SENIORS: Jane Eyre: Summer Work & Explication Workshop


Welcome to IB Brain Boot Camp, seniors…. Are you ready to meet the challenge?? 🙂

I’m talking to you, soldier! I am calling my first semester Brain Boot Camp because we have to wire your brain very specifically for the IB tests that you will be taking in the spring. IB has very brutal requirements in its rubrics for successful commentary creation and there is quite a large difference between scoring a 3 and scoring a 7 on the exams. Argumentation, argument formation, critical reading, critical response, academic register and style— THESE are the markers of successful IB work in literature and these are areas where we can struggle as writers. As you enter my class as seniors, I want you to realize one harsh truth: what has been acceptable/exceptional so far in your honors and IB English classes just may not meet the measure any longer because the IB rubric just expects more from you.  You are (√) a year older,  (√) a year wiser, and (√) five difficult literary texts smarter;  therefore, the YOU you bring into the class in 2016 is not the YOU you introduced to Mrs. Wilcox in 2015.

Your summer work asked you to access what you remembered about SQUIDS. These are extended dialectical journals that allow you to choose pieces of material from a text and write extensively about them.The SQUIDS and dialectical journaling will help you create a “IB Voice” which will be a significant component of your grade in the class, as well as a criteria for successfully passing the IB testing areas in English. The SQUIDS have five parts that work together to create a powerful commentary, and skimping on any one part will affect the whole.

(S) – select a passage/line/area of focus to examine critically. Examine dialogue as well as internal thoughts, author’s words, other characters’s reflections, etc. Look for passages and lines that reflect significant thoughts, feelings, concerns, conflicts, conversations, etc. Your choice of focus area says A LOT about you and is as important as what you write in the rest of the ‘QUIDS’ portion of the assignment.

(Q)– create a series of questions to ask about the passage/line you chose and pull out quotes that will earn careful review. A good rule of thumb is to ask three to five questions before moving on to the (U) portion. Pick ‘quotes’ that are important enough and extensive enough to analyze and which help you support or answer the questions that you asked.

(U)– Show understanding and an appreciation of what literary aspects are under review here. What nuances, inner workings, previous events, psychological and emotional markers must a careful reader comprehend in order to do a good job approaching this material? Discuss the  context of the quote: who is speaking, what is the setting, to what it this in response, how does this passage or quote reflect what is going on in the character’s mind or in the story. You should also paraphrase the quotation if the language is dense or figurative. If the quotation contains an unreferenced pronoun or an allusion to something outside the quote, you should explain that as well.

(I)– Identify the Literary Merit: Raison d’etre, literary term(s). As applicable to the passage and quote you chose, you should identify the literary strength or merit of the text focus.You should discuss fully why the quotation is significant to the work and YOUR thinking about it. It may be significant in terms of character or plot development, use of irony or satire, development of a pattern of imagery or symbol, or demonstration of tone or theme. Consider imagery, figurative language identification, setting, characterization, theme, foreshadowing…. There is a literal multitude of choices here, too exhaustive to list. You are IB STUDENTS and this is an area where you are expected to shine. It is never enough to just list a term…. discuss how and why the AUTHOR is utilizing it in this place at this time.

(DS) – Define the Significance… Deeper, Richer, Broader, Global
You are now ready to tread into mental gymnastics, metacognitive land and the magical home of Great Thinkers.  Step1: Connect your discussion to a secondary quotation or event in the work, in order to further develop your point. 1) If your selected quote is from the early part of a reading assignment, a secondary quote later in the reading would demonstrate your command of the whole.  2) If your quote is later in a longer work, you may want to connect it to an earlier quote in order to illustrate a change in a character, or to develop a pattern of symbolism or theme in the work as a whole. 3) You may treat your secondary (or tertiary) quotation as part of the second paragraph, or in a third paragraph if warranted.

Step 2: A text is most often thought of as a global piece that has three lives: the time of the writing, the time of the characters/setting, and the time of the reading. Considering the social, historical, psychological, political, aesthetic and philosophic issues of the day is a fundamental part of the IB literary process, and this close analysis may turn into a paragraph (or a few) of its own.

Step 3: Finally, you must look into the Literary Filter cosmos and consider what way(s) this quote can be viewed from an academic literary perspective. There are varied ways to explore this: new historical, Freudian-psychological, Jungian-archetypal, new critical, Marxist, feminist, gender theoretical, formal, reader-response, post-Colonial….. to name a FEW. Expending mental energy in the schools of thought is always rewarding and assists you in developing sophisticated arguments.

Developing good writing habits now is essential to building that brilliant brain and passing IB Boot Camp and earning your stars.

IB Focus Areas: The IB exam in English has five tested areas: a) the written paper on a work in translation, b) the oral presentation, c) the oral commentary, d) Paper 1 (commentary) and e) Paper 2 (comparative essay). Components B-E are completed your senior year. Component A was completed with Mrs. Wilcox during your junior year. Students who have been successful in their IB exams have a superior grasp of the literary argument in both oral and written format. The SQUIDS/journal then creates a platform for the student to examine the literary work at length and to create solid arguments that use the text as their basis.

The Explication Workshop Appointment:  Your summer work asked you to pull out sections of Jane Eyre and think critically about them, to explore aspects of the story/characters in writing, and to look at their literary significance. When you submit the summer work to me, I will schedule a personal appointment with you during Charger Time and we will examine your work, talk about your strengths and weaknesses, and explore the challenges you face. I can answer questions for you, and assist you in developing a sophisticated “IB Voice”. We will use the appointment to get to know each other personally and I will also get to meet your “literary brain”- the critical, thoughtful, exploratory, ruminative part of your brain that you apply to examining (or explicating) literature. I talk a lot in class about “Shockey Brain.” You will develop your own “___ Brain” throughout the year as you apply your literary knowledge and communication skills to our difficult texts and develop a spoken and written style.

I will set these appointments the first week of school, but I am careful to work around your schedule, so please fill out your appointment card as soon as possible and get it back to me.  Thanks in advance for your participation in my class. I am looking forward to getting to know your personality, your brain, your voice– your quirks and tics, and everything that makes you special!!!


Welcome to Shockey World!

Hello to Shockey’s incoming seniors for IB English Higher Level, 2016-2017. My blog is brand new, and I hope to use it to communicate with you in a longer fashion than Remind101 can allow.  Thanks for joining up– it’s going to be a great year. 🙂

I hope you all have a great summer.  As I prepare for the new year, you will see suggestions for completing your summer homework, and a discussion of what a journal entry looks like in ShockeyWorld. Good luck and get busy reading Jane Eyre.