Friday, September 18, 2009

About Those Essays

There have been a lot of questions about the essays.

First of all, choosing your topic:

This should be something that interests you, relates to you, expresses something that you've learned about Mendelssohn or his music, the historical or biographical background or how something you've learned about something almost 200 years old relates to you today. It could be about listening to or watching the musicians perform the music last Wednesday. It could be about the experience of hearing this music.

You can choose a topic that might relate to you but you might also find something that someone in your parents' or grandparents' generation might be able to give you some perspective on your topic. Ask them some questions and tie that in with what you know first-hand and what you've learned about Mendelssohn, his music and his times through this project.

We're not looking for a biographical summary that just parrots back facts you've read. Incorporate those facts and your observations about the project into something about what YOU learned or experienced.

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You can use "Mendelssohn's World" as your resource. Use the "study question" posts on the blog to help you find a topic that "fits" you if you're having trouble thinking of one.

To find information by topic, see the upper right-hand column for links to specific topics (biography, music, issues &c) then use the "search" field within the blog to find reference to key words you're looking for.

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The essay's “format.”

Even though this isn't a “language arts” project, treat it as if it is, using all the skills you would if you were writing an essay for that class.

The individual teachers can set their own parameters and guide-lines about the technical format.

It should be 2 pages long, but if it goes a little over, that's okay (it depends on what you have to say).

Each essay will be labeled with the student's name and grade, the name of the class and the teacher's name.

The individual teachers set the schedule, whether they require “internal deadlines” for selection of topic, submission of rough-draft and so on.

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All the essays should be done and turned in to the individual teachers by or before Friday, October 2nd, 2009. Once the teachers have gone through the essays, then they submit the ones they feel are the best from each class by or before Friday, October 9th, 2009. Then Odin Rathnam and I (perhaps asking for input from some of the teachers) will select the best of those.

The winner will receive a $250 scholarship prize. And we'll submit the top essays to MOSAIC, the school's literary journal, for publication in the end-of-the-school-year edition.

Thanks, and good luck!

- Dick Strawser