Thursday, May 17, 2007

Short Stories You Might Enjoy

For those of you guys working on the short story project option, I have mined the textbook for things you may enjoy.

Here's a few:
A&P, John Updike
Sonny's Blues, James Baldwin
Everyday Use, Alice Walker
Cathedral, Raymond Carver
A Clean Well-Lighted Place, Ernest Hemingway
Saboteur, Ha Jin
Day of the Butterfly, Alice Munro
Harrison Bergeron, Kurt Vonnegut (SCIENCE FICTION!)
The Lottery, Shirley Jackson
No One's a Mystery, Elizabeth Talent
The One Who Walk Away From Omelas, Ursula Leguin (SCIENCE FICTION!)
Paul's Case, Willa Cather
Girl, Jamaica Kincaid
The Things They Carried, Tim O'Brien

Also, if you are doing the science fiction option, you simply have to read ""Repent Harlequin!" Cried the Ticktockman." It purely awesome on the awesomeness scale. I have multiple copies.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007


I put all of the finished public service announcements on Here's the direct link to the films in my collection. If you finished your film, and I somehow forgot to upload it, let me know and I'll take care of it ASAP. I was trying to get them up quickly.

iSearch Paper Layout

This is what your final paper should look like. Notice that the title page and Works Cited page are separate and that they do not count towards the 5-7 page requirement.

The paper I used as a formatting example is an actual iSearch paper I wrote for a graduate class in Mark Twain. It can be read in its entirety here.

Monday, May 14, 2007

AP Literature Final Project

Here you go folks. Due June 7th.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Web 2.0, You Man of the Year, You

This year, Time magazine named you the man of the year. Congratulations.

What does that mean? It means the little guy has a voice. But with this voice comes responsibility. I'm sure you've seen the Youtube videos. Some kid in front of a camera discussing global warming or Myspace or some other hotbutton social or technological issue. Similarly, someone, somewhere is, as we speak, typing their opinion about endangered habitat or discussing how their day went. I know you know Myspace.

But, what effects do these emerging technologies and mediums have on the human or societal level? Pros? Cons?

Evaluating Sources

You guys live in a complicated world. You have access to more information than any other generation of students in the history of the world. How do you know what's good? What's credible? What can you rely on to form your own argument?

chart adapted from David Warlick: "Evaluating Internet-Based Information: A Goals-Based Approach." This article originally appeared in Meridian: A Middle School Technologies Journal, June 1998.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Crossing the Swamp Essay

Overall, I was very impressed with your essays. I loved what I saw. Remember, make your point in the topic sentence, and provide details to support, and explain those details.

Nearly all of you were very intuned to the imagery in the poem, and the poet's use of imagery to both illustrate the danger and difficulty lurking in the swamp, as well as the possibility of hope. It is complex in that way.

Some of you noticed the poem's structure. The back and forth nature of the lines looks like someone struggling. A good many of you noticed the turning point or shift in the end, and explained how it helped solidify the poet's theme.

Many of you also commented on the sound of the poem. The author's repetition of similar sounding words in some lines ("pathless" "seamless" "peerless") both emphasizes an idea (the swamp if difficult to pass through)and a sound, which emphasizes an idea (these words produce immediate closure at the end. You have to stop after each word. This mirrors getting stuck in the mud).

A Few Notes to Remember
- Your job is not only to explain what the author is saying (summary), but, more importantly, how the author is saying it (analysis through literary devices).
- Three body paragraphs is gold, Jerry. Gold.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Google Docs

Hey folks...Rebecca R. discovered that we have access to Google docs. This is an online word processor which enables you to work on a project wherever you have internet access. So, if you don't have a flash drive, and want to work on a story (OR PAPER!) at home as well as at school, then do the following.

Instead of Safari or Internet Explorer, choose the Netscape browser from your Applications folder.
Then, go to (I'll hyperlink it later...stupid Safari)
Sign up for a Google Account
Start a new document and type away.


Folks, my classes are a bit scattered today, as the AP Government exam is taking place in the library. For most of you, I would like to quickly talk about sources I'd like you to consider for your iSearch paper. I'd like to talk to some of you about the Thomson Gale database. Primarily, however, today is a work day.

Friday, May 4, 2007

Official "Hey Mr. Malley, I've Got an AP Exam Related Question!" Post

Are you acidic over alliteration? Mystified by metaphors? Flummoxed by figurative language? Taken aback by tone? In complete dismay over Dorian Gray? Whelp folkedy dolkedies, if this sounds like you, then here is the place you can raise your voice over multiple choice. Post your question in the comment box, and I'll be sure to address it as soon as I see it.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Multiple Choice Strategies

1. You do not have to do the passages/poems in order. Skim. Find the ones that are most accessible. Answer the questions for that passage/poem first. Then find the next most accessible, and so on.

2. If you can eliminate one out of the five choices, then you can guess and the mathematical weight is in your favor. Wrong answers are worth -1/4 points, while correct answers are worth a full point. You are not penalized for blanks.

3. Read the questions carefully.

4. Choose one of the following techniques (from Barron's How to Prepare for the AP...):
  • Read the passage carefully from start to finish. Don’t try to remember every detail. As you read, ask yourself, “What is this passage really about?” You can usually get the general idea in two or three lines. When finished reading, state the author’s main point. Even an incorrect statement gives you an idea to focus on as you work on the questions. This strategy takes longer at the start, but allows you to make up the time later.
  • Skim the poem passage for its general idea. Read faster than you normally would. At the same time, try to sense what the author is saying. Read the passage just intently enough to get an impression of its content. Don’t expect to keep details in mind. Refer to the passage as you answer the questions. This saves time and keeps your mind free of needless details.
  • Skim the passage to get its general meaning; then go back and read it more thoroughly. Two readings, one fast and one slow, enable you to grasp the passage better than if you read it only once. During your second reading, confirm that your first impression was accurate. Proceed to the questions, referring frequently to the text. This technique takes the most time but offers you the firmest grip on the poem or passage.

AP Lit Exam - Reviewing Major Works for the Free Response Essay

Before today and next Thursday, I need you to review the major works we read in class this year. The final essay will require that you apply one work of literary merit to a prompt or question. You must know the works well. Sparknotes gives a very comprehensive look at all aspects of each work.

Oedipus Rex - Make sure only to review the section for Oedipus the King. We didn't read the other two plays.
Dorian Gray
Invisible Man

You may also use the works you read for the summer reading assignment, as well as the works you read for the independent reading project in December. Lastly, if you feel comfortable with a classic work you read in 11th grade, such as the novel The Great Gatsby or the play Othello, then brush up by reviewing those works also. If you are unsure whether or not it qualifies as being of "literary merit," check it against this list. As GI Joe says, or said at least, knowing is half the battle.

Lastly, here is a link to every free response question since 1970. Go through the most recent ones. Figure out what work you would use and how you would answer the question. Since this is a bloggedy type site, you probably will not be able to access it at school, so I have uploaded it to my google docs. Feel free to download and print (or copy and paste and print).

iSearch Log

I've created a tool to help you keep track of your research and organize your paper. Remember, iSearch papers are a chronological retelling of your search in a compelling and informative way. Giddy.

Click on the link above, then copy the chart and paste it into word. In Microsoft Word, choose "File" then "Page Setup" and set the orientation to landscape. Here's a picture:

Then, choose "Format Document" from the file menu. Adjust the margins to the following settings:

Top .331
Bottom .338
Left .7
Right .7

I apologize for the complicated directions. You'll only have to do it once. Plus, I've found the ability to adjust margins extremely useful when formatting Word documents.

Starting Your Body Section

Here are the first paragraphs from the body sections of four iSearch papers:

What does it take to be a CPA?

When I first started this paper, I wanted to find out more about the different types of certified accountants: the CPA's, CMA's and CIA's. I wanted to do a comparative study of the three. I started looking at the Internet. I tried the keyword "Accounting " and there were about five million hits. I tried "Certified Public Accounting" and it was less. There weren't as many hits on the other two. I decided to concentrate on the subject of Certified Public Accountants because it seemed trivial to me why there was so much information under this. Besides, a comparative study wouldn't do me much good. I've learned in the few chapters of my textbook the differences in these three types of accountants. I know them already, so it's not beneficial to me.

Feng Shui and the Workplace

I began my research by searching the Internet and conducting several preliminary interviews. My first preliminary research was done through the Internet. I spent over an hour searching for articles about Feng Shui. The first article I found was on the d escription of Feng Shui, and the other two articles were on the do's and the don't according to Feng Shui.

Is Alcoholism a Disease?

I began my research by reading excerpts from two books. One of them claims physical factors solely are responsible for alcoholism. In it, Ketcham and Milim (1981) state that alcoholics metabolize alcohol at a much slower rate, thus experiencing its eff ects for longer periods of time. They claim that alcoholics have an innate preferences for liquor which is heightened by genetic and prenatal influences. They maintain that biologically related ethnic differences also account for increased susceptibilit y. In the other excerpt, Peele (1989) refutes this claim, stating that biological dysfunctions are merely an opportunity for drinkers to deny responsibility for their drinking. Talk about two dichotomous positions! I was more informed, but just as conf used as I had been before I read these excerpts.

The Marijuana Contraversy

In the library, I found a book called Drugs and American Society and it contains a lot of information about Marijuana, but the information was out of date. From other sources, I learned that early onset cannabis users were at increased risks of later sub stance use behaviors: dropout , anxiety, depression, and suicidal ideation ( Fergusson, Lynskey, & Horwood, 1996). Most of the elevated risks of early onset users were explained by the fact that they were a high risk group of adolescents characterized by having disfunctional families and establishing relationship with delinquent peers.

An iSearch paper about iSearch Papers

The Search: On the day I decided to investigate the "I-Search" paper, I immediately checked the card catalog for Macrorie's books. According to Chapter 8 of Searching Writing, Macrorie states, "The worst place you can begin your search is at the card catalog in the library. Go to people." ( I think he will forgive me.) He reveals that his wife inspired him to develop the "I-Search" approach. He was so impressed with his wife's exuberance while researching Mexico that he desired to see that same excitement in his students' research. Macrorie established the following characteristics for the I-Search.

Here's a great iSearch paper, but it is a .pdf document and can't be copied/pasted.
It's about rock climbing. The rest of the iSearch papers can be found here.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Thomson Gale Database

The BPS pays for student access to several databases. One useful database you can use is the Thomson Gale Database. This database gives you access to hundreds of thousands of articles from magazines, reputable journals, newspapers, and other sources. If you are at school, then just click on the previous link and go there and look around. There are six different databases you can search. Read the description and select the database or search all of them at once.

Make sure you record the citation information if you use one of the articles, as you are required to have a MLA works cited page and parenthetical citations.

Boolean Searches

Boolean searching is a way to do search queries and narrow down your results. This way, you are more likely to find what you are searching for. I really have a lot of luck using these methods, and, as far as your concerned, with the increase of digitized and searchable information, efficient and effective searching is and will be a major skill set for, umm, the foreseeable future.

So, here goes:

Quotation Marks - if you are looking for an exact phrase, then put it into quotation marks in the search field. This will limit the results to pages where those words appear in that specific order.

For example, do the following searches:
diamond mining in sierra leone (379,000 results)
"diamond mining in sierra leone" (4400 results)

AND - Another method of limiting your search results is to use the word AND in your search (must be in capital letters).

For example, do the following searches:
Buffalo abandoned houses (1,060,000 results...will bring up web pages with any of those terms)
Buffalo AND abandoned AND houses (614,00 results...will bring up web pages with all of those words)
Buffalo AND "abandoned houses" (9, 560 results...will bring up web pages with Buffalo and that particular phrase)

NOT - Another method of limiting your search results is to place a minus sign directly next to your search terms. This will make the search engine omit results with that word in it.

Let's say you are looking up school violence, but are only getting results related to Columbine high school.

Do the following search:
school violence (55,950,000 results)
school violence -Columbine (now you can focus on results that refer to other instances of school voilence.

For advanced users, try combinations of the above to get the exact results you're looking for.

Creative Searching 101

Some of you may be researching topics that will cause the the district's Internet Usage robot to go haywire. In other words, you shall be blocked, even from Googling.

If this happens to you, here's what you should do:

1. Omit Words - the blocker blocks certain words from being searched. Try to imagine what word is being blocked, and then omit that word. But, retain any other language that is specific to your issue.

For example, perhaps you are trying to answer a question about the legalization of marijuana for medicinal purposes *. You search, and Oh No! A 8e6 R3000 error! Gasp! Try another search, and this time omit the word marijuana. Instead search for "legalization of" or even "medicinal purposes". Then sift through the results.

As you move forward, pick up issue specific vocabulary. This will help you with future searches.

2. Try Wikipedia or another online encyclopedia. These usually will not block search terms, as the robot will assume you have no dastardly intentions.**

3. Try the Novell database. This is a database that the district pays to get access to, and you can find many wonderful resources here.

* I am using this as an example because this is on the list of topics I have taken off of the table
** It's not really a robot. It just helps if you imagine it as such.

Mike O's Poetry Blog

Hey AP, here's the handout for commenting on Mike O's poetry blog.

Finding Resources

Hey guys, here's a sheet of resources that you may not have considered for your iSearch paper.