Friday, March 31, 2017

march 31

All of his efforts are leading Montag somewhere, both in his inner sense of self and a destination in the world.  Where is he headed?  Where are your efforts leading you?

1. Journal
2. F451: the penultimate session

1. What is the significance of the glass of milk, the apple, and the pear?
2. Montag thought he saw the Mechanical Hound and reached his breaking point. What did he see?
3. After Montag's musing about the Sun and fire, why is it ironic that he sees a fire?  How is this fire different?
4. Who is Granger? Who are his associates? (Spend a few sentences explaining this.)
5. What happens on the "show" portraying the chase after Montag?
6. What does Granger mean when he says, "We made the right kind of mistakes."

Please read
MY THOUGHTS ON FAHRENHET 451 (which will be posted by Saturday at noon PDT)
and comment.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

march 30

Why are people so afraid to make mistakes?  Describe a mistake you learned from.

1. Journal
2. United/ 8 mc questions
3. F451 table conversations (please answer questions and post to your blog)

For pp. 114-122 (title: THE CHASE IS ON)
1. Why did the Hound attack Montag?
2. How did Montag defend himself?
3. What did Montag realize about Beatty?
4. Where did Montag go?
5. What happened when Montag crossed the street?

For pp. 123-132 (title: A STEP AHEAD OF THE HOUND)
1. What did Montag do at the Blacks' house?
2. How does Faber describe the war?
3. Describe Faber's TV.
4. What was on TV while Montag was on the run?
5. What was Montag running for when everyone looked out of their houses?

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

because cute

"I wuv you, wobot."

about the ap multiple choice questions

The multiple choice portion of the exam is worth 45% of your total score.  This section usually has 52-55 questions, You will be given several passages to read, with 10-15 questions that refer to the passage.  THIS POST includes a concise description of the eight types of questions.  Please read it and bookmark it for reference.  When I say read it, I mean read it closely and academically.  Devour it.  Follow the links.  Take notes.  Print it out and mark it up.  Memorize the eight categories if you need to.  We will revisit the United article with this in mind in different ways for the rest of the week.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

march 29

When Beatty confronts him in front of his house, Montag resorts to violence and torches Beatty with the flamethrower.  Why is this solution, which would never be a first choice in life, viable in fiction?  How does it serve the story?  What do you think it will do for the plot-- what's next for Montag?

1. Journal
2. United article and mc questions
3. F451 table conversations

Monday, March 27, 2017

march 28

Yesterday Paloma asked a very important question: When does art describe society, and when does art become important enough to influence society?  (Note: art can be visual, literary, or even a matter of personal style.  Just a couple decades ago, only bikers and ex-military personnel had tattoos and hardly any men had pierced ears, noses, or nipples-- and then along came Madonna and Dennis Rodman...)

1. Journal
2. Part II
3. AP exam structure
4. Rhetorical analysis: United Airlines dress code

march 27

Much of Montag's frustration seems to stem from the fact that he is so focused on his past and his future that he can't get a grip on his present.  Does this apply in your life?  When you think about your future, does it motivate/inspire you and make you happy that you're doing what you're doing, or does it worry you?

1. Journal
2. TEST (short? or long?  don't know yet. did you read & answer questions?)
3.  Part III

Friday, March 24, 2017

climbable library

This is rad.

march 24

JOURNAL TOPIC: ["Get Myself to Saturday" by Michael Franti & Spearhead]

Franti sings: There is a part of me that always needs to pray/ There is a part of me that wants to run away/ There is a part of me that can't go on today/ There is a part of me that always finds a way

Which version of you shows up when you have to deal with difficult circumstances?  As the rising action continues to intensify in Fahrenheit 451, which version of Montag do you think will show up?

1. Journal
2. F451: Status & schedule
3. Big ideas and documenting
4. Close reading cont'd.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

march 23

JOURNAL TOPIC: [today's tunes: "57 Channels (And Nothin' On)" by Bruce Springsteen; "Jammin' Me" by Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers]

Montag is trying to think but the voice keeps coming over the speaker: "Denham's Dentrifice Denham's Dentrifice."  The other day I went to a gas station and got out to fill up the tank.  Now, don't get me wrong-- I love talking to people so much I do it all day-- but I just wanted to put some gas in my car.  By myself.  But NO... the gas pump had a video screen on it and commercials yelled at me the whole time!  Why can't we get away from advertising, politics, and other persuasive communication for just a few minutes?  Why can't we enjoy some peace and quiet just long enough to be with our own thoughts? What do we need to know so that we can either establish boundaries for ourselves, or at least understand it well enough so that it doesn't lead us to bad choices or just drive us crazy altogether?

1. Journal/discussion
2. Continue reading & answer Part II questions

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

mark your calendars

I'll post the obligatory countdown clock, but in the meantime please make a note: our exam is May 10 at 8:00 AM.

march 22


Quick!-- list all the literary elements and techniques you can remember from our explorations so far this year.

1. Journal
2. Practice AP questions
3. F451 close reading cont'd

*Some of your blogs look AMAZING! If you haven't recently, check out your colleagues' work

ap practice mc qs

AP Lang Multi by Anonymous 2vhfDXB3 on Scribd

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

march 21

Describe one thing you learned from writing and re-writing yesterday's journal entry.

1. Journal
2. Guided independent reading

*Please read on your own or with your tablemates
** Please plan on answering the following questions by the end of the week

1. In the scene where Mildred and Montag read books together, what are their separate reactions?
2. What is the effect throughout sections I and II, of the bombers flying over?
3. Who is Professor Faber?
4. Montag’s reaction to the commercial on the subway is a turning point in his life. How does he react and why?
5. What argument does Faber make for books?
6. What is the “small green metal object”?
7. What does the White Clown show lead you to believe about television programming in this society?
8. Why does Mrs. Phelps cry when Montag reads “Dover Beach”?
9. What is Montag’s destination at the end of section II? Why?

Monday, March 20, 2017

march 20


Analyze the following passage from Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451.  How does Bradbury's use of syntax convey differences in narrative perspective?  How does his use of figurative language convey meaning?

As he stood there the sky over the house screamed. There was a tremendous ripping sound as if two giant hands had torn ten thousand miles of black linen down the seam. Montag was cut in half. He felt his chest chopped down and split apart. The jet-bombs going over, going over, going over, one two, one two, one two, six of them, nine of them, twelve of them, one and one and one and another and another and another, did all the screaming for him. He opened his own mouth and let their shriek come down and out between his bared teeth. The house shook. The flare went out in his hand. The moonstones vanished. He felt his hand plunge toward the telephone. The jets were gone. He felt his lips move, brushing the mouthpiece of the phone. "Emergency hospital." A terrible whisper. 

1. Journal/ Discussion w/r/t AP exam
2. Close reading continued 

Saturday, March 18, 2017

because goldfish

Some of you might be saying to yourselves, "Wow.  Ray Bradbury predicted everything.  What's left to predict?"


For example, vehicles driven by goldfish.  Oh yeah.

Friday, March 17, 2017

about today's journal topic

When I got out of my car this morning the security guard greeted me: "Hey Dr. P, where's your green?  I oughta pinch you!"  My reactions:
  1. Dude.  No one's pinching me.
  2. Oh yeah.  St. Patrick's Day.
  3. Why is that a thing?
  4. Am I wearing green?-- hey wait a sec.  My pants are green.  Keen observational powers.
Then I got to class.  The first students walked in and said hi: "Happy Friday!"

(Happy Friday?  Why is that a thing?  If you really feel that strongly about the weekdays, don't you realize that Friday means that there are only two friggin' days left until Monday?)

Mildred and Montag don't remember the day they met.  We (rightly, IMHO) interpret this as a sign that their relationship is dysfunctional.  Therefore it stands to reason that a sign of a healthy relationship is the shared memory of the day it began.  This story bonds us together; our connection is strengthened by shared knowledge.  Honoring this information enough to keep it fresh and clear in our minds is a signal that it's important to us-- and that the people who share it with us are somehow important too.  The same can be said of belonging to stories that larger number of people share; this is why we remember religious prayers and rituals.  This is why every 49ers fan knows the details of The Catch and The Drive.

To the casual American observer/consumer, St. Patrick's Day is actually the same holiday as Cinco de Mayo. These are marketing opportunities for people to advertise, sell, buy, and consume alcohol.

But to those in the know, both St. Patrick's Day and Cinco de Mayo are historically and culturally important.  They mean something to people who identify with Irish and Mexican heritage, respectively; knowing these stories qualifies you to converse and connect with members of the tribe, whether you're full-blooded or just a fan.

Remembering dates and events signify care.  If you forget your Mom's birthday... whoa.  That's a statement.  Some dates and events we remember because they are personally meaningful; others, we remember because they are important to loved ones or family, or our belonging to groups that care about religion, or football, or something else that signifies we are members of the tribe.

So, when I ask what dates and events are important to you, consider what's meaningful in terms of your own feeling, your relationships with loved ones and families, your belonging as a member of an ethnic or religious or racial heritage, or the society you're living in today.  After all, a lot of people think the Super Bowl is pretty important.

march 17

JOURNAL TOPIC: ["Shipping Up to Boston" & "Rocky Road to Dublin" by The Dropkick Murphys]

Montag and Mildred realize they can't remember when they met.  What dates and events are important to you to remember?

1. Journal/discussion
2. Real-world context for F451
3. Part 2

Questions for Part 2:

* What does "Sieve and the Sand" refer to?

1. In the scene where Mildred and Montag read books together, what are their separate reactions?
2. What is the effect throughout sections I and II, of the bombers flying over?
3. Who is Professor Faber?
4. Montag’s reaction to the commercial on the subway is a turning point in his life. How does he react and why?
5. What argument does Faber make for books?
6. What is the “small green metal object”?
7. What does the White Clown show lead you to believe about television programming in this society?
8. Why does Mrs. Phelps cry when Montag reads “Dover Beach”?
9. What is Montag’s destination at the end of section II? Why?

Thursday, March 16, 2017

15 questions you should be able to answer by this weekend

1.The novel Fahrenheit 451 begins : “It was a pleasure to burn.” Why does Ray Bradbury start the novel in this way? Why might it be more pleasurable to burn books rather than read them?
2. In the opening scene, why are the books compared to birds?
3. Discuss the difference between Montag and Clarisse’s lives.
4. Montag’s television includes headphones called “seashells.”  The “wall to wall circuit” allows Mildred to enter the “play” and, therefore, the television programming. How does the technology within the novel compare to our current technology? In the first pages of the novel,does technology improve the quality of life for Montag and his wife, Mildred? Why or why not?
5. Why does the narrator introduce us to Montag at this time of his life, when he encounters Clarisse and confronts Mildred’s overdose?
6. Why does the author introduce the character of Clarisse before Mildred?
7. Why are all the houses fireproof in this society?
8. Why does Mildred require emergency service? What service is provided?
9. What is the mechanical hound and what is its purpose?
10. Why does the society consider Clarisse “anti-social”?
11. When the woman’s house is raided, why does she light the match?
12. Describe the relationship between Montag and Mildred. 
13. What is the purpose of Beatty's visit?
14. Reread Captain Beatty’s monologue (pp.57-59). Discuss his view that school cultivates anti-intellectual sentiment (p.58). In your opinion does it accurately depict your high school? Do books violate the idea that ”everyone is made equal” (p.58)?
15. Why does Montag feel “fat”?

march 16


Think about your day yesterday.  Did your words and actions support your idea of who you want to be and what you want to accomplish?  How can you do better today? 

1. Journal
2. Catching up with each other: Fahrenheit 451

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

the broken link...

...that I mentioned this morning in class has been fixed.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

march 15

*First thing's first.  What is "the Ides of March" and which famous character in literature is supposed to beware them?  Post the correct answer in a comment to this post and win!

JOURNAL TOPIC: [if you weren't in class yesterday, it's yesterday's'; otherwise...]

Describe a favorite saying of an adult in your life when you were a child.  What did this person say?  What did it mean?  What did it matter to you, if anything?

1. Journal
2. F451 Q & A
3. Reading

a lesson in copyright law

From the Duke University Law School Center for the Study of the Public Domain:

Current US law extends copyright protections for 70 years from the date of the author’s death. (Corporate “works-for-hire” are copyrighted for 95 years.) But prior to the 1976 Copyright Act (which became effective in 1978), the maximum copyright term was 56 years (an initial term of 28 years, renewable for another 28 years). Under those laws, works published in 1953 would be passing into the public domain on January 1, 2010.

Under the old law, Fahrenheit 451 would have entered the public domain in 2010.  That means we could print it online, copy it, quote it in as much length as we like, etc. etc.  Sadly, now we won't legally be able to do that with works published in 1953 until 2049.

I don't want to break the law.  I think Ray Bradbury, his estate, and whomever he designated after his death should earn whatever's right under the law.  And I don't need the headache.  So I'm not posting a page with the full text.  At the same time, I firmly believe that if Mr. Bradbury were to take part in this conversation, he would support sharing the book with Santa Maria High School students who don't have enough copies or the money to go out and buy their own.  So here is a link to the full text online (it is not nearly as well-formatted or flammable as a physical book, which I still encourage you to find).

happy pi day

march 14

JOURNAL TOPIC: [today's tunes: "Take Five" by Dave Brubeck; "Bird Feathers" by Charlie Parker]

I have lots of questions this morning, and I can't decide which I like asking the best.  So, it's up to you to decide which one(s) you like answering the best:

  • What is Jazz?  Why is it considered uniquely American?  (Feel free to look online for this one.)
  • Several Charlie Parker songs have "Bird" in the title.  As you listen to his music, explain why you think the image of a bird fits.
  • In the beginning of Fahrenheit 451, the burning books are portrayed as birds.  Why do you think this imagery fits?  
1. Journal/discussion
2. Table reading with questions
3. Writers' conferences continued

Monday, March 13, 2017

march 13


Quick-- write the first three sentences that come to mind.

1. Journal
2. Writers' conferences
3. Table reading

Friday, March 10, 2017


If you haven't yet turned in your Income Verification form to register for the AP exam, please do so TODAY.  Today is the deadline.  I did not push this in class because I did not realize that at SMHS the exam is free to all students and administration has to have these forms in order to know how to order the tests.  This was my mistake, and I don't want anyone to lose out on taking the exam!  Please bring the signed form to Ms. Martinez's office by the end of the day.  Thank you.

march 10

JOURNAL TOPIC: ["Walking in LA" by Missing Persons; "Walk on the Wild Side" by Lou Reed]

Entrepreneurs do it.  Gandhi did it.  We do it between classes, but we don't usually do it when there's a car available.  What is the value of taking a walk?  Do you get exercise, ideas?  Why isn't Santa Maria designed for walking instead of driving?  Should this be different in the future?  Why/why not?

*Feel free to take a walk as you consider these questions.

1. Journal/discuss "The Pedestrian"
2. Re-imagine the beginning of your story in (the burning) light of Fahrenheit 451's first few pages
3. Remembering Modernism
4. Free play/ writers' conferences

Thursday, March 9, 2017

please read the pedestrian

Please read "The Pedestrian" and come to class tomorrow prepared to discuss.  Please also comment to this post with any first impressions, questions, etc.  Mahalo.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

march 9


Why do we have fire departments?  Seriously: why not pay private companies to put out fires, or just save our tax dollars and do the job ourselves?

1. Journal/ discussion
2. Revisit "The Pedestrian"
3. "If they give you ruled paper, write the other way"
4. Meet Guy Montag

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

march 8

*I'm out today.  Email if you have any questions. -dp


On this day in 1817, the New York Stock Exchange was founded.  So?  What's the big deal?  What IS the New York Stock Exchange?  Look it up if you have to.  It's sort of important to the economy.

1. Journal
2. Write a short story-- on your own or with friends-- that would qualify as Modernist.  Post it to your blog.  In an accompanying paragraph, explain how your story meets the criteria for Modernism (review your notes if you need to) and explain any literary techniques you used, such as imagery and figurative language.

gatsby self-study

As we've discussed in class, one of the challenges of our school schedule is taking time for ongoing reflection.  This is especially true in the study of literature.  As a class, we are moving through Prufrock and into our next novel.  However, some of you may still be chewing on Gatsby and/or wanting a more structured review and/or more AP exam-style practice questions.  If any of that appeals to you, have a look at THIS.  Please let me know if you'd like to discuss in class or launch a lunchtime study group.

march 7

JOURNAL TOPIC: [today's tunes: "Light my Fire" by The Doors]

In the imagery of literature, why is love associated with heat instead of cold?

1. Journal topic
2. The imagery of Gatsby & Prufrock
3. Turning up the heat

*Update: Please post to your blog [title: WHAT I SEE IN LITERATURE] an explanation of how the 3-5 examples of imagery you ID'd with your colleagues helps explain the themes of Gatsby & Prufrock.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

march 6

JOURNAL TOPIC: [today's tunes: "We Belong Together" by Los Lobos; "One Woman Man" by John Legend; "Old Fashioned Love Song" by Three Dog Night-- and thanks everyone for your suggestions!]

How has the popular notion of love changed over time?  Do people still value monogamy?  Marriage?  Commitment? 

1. Journal
2. What Eliot meant by "Love Song"
3. Prufrock: Shmuck
4. Following the yellow fog

Friday, March 3, 2017

march 3

JOURNAL TOPIC: (since today is a minimum day, we're combining everything)

How does the establishing shot in the movie The Great Gatsby sum up a theme of the book?

AGENDA: First (n) minutes of the movie The Great Gatsby (the good one)

Please post a version of this to your blog (title: CAN WE WATCH THE MOVIE?) in which you also explain the appeal of watching a movie as a way to better understand a book.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

good idea angel

Thanks to Angel for suggesting that everyone comment to the March 2 post with their favorite love songs.  I'll choose from these for the journal playlists as we read "Prufrock."

march 2

JOURNAL TOPIC: [today's tunes: "Fallin'" by Alicia Keys; "Can't Help Falling in Love" by Elvis Presley]

What's your favorite love song?  Why is it your favorite love song?  If you don't have a favorite love song, what is the song you love the most?  And why you do you think of your affinity/affection/head bobbing to the beat as love?

1. Journal
2. Come correct
3. A different kind of Love Song

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

comment for grade boost

Dear grade-hungry AP students:

If you're within the sound of this blog, comment with an insight regarding Gatsby and one of today's essay prompts by the time class begins and get a grade boost on today's essay.

march 1


Where is your Paradise?

1. Journal
2. Essay