Posted 6/10: English 10 Honors: Summer Assignment: Please get a printed copy of this assignment from the office at NHS. It is (in brief) to record 5-10 pages of notes (not summaries, commentary of what you notice/wonder based upon specific passages of each text. Read Orwell's 1984 (notes suggested, not required), Homer's The Odyssey (Fagles translation) and one of the following non-fiction titles: The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, Endurance, Unbroken, Born to Run, Walk Across America. In July I will provide model responses at this site that may assist you.
Posted 7/31: Non-fiction assignment. Having read several of the non-fiction titles, here is an example of how one might respond by "noting what you find most interesting"
Born to Run: pgs 168-177: In this section of the book the author veers away from the characterizations of ultra-runners that have become somewhat tedious, and into a discussion of running shoes. He engages the thoughts of Harvard biological anthropology professor Dr. Lieberman, who says that if the running shoe had not been invented, more people would be running. THe passage explains how the human body's natural mechanics of motion are harmed by placing the foot in a high tech running shoe. If the shoe offers motion control, cushioning and support, then it is doing too much of the work that the human foot (and associated lower leg, etc...) evolved to perform. Bottom line: stick your foot in an expensive running shoe and it will weaken and grow prone to injury such as plantar fascitis or inflammation of the achilles.
Having suffered my share of lower leg and foot injuries (plantar, shin splints, sprains and tears...) I find this discussion especially relevant and interesting. A few years ago I suffered a bad injury to my left ankle. As it repaired it also atrophied, so that when I was ready to begin using it again it had lost strength. I had to find a way to work my feet from the sole on up, and the Vibram 5-finger running slippers had come on the market. Finally, I had found a product that truly made sense: wearing the slippers, my foot would have to get to work, and as it worked, it would put the ankle and lower leg to work too. They can be uncomfortable to run in until the foot acquires enough strength, but as with so many things in life, by not taking the convenient and comfortable option (new cushioned running shoes), but enduring the inconvenient and uncomfortable option (barefoot/slippers) the foot gradually grows stronger, and in the end, injuries less likely. In the book, ultra-runners such as Barefoot TEd and the Tarahumara confirm this view.
Assessment: In class you will be placed with several other students in a conversation circle. You may have read different non-fiction titles, in which case your task will be to clearly explain your book through its major themes/ideas, characters, narrative. OR You may have read the same title, in which case your task will be to offer specific insights as to what you find most interesting from the reading. (See why you are taking notes?)
Posted 7/31: THe Odyssey. As you read, pay attention to the roles of the various characters (Gods and mortals) so that you clearly understand their functions in the story. (To be an Athena is to be just, clever and wise; to be a Circe is to be manipulative, possessive and treacherous) In the future you'll read literature that alludes to these Classical figures. LEarn their roles now so that these allusions are clarifying rather than confusing.
Assessment: Sample test question:
Odysseus was not pleased with the loyalty demonstrated by:
e. none of the above
Posted 7/31: 1984. Your reading of this novel will be assessed via an essay in which you will be given a passage and must explain what has lead to this moment, as well as to explain the significance of this moment to the novel as a whole. For example, how would you respond if given the passage in which Winston unfolds a scrap of paper upon which a secret message has been passed to him?
1984 will not be discussed in class until later in the school year.