Why not change your mind?

Before Monday, please read the article entitled, “Why not change your mind” from The New Philosopher and then respond here.  (You can click on the title to read the article or you can read the paper copy I will hand out Friday.)  For your response, you may consider the following questions:

  • What is the claim or thesis of this article?
  • What support does the author provide for his claim or thesis?
  • What if any rhetorical appeals does the author use?
  • Do you find his argument persuasive?
  • Would you ever consider changing your mind about capital punishment for the mentally disabled?

Please also listen to this podcast “The Incredible Rarity of Changing Your Mind” from This American Life from Chicago Public Radio.

Full warning, however!

The podcast is almost a full hour long and deals with some controversial subjects like gay marriage and abortion.  Please be sure to get your parents’ permission to listen to this.

This blog is not due until Monday 6/11/18.

OMM blog #10

“At his best, man is the noblest of animals. Separated from law and justice, he is the worst.” — Aristotle (OMM#9)

Please discuss the evidence you feel best supports your opinion about the appropriateness of the death penalty for developmentally delayed criminals.  In addition, consider what evidence and arguments the other side may present and prepare, propose, and practice a counter argument.

As always, please follow the rules of standard written English, and don’t forget to respond to at least one other classmate’s response in this thread.

Please also, don’t forget to respond to the survey, 2018 Which side would you prefer to argue?, which was emailed to your school email address.

OMM blog #9

“Of Mice and Men: The Execution of Marvin Wilson” by Andrew Cohen (OMM#8)

Tonight, please read the article “Of Mice and Men: The Execution of Marvin Wilson” by Andrew Cohen, in The Atlantic, August 8, 2012, at least TWICE or as many times as it takes for you to get a fair  understanding of the meaning of the content and context.  (It took me twice to begin to get a grasp, and the article is only seven pages of large print with a picture, so I don’t think that’s an unreasonable request.  Remember, reading non-fiction is very different from reading fiction.  It takes time to get a real hold on and understand the context.)

Once you have read the article twice, write a blog here where you explain what Mr. Cohen’s opinion is and how he supports that opinion.   This is fairly tricky!  The author may not have a clear claim or thesis provided within the first paragraph.  You may need to infer his overall claim, and then please think carefully about the methods Mr. Cohen uses to convey his opinion.  Does he use facts?  What other methods does he use?  Is his argument convincing?  Why or why not?  (Be careful!  You are not asked to give your opinion here.  Rather, you should give Mr. Cohen’s opinion and explain how he supports it.)

OMM Blog #8

Atkins v. Virginia, Argued before the Supreme Court of the United States of America, February 20, 2002–Decided June 20, 2002 (OMM #7)

Please read the following texts:

If, for some reason, these links don’t work, please go to the handouts page of our website. They are listed there, all under “Atkins v. Virginia.”

These texts may be challenging for you, but you should that you can read the actual opinions handed down by the Supreme Court.  Not bad for 13 or 14-year-olds!

Remember the strategies we talked about in class:  Notice when you are not understanding something.   Knowing you have a problem is the first step to solving it!   Talk to a friend about it.  Read over any responses already posted here.  They may help you understand more about the text even before you read it.  Re-read.  I often have to re-read difficult texts several times and even then I may not fully understand.

Here are some strategies that help me:

  1. I go back to where I last had a clue and re-read from there.
  2. If the text is really, really hard for me (as this one is, I must admit) I look over the whole thing and try to get a sense of organization of the text.  Are there sections that have headings?  If there are, I read it section by section keeping the heading in mind as a guide.  If there is no heading or title, I try to think what the heading. might be if there were one.
  3. For the most difficult texts that I read I go paragraph by paragraph and think about (or even jot down) what the gist of each paragraph is.  This is time consuming and rather annoying, but it works for me with really, really difficult non-fiction.
  4. TURN OFF THE NOISE!  That means no computer open (if I’m not actually reading online), no music playing,  no texting while you read.  Multi-tasking is a myth.  Difficult tasks require real concentration.
  5. Be kind to yourself.  This is really hard stuff, and it’s your first time (I assume?) that you are reading actual legal documents.   Do not get so frustrated that you scrunch the paper up and throw it across the room!  Keep breathing.  You’ll be fine.

For your written response here, please give your understanding of the case and Justice Stevens’ reasons for his opinion.  Then, explain whether you agree or disagree with Justice Stevens or not.   How would you find if you were on the Supreme Court?

OMM blog #7

We are lonesome animals. (OMM #6)

“Now what ya suppose is eatin’ them two guys?” (OMM #5)

Discuss the last portion and, actually, all Of Mice and Men here.   Be sure to include many specific text-based details in your commentary, but DO NOT summarize.  Be sure also to reply to your classmates as the discussion evolves over the course of the evening.

Also, don’t forget to write two or three discussion questions for class.  Remember, though, that a discussion question should not have an answer.  Rather, it should provoke interesting conversation.

OMM blog #5

“Jus’ foolin’. I wouldn’ want to go to no place like that.” (OMM #4)

Discuss chapter 4 of Of Mice and Men through here.  Be sure to include many specific text-based details in your commentary, but DO NOT summarize.  Be sure also to reply to your classmates as the discussion evolves over the course of the evening.

Also, don’t forget to annotate your text as you read and to write two or three discussion questions for class.  Remember, though, that a discussion question should not have an answer.  Rather, it should provoke interesting conversation.

OMM blog #4

“I can still tend the rabbits, George?” (OMM #3)

Discuss Of Mice and Men through page 65 here.  Be sure to include many specific text-based details in your commentary.  Be sure also to reply to your classmates as the discussion evolves over the course of the evening.

Also, don’t forget to choose a specific piece of text to discuss in class tomorrow.  You may also want to write two or three discussion questions for class.  Remember, though, that a discussion question should not have an answer.  Rather, it should provoke interesting conversation.

OMM blog #3

The bunk house was a long rectangular building. (OMM #2)

Discuss Of Mice and Men through page 37 here.  Be sure to include many specific text-based details in your commentary.  Be sure also to reply to your classmates as the discussion evolves over the course of the evening.

Also, don’t forget to annotate your text as you read and to write two or three discussion questions for class.  Remember, though, that a discussion question should not have an answer.  Rather, it should provoke interesting conversation.

OMM blog #2

“An live off the fatta the lan!” (OMM #1)

This evening, please re-read Of Mice and Men through page 17 and then use your blog to discuss themes, images, and motifs that you notice.  Be sure to include many specific text-based details in your commentary.  Be sure also to reply to your classmates as the discussion evolves over the course of the evening.

Also, don’t forget to annotate your text as you read and to write two or three discussion questions for class.  Remember, though, that a discussion question should not have an answer.  Rather, it should provoke interesting conversation.

OMM blog #1