College Prep English Class Agenda for Sept. 18, 2014

Dear Homescholars,

This week we will have the second meeting of the 2014-2015 College Prep English Class at Excellence In Education which will meet on Thursdays at 2:30 in the large classroom at EIE but is also available to online-only students on Google Plus and Youtube.

The Google Plus event page:

The Youtube feed:

To learn more about the class, please visit:, see the links and watch the video.

Online Feed shot The classroom feed for last week has been posted in Our online classroom theater where you will also find an archive of past classes. A playlist for our 2014-2015 classes has been created:

The playlist of 2013-2014 classes is also on Youtube:

A Thank you to those who have already posted in the Writer’s Forum or Vocabulary Journals. Let’s all post something for next week.


Class planning

Though there is always a plan, class direction is protean and opportunistic in that we will explore any avenue that seems not fruitful for all (as long as we do it in formal English). However, some planing is indicated in order to allow for some needed preparation. Let’s brainstorm.

A starting point:

  1. How much homework is enough?
  2. In what direction should our reading/watching/listening go initially?

Essay Writing
Essays That Worked (cover)
Students in this class have evinced interest in a number of writing styles. Some want to work on college admission essays, others on SAT essays and nonfiction persuasive and informative material. These are wonderful goals. We will explore great writing in all these areas but we do need to understand that skill in all of these requires mastery of formal written English, to which we then add imagination, insight, research, analysis and, in some cases (SAT) some gratuitous prolixity. (Reminder: always look up any unfamiliar word that you encounter.)

A list of suggested debate topics has been posted in our classroom. Let’s discuss them.

A classroom page for examples of successful essays has been created and is a work in progress. I have been enjoying the book: Essays That Worked edited by Boykin Curry, ISBN: 0449905179. We will be reading and excerpting from this book in class, but you might like your own copy.

Discussion of High Priority Assignments

(Note: these assignments should be enjoyable. Do only as much as you find enjoyable. If you find them to be onerous and pointless, please help shape future assignments with your suggestions)

Please look at the few college admission essays in our classroom. We will discuss them. There are more to come. A classroom page for examples of successful essays has been created and is a work in progress. I have been enjoying the book: Essays That Worked edited by Boykin Curry, ISBN: 0449905179.

Conclusions about the SAT essay: Dr. Perelman of MIT on the SAT essay exam.

Let’s discuss the list of suggested debate topics.

Let’s discuss the High School Debate Contest, the City Club of Cleveland’s High School Debate Championship. Debate is on whether the US should support and comply with the International Criminal Court.
This is a very fine debate with positions well presented and justified. The commentary is also very useful, particularly for it’s explanation of the judges’ evaluation of the contestants.

Please watch the Oxford Union whistleblower debate.

Please think of debate topics that would not require a great deal of research. Feel free to explore any of the many other debates posted in our classroom.

Please read the first chapter in our textbook: SAT ACT TOEFL College Prep English Practice, available at the EIE bookstore and

Everyone should have read the class orientation page.

Please let me know if you need more homework.

Class Strategy

We’re all on the same page in this class; we all want to learn and want to help each other to learn. The subject is fascinating and we need to keep it fascinating. If the class degenerates into a quotidian struggle to fulfill requirements for credit and grades, we have lost the battle and are no better than public school. The class is flexible and can adjust to individual enthusiasm and fascination, thus the onus is on each member of the class to lead it in directions that will be most productive and enjoyable.

We looked briefly at a brilliant Longfellow poem. Shall we examine it more closely?

LongfellowTravels by the Fireside
— H. W. Longfellow

The ceaseless rain is falling fast,
And yonder gilded vane,
Immovable for three days past,
Points to the misty main,

It drives me in upon myself
And to the fireside gleams,
To pleasant books that crowd my shelf,
And still more pleasant dreams,

I read whatever bards have sung
Of lands beyond the sea,
And the bright days when I was young
Come thronging back to me.

In fancy I can hear again
The Alpine torrent’s roar,
The mule-bells on the hills of Spain,
The sea at Elsinore.

I see the convent’s gleaming wall
Rise from its groves of pine,
And towers of old cathedrals tall,
And castles by the Rhine.

I journey on by park and spire,
Beneath centennial trees,
Through fields with poppies all on fire,
And gleams of distant seas.

I fear no more the dust and heat,
No more I feel fatigue,
While journeying with another’s feet
O’er many a lengthening league.

Let others traverse sea and land,
And toil through various climes,
I turn the world round with my hand
Reading these poets’ rhymes.

From them I learn whatever lies
Beneath each changing zone,
And see, when looking with their eyes,
Better than with mine own.

New reading and watching thoughts

Let’s examine what you are reading and would like to explore.

Our online classroom contains a vast trove of English language resources ranging from full text books and audiobooks to films, plays, software and all of the assignments and activities generated in previous years. Please feel free to explore and suggest any specific items for inclusion in our high priority assignments.

Questions, suggestions and discussion

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