Wednesday, March 28, 2007


Spring Break Assignments

We had a great lecture and presentation this morning by Professor John Steiner on the human brain and whether or not it was possible for Dr. Victor Frankenstein to transplant a human brain into the "monster." I taped the lecture and will see how I can create an audio file so you can listen to it. We also asked him about Jurassic Park and if the dinosaur cloning was possible. His answer was "not yet."

We had a couple of visitors from other classes (English 1A).

Before the lecture we watched the film: Race to Execution. See for information about the film, director and producer. If race is a determining factor in who is sentenced to execution here (US), what factor (s) determine Justine's (Frankenstein) conviction and sentencing for the murder of William?

Respond here in a short essay. Use evidence from the film and from the book. Due by April 8 midnight.

Just two of the students in the early class completed their research for the Social Entrepreneur essay, that is, they had identified a person for the project. Don't get behind.

Other homework from WWT is to read chapter 4: Examples pp. 99-111. Do all exercises.

In Frankenstein, read up to Chapter 15, page 124. You can always read more.

Friday, March 23, 2007


Frankenstein's Brain

Professor John Steiner will visit the English 201 class, D-115 (I think--it's a biology classroom next to the DSPS computer lab) at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, March 28. he will bring a human brain. You can ask him questions about the monster and if one could actually create another life from decayed matter. All students are encouraged to attend the lecture/discussion.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007


In class writing on Descriptive Themes

Today in class we reviewed the chapter on Description in WWT. Students then responded in a 250 words essay to one of several themes or topics from Chapter 3 in WWT.

You can post your essay here. Make certain that you include your name and course, as well as your email address so I can respond with a grade.

Homework: In Frankenstein, read up to Chapter 9. Visit the supplementary sites listed below. I suggest Spark Notes. Also, if you want extra credit for the 100 Families Field Trip, you can write about it.

By now you should have identified at least 1-3 persons for your social entrepreneur essay. If not, get started. The planning sheet and 5-10 sources are due Wednesday, March 28, to share.

An introduction and conclusion to the essay are due: Monday, April 16.

The first draft of the essay is due: Monday, April 23

The final draft is due Wednesday, April 25. Email the essay, the planning sheet, and all the works cited and bibliography pages to me at

Don't forget the Cyber-Essay on the War in Iraq 4 Years Later. It was due yesterday, March 19 by 12 midnight. Post it at the initial assignment post.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007


Links to news sites about the war 4 years later

News about the War against Terrorism 4 years later

At the website: type "Iraq 4 years later" then scroll down for stories which look at the conflict from a variety of perspectives: Iraqis, the military, President Bush, American citizens....

Homework for Wednesday, March 21
Yesterday we spoke about Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and some of the themes and references in the text. I found some very good supplementary websites that might prove useful in understanding the period Shelley was writing from.

We are also writing an essay tomorrow in class from WWT: Description. Please take a moment to look at the themes (68-69). Homework was to read the Steinbeck essay (90-98, which includes Chapter 2 1/2). Answer all questions. English 201 1-3 p.m. had to also read the Say, It's Milo essay and also answer all questions. We will read the Winstead Burgers essay together in class, answer any lingering questions about the description essay and then respond with one of our own.

Make certain you pay attention to the What About Your Writing sections.
In the English 201, 1-3 class we used A Promise in a Lunch Pail theme to reflect on our own relationship(s) with a parent(s) and the symbol that represents that relationship.

The actual assignment was to identify and discuss a symbol that represents Mary Shelley's relationship with either her father, husband or siblings. (Use the essay in WWT as a sample.)

These links are about Frankenstein

(Post the Cyber-essay due today on the war where the assignment is given, not here. Include your email address so I can respond.)

Thursday, March 15, 2007


Homework due Monday, March 19

This weekend homework is to read the introductions and preface in Frankenstein, and to prepare for the cyber-essay. In WWT read the essay, Say Now, That Was Milo (79-83) and answer all the questions. In class we reviewed the essay "The Last Tree House" (74-79 and 110-111). We had a great discussion in the 1-3 class about this place where boys learn what it means to be men. In the 10-12 class we had a lively discussion about the new children's prison and the criminal justice system.

Not: I am hosting a symposium on Incarcerated Women in California's Prisons, Tuesday, March 27, 12:30-3 p.m. in the F-Bldg. Come by and participate for extra credit.

I hope to see you and your families Sunday, March 18, 12:30 at the Oakland Museum. We will meet in front of the museum on the 10th Street side (across from Laney).


Cyber Essay 3: The War in Iraq

The next cyber essay assignment due Tuesday, March 20, before midnight looks at the War in Iraq, 4 years later. Keeping the themes in mind: Nature vs. Nurture, what have been some of the ways the war has impacted American society and the world positively and negatively? Choose an angle. You can discuss this question from the perspective of a veteran, the Iraqi or Afghan people, an American citizen, the countries on the Axis of Evil list, those in positions such as government who can change policies related to the war and how we proceed.

Use the 3-part thesis format: Although..., assertion..., because.... There is a handout in one of the bins at my office (L-236).

The essay will use evidence taken from minimally two news sources. One needs to be outside this America, such as the or

You can also use,,,, The Commonwealth Club of Northern California website for past interviews, Public Radio International (PRI)website,, www.indymedia,org,,, plus the usual,,,

Monday, March 12, 2007


Social Entreprenuer Assignment:100 Families Oakland

As a prelude to our research essay on a social entrepreneur, I'd like to take the class on a field trip to the Oakland Museum, Sunday afternoon, March 18, 1-5, to see the exhibition 100 Families Oakland: Art and Social Change. The OM is hosting a family exploration this weekend where we can make art with the artists who facilitated the 100 Families Workshops that produced the art in the OM galleries 2005-2006.

You can visit the OM website to read more about 100 Families Oakland and the Family Exploration this weekend. Let me know if you can attend and how many people will be in your party and I'll try to get tickets for your admission in advance. Admission for students is $5, 5 and under is free.

Family Explorations!
Sunday, March 18, 2007 • 1–5 p.m.
Celebrate the creative spirit of 100 Families Oakland and the first 100 days of Mayor Ron Dellums!

Hands-on art activities led by artists from 100 Families Oakland

Music, puppet show, and face painting

Spoken word poetry workshop for teens with Youth Speaks (2:30 & 3:30 p.m.)

Performances by Prescott Elementary School Circus (3 p.m.)
Visit the special exhibition 100 Families Oakland: Art & Social Change and see how the power of art can strengthen a family and community.

Learn about resources available from the Oakland Fire Department, Oakland Public Library, Parks and Recreation, Head Start, Oakland Children and Youth Services, and other City agencies.

Social Entrepreneur Essay Assignment

Handout: The Social Entrepreneur Essay research worksheet is a way to define what a social entrepreneur is compared to a philanthropist.

See a librarian at the reference desk to help you define your search and identify the SE you'd like to profile in your 5-10 page essay.

I created this assignment after seeing the program New Heroes on I wanted students to realize the power they possess to be the change in their communities they want to see, that one person can make a difference.

Use the library worksheet to define the terms: social, society,entrepreneur, "social entrepreneur", philanthropist and philanthropy. Be clear about the difference between a philanthropist and a social entrepreneur. Also define: hero, local, selfless, selfish, community, help, support, supporter. care, independence, money, wealth.

The question you want to ask after you have identified a person or two:
What motivated this person to want to change something in society? How did this person get the community's support for the project? What did the community gain? What did the social entrepreneur gain?

The person has to be alive. Try to find someone local, that is living in the San Francisco Bay Area or in California. The person has to have been doing this work for 10-20 years. You need to locate 6-10 sources on your subject to form a bibliography; you don't have to cite 10 sources. The sources can be published or broadcast interviews, books, articles, and films or you can interview them yourself. The person cannot be a relative. You can work in groups and share data. In fact, I encourage it.

Due dates
The planning sheet and 5-10 sources are due Wednesday, March 28, to share.

An introduction and conclusion to the essay are due: Monday, April 16.

The first draft of the essay is due: Monday, April 23

The final draft is due Wednesday, April 25. Email the essay, the planning sheet, and all the works cited and bibliography pages to me at

Thursday, March 08, 2007


Midterm Questions, etc.

On Monday we will write the essay in the Writing Lab L-236. Meet me there. Look over the questions and choose one to respond to in a 3 page or 750 word essay. Bring a completed Initial Planning Sheet, an outline (see Writing with a Thesis student essays for an example), the novel, any notes or assignments on Jurassic Park, the completed Study Guide, a dictionary and Hacker. Email your essay and the planning sheet to me at

1. At the end of the sequel to Jurassic Park, The Lost World, the two scientists Malcolm and Thorne have different views on the future of the planet and its inhabitants.

Malcolm's argument is that "human beings are so destructive [he]sometimes thinks we're a kind of a plague that will scrub the earth clean." He says: "We destroy thing so well, I sometimes think, maybe that's our function."

Thorne's argument is that "it's just theories. Human beings can't help making them, but the fact is that theories are just fantasies. And they change. (See The Lost World handout 429-430).

Use Jurassic Park to illustrate your agreement or disagreement with one or both of the scientists.

2. Much of the overt conflict in Jurassic Park seems to come from loose dinosaurs attacking people; however, a much more insidious evil is at work here. Name the evil force(s) spinning out of control on the remote Costa Rican island and in the board room at NGen.

3. What ultimately is the lesson of Jurassic Park?

4. Using secondary sources, if necessary, briefly explain chaos theory and Malcolm's use of it in the novel. Is there anything that Malcolm/Crichton gets wrong? What is the symbolic significant of chaos theory?

5. Hammond is, after all, the primary visionary behind Jurassic Park and the owner of the island. How do you think the novel might be different if it were written from his perspective?

6. What does the apparent failure of Jurassic park say about scientific research and corporate funding?

Homework for Wednesday, March 14.
Bring in a biography or profile of Mary Shelley that references the period she lived in and the historic, cultural, political, circumstances that inspired the work: Frankenstein.

Also bring in a scholarly essay on Frankenstein. Read both articles and write a brief analysis.

This assignment need not be more than 1-2 pages typed.

Reminder: Narrative Essay
For those students who did not post their essay when it was assigned the first time, please reread the Writing with a Thesis: "Narrative Assignment" posted February 21, and post your 250 essay in the comments section of the post. Please include your name and email address so I can respond to you with a grade. This is a graded essay, so be certain to proofread before submitting.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007


Wrapping up Jurassic

In class yesterday we reviewed certain essays in Writing with a Thesis in the early class and then worked in groups on the Jurassic Study Guide questions. In the late English 201 class we just worked on the study guide questions and the students who were most on-task completed the questions up to page 100. The homework was to complete reading JP and complete the chapter in WWT on Narration. We will write a narrative essay in class Wednesday.

We'll continue to work on the study guide Wednesday, March 7, and prepare for the midterm on Monday in class. If you miss class you miss the midterm. You can use all of your notes and the book. I will post the question on this website by Friday afternoon.

Jurassic Park link:

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