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Sunday, February 3

Wednesday, January 23

  1. page Assignment Schedule edited ... Th 1/26 What is Genre? Read Fleischer/ Andrew, Chap 2 {474 genres listed.doc} T 1/31 Wha…
    ...
    Th 1/26 What is Genre?
    Read Fleischer/ Andrew, Chap 2
    {474 genres listed.doc}
    T 1/31 What is Genre?
    Read Fleischer/ Andrew, Chap 3
    (view changes)
    5:14 pm

Thursday, January 10

Wednesday, May 23

  1. page JB's Introductory Letter to Skyline High School Student edited January 30, 2012 Dear Fellow Writer: My name is Jennifer Becker and I am a second bachelor and p…
    January 30, 2012
    Dear Fellow Writer:
    My name is Jennifer Becker and I am a second bachelor and post-baccalaureate student at Eastern Michigan University, which means that I am simultaneously earning my second Bachelor’s degree in language, literature, and writing and a certificate in secondary education. Originally, I studied anthropology at Oakland University, earning a B.A. from that institution in 1996. Interestingly, there isn’t much a person can do with an undergraduate degree in anthropology, so I went to work in the mortgage industry. At 38, I decided to change careers and three years later, here I am, writing you.
    I’ve never had a “pen-pal-of-sorts” before, but writing a perfect stranger is nothing new. I did plenty of it in my professional life. Likewise, I’ve read the words of colleagues (but between you and me, it’s always been pretty unexciting stuff). What makes this experience unique for me is the purpose of our exchange. I’m pretty excited about it, to tell you the truth.
    Enough about me; what about you? What is your writing background? Since you are in a creative writing class, I anticipate that you like to do a fair amount of writing on your own time. Do you write fiction, drama, poetry, something in-between? I like reading fiction and drama in a variety of styles, but I’ll admit, I’m not the world’s most creative writer and have an admiration for people who seem to have the knack! One thing I am curious about is how do you decide on the subject or topic for your writing? Then, once you know the what, what’s the first thing you think about when deciding on the how? When do you think about the why, and for that matter, do you think there always has to be a why? Why (or why not)? Why did you decide to take a creative writing class (versus journalism, for example)? Do you keep a journal? How would you say reading and writing are linked? Have I done a good job of making you feel like a test subject yet?
    I’m including a sample of my own writing for you to read. I originally wrote an essay called “What’s in a test?” reflecting on my experience taking the Michigan Test for Teacher Certification. I thought the topic would be relatable enough to a high school student, but after learning that you are in a creative writing course, I decided to send you something that represents a bit more of a risk on my part. Last semester I had to imitate the writing of Jillian Weise (The Colony – great book, by-the-way). Two aspects of her writing that struck me were her subtle use of the second person to draw in the reader and her ability to write a narrative with prose that seemed poetic. Capitalizing on those observations, I tried my hand at writing a piece of poetry as prose. It is called “Why Breakfast in Bed Sucks,” and I am looking forward to any comments you might have. Other than my husband and my professor, you’ll be the only other person to read it.
    I look forward to reading something you’ve written, and I hope to hear from you soon.
    Regards,
    Jennifer Becker

    (view changes)
    6:33 pm
  2. page Jennifer Becker edited Portfolio Reflection: "Assessing Myself as a Writer" Artifact 1: "What's in a…

    Portfolio
    Reflection:
    "Assessing Myself as a Writer"
    Artifact 1:
    "What's in a Test?" (Reflect/Express Essay)
    "What's in a Test?" (Reflect/Express Essay, Mark-up #2)
    "What's in a Test?" (Reflect/Express Essay, Mark-up #1)
    "What's in a Test?" (Reflect/Express Essay Original Draft)
    Artifact 2:
    "A Contemporary Sonnet for Generation X" (UFG Project)
    Artifact 3:
    {High School Student Profile Report.pdf} (Skyline HS E-mail Exchange Project, Final Version)
    Artifact 4:
    "Bad Teacher: Just Plain Bad" (Evaluate/Judge Essay)
    OR
    "My Teaching Philosophy" (I wrote several drafts of this document this semester. First, I wrote it to apply for student teaching. Then, I revised it for English 409, adding the part specific to the study of English. Finally, the version I am submitting here is one I just revised/edited again today (4/19) for my own personal satisfaction. Although it was not written specifically for this course, it was written during the same time frame that I was producing work for this portfolio. I believe it represents my style much more accurately because it integrates text, colors, images, and a web format to produce the overall appeal and effect I was going for.)

    (view changes)
    6:31 pm

Monday, April 30

  1. page Jennifer Becker edited ... {High School Student Profile Report.pdf} (Skyline HS E-mail Exchange Project, Final Version) …
    ...
    {High School Student Profile Report.pdf} (Skyline HS E-mail Exchange Project, Final Version)
    Artifact 4:
    "//Bad Teacher//:"Bad Teacher: Just Plain
    OR
    "My Teaching Philosophy" (I wrote several drafts of this document this semester. First, I wrote it to apply for student teaching. Then, I revised it for English 409, adding the part specific to the study of English. Finally, the version I am submitting here is one I just revised/edited again today (4/19) for my own personal satisfaction. Although it was not written specifically for this course, it was written during the same time frame that I was producing work for this portfolio. I believe it represents my style much more accurately because it integrates text, colors, images, and a web format to produce the overall appeal and effect I was going for.)
    (view changes)
    6:29 pm
  2. page Jennifer Becker edited ... {High School Student Profile Report.pdf} (Skyline HS E-mail Exchange Project, Final Version) …
    ...
    {High School Student Profile Report.pdf} (Skyline HS E-mail Exchange Project, Final Version)
    Artifact 4:
    "Bad Teacher:"//Bad Teacher//: Just Plain
    ...
    (Evaluate/Judge Essay)
    OR

    "My Teaching
    ...
    this portfolio. I am more passionate about this piece than the others on this page; I believe
    ...
    going for.) If this is an issue, I can give you the boring essay on Bad Teacher.
    (view changes)
    6:24 pm
  3. page Jennifer Becker edited Portfolio Reflection Reflection: "Assessing Myself as a Writer" Artifact 1: ...…

    Portfolio
    ReflectionReflection:
    "Assessing Myself as a Writer"
    Artifact 1:
    ...
    Test?" (Reflect/Express Essay, Final Version)Essay)
    "What's in a Test?" (Reflect/Express Essay, Mark-up #2)
    "What's in a Test?" (Reflect/Express Essay, Mark-up #1)
    ...
    Test?" (Reflect/Express Essay,Essay Original Version)Draft)
    Artifact 2:
    "A Contemporary Sonnet for Generation X" (UFG Project)
    ...
    {High School Student Profile Report.pdf} (Skyline HS E-mail Exchange Project, Final Version)
    Artifact 4:
    "Bad Teacher: Just Plain Bad" (Evaluate/Judge Essay)
    "My Teaching Philosophy" (I wrote several drafts of this document this semester. First, I wrote it to apply for student teaching. Then, I revised it for English 409, adding the part specific to the study of English. Finally, the version I am submitting here is one I just revised/edited again today (4/19) for my own personal satisfaction. Although it was not written specifically for this course, it was written during the same time frame that I was producing work for this portfolio. I am more passionate about this piece than the others on this page; I believe it represents my style much more accurately because it integrates text, colors, images, and a web format to produce the overall appeal and effect I was going for.) If this is an issue, I can give you the boring essay on Bad Teacher.
    (view changes)
    6:19 pm
  4. page JB's Evaluative Writing Sample edited Bad Teacher: Just Plain Bad For those of you who have not seen the film Bad Teacher, consider you…
    Bad Teacher: Just Plain Bad
    For those of you who have not seen the film Bad Teacher, consider yourselves lucky. The only educational insight director Jake Kasdan offers his audience is that teachers do not get rich teaching—and that’s hardly intuitive. From start to finish, the film capitalizes on the worst superficial stereotypes circulating about public education and the people central to its day-to-day operations. The teachers are selfish and immature, the students are disrespected and expendable, and there is no meaningful oversight of performance—just rules for the sake of rules or for the sake of bolstering teachers’ egos. Exploiting such perceptions is not what’s distasteful about Bad Teacher, per se; what’s insulting is the possibility that the film’s narrative could be framed and pitched to movie-goers as satire. Dan Schultz, “audience super reviewer” on Rotten Tomatoes (1,352 movie reviews under his belt) and typical of lay critics across various similar websites I consulted, calls the film a “sometimes hysterical satire on the teaching crisis in America.” What? Ignoring the completely reckless use of such a complicated admonition as “teaching crisis,” his assessment can’t be much farther from the truth. I concede that the writers,Gene Stupnitsky and Lee Eisenberg of NBC's hit television show "The Office," acceptably and sometimes humorously exaggerate deficiencies, but their summative exposition hardly can be construed as substantive commentary about the teaching profession because it is not grounded in reality. In short, Bad Teacher does not deserve to be credited as satire: It offers no solutions, no ideal standard (other than “not this”) and does more to reinforce unfair perceptions and erode an already-fragile public opinion than it does to heighten awareness of critical issues. Indeed, the writers and director do not even make clear exactly what is being critiqued—is it teachers, teaching, American culture, women, human nature, something else entirely, nothing at all?
    The movie opens with middle school teacher Elizabeth Halsey (Cameron Diaz) finishing what she believes to be her last year of teaching (after her wedding of convenience to a wealthy mama’s boy, she will no longer have to work). Unfortunately for Elizabeth, her would-be mother-in-law recognizes her motive and puts a stop to the impending nuptial, forcing Elizabeth back into the classroom. Forever the narcissistic gold-digger, Elizabeth is once again on the hunt for a sugar daddy. And typical of uncreative writing, she rejects the advances of the perfectly-suited-for-her gym teacher, Russell Gettis (Jason Segal), and locks onto the slightly creepy, if presumably good-hearted, rated-G long-term substitute teacher and heir to a wrist-watch fortune, Scott Delacorte (Justin Timberlake). After seeing a picture of Scott’s very large-breasted ex-girlfriend and noticing that her teaching nemesis, the perky goody-two-shoes Amy Squirrel (Amy Punch), is fast-becoming competition for Scott’s attention, Elizabeth convinces herself that she needs a boob job to win him—and his inheritance—over. Of course, Elizabeth will do anything to get the surgery, and her antics to raise enough money (while simultaneously driving her rival crazy—literally) is the comic fodder that drives what little action this movie can claim.
    If you’re like me, the double entrendre of the title Bad Teacher has enough promise to hook you; but unlike me, stay strong and resist the urge to be reeled in. To be fair, the film delivers on its pledge to tell a story of an untalented, uncaring, unethical teacher who is not just “bad,” but “naughty.” As an individual and professional, Elizabeth is appalling—she drinks alcohol in class, shows films like Scream while sleeping off a hangover, steals from and lies to parents, and treats her students with apathy. As a woman, Elizabeth is risqué—she dresses provocatively, manipulates men with her sexuality, smokes pot in the parking lot, and swears like a trucker. However, this combination does nothing to create a well-rounded character. In fact, Elizabeth is such a flat, unbelievable, shallow, and selfish caricature that her disregard for the rules is not endearing and her womanly charm is nothing but offensive. Moreover, despite the efforts by those associated with the movie to promote it as a dark comedy in order to justify its over-the-top crudeness (especially in the un-rated version) and unsettled ending, when it comes down to it Elizabeth is so unlikable that I was left with the desire to see her professionally ruined, socially shunned, thrown in jail for a lengthy time, or even killed off. Alas, she gets everything she doesn’t deserve: a good friend, continued employment, an unblemished criminal record, and a protected reputation.
    Earlier I wrote that this movie cannot be a satire because it does not offer solutions and is not based on realistic situations. Of course, I recognize that as a fictional comedy most of its situations and circumstances are intended to be farce; but in order to lampoon a standard or a practice the audience must be given an ideal benchmark, otherwise the criticism is nothing more than self-indulgent. The writers of Bad Teacher could have used any one of the supporting characters to demonstrate the ideal Elizabeth should strive to emulate in order to be redeemed, but they don’t. Instead, the movie features a cast of teachers and administrators who all have quirks that make them less than heroic—actually, downright apathetic, loony, or inept. The “nice” guy gym teacher stands by as Elizabeth hits students in the face with dodge balls, gives away her bra to a twelve-year-old boy, and smokes pot. Does he turn her in? Does he at least distance himself from her? No on both accounts: He continues to pursue her romantically and even indulges in smoking marijuana with her. Teacher Lynn Davies (Phyllis Smith) is a shy, mousey spinster and push-over who follows Elizabeth and indulges her every whim. And Amy Squirrel, despite being a cheery teacher with an unchallenged killer grip on the school’s top teacher spot, is obsessive, fake, and mentally fragile. Then there’s Principal Wally Snur (John Michael Higgins), who is clueless about what is going on in his building, has a childish liking for all things dolphin, and is so blinded by Elizabeth’s façade that he promotes her saying that she’s teaching “for the right reasons.” Of course, the audience is aware that Elizabeth’s idea of “right reasons” is short hours and summers off, which is true only to the extent that the teacher is ineffective (meaning effective teachers use this time to plan lessons and develop themselves professionally and to take a mental rest from the long in-school hours grading papers and preparing materials).
    Laughing at the absurdities of any situation or profession as a way to highlight areas that fall short of cultural standards can be constructive, like satire ought to be, but this movie portrays everyone as infantile or off-kilter and provides no model or guiding principle as a pathway for redemption. As a prospective teacher I can laugh at my future self and take ribbing in stride. But what I can’t appreciate is comedic critique that doesn’t base its jokes on at least a fair degree of realism. For example, Elizabeth is an English teacher. I think this is unbelievable because a person who connects with literature likely would have an innate—or at least a learned—ability to be empathetic and emotionally bond or relate to people. The writers should have made her a math teacher. Additionally, the movie never explains why Elizabeth continues to be a teacher when she so obviously loathes the job and earns so little money that she has to live with a roommate and barely can afford to buy food (and party supplies). There are plenty of jobs that a college educated woman could have to earn more money. Lastly, the movie suggests that school teachers and counselors are interchangeable positions. I know a certain Hollywood duo who didn’t do their due diligence research.
    The only thing Elizabeth teaches students is that sex sells (car wash scene that was clearly written to gratuitously show off Cameron Diaz in daisy duke shorts and a wet tee shirt), learning only matters if it can get you something, and that lying and being a fraud is the best way to elevate your social status (giving a male student her bra so that he can avoid teasing from his peers). It is on the basis of this last example that Elizabeth forges a new future—one as the school counselor. Pushing aside the fact she is unqualified to teach, let alone proactively counsel, why are we supposed to believe she suddenly cares? Why should we care? This ending is such a far-fetched grasp for recovery that it is insulting, absurd, and not the least bit convincing, satisfying, or funny. Elizabeth is not a hero, nor is she an anti-hero (as some critics suggest); she is a dubious distortion of a woman, of a teacher who elicits no pity beyond lamenting wasted potential. Surprisingly, the movie received an average rating of 3/5 complied from over 64,000 reviews from the Blockbuster, Netflix, Rotten Tomatoes, Amazon, and Internet Movie Database (IMDb) websites. Apparently, many of these viewers either are not offended by or do not recognize the implausible liberties on which this no plot collection of semi-comedic vignettes is based. I rate it 1/5—I did laugh once when Elizabeth got hit in the face with a ball.

    (view changes)
    6:16 pm

Thursday, April 26

  1. page Rebecca Olah edited ... The series grows with its readers and with the age of the characters but remains readable for …
    ...
    The series grows with its readers and with the age of the characters but remains readable for all age groups. Rowling truly is a remarkable author. 11 year olds throughout the world will be waiting for their Hogwarts letters for many, many years to come.
    I would recommend this novel from ages 8-99. Children under the age of 8 might not quite get the complexities of some of even the simple themes. The magical world can be a great escape for all ages. It also covers numerous genres so it would interest men, women, boys and girls of all ages.

    (view changes)
    8:57 am

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