College Essay Bootcamp
One of the themes of this year for me, for you, is increasing independence. As such, I’m putting you in the driver’s seat for much of this process. In college, it’s unlikely that your professors will have interim deadlines for papers and projects. You will have to plan your time, hold yourself accountable, and seek the help you need. So let’s practice that with this project—there’s some symbolic resonance, no?
Sample Essay Read-aloud. (Handout-- "Sample Essays"- docs page)
In groups of 2-4, go find your own corner of the room. Then, choose one of the sample essays to read out loud. Non-readers should follow along with the document on your computer in front of you. As you read look for the following. When the read aloud is done, discuss:
Where Are You?
The corners of the classroom have been labeled with numbers 1-4. Go to the corner that best represents your current status in regards to college essays. Use the following criterion:
Which phrase best describes your current situation in regards to college essay writing?
Pick a group of 3 students from your corner and form a support group. You will be working in/with your support group for many of the remaining College Essay Boot Camp tasks. After your group is formed, see me for a scheduling sheet (Handout: “Support Group Scheduling” - Docs Page) and a packet of helpful resources. You'll run through the following tasks:
Turn your schedule into me. I'll make copies for your group. Now get started on your schedule!
Seminar Review (10 minutes)
Please take the next ten minutes to review your reading and seminar prep notes. You may even jot down some more points to these seminar questions.
Link to: Seminar Questions
Link to: Seminar Reflection (Due Friday, beginning of class)
HONORS: Instead of the seminar reflection, you will need to complete the Honors Essay #1. This writing will be the application essay for admittance into Honors. Please see the Honors page on my DP for your instructions for Essay 1. For you, this assignment will be due on Friday, September 9 at 8:15 am via email. Let me know if you have any questions!
Starter 2- Seminar Norms (15 min)
1. What needs to happen for a class to have a successful seminar? What behaviors do you need to see, and what kind of thinking and preparation need to occur?
2. Do you prefer to have seminars graded or ungraded? Why?
Share out starter responses! Decide on seminar guidelines
Revisit Values and Add Behaviors
Yesterday we talked about what we value as a class. Today, we’ll make it a little more concrete.
Listen to "Reporting from Egypt"-- NPR story from this morning about one journalist's experience covering the Arab Spring Uprising there and discuss as a class the following:
"Habits of Highly Cynical People" Coaching (rest of class)
1. Summarize the main point of this article. What, in one sentence, is it saying?
2. Go paragraph by paragraph. Pay special attention to paragraphs 3-7, 20, 23
Answer at least two of the questions below. Handwritten or typed is okay.
1. What is Solnit’s definition of a naïve cynic? What are the two types (see paragraphs 8 and 11), and what characterizes their thinking?
2. To what extent are you a naïve cynic? How much of what Solnit describes rings true to you about yourself? Explain.
3. In paragraph 6, Solnit makes a number of points about complexity, uncertainty, and ambiguity. To what extent are you comfortable with complexity and uncertainty? Give a concrete example.
4. In paragraph 7, Solnit offers a number of criticisms of naïve cynicism. What is the most important/cutting critique she offers in this paragraph? Why?
5. In paragraph 20, Solnit says, “Accommodating change and uncertainty requires a looser sense of self…” What does she mean by this?
6. To what extent is cynicism useful? Harmful?
7. What kind of thinking habits do we need to cultivate to move beyond naïve cynicism?
8. How does this article connect to your education? To your goals this year in Humanities?
Homework: Finish seminar prep for tomorrow's seminar!
Set Up Starters (10 min)
Every student creates a Google Doc labeled with “Full Name Humanities Starters,” and shares it with me. Make sure to give me permission to comment!
1. Every starter should be clearly labeled with the Starter # and date
2. Newest starter goes at the TOP of the page
Starter 1 (20 min)
1. Syllabus: Go to Ashley's DP, and find the Syllabus page. Read closely! Then explore the rest of Ashley's DP. Bookmark it!
Pair/share, try to answer each other’s questions. Then come back as a whole class, I will answer any remaining questions
Class Values (40 min)
This will ultimately end in a class constitution of sorts. What do we value in this class?
"The Habits of Highly Cynical People " (30 min)
A. Pessimist? Idealist? Optimist? Cynic? Partner discussion: Rank yourself on the spectrum of Pessimistic---> Idealistic. Do you see your place on this spectrum as problematic in anyway?
B. Read and annotate the above linked article—it will be the basis for a Socratic seminar that is connected to our critical thinking goals for the course this year. Make sure to mark:
Finish reading and annotating “The Habits of Highly Cynical People” (By Tuesday start of class)
Bring in your assigned "shared resource" as outlined on the syllabus in red. (By Wednesday)
Humanities teacher at Animas High School