writing as spectator sport

This is the last, greatest feat (at least for now), and it's worth an extreme amount of glory, LULZ, and (if done well) course credit.  After all, learners should be evaluated according to their knowledge and mastery on the spot, don't you think?

You're walking through [ ], thinking about [ ], talking about [ ], sort of eventually making your way toward [ ] when you hear the magic words:

"5PH1NX says it's time to stop, drop and write."

You want to hear these words, because it means you've been chosen.  And if you've been chosen, you will complete an assignment that you can turn in as the equivalent of an essay, to be graded and credited accordingly.  Moreover, you will receive extra credit and the approval of the thinking gods.  So will whoever presents you the prompt and whoever gets it on video.

Here's how it works.

You'll need:
  • a friend or two to help you find/accost/video your writer;
  • a piece of paper (or two) and a pen to present to your writer;
  • an AP prompt (you can pick from the poetry, prose or open prompt lists);
  • ten minutes to watch your writer read the prompt, do a pre-write, and write the first 1-2 paragraphs;
  • flexibility, in case your writer decides to hijack the process (for SICK amts of extra credit) and make you wait while s/he writes the whole essay;
  • this link to the Monty Python novel-writing competition audio track (also embedded below);
  • to post the video of your writer being stopped and starting to write, coupled with the Monty Python soundtrack (this is why you were asked to figure out how to pair a video file with an audio file a few weeks ago).
In addition to posting the video-with-soundtrack, there will be a YouTube channel to feature all of these in one place.

Have fun!  If you can stop, drop and write on an AP prompt in public, you will certainly be able to manage over 40 minutes in a quiet room on May 10.


YELP with a freshman!

The ninth graders are just beginning Romeo & Juliet.  (Remember those days?)  Find a freshman and write a Yelp review in iambic pentameter together.  Take a pic of the two of you collaborating, take a screen shot of the review, and post both to your blog.  Please remember to include both your name and--credit where it's due-- the name of your freshman accomplice.


Get as many RHS 9th, 10th & 11th graders as you can to follow your course blog, and enlist their help in completing a FEAT OF WISDOM!®.  If a member of your course blog completes a FEAT OF WISDOM!®, it counts as YOURS.


Get as many 9th, 10th & 11th graders as you can to follow your course blog, and enlist their help in completing a FEAT OF WISDOM!®.  If a member of your course blog completes a FEAT OF WISDOM!®, it counts as YOURS.
"We learn best when adults take away the crutches and there is no safety net."
-Some kid

Welcome. You're here because you're smart, determined, charismatic, persuasive, good-looking, devious, lucky, or some combination of the seven.

5PH1NX is bemused but not yet impressed. 

To demonstrate your worthiness, and to accrue a host of other benefits that have not been itemized, described, explained, implied, or promised to you by anyone, complete as many of the following FEATS OF WISDOM!® as you can.  You must complete a minimum of four FEATS OF WISDOM!® in order to be eligible for the following week.  If you can complete all of the FEATS OF WISDOM!® you will become a liminal figure who will co-author the finale of this experience.

NOTE 1: Lurkers who want to watch the show but keep to the shadows can participate in quests and accrue aforementioned benefits by supporting and documenting others' efforts. 

NOTE 2: No post counts unless it includes the image of the 5PH1NX as seen above.  You may reproduce this image as many times and in as many ways as you need to.

NOTE 3: The FEATS OF WISDOM!® are numbered.  For each of the FEATS OF WISDOM!® you complete, you will create a blog post.  Title each blog post  FEATS OF WISDOM!® #[  ] and include the correct number of the feat you're documenting in that post.

NOTE 4: Wisdom is recursive.  That means going back to the task again and again in order to obtain better results and deepen the experience.  So... if you want to repeat one of the FEATS OF WISDOM!® , you may, and you may do it as many times as you want to for experience credit (not to mention the LULZ).

  1. Buy a ticket to "The Hunger Games" (or any other movie that's likely to draw a large, young, rowdy audience).  Before the lights dim and the trailers begin, walk to the screen, turn to the audience, and in a loud, clear voice, recite the "To be, or not to be..." soliloquy from Hamlet (don't worry if you make a couple mistakes, just be sure you make it all the way to, "Be all my sins remembered.").  Capture the event on video & post it to your blog.
  2. Go to a restaurant and order a hamburger in Old English.  Make yourself understood and obtain your hamburger without translating your order into modern English.  [UPDATE 4/8: 5PH1NX will not settle for talk that sounds like a commercial for "Medieval Times."  This has to be authentic Old English-- you may use a translator if necessary.]  You may use hand signals, but only in the most general way-- this is not charades-- and only in Old English.  You may also substitute an item that is less likely to contain pink slime.  Capture the event on video & post to your blog.
  3. Find a Grammar Girl podcast on a topic you need work on.  Master the podcast and teach it to at least three other people.  Figure out a way for them to demonstrate that they've learned it, write about the process, and post both your narrative and your students' evidence of learning to your blog.
  4. Stand in the lobby of a public library and politely convince a stranger to read a novel from the AP list.  Use literary elements to make your case.  Post video or stills with narrative to your blog.
  5. Go to a mall and teach a stranger to memorize the 9-point AP poetry rubric.  Capture the event on video and post to your blog.  Huge bonus if you teach the stranger to memorize a sonnet.
  6. Write a 2-4 pp. character study that includes zero direct characterization.  Post to your blog.
  7. Write a song about the AP literary terms (must include >20).  Bonus if you perform it in a public space.  (May be done as a solo, duet, group, or choir with full orchestra.)  Post song and performance video (if applicable) to blog.
  8. Amass a list of Shakespeare references in modern media and post to your blog.  (Embed as much as you can.)
  9. Submit a Yelp post in iambic pentameter. Take a screen shot and post to your blog.
  10. Remix your favorite movie scene by scripting/acting in iambic pentameter OR in the styles of Dickens, Montaigne, Plato, or Bukowski.  Post video to your blog.
  11. Visit a retirement home or a hospital.  Read or recite poetry to the residents/patients and answer questions about the work.  Post video, pictures, and/or a narrative of the experience to your blog. 
  12. Write and produce rap battles between any/all of the following pairs: Romeo v. Juliet, Hamlet v. Macbeth, Caesar v. Brutus, Lady Macbeth v. Ophelia.  Post to your blog.
  13. Create a graphic "Periodic Table of the (Literary) Elements" and post to your blog.
  14. Think for yourself.  Create a mission/task/quest that: a)incorporates something from the course worth knowing; b)prepares you for something in your near future; and c)is an insanely good time that helps people by giving them a positive memory.  Determine how to tell the story and... yes: post to your blog.