Hamlet Behind Bars Discussion Thread

This American Life is a long-running hour-long radio show on NPR produced by Chicago Public Radio and hosted by Ira Glass.  This American Life could probably best be categorized as a journalistic non-fiction program featuring, among other things essays, memoirs, field recordings, and found audio.

Below is a link to one episode where the entire show is to devoted to one story: Over the course of six months, reporter Jack Hitt followed a group of inmates at a high-security prison as they rehearsed and staged a production of the last act—Act V—of Hamlet.

Listen to the program – it’s under an hour long – and explain how it affected your understanding of Hamlet.  You can also discuss what, if any, questions it raised for you about the play.  Your post should be a paragraph of thoughtful, interesting, introspective (grammatically flawless) writing - and as always, you are highly encouraged to react to your peers' posts.

Macbeth/Geto Boys Mash-up

Ah, 1991. 

None of you are born, a young Chris Stapleton is dissecting sea cucumbers in 7th grade biology, and The Geto Boys (Scarface, Willie D and Bushwick Bill), a rap group from out of Houston, are tearing it up.

One of their most well-known songs, “My Mind’s Playing Tricks on Me,” contains some amazing thematic similarities to Macbeth – below you’ll find a mash up of the two masterpieces. Someone took Polanski’s film version of Macbeth and used it to make a music video of sorts for “Tricks.”

Take any specific aspect of the following video and comment on the thematic overlap between the song and the play.  You could focus on: the consequences of acting against one's conscience; the corrosive effects of paranoia; the psychological toll of guilt, and how guilt can impact relationships; the emptiness of pursuing power disconnected from a higher purpose.  

 There's much else to be said - I'm only scratching the surface here.  Make sure that your comments make specific textual reference to the play and to the song.

And as always, you are encouraged to respectfully engage one another, commenting on one another's comments.


Turnitin.com feedback.

Hey guys.  The school is currently deciding whether or not we'll extend our subscription to turnitin.com.  For my part, I feel like I'm able to go through papers more efficiently and I feel like I'm able to provide more substantive feedback.  (It might not seem like I'm being efficient; I have no excuse except for the a five-month-old baby who demands my constant attention).  Plus, it seems like it'd be valuable for students to have all their high school papers saved in one referable place over the course of three years. 

But what about you?  What do you like? What do you dislike?

As I said, providing this feedback isn't mandatory; you'd simply be doing me a solid.

Feel free to post anonymously; I'm just looking for candid perspectives.  

(If nothing else, check out how I just used a semi-colon correctly - twice!)

SECOND PERIOD: 'Growing Up Digital' Discussion Thread

The article "Growing Up Digital, Wired for Distraction," discusses the role of technology in the lives of young people, and the role of technology in public education (and a variety of disconnects within those relationships).  As you read this article, there should be points and opinions that you find valid, compelling, or that you generally agree with, and then there should be some points that you find spurious, dubious, or implausible.

In the discussion thread below, you are to do two things: 

  • Post some some sort of reaction to some specific (there's that word again) aspect of the article
  • Respond to one of your peers' comments.

You are engaging in a discussion, an argument, with the author of this article, with me, and with your peers - your assertions should be written accordingly (we're talking multiple sentences).  Be forceful. Be logical. be respectful - none of that "I feel," "In my opinion," wishy-washy nonsense. 

FIRST PERIOD: Growing Up Digital Discussion Thread

The article "Growing Up Digital, Wired for Distraction," discusses the role of technology in the lives of young people, and the role of technology in public education (and a variety of disconnects within those relationships).  As you read this article, there should be points and opinions that you find valid, compelling, or that you generally agree with, and then there should be some points that you find spurious, dubious, or implausible.

In the discussion thread below, you are to do two things:

  • Post some some sort of reaction to some specific (there's that word again) aspect of the article
  • Respond to one of your peers' comments.

You are engaging in a discussion, an argument, with the author of this article, with me, and with your peers - your assertions should be written accordingly (we're talking multiple sentences).  Be forceful. Be logical. Be respectful - none of that "I feel," "In my opinion," wishy-washy nonsense. 

The Collector Discussion Thread

To be clear, what we’re looking for here is a specific, intelligent, creative, and witty exchange of ideas.  Combined, specificity (making direct references to the text), intelligence (producing sophisticated ideas), creativity (producing ORIGINAL ideas), and wit (expressing those ideas cleverly) are key to doing well in AP English IV (and as important, enjoying the class).  So here’s your first opportunity: show us what you’ve got!

 

These threads should evolve into conversations, so be mindful of what people have posted before you.  You’re encouraged to start new discussion threads (rather than just responding to things either Ms. Freed or I post), or you can reply to some one else’s observations.