Religion in School

AP Language

September 16th, 2009

Themes: , , , ,

I passed out a number of articles in class today, most pertaining to religion in schools. If you snagged one, read over it. Our goal in this section is to gain a solid understanding of this issue. By the end, we should all have a solid understanding of the nuances of this issue, the rationale behind many sides of the argument, and a much clearer view of our own opinions. Simply, in a few weeks we all should be able to hold an intelligent conversation about religion’s place in the public school system.

As with all of our discussions, we are not striving for consensus1, nor are we looking to establish a two-sided, pro/con debate; this is a complex issue23, and I expect each of you to do enough research so you can thoughtfully contribute to our discussions. This means some independent study: confine your article analyses4 to this subject, talk with family members, religious leaders, teachers, and such about their thoughts, read up on important court cases56, etc.

We will continue our discussion of rhetorical devices, logical arguments and fallacies, and appeals throughout this session.

If you come across any resources, please post them below or print them out. Bring all information to class; share the wealth!

  1. Remember “groupthink” from psychology? If not, ask your teacher. []
  2. Overview from []
  3. Overview from Pew Forum []
  4. Here’s a non-argumentative article about headscarves in Belgium schools. While our focus will be on the American system, this is a very recent addition to the debate. []
  5. Scopes Trial []
  6. Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District []

How does my good Lord Hamlet?

British Literature

September 14th, 2009

Themes: , , ,

You can catch up on your reading here.

Our main goal with this play is to gain a better understanding of Shakespearean language, snag a few allusions, and take an in-depth look into the motivations of each character. The first two are happy side-effects of the last. There are two questions we should keep in mind as we watch:

  1. At what point does Hamlet’s sanity become questionable?

  2. Why doesn’t Hamlet kill Claudius right away?

Of course, as with all questions worth asking, our initial attempts will raise more questions than answers, and will become more complex as we look deeper into the story. This is a good thing.

We’ll have a quick quiz tomorrow over the action so far. This will do several things for us:

About a Boy Plans

British Literature

August 23rd, 2009

Themes: ,

If you haven’t picked up About a Boy yet, do so. We’ll be discussing the first two chapters in class Monday. For your reference, here’s the reading schedule Read the rest of this entry »

More Brave New World

World Literature

August 14th, 2009

Themes: ,

Read through chapter five this weekend. Be sure to journal as you go, as we will be using them in our discussion on Monday. It might be a good idea to read chapter three twice, as Huxley plays with the narrative a bit and it’s easy to get the conversation jumbled.

O Brave New World!

World Literature

August 13th, 2009

Themes: , , ,

That Has Such People In’t!12

We read Harlan Ellison’s “’Repent, Harlequin!’ Said the Ticktockman” in class today to begin our discussion of conformity and rebellion. Here are some things to consider as we move forward:

I passed out copies of Brave New World in class. You should read through chapter two for tomorrow. Also, fill out the form here so I can keep track of all of them. (Don’t worry about it if you emailed me earlier.)

  1. Shakespeare. The Tempest. V.i. []
  2. Huxley, Aldous. Brave New World. New York: HarperCollins, 1998. 139. Print. []