Fri, Feb 12th–Film

What we’re up to:

  • How to link film terminology to analysis of effect
  • What happens when the camera moves?

Let’s start by watching a presentation on Composition in Film.

Then, we’re looking at a shot from Terrence Mallick’s Tree of Life (2011).

First, in small groups–using your notes–identify elements of mise-en-scène.

  • Dominance
  • Lighting
  • Shot
  • Angle
  • Lens

Then, I’ll talk about some additional terms for mise-en-scène.

Mise.en.scene.2 from nstearns

We can then read how a student analyzes mise-en-scen.

After a little practice, we’re going to take a quiz on mise-en-scene.

On to: Cinematography…or what happens when the camera moves. Let’s start with The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.



Thu, Feb 11th–Humanities

HW: Read chapters 1-3 in Frankenstein

What we’re up to:

  • Is the unexamined life worth living?
  • How would you set up your own Republic?
  • Studying the framing story of Frankenstein

Individually, respond to this question on paper or on QuestionPress:

Socrates (according to Plato) said this: The unexamined life is not worth living. Is he right? First, explain what you imagine both an examined life and an unexamined life are. Be specific. Then, what does it mean for a life to be “not worth living?” Finally, create a list of lives that are not worth living and lives that are. Explain what divides them.

Next, we’ll talk a bit about Plato’s Republic.

I’ll give you a written list of Plato’s 4 rules for making the best society and then in small groups:

Explain, if you had the power to make any changes you wanted, how US society could be best improved. First, what qualities do you want to increase or decrease? Then, what would you change to make them happen? Why? What do you keep? Why? What makes people happiest? Be ready to come up and present your society to the class.


Then, let’s take a look at Frankenstein. In pairs, answer the study questions and we’ll discuss the book.

If we have time, we’ll talk about Mary Shelly and how her life led her to become the author of Frankenstein…and about the nature of medical ethics dilemmas in our time.

Thu/Fri–Feb 11th/12th–AP

What we’re up to:

  • SNP presentations!
  • Gender articles

Let’s start by seeing what you have to tell us. I encourage questions after each presentation, but I also hope to get everyone in, so…

If we have time, let’s choose one of the Gender articles to dive into.


Wed, Feb 10th–Film

Let’s start by looking at one critic’s best list of 2015. I will admit I don’t know many of these.

Then, we’ll talk about mise-en-scene and focus on these elements:

  • Dominance
  • Lighting
  • Shot
  • Angle
  • Lens

Mise.en.scene1 from nstearns
Then, I’ll break you into 4 groups to discuss 5 images from a specific film. For each shot explain what is dominant, describe the lighting, identify shot and angle, and indicate which lens you think is being used. Then, be ready to discuss one shot with everyone.
  1. The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou dir. Wes Anderson
  2. The Passion of Joan of Arc dir. Carl Theodor Dryer
  3. We Need to Talk about Kevin dir. Lynne Ramsey
  4. Mad Max: Fury Road dir. George Miller

Finally, if we have time, I’d like to look at some videos about editing and cinematography.

Drive: The Quadrant System


Editing: The Good, Bad, and the Ugly.

If we have time, we’ll see a student paper which goes in depth to describe a shot.

Humanities–Feb 9th

HW: Read the Letters (all 4) of Frankenstein

What we’re up to:

  • Exploring the Death of Socrates in Phaedo
  • Exploring the Death of Socrates in “Death of Socrates” by Jacques-Louis David


Small group discussion:

Is there any idea or belief that you would be willing to die for? If we were enslaved by robots/aliens/supernatural ninjas tomorrow, and they dragged you in front of a camera and said “You must publicly reject your belief in X” before the whole world, what ideas would you be unwilling to recant? Is any belief worth dying for? For instance, would you be willing to deny:

  • Your religious beliefs
  • Scientific truth: earth going around the sun, global warming
  • The equality of humanity–whether it be in terms of race, gender, or class
  • Your love for your family and friends
  • Your own dignity (why you matter; why you have value)

Product: Make a list of beliefs you’re willing to die for or an explanation as to why you wouldn’t.

I want to talk about the Theory of Forms. This is our first testable set of concepts and I’ll give a brief lecture and then see if you can repeat it. Finally, we’ll test its plausibility.

Individually, I’d like you to respond to this question on QuestionPress.

Plato believed that only those who were able to perceive the true nature of perfect forms was fit to lead the society–in the same way that only those who understood the true nature of a working car or refrigerator were fit to fix them. Is he right? Should we have experts in politics as our leaders instead of whomever the mob decides to elect? Before you answer I ask you to consider two words: Donald Trump.

Then, we’ll look at Plato’s Phaedo and try to understand Socrates’s reasoning for being willing to die for his beliefs. In small groups, paraphrase the dialogue.

Next, individually, choose any section Phaedo and on QuestionPress answer this question.

What is Socrates arguing? Is he right/wrong/or something in between. Defend your answers with examples or other evidence from your experiences or learning.

Finally, let’s look at art:

In small groups, choose any of the “Deaths of Marat” to analyze.

  • Identify different elements of the painting.
  • Explain how each of those elements connect to the artist’s attitude and ideas concerning Marat and his death at the hands of a Girondist assassin.


Socrates and marat from nstearns

Then, we’ll talk.