Friday, September 30, 2011

I needed this today

Late Summer, Early Fall 
by Sherman Alexie

She catches a moth, stunned
By sun and windows,
Cradles it outside, uncups
Her hands and lets it fly.
How often do we humans save
What can be saved? This
Morning, a young woman
Has redeemed our kind
By releasing a moth. O,
She half-spins
And laughs. And her laughter
Flutters along
With the moth.
This woman catches me
Watching her. I laugh and catch
my breath. Make a note.
Today, at 10:42 a.m.,
Beauty defeated death.

Thank you, Verda

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Superman was an undocumented immigrant

Teaching Writing

My semester is in full swing and is exhausting so far.  During the day I student teach with an 10th grade ELD teacher at Mission High School, and in the evenings I go to class at UC Berkeley.  My weekends are mostly spent doing homework and preparing lesson plans.  Luckily, I love it, or I'd have crapped out already.

Today, I'm planning for next week.  My intermediate students will be learning about thesis statements, and before I planned the details of the lesson, I wanted to make sure I was clear on where the process of developing a thesis statement and its supporting evidence fits into the larger concept of writing and learning to write. 

This is what I've come up with so far.  I drew from the canons of rhetoric described at Silva Rhetoricae (which is a fantastic site, by the way) and added my own thoughts about what fits in where.


Invention: What do I want to say?
            Thesis statements
            Supporting Points

Arrangement:  In what order will I say it?
            Logical ordering of evidence
            Placement of rhetorical devices

Style:  How will I express my ideas?
            Figures of speech

Memory:  How well do I know my topic?  Can I discuss its intricacies?  Can I extrapolate on various points?  Do I know what others think about it?  Can I present my argument in other media? Can I present my argument in other contexts?

Delivery:  How do I present my finished work?

These canons of rhetoric cannot be considered merely linearly. They inform one another and require repeated circling back.

For example, I cannot narrow down what I am going to say (invention) until I understand the topic.  Understanding the topic is an aspect of memory work.  Similarly, in determining what I am going to say, I must consider my audience, as certain arguments are more relevant to certain audiences.

I give a fuck about the Oxford Comma!