What is close reading?

reading_44595Close reading happens when a reader bases understanding of a text on small details.   The details give the overall “big picture” — main idea or overarching theme.  Looking at small details will allow a reader to understand not only the author’s ideas, but also her artistry and craft as a writer.

Observation is key to close reading, so you must take notes, re-read the text, and question it. Read the passage below, and write questions you may have:

I sat down in the middle of the garden, where snakes could scarcely approach unseen, and leaned my back against a warm yellow pumpkin. There were some ground-cherry bushes growing along the furrows, full of fruit. I turned back the papery triangular sheaths that protected the berries and ate a few. All about me giant grasshoppers, twice as big as any I had ever seen, were doing acrobatic feats among the dried vines. The gophers scurried up and down the ploughed ground. There in the sheltered draw-bottom the wind did not blow very hard, but I could hear it singing its humming tune up on the level, and I could see the tall grasses wave. The earth was warm under me, and warm as I crumbled it through my fingers. . . .  I kept as still as I could. Nothing happened. I did not expect anything to happen. I was something that lay under the sun and felt it, like the pumpkins, and I did not want to be anything more.

– Willa Cather, My Ántonia (1918), Bk 1, chapter II.

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Being Smart Makes You A Better Person

einstein
Albert Einstein

Consider the prompt: “Being smart makes you a better person.”

For three minutes, BELIEVE the statement. Write for three minutes giving all the reasons you can think of that make the statement true. Do not stop writing until the bell sounds.

THEN:

For three minutes, DOUBT the statement. Write for three minutes giving all the reasons you can think of that make the statement untrue. Do not stop writing until the bell sounds.

Ordeal by Cheque

Check it out:

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Three checks written between August 30th and and October 3rd tell a story of one man’s life.  What story does each check tell?  What story do all three checks tell when put together?  Write a short narrative that tells the story.

Add the class header at the top of your story. The assignment is ORDEAL BY CHEQUE. Copy your story and paste it in the comments.

Should Jay-Z Launch his BNY SCC Collection at Barneys?

Believing & Doubting: Jay-Z should continue his plans to form a partnership with Barneys to launch his BNY SCC collection although Barneys has been accused of racial profiling.

Read the prompt carefully: Jay Z should continue his plans to form a partnership with Barneys to launch his BNY SCC collection despite accusations by Blacks that Barneys practices racial profiling.

First, believe the statement, and write why the statement is true. Write for five minutes.

Then, doubt the statement, and write why the statement is false. Write for five minutes.

Blue Tag on Their Big Toe :: Follow the Commas

From http://patronsofthepit.wordpress.com/2013/02/02/fire-and-ice-the-rise-of-the-snow-weber/

fireA Blogger wrote the following:

“. . . A frozen monument if you will, erected in a semi-stately homage, symbolic to all the keepers of the grill out there, who do not, and will not, save for a trip somewhere with a blue tag on their big toe, take the winter off…. A tale of fire and ice.”

1. What does the Blogger mean by “save for”? 2. What is the definition of “save,” used in this context? 3. What does the Blogger mean by “trip somewhere with a blue tag on their big toe”? 4. Is this “trip” literal,metaphorical or both? 5. What does a blue tag on a big toe symbolize or represent?
[Use R.A.F.T. in your response]

. . . to all the keepers of the grill out there, who do not, and will not, save for a trip somewhere with a blue tag on their big toe, take the winter off.

Dr. King and Social Media in the 21st Century

Before the onset of the computer age, letters, newspapers, phones and telegrams were among the communications tools used most frequently. During the 60’s when Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was spreading his message of non-violence, attracting like-minded sympathizers as well as strangers to the cause of civil rights, he used those traditional means to get in touch and stay in touch.
Today, we use social media to stay in touch with the people we know as well as to get in touch with people we don’t yet know, for various reasons, including persuasion to our causes. Maybe we have a concern, like human rights, organic farming, the environment or war, or modern slavery. If we want to maximize the number of people we might contact who share our concerns, we use social media to reach out to them. If we think back to the use of Twitter to unite and reinforce the Occupy Wall Street Movement, or the Egyptian citizenry who used social media to schedule and stage marches, we realize that social media that ultimately toppled both a political party’s chances of success in our country and an entire government in Egypt.
Martin Luther King, Jr., was a philosopher and civic leader whose ideas were expressed eloquently. His amazing vision could be shared with like minded individuals as well as to persuade virulent opponents and those who opposed his ideas and philosophy. The changes in our country today owe Dr. King a large debt. President Obama is proof of King’s message that through hard work, perseverance and the ultimate sacrifice injustice can be overcome and justice brought to fruition.

But what if King had had Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, etc., to get his message out during the 1960s? How would King have persuaded his audience using appeals to ETHOS? How would he have persuaded his audience using appeals to PATHOS? How would he have persuaded his audience using appeals to LOGOS? Choose one or more of these appeals and explain how Kind would have used social media to get his message across.

In honor of Dr. King, think about the kinds and ways he would he’d make use of social media today. Then, please share your ideas with the rest of of us.

TUESDAY CRITICAL LENS

“Arriving at one goal is the starting point to another.”
John Dewey

USE R.A.F.T
1. PARAPHRASE the quotation
2. EXPLICITLY agree or disagree with the quotation
3. SUPPORT your agreement or disagreement with a connection
— connect to a book you have read
— connect to your life or something you have experienced
— connect to something in the world