Location: Conference Room in the Guidance Office

Matt Hodgkin
Ethan Andrews
Conner Lajoie
Tyler Campbell
Caleb Uhl
Tom Sullivan
Ben Soule


Agenda:
1. Introduction: name and grade, thumbs up or down on book.

2. Whip: This can be done at any point or multiple times in the discussion. Go around the circle and each person talks for less than a minute. Other participants listen and can respond after the whip has made a full circle.
Whip questions for beginning of the discussion:
How did you like the book?
How did you respond to a certain character?
What was your favorite section of the book? (ex. teachers and sumos)
What did you care most about in the book?

3. Three A’s Text Protocol
What parts of the text AFFECT you?
What do you AGREE with in the passages?
What do you ARGUE with in the text?

4. Channel the Author: This works well to discuss the craft of the book.
Divide the group into two.
Each mini group composes a question directed to the author.
Examples: What do you want a reader to learn from your book?, Why did you write this?, Why did you divide the book into these chapters?
One mini group goes first and asks the other group their question. The other group gets a minute to confer and then a minute to respond to the question in the voice of author.
The whole group can openly discuss the response and ideas it generates.
Repeat the steps with the other mini group’s question.

5. 3 minute intermission
Half way at approximately 45 minutes.

6. Personal Connection:
Try and relate an idea from the book to something you saw on the news, your life, someone you know, history, etc.

7. Ten Words or Less: This can be done as individuals or in pairs.
On your own or with one partner, summarize the book in ten words or less. Give everyone three minutes.
Share the summaries: the writer reads the summary and another participant asks a question or makes a comment in response to that summary. The writer responds and talk can open from there. Move to the next summary.
Commit to each summary earning one comment or question from another participant.


Tom Sullivan
Ms. Tommaso
Summer Reading Assignment
September 11, 2011
Freakonomics Dialogue

Dale: Hey Brennen, what’s that book you have there?
Brennen: Oh! It’s Freakonomics, what a great book!
D: Are you kidding me? I think that book is so dumb, they are just arguing with conventional wisdom. It’s just the way things are. It really makes no sense.
B: So many people think like you and It’s just wrong. You can’t believe everything that people say. The problem is that it’s been said so many times that you never actually take a moment to think about it.
D: If enough people believe it, it must be atleast somewhat true. It had to be beleived strongly in the first place for it to become a huge common idea.
B: But the book is factual!
D: Yes you say it’s factual, but the facts told in the book don’t tell the whole story. For example, the chapter explaining why drug dealers live with there parents, there are too many variables to believe it.
B: No that idea is quite simple to be frank. It’s just that in poor neighborhoods kids look up to the people with the nicest stuff, and those people are usually the big drug dealers. It’s no lie that the top drug dealers are rich, but the majority of drug dealers are extremely far below him. The average salary is under minimum wage! Plus, drug dealers have a one in four chance of being killed. It comes down to the stereotype that drug dealers get for being the richest people on the block. Many of kids living in poor places don’t have lawyers and doctors to look up to, so there vision of success is distorted. The have a dream to one day become the biggest most successful drug dealer, but that often means many years of dangerous work, not even making enough to support yourself without your moms help.
D: Yet still some things aren't very clear: How many hours are they actually working? are they doing it on the side and have another job? Are they doing it because they’re living with they’re mom and resort to crime as a way out?
B: It seemed to me like it was a fact, and regardless of the effort, they make less than minimum wage.
D: What about the chapter about parenting. You must not agree with the idea that parents don’t really even matter.
B: No I thought that idea was just as strong as the last. Its not that parenting doesn’t matter, Its that there is no one way to be a good parent.
D: They made it pretty clear to me that you were born with all your qualities.
B: All they were saying is that nearly 50% of the battle is in genetics alone, the other half is just about not being a bad parent. But there is no evidence that shows that being nurturing is better than being a strict parent. In the long run everyone will turn out the way they were meant to be.
D: I think different techniques work for different kids, but sometimes the right way for one kid might really hurt another. Think what you want about these subjects, but Im going to listen to the masses.
B: Whatever Dale, you need to think about things and make your own conclusions. Not just believe everything that is said.

Caleb Uhl:


Freakonomics: Dialogue
(at gym)

Peter: Hey Ollie, how’s it goin?
Ollie: Pretty good Peter, you?
Peter: I’m great, what brings you to the gym? You don’t come here often.
Ollie: I just finished this book called Freakonomics, I was so bored by it that I had to get out and come to the gym.
Peter: You’re kidding! I just read that last week! I loved it so much I read it again.
Ollie: How could you read it twice, it was so monotonous. It was the same thing over and over again talking about sets of data.
Peter: That’s the beauty of it! It proves that economics are behind everything. It shows how decisions are made based on incentives; what drives people.
Ollie: I hated it, and not to mention that the book was totally bogus. There is no way you can get me to believe that abortion caused the crime drop in the 90’s.
Peter: That is exactly what caused the crime drop!
Ollie: The only logical explanation is increased police and better police training.
Peter: The point of the book is to look past conventional wisdom because things are not always what they seem. Just because two things seem connected, doesn’t mean they cause one another. Take for instance the chapter about parenting, houses with lots of books are correlated to the children of that home receiving good grades. The books however, are not reason why. A young child could have lots of books in their house, not read a single one and still receive high marks. This is because the parents of the houses with lots of books are generally the parents who are more successful. This is passed down to their kids who are have the same drive to work in school and who are driven by their parents. They also have the smarts that their successful parents have. Therefore, the amount of books in a home has no effect on how well a student does, but the two are generally correlated.
Ollie: Wow Peter, when did you get so smart? I guess I completely missed all of this.
Peter: It’s okay Ollie don’t worry about it, a lot of experts missed this stuff too. Not one source of media cited abortion as the cause of the crime drop in the 90’s.
Ollie: My goodness, that’s unbelievable. I guess I’m going to have to read it again and try to understand it this time.
Peter: Good choice Ollie, there is hope in you yet.
Ollie: Haha very funny Peter, I’ll see ya tomorrow same time.
Peter: Okay sounds good, hope you enjoy Freakonomics this time.

Conner Lajoie:
Freakonomics: New Chapter
Summer Reading Assignment
13 September 2011

If you look at everyones actions and everything around us from the point of view of an economist you will see that everything has some kind of impact on the economy. Most people don’t even realize that everything can be tied to economics. Sumo wrestlers and teachers are very much alike one another. Both have people who are paid less and start at the bottom when they are new. They also have the people who are paid a lot and have been around forever. In some states in the United Stated and areas around the world have bonuses that go to the teacher who achieves the highest classroom score on a standardized test. It has been proven that some teachers are willing to cheat to win the bonus. Some of these bonuses amounted to $25,000 dollars. That is a huge economic incentive to cheat if quick money is needed. On the island of Japan, sumo wrestling has economic incentives in it too. The elite wrestlers earn the most money and are the best. To be an elite wrestler you have to win a certain percentage of your matches. A sumo wrestler who is in the clear of being an elite wrestler may be bribed to lose to another wrestler who could use a win to move into a new class. Sumo wrestlers and teachers are related because of their willingness to cheat for economic incentives.
In recent news Hurricane Irene crashed her waves and blew her winds all up the eastern seaboard. A normal person would view this as just another storm that would cause devastation and heavy damage to the effected area. An economist would view it as a chance for a boost in the economy of the world. The states who were expecting to be hit the hardest by the storm hire out of state companies to come and help with the clean up of the debris and to get power back to the hundreds of thousands of people that lost it. This unexpected increase in revenue allows the out of state companies to buy new equipment so that they are better equipped and ready for the next storm. The equipment companies then can afford to expand and hire new employees which lowers the unemployed rate. With more people employee and paying taxes and not taking welfare the states make more money. With the states making more money the government’s revenues increase lowering the national debt. Eventually leading to a better and more stable economy. The only problem is that people don’t want to spread their wealth, they want to keep it. So they don’t hire new people and do more work themselves. Leaving the economy the same as it was before.


Ethan Andrews
Mrs. O’Neill
AP English- Summer Reading Creative Writing
12 September 2011

Gym Talk
-“Look at you go! Great work, Bob!”
-“Oh, hey Jim, you scared me!”
-“My apologies. Can I use the StairMaster when your done?”
“No problemo buddy. Just a sec though; I’m on record pace!”
-“Take your time; I’ll just wait here.”
-“Say, did you hear about the spike in crime rates in Zagjitistan?”
-“Yes! I just saw that on the news. Well, if only abortion was legal there...”
-“Whatd’ya mean? Abortion is wrong!”
-“Well, be that as it may, abortion can dramatically decrease crime rates. I read all about it in Freakonomics, by Stephen Dubner and Steven Levitt.”
- “No way! I never knew that!”
-“Yep. It was actually the major reason for the drop in crime in the US in the 90’s”
-“Well that can’t be true. It must have been the economic boom, or perhaps the new gun laws or policing strategies. At least that is what the news said.”
- “Nope. Statistics show that there is a direct correlation between abortion being legalized and the drop of crime in the US. Think about it; all those would be criminals that were to be born into low income, unstable families were never born because the mothers could then lawfully abort the baby. You can read all about it in that book I mentioned.”
- Oh, well. I guess I was wrong again. Hey, did I tell you that I sold my house?”
- “Yeah? That was fast. How much did it sell for?”
-“$450,000; It was a fair price”
- There’s a pretty good chance you could’ve gotten more, you know...?”
- “What? How do you know that?”
- “Well, it was proven that real estate agents often have customers accept offers lower than they could’ve gotten. That way they get their commission faster.”
-“Really? Where did you hear that?”
- “I read it in that book, Freakonomics. Apparently, statistics show that real estate agents sell their own houses for significantly more than houses of similar value are sold for on the average market. They do this by using the most appealing words to buyers in their descriptions of their houses, waiting for a the best offer possible, and a few other tricky tactics.”
- “That’s amazing! I can’t believe that crook robbed me!”
- “Well, you can’t blame him. He had more incentive to sell the house quickly than wait for a slightly better offer, because that only a difference of a few hundred dollars for him. Incentives are another major theme in that book, “Freakonomics”.
- “Well shucks, maybe I should take a look at that book. Wanna loan me it?”
- “Yeah sure, but only if I can use the machine now.”
- “Oh, alright. I’m going to go hit the showers. Wow, what a workout!”
- “Bye, Bob”
- “Bye, Jim”


Matt Hodgkin
Mrs. Walsh
CP English- Summer Reading Dialogue
14 September, 2011


Hans: Hey Dalph. What’s up?
Dalph: Pumping crazy iron and listening to the last chapter of the Freakonomics book on tape.
H: Oh, I read that book a little while ago. What do you think of it?
D: I loved it! I liked all of the interesting facts it taught the reader, but I especially loved the things that I can apply to my real world situations.
H: I thought the things that would useful in the real world were alright, but I didn’t like the book very much in general. Especially the writing style.
D: What don’t you like about how it’s written?
H: Well, I couldn’t stand all of the charts, lists, and graphs. I felt like I was reading a math or science text book!
D: I didn’t get that feeling at all. The authors did a good job of summarizing the data in the writing so you didn’t have to even look at the charts, but I enjoyed having all of the data laid out in front of me.
H: I just felt like it was a chore to have to look at every bit of data. I also found a lot of the conclusions hard to believe. I know tons of people that are smart because their parents made them listen to mozart, took them to museums, and read them a lot of books as young children.
D: You missed the whole point of that section! There is a connection between all of those things and raising a smart child, but you have the causality confused. Many people aren’t smart because they visited museums and read books as a child, but they did all of those things because their parents are intelligent, which makes them more likely to be intelligent as well. Just because an event, let’s call it A, and a characteristic, let’s call that B, are connected, it doesn’t necessarily mean that A caused B. B could have caused A, or they could be connected in a completely different way.
H: Oh... well, that might be true, but what makes you believe all of Levitt’s assumptions and conclusions are correct?
D: It’s hard to know for sure that he’s correct, but I agree with most of the things he says. I believe him because of his methods of arriving at a conclusion. It seems like he uses both objective and subjective approaches to a problem. He will study research and experiments one moment, and talk about things like human nature and sociology the next moment. I think it’s a good way to research a social or economic issue.
H: I guess so. Did I tell you I’m selling my house? My real estate agent says somebody wants to buy it right now, and I should definitely sell it, or I won’t get a better offer!
D: You must not have been paying attention during that part. Your real estate agent wants you to sell quickly because it saves them a lot of time and work, but they don’t lose much money from it. On the other hand, it saves you no work, but you could be losing a decent amount of money from the deal if you don’t wait for a better one.
H: But my real estate agent said she cares about her customers! Do you thinks she would play me like that?
D: You need to keep in mind she’s running a business, and the goal of a business is to make as much of a profit as possible. The sooner she sells your house, the sooner she can move on to another client.
H: That’s a good point. I guess Freakonomics is more useful than I thought. Anyways, I should go have a talk with my real estate agent now... see you later.
D: Yeah, and I’d recommend reading the book again to see if you have a different view of it. Bye, Hans.