Library Card [Bonus]

Students in English I, English II, and English III can get 5 bonus points for the first quarter by bringing in their current public library cards and a book checked out from that library.

“Skim Reading is the New Normal”

According to an article in The Guardian, skim reading has become the new normal. Instead of reading closely and carefully, students first impulse has become to scan the text to try to extract the basic meaning without worrying about the details. Unfortunately, this means that students are not developing some of the cognitive skills needed to do a close reading when needed, such as “inference, critical analysis and empathy.” Furthermore, most students are not good at determining when to read closely and when to just skim. And for a growing number of students, it may no longer be a matter of choosing whether or not they want to skim: it has become their only option because it’s the only type of reading they know how to do well.

The article points out that “many college students actively avoid…classic literature…because they no longer have the patience to read longer, denser, more difficult texts.” But it goes on to argue that, “We should be less concerned with students’ ‘cognitive impatience,’ however, than by what may underlie it: the potential inability of large numbers of students to read with a level of critical analysis sufficient to comprehend the complexity of thought and argument found in more demanding texts, whether in literature and science in college, or in wills, contracts and the deliberately confusing public referendum questions citizens encounter in the voting booth.”

Read the full article here.

 

Punctuating Words as Words

We recently finished up some definition essays in my college level courses. A question that kept coming up was “How do I punctuate words that refer to themselves?”

Do I use quotation marks or italics? Which of the following is correct?

“Humblebrag” is now in the dictionary.

Humblebrag is now in the dictionary.

There’s some debate about which is best, but ultimately it comes down to which style manual you are following. Since we are using MLA style, we follow their rules and use italics.

The Online Writing Lab (OWL) at Purdue offered this summation:

Do not use quotation marks for words used as words themselves. In this case, you should use italics.

EX: The English word nuance comes from a Middle French word meaning “shades of color.”

Video Book Review [Bonus]

For this bonus assignment, students from English I, II, III, and High School Reading can create a video book review, which will be uploaded to Youtube to share with current and future students. The bonus is worth 10 points and is due the last day of the first quarter.

To receive full credit for the video book review,  you MUST:

  • Choose a book from the list that you read for the book journal
  • Prepare a video that is 3-5 minutes long
  • In the video, you should:
    • Tell the title, the author’s name, and the date of publication
    • Discuss the setting, characters, and basic premise of the book WITHOUT spoiling the ending or other major plot points.
    • Read a sample passage directly from the book
    • Feature an image or video of the book’s cover
    • Clearly explain why you would or would not recommend the book to your classmates
    • List publication information for the book and any other non-original work, such as music included in the video.
  • Bring the video on a flash drive or upload it online in a format that can be uploaded to my Youtube channel.

Note: The above example does a pretty good job, but doesn’t include the year of publication nor a sample passage from the book. It’s also a bit under the required three minutes, but including a short excerpt from the book should help you take up that extra time.

Missing Oxford Comma Costs Company $10 Million

Delivery drivers for Oakhurst Dairy won their suit against the Portland milk and cream company, after a U.S. court of appeals found that the wording of Maine’s overtime rules were written ambiguously. Per state law, the following activities are not eligible for overtime pay:

The canning, processing, preserving,
freezing, drying, marketing, storing,
packing for shipment or distribution of:

(1) Agricultural produce;
(2) Meat and fish products; and
(3) Perishable foods.

Oakhurst argued that “distribution of” was separate from “packing for shipment,” which would allow the company to claim exemption from paying its delivery drivers over time. In trying to prove lawmakers’ intent, Oakhurst even pointed to Maine’s legislative style guide, which advises against using the Oxford comma.

“For want of a comma, we have this case,” U.S. appeals judge David J. Barron wrote.

The appeals court ruled in favor of the five delivery drivers Monday, citing the “remedial purpose” of the state’s overtime laws as reason to interpret them liberally. So rejoice, grammar nerds, and know that the law is on your side.

via BostonMagazine.com

FOLLOW UP: The Boston Globe reports that the settlement will cost the company $10 million.

Literary Magazine Call for Submissions [Bonus]

Earn up to 30 bonus points in any of my high school courses (excluding Dual Enrollment and Mass Media) if your submissions are published in our upcoming issue of the school literary magazine. (Short stories = 20 points Essay = 20 points Poetry = 10 points  Other Work [drawings, comics, artistic photography, etc.] = 5 points.) Please note that submission does not guarantee inclusion. See details below:

Chadwick School Literary Magazine: Call for Submissions

The editorial staff of the Chadwick School literary magazine is looking for original creative works by Chadwick students to publish in our next issue.

Short stories, poetry, essays, songs, comics, drawings, photography, and other creative works will all be considered. You may submit work from class assignments or that you completed at home, but it must be entirely original. More

Orwell’s classic dystopian novel about a man who basically creates “alternative facts” for a living, tops the Amazon.com top sellers list. 1984 was published 35 years before the year 1984. Now, nearly 35 years after the year 1984, the book seems more relevant than ever. If you’ve never read it, or if it’s been a while, it is worth a second look.

Read more here:

US News & World Report

The New Yorker