We haven't done one of these in a while which I've been enjoying, but we're back now so...
This week we learned more about tragedy, which is a very long ongoing project that we have been doing for the past many weeks. We also had Tuesday off, so it's been a short week which is throwing me off.
As part of our tragedy unit, we watched a TED talk on whether or not we are in charge of our choices on Thursday. This was a pretty existential TED talk that made me have a very small crisis. We all like to think that we are in charge of our lives, but this TED talk pointed out that this is not entirely true and there are a lot of things that affect our choices a lot more than we think. I enjoyed this TED talk overall. I am not enjoying writing yet another tragedy blog about it though.
We also started to revise one of our poem of the week essays which is interesting. I chose my essay on "Elegy in X Parts" because it seemed the most developed and sensical of my essays. I am struggling to make my essay actually good, though. I'm not really sure how to work with what I already have to format it in a way that is a very strong essay. I'm pretty nervous about having to turn this in for an actual grade because I'm pretty sure it might suck. I hope it doesn't, though, as I think it's not bad already.
We are supposed to be starting "Antigone" as well. I think it will be interesting because it is so interrelated with Oedipus. We haven't actually started it yet, but we have been talking about it and assigning reading parts.
Basically, this week-- and the past several weeks-- we have been learning a lot about tragedy. There is a surprisingly large amount of stuff to learn about tragedy. There are just so many interpretations and definitions and ideas going all around that are all unique and interesting.
I really don't know what to say about this week. We didn't really learn anything we just worked on our elements of fiction project. Literally, every day our schedule was as follows: poem of the day, SSR/creative writing, work on project. There was no instruction really, we just worked on getting our projects done. This was nice but it makes it hard to write about what I learned.
I guess I did learn this week, though, just not form instruction. I got to learn more about fantasy and how and why it is used in literature. I spent the whole week just looking at this in the story "The Rocking Horse Winner," and I was actually surprised to find deeper meanings and influences after working with this story for several days. It took me days of working on the project to realize that this story was a reflection of human nature, especially addiction, gambling, and superstition and the consequences of these. The chart thing we filled out for our stories was actually pretty helpful. It was confusing at first, but once I got it filled out it was helpful in writing my body paragraphs.
Right now I am still working on body paragraphs and have yet to do introduction and conclusion. I'm pretty hecking stressed that this essay is due on Sunday because I have a lot of work to do, but it's whatever, I guess. I'm really really glad that we don't have to do a presentation anymore. Also, the group format of this project is weird because I'm literally writing an essay by myself on a story that my group mates have never read while they are collaborating on a different essay on stories that I have not read. I don't understand this set-up and I'm not sure that it's fair.
So, this was more of a stream of thinking rather than a reflection on my learning, but that is because of the weird structure of this week. These are my thoughts, though, and what we did. Hopefully I am able to finish my essay this weekend without dying :(
The most important day of class for me this week was Tuesday. On Tuesday, we had a guest speaker come in and talk to us and this was really helpful to me. Our guest speaker was a science fiction author named James Jackson. I'm not a huge science fiction person, but the science fiction part wasn't what was important. In our class, he talked mostly about why and how he writes as well as the revision process.
I thought that this information was really helpful. It probably wasn't personally applicable to most people, but it was to me. Something that stood out to me was his discussion on having a writing schedule- needing to designate a time and place for writing and sticking to this schedule as much as possible. This is something that I have been struggling with, but am finally getting the hang of. I also liked how he talked about his writing process and how he thought most of what he wrote was garbage, but it didn't matter because he was writing. I think this is very important to remember. Also helpful was his talking about how all writers think they suck. I kind of thought I was alone in this and maybe I did just suck. I guess a lot of the things he said were helpful.
After he was done talking to the whole class, we started to work on creative writing and he talked to us individually. During this time, he asked me if I had any questions, and I asked him how many words were in his novels. This seems like kind of a random question, but I really needed to know. Why? Because I'm working on one right now. I haven't told like anyone because I'm weird like that, but I wanted more information. After I asked, we talked for a little bit about word count and writing want you want to write and not giving up and some publishing suggestions. This little discussion was really helpful to me, and I felt really good and a lot more confident afterwards.
So, now I've written a ton and have only covered one day, but this was what was important to me and what I learned this week. Beyond this, we just worked on poem of the week, revision, and elements of fiction readings.
The saga of my bad memory continues...
This week we started every day by listening to some weird poetry by Ross Gay. This guy enjoys weird things way too much. I enjoyed the poems, but some of them were really disgusting. Eating bird poop? Making out with an ant? No thank you. Ew.
We also started reading short stories for the elements of fiction that we were supposed to start like two weeks ago. I guess we will be working on that more now.
A lot of what we worked on this week, though, was revision. Early on, we revised our poem of the week essay from last week, which I really did not want to do. What we did for this was go through and comment on our own essays, pointing out good and bad things in an objective manner. This was interesting. My essay was not nearly as bad as I expected that it was going to be, at least. When I was writing it, I thought it was going to be complete trash, but when I read it, it actually made sense. Revising my essay actually made me feel a lot better about my writing. During creative writing, we also worked on revising some of the old work we did, so that was interesting. I don't know what I want to turn in or whatever yet, but I'm definitely have some options so that's good. Okay, honestly, what I'm taking from all this is really to be more confident in my abilities and my writing. I love to write, but I usually think that my writing sucks. Recent events, however, indicate that my writing may actually be pretty good, at least sometimes. I know this isn't a learning objective for AP Lit, but it is actually pretty important to me. So anyways, thanks for the confidence booster, that's pretty nice.
I guess that sums up the week. It was pretty alright, I would say. Yup. Next week we have to deal with another poem and probably some essays- gross.
Once again, I can't really remember what we did this week. My group discussed two things: paintings and poetry. That pretty much sums up the week, I suppose.
Earlier in the week- frankly, I don't remember which day- we watched a TED talk on creating stories based on works of art. This was a really interesting TED talk. At first I didn't really see how this related to literature; I saw this mostly as a way to connect with artwork. The more I think about it, though, I can see how it relates to literature. Literature is, in fact, a type of art, and, as such, can be interpreted in much the same way as, say, a painting. When we read, we are intrigued by what is not factually expressed, we fill in these gaps with our own thoughts or interpret works according to what they mean to us. My group worked with "Girl with a Pearl Earring," and it was really interesting how differently we all saw it and what stories we came up with. This is what really allows us to connect with art, and that is kind of the point of the TED talk. If we look at literature in this light, we can better understand how we should be reading, how we should be thinking, and that our interpretations and filling-in matters.
So that was paintings. This week I learned how paintings relate to literature, so that's something. The other part of this week was poetry- more specifically, really sad poetry.
Our poem of the week this week was "Elegy in X Parts." Just from the title, you could tell this poem was a sad one. It was also an extremely good one. I really enjoyed working with this poem, as sad as it was, because it was really beautiful and powerful. There was so much emotion and power. The more we worked with it, the more I saw how the little tiny elements of of it added to this power. I liked that. We also read sad poems, often about death, at the beginning of class everyday so that was fun.
I'm confused this week because I thought we were going to be working with elements of fiction, but we didn't even talk about them. That's ok, though, I liked paintings and poetry better.
This week in AP Lit....
We spent much of this week working with our summer reading materials. I enjoyed the visual metaphor project that we did with our summer reading books and topics. At first, I thought this project was going to be impossible, as I'm not the most artistically minded. I've kind of always struggled with turning words and ideas into pictures. However, once I got started and began sharing ideas with my group, I realized that it was a lot simpler than I thought. Our metaphor turned out great and surprisingly deep and connective. This visualization actually really helped me to think in a different way and learn more about what I had read.
Our metaphor was an piece of artwork entitled "Fishing for Symbols in the Sea of Knowledge". We utilized the chapter "If That a Symbol?" from How to Read LIterature Like a Professor. In our metaphor the water was the "sea of knowledge" which was filled with fish of all different shapes and sizes representing the diversity of how symbols appear and are interpreted. The reader was, in fact, the fisherman sitting on a boat in the sea, using his fishing line- which represented the books- to catch the symbols as they came along. I felt that this was a really good visualization of what reading literature is like, or what it should be like.
This project helped me to learn in a variety of ways. It forced me to think about the books that I had read in different ways than I had before and see them from different perspectives. It also helped me see how to extend and make use of the knowledge that I already had in different ways. It showed me how art can connect with literature and how words can connect with pictures. In short, I had a good time with this project and I thought it was really helpful.
The main theme of the week for me was thinking differently. I felt that, although there was not a lot of formal instruction, I actually learned a lot and I hope that we can do more projects like the visual metaphor in the future.
Honestly, I'm struggling to remember what we did this week. It may only be week two, but everything is already starting to blend together.
We did spend a long time working with a poem called "The Eagle". It was a very short, seemly simple poem, but there was a lot of deeper meaning in it and analysis that could be done. When I read the poem on my own, I took it at face-value. I filled out the analysis sheet with this perspective. I really enjoyed reading the poem from this view, and I thought that, even though it was simple, it was very powerful and almost awe-inspiring. The imagery of the eagle and the nature was majestic. However, I was informed that this interpretation of the poem was not quite right. It kind of made me mad that I was told my interpretation wasn't enough because I don't think that there's a right or wrong way to read poetry or any literature. As a class, we discussed all of our different perspectives on the poem. It was really interesting to hear how other people had interpreted the same thing that I read in so many different ways. After this discussion and the answering of a couple critical thinking questions, I saw the other viewpoints and could understand the value of thinking deeper about the poem. However, I still think that my initial interpretation of the poem was right and meaningful for me. There may have been other things for me to look at a little deeper, but my interpretation was not wrong.
We also started working on creative writing this week, which is my favorite thing. I absolutely adore creative writing. I love to just write stories and whatever is in my head. I believe that it really helps me too. I wish we had more time for this and, of course, for SSR.
We also began to work with our summer reading books. The activities that we did/are doing with them are still a little confusing to me. The analysis and interpretation of the books was not difficult, in fact, I thought this was a good opportunity to think deeper about my books in different ways than I had before. Today, though, we're supposed to be starting on some sort of poster which I am really confused about. We'll just have to see where that goes.
So, basically, I survived the first five day week of school and managed to remember the important stuff from class. This week was a lot about critical thinking, different viewpoints and unique perspectives.
This had been an interesting first week of school. We did a bunch of different stuff in AP Lit over the past four days. It's hard to think of things that I actually learned because this week has been mostly introductory. We mostly did activities and a lot of thinking.
On the first day of school, we did an interesting activity in which we thought about our lives and our journeys. This was a cool introduction to the class because it gave us the opportunity to get thinking and get to know each other.
The next two days, we mainly worked on setting up these weebly pages and writing about ourselves as readers and writers. I had never really done this kind of activity before. I found it both interesting and difficult to think and write about myself in this way. I was surprised, though, by how much I could come up with and the level of passion that I had connected with both of these pieces.
After these writings, we got to begin looking at books for our author study. I'm kind of nervous because I've never done an author study or anything like it before; I've read a lot of books by the same author, but never really with a purpose of analyzation. I think it shouldn't be bad, though. Looking at all the different books, I had a really difficult time choosing because so many of them looked so good. I finally settled for Margaret Atwood because she seemed so interesting to me, and I am now starting The Handmaid's Tale. So far, it is really good. I wish we had had more time to read in class. All of Margaret Atwood's books that I picked up look really good, so I am excited to read them.
Today we learned about reading rates. I can see how these can be helpful for people who do not read as much as I do, but for me they seem more limiting than helpful. I understand that a routine is helpful, but I read a lot more than my reading rate says I should be. The reading rate may be helpful, though, when I get super busy to make sure that I am reading enough. Hopefully, I won't have to worry about it.
I am looking forward to learning, thinking, reading, and writing more throughout this course. We'll just have to see how everything goes.