Monthly Archives: April 2013

Blogging Ideas, 4/22/13

The New York Times reports on ongoing crimes against children in India.

The parents of the Boston bombing suspects held an emotional news conference in Russia, claiming their children could not have participated in it.

The US government is now saying they suspect Syria used chemical weapons against their own citizens.

Landfill Harmonic

If you missed either of the videos today on the Recycled Orchestra, view and read the Kickstarter page and watch the video below.


A Word on Moodle Forum Responses

Some of you might wonder, How can I improve my scores on Moodle forum responses? If so, here are a few suggestions. Each category assumes you are trying to rise to the level just above it.

If your most common score is “1”…

Make sure you’re showing up for class. Put the phone away and pay full attention to discussions and viewings. Read the reading assignments. Listen to directions carefully. Read the directions carefully on the writing assignments. This may all seem obvious, but if you’re consistently at the very low end, chances are very good that you’ve gone wrong with some of these.

If your most common score is “2”…

Pay close attention to the reading/viewing assignments, without letting yourself get distracted. Double-check to confirm that you understood the question correctly. Make sure you’re making a claim of your own in response to the question, not just summarizing some of the events of the book/film/article you’ve been asked to respond to. Find specific examples, rather than referring to very general events. Cite your evidence using page numbers.

If your most common score is “3”… 

As you’re reading/watching, look for connections between the book/film/article you’re going to write about and other texts or big ideas we’ve discussed in the class. Take notes. Review those notes after you’ve read the writing assignment prompt. Attempt, within your first few sentences, to write a Clear, Interesting Thesis. When coming up with your Clear, Interesting Thesis, pass up obvious or simple ideas in favor of more complex ideas.

Draft your response, then look through it to see if there’s room for another example. At the end of a paragraph, explain the connections between your evidence and the claim you made at the beginning of your answer. Ask yourself if there’s any way the writing could be a little more sophisticated than plain. Use the author’s name instead of saying “the author” every time. Whenever possible, use characters’ names instead of saying “that one guy.” Have a point. Do not assume your reader will understand what that point is without being told.


The Slums of Dharavi

If you missed class on Monday, please watch and listen to this photo/radio essay, courtesy of The Guardian.

Two reading assignments for everyone: first, the accompanying Guardian story by Dan McDougall; second, the Slate story I posted a while back, about a plan to give the poor apartments in some of the high-rises being built in place of the slum.