Our first live class got off to a great start! It's always fun to "see" everyone again after the summer break.
Please remember to have a headset for next week so we can turn on the audio for about 10 minutes to discuss our novel. Also, BEFORE CLASS (not during), please test your device in the WizIQ environment to make sure the headset is working properly. You can do that here:
Click JOIN and then "Check Device Settings." This page is also where you can review recordings for missed sessions:
Meet the Author! & Introducing the Novel
After a quick discussion of the John Green Crash Course video on Frankenstein, we spent the first half of our class learning about our author, Mary Shelley, and her rather interesting partner, Percy. When Frankenstein was first published anonymously in 1818, everyone assumed Percy was the author since he penned the introduction. Mary was only 18 when she wrote her famous gothic tale and 32 when she revised the novel in 1831. In the 1831 edition, Mary explains how she came to write such an unusual piece of fiction. In the summer of 1816, she and Percy Shelley were living near the poet Lord Byron on Lake Geneva in the Swiss Alps. During a period of incessant rain, they were reading ghost stories to each other when Byron proposed that they each try to write one. For days Shelley could not think of an idea. Then, while she was listening to Lord Byron and Percy discussing the probability of using electricity to create life artificially, an idea began to grow in her mind:
Perhaps a corpse would be re-animated; galvanism had given token of such things: perhaps the component parts of a creature might be manufactured, brought together, and [endued] with vital warmth. -- Mary Shelley
We talked about galvanism, a theory of "animal electricity" that was pioneered by Luigi Galvani in the 1780's. The Italian professor conducted experiments on animal tissue using a machine that could produce electrical sparks. He concluded that animal tissue contained electricity in the form of a fluid. Galvani's theory was shown to be incorrect, however, he had proven that muscles contracted in response to an electrical stimulus.
"That's so...Goth" & "Isn't that Romantic?"
We then discussed the necessary ingredients for a good Goth Nov (MYSTERY! HORROR! THE SUPERNATURAL!), various meanings of the word "gothic," the typical atmosphere, setting, and plot of a gothic novel, and the fact that characters in these stories are often morally complex. We also talked about the setting of the novel and its connection to Dante's hell as well as the famous poem from Lyrical Ballads: "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" by Samuel Taylor Coleridge.
Understanding British Romanticism:
Whew! At least I hope. :)
It's great to be back with you all. Until next week! Homework is in the Course Schedule and also the PDF syllabus.
Greetings Literature Families!
Welcome to The Writer's Community—a place for parents (and students) to read re-caps of our live classes and some of the things we'll be working on during our time together. Students will find their Course Schedule and Syllabus on WizIQ, but since parents don't (typically) have ready access to WizIQ, I'll make sure to keep you informed here. Occasionally, I'll still send emails, but this will be your go-to for class happenings and important info. You might also just be interested in what we are studying each week! It's pretty good stuff. :)
If your student hasn't enrolled in the WizIQ course by Monday, I will go ahead and enroll them using the WizIQ account they established last year. If there is any problem with the enrollment, I'll contact you by email.
Here is the WizIQ link to the Course:
Parents can still look at the Class Schedule without enrolling in the course.
I will send the separate link to the live meetings via email (since they are private classes). There is only one link for the live meetings—it won't change week-to-week.
A note about audio: I want to incorporate about 10 minutes of live audio discussion each week starting with Week #2. We'll be discussing our material a lot more this year, and it's too difficult (and time consuming) to wait while students type out answers. Chat is perfect for quick responses and questions, and we'll continue to use it. However, please, please, make sure your student has a headset (headphones with mic) by Week #2. We simply can't use audio unless everyone has a headset. Thank you!
A note about accountability
Homework is detailed in the Course Schedule and I will send all parents and students a hard copy syllabus by email. Homework is always due by the next class date. If you need more time to complete an assignment because of illness or family vacations, field trips, etc., I will grant extra time, however, I will not extend due dates because you "had work in another class." This is a class, so now's your chance to practice precious time management skills. :)
Important: I respect each family's approach to homeschooling and realize that not all families may find value in completing each aspect of the writing assignments. The most benefit will be gained if you not only complete the initial assignments, but work with me throughout the revision stages. If you are taking this class for a grade, all homework, including revisions, is required by the due dates. Last year I spent a decent amount of time chasing down revisions. Unless you have a reasonable excuse, if I don't have your revisions by the due date, I will grade whatever work you may have completed at the time without emailing you first. So, unless you're up for some nasty surprises, make sure you get your revisions in on time.
Parents: If your child needs to partner with you in this area of time management, please feel encouraged to provide assistance. The goal is growth, not punishment.
For the first six weeks we will be reading and studying the 1831 edition of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein as well as the poets of the Romantic Period. And kids, if you’re thinking “romance” as in boy-likes-girl you would be wrong (think gothic, and you’ll be a little closer). I spent several weeks this summer researching the novel and the poets of the period and these folks were some wild cats! It’s gonna be a great unit!
If you haven't secured your copy of the 1831 edition, or are having trouble finding the correct edition, please let me know now.
STUDENTS, RIGHT BEFORE WE MEET: View the John Green “Frankenstein" video posted to Week #1 and read pages 9-12 in the Glencoe Study Guide (also in Course Schedule).
I recommend you view the video TWICE, just for fun. John Green is great, but he talks REALLY fast.
All parents and students should view the Peter Elbow interview before 9/15.
Here it is if you need it. Looking forward to getting started with a new year. Please don't hesitate to let me know if you have any questions!
This is a forum where you can ask questions about your writing projects. We'll do our best to answer them or post helpful links to get you pointed in the right direction. Occasionally we may feature exceptional pieces of writing, such as poems or short stories/essays. To ask a question or to submit a piece for consideration, please email your question or writing piece to: