Extra Credit Assignments
Here are some long-standing assignments I offer for extra credit options. However, let me make it clear that extra credit is extra, not instead of. The purpose of extra credit is to assist your grade average if you have completed all of your assignments, done your best, and yet are still falling behind. Unless specified, you will not be eligible for any extra credit in a quarter if you have missed more than two assignments.
1. 1.1. MOVIE REVIEW: I will post one to two movies each week on the HOMEWORK SITE. You may watch one of them and type a 250 word/minimum two paragraph assessment of the film. Include a complete summary but not a retelling of the story and what your favorite scene/line was in the story and why. Try to tell me what you think the main theme is and give examples to support your statement. I will check my local library, Blockbuster, and Netflix for availability, but if you are unable to locate these movies then complain to your congressman, not to me. I will also check TV listings for the week to see if I find something suitable to offer. This is worth 10 points, and you are allowed to turn in TWO of these PER QUARTER.
2. 2. PLAY REVIEW: If you attend any production on stage, you may write a paper following the same guidelines of the weekly movie reviews. This is worth 10 points, and you may turn this in addition to the two movie reviews.
3. 3. EDITING THE PROFESSIONALS: When watching the news on TV, listening to the radio, or reading a professional periodical (magazines/newspapers) and you find that the professional journalist or editor has made an error in grammar (this does not include a spelling mistake) contact this person/network/publication by either letter or email and explain his/her mistake. The credit to you comes when s/he contacts you by either letter or email (something you can print and show me) with a response. I don’t care what the response is, even if they say, Don’t ever contact me again, you grammar freak! You’ve done your job, which is sending a message that they are professionals and should adhere to a professional standard. Make sure you tell me first to make sure you’re correct before you make any allegations. For this effort, you will be able to erase your lowest quiz grade and replace it with a 100%. I will allow two of these a quarter, no matter how many assignments you miss. These could be rather substantial.
4. 4. 4. PUBLISH: If you publish any story, poem, response, or essay in The Carpenter, The Spectrum, or send any of your written works off to be published elsewhere or for a writing contest, this is worth 10 points. One per quarter. (I know that this may sound lofty, but some of you will be considering these this year. I will be encouraging and giving you tips for sending your works for publication for the experience as well as posting contests.) We will go over the format together, and I will mail your already properly stamped package.
5. RESTAURANT REVIEW: You may write two restaurant reviews a quarter. They will be a minimum of 250 words in length. Comment on atmosphere/setting, service, quality and quantity of food, your favorite dish, and any recommendations. This is worth 10 points.
6. BOOK REVIEW: I will post one to three books on the HOMEWORK SITE at the BEGINNING OF EVERY QUARTER. Choose one and TYPE a 500 WORD MINIMUM REPORT. Look for those aspects similar in the movie reviews; but comment on style, tone, and anything else worth mentioning. These are due any time before the last week of the quarter. This assignment is worth 25 points.
7. SERMON REVIEW (Available to all, no matter how many assignments you've missed): Type a 250-word review of a sermon you listened to. Focus on theme/message, AND make a real-life/world (not hypothetical) connection. You may turn in two per quarter. Worth 10 points each. The following is an example from a sermon I heard at my church.
This past Sunday at my church, the Reverend spoke about the moment in Mark where Jesus tells his disciples that after his death he will rise three days later. The disciples are confused by this, but do not ask Jesus to explain himself. Moments later the disciples are walking along the road and debate as to who is the best disciple. Jesus then explains the criteria for the “best.” But, what the Reverend went on to point out is that instead of being curious about Jesus’ rising, they were more consumed with the competition, showing that their priorities are a little out of place.
This message didn’t fully sink in with me until a few days later when I was watching TV with my wife. During the program, a commercial for a new reality series was aired. It was an Amazing Race-type show that featured moms in deep competition with each other. Just what we need, I thought, another reality competition show. We’re being inundated with mindless competitions. Think of all of the “Best” lists compiled on all the entertainment programs. And think of all the awards shows. We live in a culture that preaches that you can’t judge what is or is not art; however, we award best movie, best album, best novel… Supposedly, the networks just give us what we clamor for. Yet, this morning I read in the paper the good news that the show Veggie Tales is going to move to NBC on Saturday mornings.
Veggie Tales is a very popular children’s show on cable. The show has a very religious/faith-based message, ending with a song saying, “You are special…God made each and every one of you.” This is a very popular, beloved show. However, NBC, unbeknownst to the originators of Veggie Tales, has decided to remove all religious implications and references from the show to “appeal to a wider audience.” They don’t want to offend anyone. (Except those who love the show for what it is.) So once again, God will be removed to appeal to a small audience who has the choice to watch or not watch, all the while risking losing the original fan base. (This harkens back to Madalyn Murray O'Hair’s crusade to remove prayer from school because she felt her son, William, was being coerced to follow along and worship. Later he said that that was a fraud, and in 1980, he converted to Christianity and was "born again" at a Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas, where he took up work as a preacher.) This shows the media’s continued disconnect with audiences, while trying to promote an anti-religious/faith agenda. (It reminds me of the weeks that followed Bush’s election; the pundits in the media were all so surprised that there were so many religious people, people of faith, in this nation.)
After reading about NBC’s decision, I began to see more clearly the message from this Sunday’s sermon. 2,000 years later, our priorities are still out of balance. We are far more consumed with which mom will tough it out to the end of the season in some ridiculous race than celebrating that a show like Veggie Tales can actually be popular and have a positive influence in the lives of our children, who love the show...just the way it is.
8. 300 WORD GRAMMATICAL SENTENCE: (WORTH 15 POINTS)
(ONE PER QUARTER)
(AVAILABLE TO ALL, NO MATTER HOW MANY ASSIGNMENTS YOU’VE MISSED)
WITHOUT USING ANY LISTS OR PARENTHESIS, COMPOSE A GRAMMATICAL SENTENCE THAT IS NO FEWER THAN 300 WORDS.
You can use commas and ONE semicolon; and you should employ participle phrases, appositives, prepositional phrases, and adjective and adverbial clauses.
Thinking that pit bull dogs, American Staffordshire Terriers, an American breed of strong, muscular terriers, originally developed in England, with a short, close-lying, stiff coat of any color or combination of colors except solid white, are dogs that are ferocious, aggressive, and dangerous to children and the elderly, and believing that a pit bull’s nature is to attack anything and anyone without provocation because he had read so many of the stories in the media that maligned and stereotyped pit bulls, my father, an overly cautious man, who became weary of aggressive dogs while he was a door-to door salesman, a job that brought him into daily contact with different breeds of dogs that seemed to be waiting to prey on unsuspecting intruders, barking and nipping at a salesman’s ankles as he walks up the sidewalks towards the front door in order to try to sell his latest product from Kimball Piano and Organ Music Company, a company that sells pianos and organs through the use of in-home instrument trials, searched the Internet, looking for a docile and trusting breed of dog to buy as an early Christmas present for me and my sister, both of us serious dog-lovers, who had been hounding our father for years to buy a dog for us for Christmas; but as my father searched the Internet, which became a long and arduous labor of love to please his two kids, the prides and joys of his life, finding multiple dog-friendly sites that discussed in chat-boards and in professionally written articles about the temperaments of dogs, rating them from best to worst dog to be around children, he began to discover, his facial expression full of shocked amazement, that pit bulls have always been one of the most trusted canine breeds to be around children and the elderly, being noted for their loyalty and eagerness to please, not for any propensity to be harmful, which, as it turns out, is a false representation of these playful, loving best friends to man.
Word Count: 337
9. EXTRA CREDIT ALBUM REVIEW: (WORTH 15 POINTS EACH)
(2 PER QUARTER…NO REPEATS THROUGH THE YEAR)
(300 WORDS MINIMUM)
Type a review of an album from the provided list of classic albums of the rock era, including some of Mr. Lambdin’s favorites. Many of these albums can be found at public libraries or in your parents’ CD/cassette tape/album/8-track collections. If you can’t find any of these, don’t blame me.
When writing a review, remember that this is a multi-paragraphed article critiquing and commenting on the following:
Theme/s, mentioning snippets of lyrics
Song structures, how do the songs build
Style/s of songs on the album…is it blues/Moroccan/Celtic influenced
Which stands out for which reasons?
Mention most of the song names and comment on their content
REM's 'Out Of Time' welcomes a string quartet into the picture and there are outstanding contributions from rapper KRS-1 and Kate Pierson of The B-52's.
Pierson is particularly effective on the closing 'Me In Honey', a charming and frantic duet with Stipe, accompanied by a relentless acoustic guitar riff, and the bubbly single-in-waiting 'Shiny Happy People'. The latter opens with a lilting waltz, before breaking into a sun-drenched pop anthem, a warm and welcome blood relative to The B-52's' own 'Love Shack'. As Kate, Michael and Mike Mills each have a crack at the title line, Peter Buck offers one of his neatest trademark guitar hooks.
KRS-1 weighs in on the opening 'Radio Song', predictably the most curious and out-of-character track, which switches from gentle Velvet Underground strumming to anxious funk workout. It's also the album's most lyrically pointed song, Stipe offering a slight return to the eco-concerns of 'Green' as he bemoans the banality of pop radio while "the world is collapsing around our ears".
The other major departure on 'Out Of Time' is Mike Mills stepping forward to take the lead vocal on two tracks; the cheery garage pop of 'Near Wild Heaven' and the bloodrush charge of 'Texarkana', which evokes memories of the days of 'Reckoning'. Stipe continues to take a back seat on 'Endgame', a largely instrumental piece with horns and strings taking centre stage, while the singer ululates in the wings.
As diverse as the music may be, there is a seam of despondency in Stipe's words, a world-weary tone of resignation. "This could be the saddest dusk I've ever seen," he laments on 'Half A World Away', while the desolate 'Low' sees him in gloom overdrive to a bass and bongos backing. The bleakest moments prove to be highlights after several listens; the obtuse spoken narrative of 'Belong' possesses a strange macabre quality, while the tortuous vocal of 'Country Feedback' could be Neil Young at his most psychotic.
Stipe sings for the main part in the first person, though it's unclear if he's taking on a character or being genuinely autobiographical for the most part. The hit single 'Losing My Religion' is likely to be read as self-reflection on REM's position in the worldwide musical scheme of things, doubt and discomfort at the prospect of unwanted disciples: "Oh no, I've said too much/I haven't said enough" is the paradox that runs throughout. If the baroque instrumentation (Buck gets to play mandolin on several occasions) and the special guest spots are REM's way of breaking free.
Contrary to the record's title, REM is not out of time.
By Terry Stantaun
THE WHO BY NUMBERS
I, II, III, IV
HOUSES OF THE HOLY
SGT. PEPPER’S LONELY HEARTS CLUB BAND
MAGICAL MYSTERY TOUR
THE BEATLES (THE WHITE ALBUM)
LET IT BE
PAUL MCCARTNEY AND WINGS:
BAND ON THE RUN
ALL THINGS MUST PASS
PLASTIC ONO BAND
WALLS AND BRIDGES
LET IT BLEED
DARK SIDE OF THE MOON
WISH YOU WERE HERE
ALL THE BEST COWBOWS HAVE CHINESE EYES
SONGS IN THE KEY OF LIFE
WHAT’S GOING ON
BLOOD ON THE TRACKS
THE FREEWHELLIN’ BOB DYLAN
BRINGING IT ALL BACK HOME
BACK IN BLACK
A NIGHT AT THE OPERA
A DAY AT THE RACES
NEWS OF THE WORLD
THE ALLMAN BROTHERS:
EAT A PEACH
CROSBY STILLS NASH & YOUNG:
THE LAST WALTZ
A FAREWELL TO KINGS
RECONSTRUCTION OF THE FABLES
LIFE’S RICH PAGEANT
AUTOMATIC FOR THE PEOPLE
TEA FOR THE TILLERMAN
TIME OF NO REPLY
A NEW WORLD RECORD
PRONOUNCED LEH-NERD SKIN-NERD
SIMON AND GARFUNKEL:
BRIDGE OVER TROUBLED WATER
RHYTHM OF THE SAINTS
THE GRATEFUL DEAD:
BORN TO RUN
AFTER THE GOLDRUSH
FRAMPTON COMES ALIVE
KISS ALIVE II
VELVET UNDERGROUND & NICO
THE VELVET UNDERGROUND
IN MY TRIBE
OUT OF EDEN
HOPES AND FEARS
READING, WRITING, AND ARITHMETIC
RED HEADED STRANGER
AMERICAN IV: THE MAN COMES AROUND
AT FOLSOM PRISON
PEOPLE BEHAVE LIKE BALLADS
COME AWAY WITH ME
LABOUR OF LOVE
HOT AUGUST NIGHT
GOODBYE YELLOW BRICK ROAD
MADMAN ACROSS THE WATER
DEREK AND THE DOMINOS:
ARE YOU EXPERIENCED
AXIS: BOLD AS LOVE
CRY OF LOVE
TALKING HEADS ‘77
LOST SONGS 95-98
A RUSH OF BLOOD TO THE HEAD
WELCOME TO MY NIGHTMARE
TOMORROW THE GREEN GRASS
THE WHOLE OF THE MOON
THE LAMB LIES DOWN ON BROADWAY
THE BEST OF THE SMITHS, VOL. 1
KISS ME, KISS ME, KISS ME
BOYS DON’T CRY
I WILL OFFER OTHER EXTRA CREDIT OPTIONS THIS YEAR, BUT TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THESE. THERE’S A CONSIDERABLE AMOUNT OF POINTS AVAILABLE TO YOU.