later). My email: sleon@lusherschool.org

You should register for the class website, Blackboarddreams.com, by midnight Tuesday. To do this, you must scroll to the bottom of the right column of the homepage and click “Register.” Your username should be your Full Name (First and Last). Leave A SPACE between your first and last name. Do not use nicknames! Failure to register properly will lead to your account being deleted, so do it properly. Your password will be emailed to you at which point you can change it if you would like. I also suggest you take a moment to familiarize yourself with the website! Here, you and your family can access the following: homework assignments, class forums, updates on the happenings and direction of the class, complementary materials, writing and research resources, Essay and Creative Project exemplars, a link back to the Lusher homepage, and so much more! Don’t forget to bookmark your course page! So, if you are in my English II class, bookmark the English II page. Please keep in mind that I am transitioning this site from Beacon to Lusher.

2. Politics and the English Language(PEL)–So, we will take a step back to take many steps forward.   I assume you have explored the historical context of 1984. Keep that in mind as you read PEL. In many ways (1984 and PEL), both texts serve as a response to the socio-economic-political situation of WWII Europe–a situation wherein people by the millions were disenfranchised, impoverished, and killed. Accordingly, Orwell is considered to be one of the most influential figures of the 20th Century because of his response(s) to that situation.  In this essay it is critical that we UNDERSTAND Orwell’s position. So, read not to contradict and confute, but to weigh and consider. ANNOTATE THOROUGHLY.

3. (Coming Soon) Art as Social/Political/Economic/Environmental Commentary

George Orwell uses the novel as a means to communicate his critical view of political and social paradigms of the mid 20th Century. As I am sure you are aware, he felt strongly about his critique of totalitarianism in general and Stalin’s Soviet Union in particular.

Now it is your turn to use art as a form of commentary.  First things first, choose a subject that you feel strongly about, something in which you can invest your time, thought, emotion, and creative juices. Your only limit here is your imagination! Your art should have consciousness and purpose as you create awareness.  It should be genuine. Ultimately, I expect that you will elevate and catalyze a dialogue relevant to your subject.

After selecting your subject, you must Research! You are expected to research your subject accumulating 3 sources further informing your understanding of the subject.  Understanding that the sources and précis are to work in concert solidifying your knowledge on the subject, thoughtfully choose your sources and choose sources from legitimate web sites (avoid wiki links, joe schmoe’s blog, joe schmoe and his cronie’s website, etc.).  You are then expected to write a precis for each source. Print out and read the precis expectations. You should have the precis printout in your binder as with all printouts. Let me stress, read the precis guidelines very closely. Further, the sources should ultimately help to give form to your creative project.  At the end, you will submit your research with the creative project. As I stressed in class, choose a subject you genuinely care about.

Folks, this is not some casual art assignment that can be done in your journal consisting of a couple of stick figures. If you do this you will receive no credit for the assignment. In grading the visual bit I am expecting to see the product of deep thought (thematic understanding), extraordinary effort, and creative effort.

The following will be considered when assessing these:

  1. Project’s visual impact (The visual should be aesthetically pleasing…more simply, it should look amazing)
  2. The project should be informed by your research. It should reflect knowledge and understanding.
  3. Project is thoughtful (The visual should be so thoughtfully and carefully created so as to carry your commentary/message.)
  4. Project is well-designed/executed
  5. Project reflects exceptional effort.

VERY IMPORTANT: The visual alone should communicate the commentary/message. You should not have to rely on words! This is not to say that you cannot have language woven into the visual.

I expect your very best creative work here.  Know your creative strengths and weaknesses. If you are not a “natural” artist, improvise… Don’t be afraid to think outside of the box. No excuses for mediocrity on this assignment. Peace.

Due Dates to come.

Due 11/1: Website Registration, Alvarez, and Poetry

1. Course website: Blackboarddreams.com (I will tell you more about that name later). My email: sleon@lusherschool.org

You should register for the class website, Blackboarddreams.com, by midnight Tuesday. To do this, you must scroll to the bottom of the right column of the homepage and click “Register.” Your username should be your Full Name (First and Last). Leave A SPACE between your first and last name. Do not use nicknames! Failure to register properly will lead to your account being deleted, so do it properly. Your password will be emailed to you at which point you can change it if you would like. I also suggest you take a moment to familiarize yourself with the website! Here, you and your family can access the following: homework assignments, class forums, updates on the happenings and direction of the class, complementary materials, writing and research resources, Essay and Creative Project exemplars, a link back to the Lusher homepage, and so much more! Don’t forget to bookmark your course page! So, if you are in my English II class, bookmark the English II page. Please keep in mind that I am transitioning this site from Beacon to Lusher.

2. Julia Alvarez–In your binder, research and take notes on our next author. In your research, pay particular attention to details that our helpful to know as we read/discuss In the Time of Butterflies.

3. My Life has stood – a Loaded Gun and I felt a Funeral, in my Brain by Emily Dickinson

Both poems are in the In the Time of Butterflies Poetry Unit. Read and annotate both poems. As you annotate, consider the following questions:

How are the poems thematically related? How does Dickinson develop the theme in each poem?

Welcome!

Dear Lusher Parents and Students,

I wanted to take a moment to introduce myself and give you a sense of what you can expect over the course of the next seven months.

My name is Sean Leon. In 2002 I moved to NYC to join the NYC Teaching Fellowship. After teaching four years at a middle school in the Bronx, I was offered and accepted a high school English position at The Beacon School in Manhattan. Over the course of my eleven years at Beacon, I have taught English 9, 10, and 12 (English 10 and 12 for nine years). Interestingly, Beacon allows teachers to design their own senior English electives so I created and taught an Existential Lit course (imagine the good times in that class) and a Poetry Seminar course.

Alas, the end is built into the beginning. Over time, a dizzying homesickness and family duty called me home to Louisiana, to Lusher, to you.

Now, sitting in a Lusher classroom typing this note to you, I realize that the transition for your child may be difficult. Ms. Chellin is an amazing educator who cares deeply for her students. They know this and consequently, have great appreciation for her.

So, I thought I would take some time and words to give you a sense of what to expect this year so that you may rest easy.  My classroom is a place where literature, vocabulary, and grammar/style instruction are seamlessly integrated into the curriculum. It is a place where my students come to understand that great writing must be not only clear and concise, but also purposeful, powerful, and elegant. To this end, writing and its instruction are conscious and deliberate processes rooted in close examination of student writing as well as the writing of the greats whom we read throughout the year. As the year progresses students will develop control/mastery over the content, style and mechanics of their essays. They will be expected to pay as much attention to the nuances of writing (i.e. diction, syntax) as the argument. Don’t fret; I will teach you to that end! [Read more…]