Today, while Ms. Norby was gone, we got a sheet that asked us basic questions about our essays. The questions were either if you had it in your essay or if you didn’t, and the response to any “no” was “fix it”. Yet another essay revision, but I’m getting a little worried about reducing my essay to 500 words. It currently stands at 1250 words and flows fairly smoothly, so who knows what will happen when I literally take a – aw to it and shorten it down to below 40% of the material. I also hope that we are getting to closer to no more essay revisions; it would have been much more productive if we were given all of the handouts at once and had a general idea of everything that we should include in our essay.
Today we did an activity with our essay revision #3. Each person took someone else’s essay and Norby walked us through an almost degrading process of picking through out essays. We drew the triangles around the first and third paragraphs and highlighted the first and last sentence of each paragraph, checking to see if it matched what we said in the thesis paragraph. My essay didn’t get very much out of it, but it gave us another revision to complete.
Today in World Literature, we went over the ways in writing an essay that show the reader what you’re talking, and created solutions for the instances in our essay in which we are just simply telling. The handout was very helpful, giving straight answers for the “diagnosys” of our essay. It explained how the essays should be structured and what details we should or should not include. More information like what we got in class today would be useful for our future essays, so I’m glad we were exposed to such material.
A useful typing utility to “‘throw up” all of the important information about our piece onto the screen, which is up for reorganizing and editing later. This exercise is meant to minimize all other brain activity, because if we stop typing, or if we stop our train of thought, we are punished by the program, so it forces us to focus on the information, and actually helps us remember more things than usual. When I sat down to write the first draft of my essay, although Ms. Norby critized students for “butt in chair time” and not having an outline next to them or any notes, I did have my notes and picked out pages for reference sitting right next to my outline. I find that when I have to write an essay, which isn’t necessarily the final draft of that essay, it’s easier if I lay out how I want the essay to flow, input the information, and add and change things where I need to.
Today we took the Candide test, which some found challenging (probably from not reading), and some found it was a fair test. I was expecting more on the specific personalities of the characters and the ideas that Voltaire intended to pass on, because that was probably the main point of the satire, not the specific events that occurred. While discussing the characters in class, I would see the characters in a new light, which is both enlightening and surprising, because we were reading on different levels, looking for many meanings.
Today we discussed Candide on an instant message basis, which was interesting as well as chaotic. The students in Ms. Norby’s class have gotten into the mind state that she is a laid back, shout out and speak whenever you want kind of teacher, and I think that she is under a lot of pressure and is about to explode on us. Our class needs to get their behavior under control, take the class seriously and take Ms. Norby seriously. The Candide discussion was beneficial once Ms. Norby slowed it down to one person at a time, but the students were quick to critize and make nonsense where peace and understanding could have been found.
Proficiencies in our state are pretty sad, but then again, they probably fit our extremely low standards, because not the majority of high school students pass the first time. In class, we reviewed the English portion of the exam, which only convers Reading. With an unlimited amount of time to spend on the test, I don’t see how anyone could get lower than 60% of the questions correct, and it wasn’t surprising when Norby told us that there was a 100% passing rate at Atech last year for the Reading. I didn’t think that it was necessary for us to have to miss a whole day and another block period the next day for this sorry excuse for a test, but we did. Also, there were unbelievable rules during the test, such as once we were done with a certain section of the test, we weren’t allowed to read! There support was that we might have answers in our books! First of all, this being a proficiency test, there is no way that we could have studied for the test, and no way that we could have placed specific information into our books that was going to be on the test, except if we were carrying around a dictionary, encyclopedia or calculator carved into the book. Second, if I wanted to cheat on the test, I would have missed the whole day so that I would have to retake the test in the office meeting room or something where I would be under less supervision.
Word Chunks Quiz over #4 and #5 was an impressive challenge, and afterwards, I tried to explain my concern that two words were completely interchangable. Norby asked me to research the difference between the prefixes in- and im- , but despite my atempts, I was unable to find a source that actually said there was any difference at all. Everything that I looked up categorized both words under the same definition: not. I wonder if this quiz is a daughnting foreshadowing of what our 100 word test over all of the Word Chunks is going to be like, and I hope that a reasonable compromise can be made.
Wednesday blockday for Norby, we went to the library to meet with our councilors and discuss our classes for next year. Through convincing some students to rethink their classes, I walked in thinking that there was not going to be any advice that I needed from them. However, I did end up asking some questions and gaining valuable information that was otherwise unavailable or explained to me incorrectly from every other source. I realized that some aspects of what the administration tells students needs to be fixed; they need to make it very clear about everything that any student could possibly ask. I’ve changed some of my ideas about future classes, and my overall outlook on the administration has once again depreciated.
It was slowing being revealed that the pigs were beginning to abuse their position of leadership. They took advantage of everyone else’s stupidity and convinced them that it was ok for the pigs to get an extra hour of sleep in the morning, for them to sleep in beds, complete less work (because ordering everyone around was tiresome), and getting more food. The animals might not have realized it, but the pigs were becoming dictators, enforced by the dogs (military).
The windmill that was built represented the industrialization of society. It was hard to construct the windmill, but the advantages that it brought was terrific. The pigs made the windmill sound tons better than it actually was going to be, but it would have benefits none the less.