Wednesday, December 28, 2011

A Friendly Reminder

I hope that all of you are having a really restful and enjoyable break.  Remember, especially AP kids, that you do have essays to do.  From what I'm seeing on Google Docs, some of you haven't taken a look at your online document for a almost two weeks.  Don't forget that you do have a draft due shortly after we return from break.  This is a challenging paper, do not wait until the last minute and then expect a lot of in-depth last minute assistance.

I look forward to seeing what you all are coming up with, but please do start sharing and working.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Homework for Winter Break - Get it Done!

Here are your guidelines for Winter Break.  You do not need to complete any of this work for Tuesday.  On Tuesday we're going to have a nice relaxing day of films and review.  A smooth transition to the break!  Remember that it's a B-day when we get back.  B-day students, we'll be having our movie day the first day back for a nice smooth transition.

AP English III:

You have two massive priorities for Winter Break:  your term papers and your reading.  Let's deal with the reading first and then the papers.  By the end of Winter Break you need to be to the end of chapter twenty-one in The Catcher in the Rye.  This is a good chunk of reading to get done over break, but it's not impossible.  Some of you may even be able to finish this in the first few days of break.  As you read, continue to develop your annotations and look closely at the deeper issues that we've begun discussing as a class.  I look forward to seeing what you all come up with after Break.

Your other major goal for Winter Break is to complete a draft of your term paper using the Google document that you've shared with me.  If you have yet to construct and share your document you are falling behind!  This is not the type of paper that you can throw together in a weekend and expect to do well on.  Once you've completed your brainstorming and gotten my approval, you should then begin your outline.  Once I see that your outline is fully developed, then I will tell you to start drafting your essay.  Remember the important steps of the outline process:
  1. Construct your argument.  What is this essay going to prove?  We used to call this your thesis, but I prefer to call it an argument.  Make sure that as you construct your argument you make sure it's got DADS (debatable, analytical, defensible, specific).
  2. Pull out all possible quotes from your sources and group them together.  As you do this, think about how you're going to organize your essay.  What will you need to discuss first?  What will you need to discuss second?  And so on...
  3. After you've pulled out the quotes and examples, begin to connect them to your argument.  How do these different quotations support and prove your argument to be true.  Put this information under the examples and explain!  Remember, you want to leave absolutely no doubt in my mind that your idea is valid.
Once you've done this, you'll be ready to draft.  The idea that I always get back to with writing essays is that if you spend a lot of time preparing, then you'll have an easier time writing the essays.  Your first drafts will be due to class for editing on the 6th of January for A-day and the 9th for B-day.  Then you'll have a week to make your edits before the final drafts are due.  Please ask for help as you're working.  I'll keep checking in on you over break.

English I:

Over break you all have an essay to be working on as well.  Hopefully by this point you've figured out what your introduction paragraph is and you've pulled out your nine examples that you'll discuss in the essay.  Your rough drafts are also due on the 6th of January for A-day and the 9th for B-day.  Please make sure that you're keeping everything focused on the novel Animal Farm and your concept and definition.  Tie all of your examples back to your definition through your explanation.  I will be available the first week that we get back for any individual conferencing that you may need. 

I did also want to let you all know that you should expect an exam on Animal Farm in the second week after we get back from Break.  Review the story and your notes over the break to make sure that you're prepared.  This exam will also cover some of the concepts we've studied in the first semester, making it more of a midterm.  It would be a good idea to also take a look at your earlier literature and writing notes to prepare for this exam.

I hope that you all have a lovely and restful break!  Enjoy the time off but make sure that you get done what you need to get done.  A-day kids, I'll see you on Tuesday.  B-day kids, I'll see you in 2012!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Notes for the AP Kids

AP English III:

Students - Below you'll see two links that will take you to the notes we've taken the past two classes from our discussion of the opening of The Catcher in the Rye.  Feel free to look at both sets of notes for a fuller perspective on these two chapters.

Don't forget that for Friday/Monday you need to be to the end of chapter nine and that you'll be having your states quiz.

A1 Notes

B1 Notes

Also - I will be doing more comments on term papers on Friday afternoon for all of you that have uploaded and begun them.  Look for my comments then.  We'll next work on outlining which is the next step in making our drafts.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Today was the last Wednesday at school of 2011

It really puts things in perspective to think like that, I think.  Here's what you need to do.

AP English III:

Your first priority is to continue working on your term papers.  You should be checking in on the document that you shared with me nightly to see my comments.  On Friday/Monday I'm going to walk you through how to construct an outline that works which will be your second step before you start drafting your paper.  Think about what your argument is going to be.  What are you trying to prove?

The other thing that you will need to do tonight is to read to the end of chapter nine in The Catcher in the Rye.  Keep adding to your covers and keep annotating.  Pay attention to a lot of the ideas that we're playing with in class.  They're important.

Lastly, you have your quiz on the states on Friday/Monday. 

English I:

For tonight I really want you to put a lot of work on your essays.  After today's discussion you should feel a lot more comfortable moving forward and writing your body paragraphs.  Remember the due dates that I discussed with you today in class.  Please come see me if you want me to check what you're doing.  The other major assignment for tonight is to finish reading Animal Farm - I think we'll have a great discussion on Friday/Monday about the ending of this novel. 

Finally, don't forget that you have vocabulary bookmarks due on Friday/Monday.  I'm looking for fifteen words with page numbers and definitions.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Comments on your Docs!

AP Kids:

Please don't delete the comments that I've stared leaving in your documents.  Even if it's just "You need to get started."  Use this as a space to talk with me and work with me.  Ask questions back!  Ask for help!  Use technology to your advantage!

PS - I really am excited about what I've been seeing so far.  Keep it going.

Getting ever closer to break...

Students - Below you will find your reminders and announcements for class.  Remember to stay prepared and stay diligent in your work.  You have a break coming up soon, but it's not here yet!

AP English III:

I am so excited to be studying The Catcher in the Rye with all of you.  For tonight, be sure that you've read and annotated until the end of chapter five in the novel.  This book moves very quickly, if you would like to read ahead, please do so.  I would also suggest that those of you thinking that you would like to write your term paper on Catcher do try to get ahead since you'll need to start digesting this book much faster than others. 

On the topic of those papers - please be sure that you have shared that document with my gmail account that all of you are using.  Those of you who have shared to my account - please also add my gmail address.  I want to see you starting to brainstorm more and get your ideas down on paper.  In a few days we'll talk about how to attack and outline this sort of paper.  I'm looking forward to seeing what all of you come up with for your first term papers.

Lastly, expect your states quiz this week.  Don't say I didn't warn you :)

English I:

It's time for us to embark on our first essay assignment!  Today we went over a lot of the basics of structuring a five-paragraph essay.  For tonight, you need to complete your introduction paragraph.  Please use your notes to complete the introduction, paying special attention to the order of the sentences and what a successful introduction has.  You need to make sure that you bring these paragraphs to class with you on Wednesday/Thursday - so that we can peer edit.

Lastly, make sure that you've read chapter eight of Animal Farm - keep up with your vocabulary bookmarks as I'll be collecting them on Friday/Monday.  Minimum of fifteen words for this round of checkins.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Announcements and Props to A1

We're drawing ever closer to Winter Break - I'm especially beginning to notice it more due to the fact that it's actually starting to get cold outside.  Here are your reminders for tonight and the weekend.

AP English III:

A1 kids, the visitor that we had today from downtown was very impressed with the presentations that she saw.  I wanted to be sure that you all knew that other people realize that you all are quite amazing.  For tonight/this weekend I want to be sure that you read the article by Sanders called "The Inheritance of Tools."  It's available in 50 Essays as well as at this link.  Make sure that you read an annotate the article heavily paying particular attention to the idea of family as that is what we will be focusing on.  Also, don't forget that you need to have a copy of The Catcher in the Rye for class on Monday/Tuesday.  If you don't have one, I'll have school copies that you can check out from me.

Lastly, I want you all to begin working on your term papers for the first semester.  Please create a Google doc that you share with me as an editor no later than Sunday evening.  Please begin to outline what you would like to write about for this first paper.  Remember that you need to use at least one novel and one "minor" piece that we have studied this semester to create your thesis.  This is meant to be an informal way for you to begin to get your ideas together.  You will be graded on setting up and sharing your Google document.  Be sure that it's done no later than 7:00 PM on Sunday.  If you cannot meet this deadline you must speak to me in advance with your reason.

English I:

I want all of you to begin to take what we discussed today in class and use that as your foundation to see what is happening in the rest of this book.  I'm glad to see that you're seeing the irony, remember to always think about why the irony is there.  For tonight you need to read chapter seven of Animal Farm.  Be sure that you are working on your bookmarks as well - I will be collecting another bookmark before we leave for Break.  Lastly, continue to work on your quote logs.  These will save you a lot of time when it comes to your essays which we will begin next week.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Keep on keepin' on...

I think that all of the classes did pretty well today.  AP kids, great job in the discussion; I thought that it was pretty productive and hopefully you found yourself understanding the story more than you did when you walked in.  Freshmen, lovely job on your election campaigns.  I'm glad to see that you all are getting into this book really deeply and having fun with it.  Below are your reminders for Thursday/Friday.

AP English III:

Websites.  Websites.  Websites.  We present next class.  Tonight you need to polish these websites and have them ready to be presented.  Please recall what I said today in class about your presentations.  You should not read verbatim what you have written.  Each member should present his/her analysis and then the group will present its synthesis.  I want you to share with the class what you learned from this project. Leave the reading of everything to me.  Also, be sure that you have a copy of The Catcher in the Rye for Monday/Tuesday as we will begin reading it then.

English I:

Tonight you have two things to accomplish.  First you need to read chapter six of Animal Farm.  As you are reading, you want to pay particular attention to the ways in which things are changing for the animals on the farm.  As always, be adding to your vocabulary bookmarks and use the questions to help you understand.

In addition, I would like for you to begin keeping your quote log focused on the ideas of equality, justice, and leadership.  As you are reading if you see a quote that connects to one of these ideas you need to write down the quote word for word and at the end put the page number in parenthesis.  This is an activity which will prepare us for our first formal essay which is coming not too far from now.

As always, let me know if you need any help.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Homework for 12/2 and 12/5

Students - We are only a few short weeks away from Winter Break.  As we continue moving toward the break it's important that you all keep up the momentum and don't fall behind.  Below are some reminders for you as well as your homework for next class.

AP English III:

I definitely need to start seeing a lot more forward movement on these websites this weekend.  You should be finishing your analysis and moving on to the synthesis piece.  Now is the time ladies and gentlemen to be polishing your work and preparing for your presentation.  I will go over with you all on Tuesday/Wednesday what you should complete for your presentations.

Before next class you need to read and annotate Joyce Carol Oates' "Where are You Going?  Where Have You Been?" - it's an intriguing story and probably one of my favorite pieces of short fiction.  Use the questions at the end of the story to help guide your annotations.  We'll be discussing the story thoroughly on Tuesday/Wednesday.  Be prepared.

English I:

Before next class you have a bit of reading to do for me.  All of you should read chapter five of Animal Farm.  As you read you should begin on your second vocabulary bookmark.  Chapter five is a bit lenghty.  Be sure that you understand the chapter thoroughly and that you are using the questions to help guide your understanding.

Honors students, you have an additional piece of reading this weekend by George Orwell called "Shooting an Elephant."  After you've read the article, I want you to answer questions one and four at the end of the piece.  When you answer question one you need to consider at least two different reasons why Orwell shoots the elephant.  Your answers should be done in good throrough paragraphs.  Please submit your work to the homework box on either Tuesday or Wednesday morning depending on your class.  Feel free to also use this piece to add to your vocabulary bookmarks.

Enjoy your weekend, and your readings!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Homework for 11/30 and 12/1

I can't believe that December is basically here.  It feels like we just got started with the year.  Soon we'll be prepping for final exams and all of those things, but for now we just need to get ready for Friday/Monday.

AP English III:

On Friday/Monday you will have your Quest on The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.  Remember that this assessment is only on the book, you will not be asked about any of the non-fiction pieces that we read.  The Quest is broken up into several sections - you would do well to study and prepare for the following:
  1. Characters - You will get a description and will need to tell me who the character is.
  2. Disguises - I will give you one of Huck's many disguises, you need to tell me what was happening when he used that particular one.
  3. Short, short answers - I give you a brief question, you give me a brief answer.
  4. Multiple Choice - Think of these as Diet AP questions.  They cover a lot of the major events and ideas in the novel.
  5. Quotations - None of the quotations have been used so far.  You know what to do with quotes:  speaker, context, and importance.
The other thing that you should do before Friday/Monday is work on your portion of the website so that your group is moving toward completion.  I will be checking in on these this weekend as you all are putting more touches on the work.  I appreciate that many of you have come to see me outside of class for help.  On Friday/Monday you will have time to work in your groups to prepare for the weekend.  Be sure that you use your time well.

English I:

You all will be having a pretty major quiz next class on allegory, "The Golden Kite, the Silver Wind", and the first four chapters of Animal Farm.  You need to be sure that you're studying and preparing for this.  Also, I will be checking your vocabulary bookmarks - try to get to twenty words, but at least be sure that you have ten for our first check.

There is no reading homework for the next class.  I think we've been moving kinda quickly through the first few chapters, so I want to pause and spend some time working through what we've already read.  After the quiz on Friday we'll spend some time reviewing some of the important elements of chapters one through four.  Be sure that you've read thoroughly so that you understand everything.

Monday, November 28, 2011

First Monday after a break is always a day...

I don't know about all of you but I'm a bit wiped out after today.  The first day back after a long break or a long weekend is especially rough, but I think the one after Thanksgiving is one of the hardest.  Anyway, here are the reminders to prepare for tomorrow.

AP English III:

Today I just did a quick check of your annotations.  It's clear to me that some of you haven't read the ending of the book as thoroughly as you needed to.  I hope that the web activity today helped to open up this ending.  My plan for Wednesday/Thursday is that we will begin to develop some more of the overarching themes of the book out of the motifs that we have been working with throughout.  On Friday/Monday I will collect your novels and you will have your quest on The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.  This annotation check will be more thorough than todays.  Go back, reread, reannotate.

For tonight you should put in some serious time on your websites.  I checked in over break and saw some paltry pages.  I'm hoping that toward the end of break you got more content in there.  I will begin to take a second look at websites Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.  Remember that this weekend is your final weekend on these projects.  I want to redirect all of you back to the project outline document found here.  Look especially at the requirements with each section of the site.  Lastly on the topic of the website projects, please use each other to peer edit your work.  I am more than happy to look at things, but you all need to self-evaluate and peer-evaluate.  Help each other out!

English I:

I was really happy with what was going on today in our discussion of Animal Farm.  I want to continue with this momentum.  For Wednesday/Thursday I want to be sure that you all read and understand chapter four of the novel.  Remember to use your reading questions to help your understanding.  As you read, keep looking for vocabulary because the bookmarks are due on Friday/Monday.

About the bookmarks, they can be words that are completely new to you, words that could be slang, or words that you may know but don't feel confident.  The goal here is to build your working vocabulary. Remember to write down the word, the page number, and the definition in your own words.  A thesaurus is a good tool for this.

Lastly, Friday/Monday we are going to have our quiz on allegory, "The Golden Kite, the Silver Wind," and the beginnings of Animal Farm.  It may be a good idea to go back and reread/reexamine the story since we did study it before break.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Homework and Reminders for Thanksgiving Break

I hope that all of you have a really restful and enjoyable Thanksgiving Break.  There are a few things that I want to make sure that all of you accomplish before I see you again on Monday/Tuesday; please make sure that while you're relaxing you are getting all of these things done.

AP English III:

After our time together in class today I am hoping that you and your group have worked out a plan moving forward about what needs to get done and when with your websites.  I will continue to check in over the break to see what kind of progress is being made and to give suggestions where necessary.

I do want to remind all of you that before you can create the synthesis piece, you all must do your individual pieces of analysis.  I also expect that in your collaboration you peer edit, advise, and ask for help from each other - you're working in a group for a reason.  As a benchmark for your groups to be highly successful, I would recommend that you aim to have your analysis piece uploaded to the website over the break.

You also need to finish reading The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn over Thanksgiving Break.  Be sure that you have finished your annotations on the novel and that you are prepared for a lively discussion on my least favorite part of the book.  As you finish the novel, pay attention to how Twain is developing all of these different motifs into more specific arguments and themes on these different ideas.  Also, be sure to follow any symbols and characters to their natural end.

English I:

I apologize to those of you who did not get a chance to present today.  We will begin class on Monday/Tuesday with your presentations.  As I said today in class, it's important to think about what you learned about these different topics or people today as all of these things are represented in some way, shape, or pig in Animal Farm.  As you read chapters two and three over the break I really want you to think about who each of these characters really represents - is it a person?  a group of people?  an idea?  all of the above?

Don't forget that while you're reading you need to keep up with your study questions as well as with your vocabulary bookmarks.  Vocabulary will be collected, study questions will not.  The study questions are meant for you to check your understanding of the story.  If you can't answer a question, that's an indicator that you need to go back and reread the chapter more closely.

Finally, I want to recommend that you take notes while you read.  But we'll talk about how to do that more when I see you next time.

Gobble, gobble!

Friday, November 18, 2011


Big ups to B1 on the shoutout from Mr. Leathers!

See - you all really are amazing!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Homework for the Weekend: 11/17 and 11/18

First of all A-day students, I want to thank you for a great day.  I think that in all of the classes today we were productive and had some fun too, which is always good.  Over the weekend there are a few things for all of you to accomplish, and here they are.

AP English III:

I bet you never thought you'd read an analysis of Rebecca Black's "Friday" - but, lo and behold, there it is.  I'm putting the link to that piece here.  So that you can revisit it and share with your friends.  As you look at it and remember our conversation in class today, remember the things that a good analysis does.  It finds the original author's argument and then shows the way in which that argument is proved and supported.  This is much the same thing that we saw in our sample prompt and sample essay.  We've been doing all of this work on analysis due to the fact that you will have your second timed writing on Monday/Tuesday and it will be an analysis.  To prepare for this I would do the following:
  1. Review the sample prompt and sample essay.  Look at what the writer does well, and things to avoid.
  2. Review the questions I gave you last class on "Crafting an Analysis" - these will provide you some ideas to consider as you construct your own analysis.
  3. Write a practice essay on the sample prompt and then compare it to the sample essay.  Is it the same (a seven)?  Better (an eight or nine)?  Or worse (six an below)?
  4. You should also begin on your analysis of your piece for the satire project.  All of this stuff we're doing now is a means toward that end.
Speaking of your projects, on Monday you will have time to meet in your groups for about twenty minutes to check in and ask for help.  Thanksgiving Break will require you to work on your projects and finish reading Huck FinnBE SURE THAT YOU'RE DONE WITH THE BOOK AND ANNOTATING WHEN YOU COME BACK FROM BREAK!  I don't think I need to tell you what that means...

English I:

I hope that you all enjoyed our opening of Animal Farm.  If you didn't mark vocabulary on your bookmark as we read today in class, be sure that you do that tonight for chapter one.  Over the weekend you will need to be sure that your presentation is ready for Monday/Tuesday and that you have prepared for the District Test.  If you want to get ahead in Animal Farm that's perfectly okay - but you can't bring up anything in class that we haven't gotten to as a group.

Have a lovely afternoon and weekend!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Homework for 11/15 and 11/16

AP English III:

After today's class you should be feeling much more comfortable with the idea of an analysis.  What you're supposed to do when you analyze, the type of thesis to write, and how we've basically been doing analyzing so far in annotating.  Now is when you start putting all of that to use.

For our next class, I expect that you will be to the end of chapter thirty-three in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.  We're about to move into one of my least favorite portions of the novel, I've started coming to terms with the end, but I'm not there yet.  Maybe you all can help to get me there.  Also, you need to complete you vocabulary slides - in the last post is where you can access your class's document.  Make sure that if you word is coming from something that we've read that you provide the context for the word.  This is something that some of you that have started have left off or dealt with imperfectly.

In terms of writing/product for next class, I want you to complete the 1Q1P assignment using a portion of Huck Finn.  Remember one quote (no more than fifty words with chapter/paragraph reference) and one page (i.e. the rest of the page) to present the analysis of that quote.  These should be typed, double spaced, in a standard font.  For this assignment, forego MLA citation style, no header is necessary.

I'll be available Wednesday/Thursday after school if you need help with your analysis or to present a draft.  

English I:

Today we briefly reviewed the story by Ray Bradbury "The Golden Kite, the Silver Wind" and discussed the various symbols in the story.  It's important to also consider the historical allegory of the story and relate all of this back to the story's theme.  I think that now that you have read the story and we've discussed it, it may be a good idea to reread the story so that you fully comprehend.  You may actually find things you missed the first time (more symbols, different language, imagery, and so forth).  Regardless if you read the story again or not, you should find a few words from this story and get them onto your vocabulary bookmark - remember look for words that are challenging for you to define.  Maybe they're words you're seeing for the first time.

Your other homework for tonight would be to work on your research projects.  Remember that any information you find needs to be cited properly with MLA citations.  Get all of the information that you can on your source and organize it properly.  For tonight, you should make it a goal to complete one information slide related to your topic as well as one image slide related to your topic.  You may choose to put imagery and information on the same slide, but you should then do two slides.

We will present the first part of the projects next week.  Thursday and Friday are our last days in the library.  Work hard.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Change to English I Homework


Yesterday when I logged in to the online textbook it seemed as though I couldn't access the Bradbury story.  I gave copies to Mr. Gardinier and Mrs. Brightwell to give to you if you had me on Thursday.  Those of you whom I saw today I gave a handout.  If you can access the story in the textbook (either print or online) I want you to do the assignment as outlined in the previous post.  If you only have the packet for the story I want you to read the story and answer questions 2, 3, 4, and 7, 13, and 14.

Sorry about the confusion.  Also, remember to start your vocabulary bookmarks with this story.  There are a few words that may be productive for you.

See you tomorrow!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Freshman Homework - 11/10 and 11/14


At this point all of you have your progress reports.  Remember that the test scores right now are what I like to call "raw scores."  Some of the questions are going to be thrown out and the test will be curved; however, I can't figure out the curve until everyone finishes the test.  You must finish no later than Monday's study hall.  If you're not finished by then, I'm grading what you've completed - everything missing will be zero credit.

Over the weekend (or Monday night if you're in B-day) you will need to read Ray Bradbury's "The Golden Kite, the Silver Wind."  It's in the textbook.  I'll remind you that you need to read the information before the story about the history and allegory in order to fully understand the story and answer the questions.  When you finish the story, answer questions two, three, five, and six in your notes.  Remember that since you're putting your responses in your notes you can answer these questions in bullet points, but be sure that you're thorough use details from the story to craft your response.  While you're reading, this is a great chance to get started on your vocabulary bookmarks.

Also, you may want to keep working on your research projects if you've started on those.  We'll go back to the library on Tuesday/Wednesday to take more formal notes on the topics and go over the details of the assignment more.

Homework for Veteran's Day Weekend 11/10 and 11/14

Lovely AP Students,

I continue to be impressed with the conversations that we're having in class.  I do want to ask more of you to speak up in class - remember that participation is important.  As we move to the second nine weeks and further, it's not enough to simply look interested.  You need to be engaged and produce ideas for our discussions.

Over the weekend you have a few things to make sure you take care of.  First, you do have the long weekend, your goal should be to get caught up or even ahead in your reading of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.  As you read, keep annotating and keep looking for how Twain is developing the symbols which we began to uncover today.  Furthermore, you should do some work on your websites - get your individual pages up and then start to work on your portion of the assignment.

Over the weekend you do have a piece of non-fiction to also read.  It's "How to Tame a Wild Tongue" (link available here) by Gloria Anzaldua.  This can be considered to be our final piece on the idea of language and identity.  It may be useful for you all to consider how everything we've read is connected to this idea.  Where do you fall on the idea of how we speak telling about who we are?

Finally, I've created the powerpoints for your vocabulary slides.  Please use the links below and add your cards.  These assignments are due next Thursday (17th) and Friday (18th).  Remember that it's first come first serve, if you wait until the last minute, someone may have taken your words.

A1 Vocabulary Slides Link

B1 Vocabulary Slides Link

As always AP kids, be sure to ask for help if you're feeling overwhelmed or if you think that things are moving too fast.  This is a class where we do a lot and learn a lot, be responsible for yourselves and keep pushing forward.

Have a lovely long weekend.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

English I Homework - 11/8 and 11/9


Tonight I would like for you to continue your work with the idea of allegory by investigating one of your childhood stories.  Pick any story from your childhood (fairy tales are really effective here) and do the following.

1.  Write the title at the top of your paper.
2.  Construct a plot diagram with all of the major events of the story as well as labeling all of the elements (exposition, rising action, climax, etc.)
3.  Write a sentence that states the theme/moral of the story.
4.  Answer the following question:  Is the story allegorical?  Why or why not?

This needs to be turned into the homework box no later than Thursday/Monday morning.

AP English III Homework - 11/8 and 11/9


I hope that you all are seeing that this class is going a bit more technological than some of your other classes.  Remember that we're not only working on skills regarding literature and writing, but also skills regarding technology and web tools which make learning easier.  Tonight your biggest priorities are the following:
  1. You MUST get your Google site up by next class and share that website with me.  You don't need any content, but all of the pages MUST be set up.  This is a must do.  If you're having problems getting it set up - please see me Wednesday afternoon.
  2. You should be keeping up with your reading.  By Thursday/Monday you should be to the end of chapter twenty-eight.
Next class I will give back your vocabulary bookmarks so that you can start on the next phase of our vocabulary assignment.  I will post the links to the documents and example for next class's post.  Next class we will discuss the characters of the Duke and the Dauphin very thoroughly.  Be sure that you've read.

Friday, November 4, 2011

English I - Homework for 11/4 and 11/7


Over the weekend and Monday night I'd like for you to take a break and relax after your big unit test. I hope that you all feel confident that you did your best. If you studied and prepared as you should have, then I'm sure it will pay off. If it's not paying off, then please see me for help.

Next class we are going to begin our work on Animal Farm by George Orwell and allegory. We probably won't start reading Animal Farm for a few days, but you might want to start early so that you can be ahead. I do suggest that you get your own copy of the book, but I will issue copies if you don't have on on Tuesday/Wednesday.

It's a pretty exciting novel, and I think you'll all enjoy it. I'm looking forward to Tuesday/Wednesday!

AP English III - Satire Project


Today we spent a lot of time going through the requirements for your major project - Google Sites for The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and Satire. Remember that your group contract is due to me on Tuesday/Wednesday. This is a requirement. Please be sure that you are following the deadlines on the project sheet as I will be checking in on all of you. When you share your websites, please make sure that you include me in the sharing as an owner; use my mrmillerjhs (at) gmail (dot) com e-mail address. This way I can keep up with your progress. I'm posting links to two important documents.

First we have the project document and outline. This goes over all of the requirements and the timeline for the project. Second we have the project mockup on Google sites. Use the mock-up of the project to review everything that you need to have on the individual pages.

Take the time this weekend to get ahead on your website, time spent now will pay off in the future. Also don't forget the following for next class:

  1. Vocabulary bookmarks are due next class. You need 20 words, the definition (personal), the page number and the source.

  2. Keep up with your Huck Finn reading. By next class you should be to the end of chapter twenty-two. We'll be discussing chapters thirteen through eighteen.

  3. Start work on your website and finish your contract.

The class is getting more serious and a bit more difficult; I know you are all up to the challenge. Please start coming by on Wednesday afternoons if you need help!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

AP English III Announcement

I was happy to see that over the past few days that some of you had read ahead. By and large I was pleased with your annotation check, just remember to keep track of your cover notes as a key part of the annotations. On each page, you should look for what you put on the covers, specifically the topics/motifs/symbols as well as key character development.

I also wanted to repost the reading schedule, remember that the one on the bookmarks isn't correct.

Chapters 13-18: A day 11/4 B day 11/7
Chapters 17-22: A day 11/8 B day 11/9
Chapters 23-28: A day 11/10 B day 11/14
Chapters 29-33: A day 11/17 B day 11/18
Chapters 34-43: A day 11/28 B day 11/29 (After Thanksgiving Break)

Be prepared for snap annotation and reading checks. You know what I expect.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Homework for 11/2 and 11/3

And we keep on rolling, merrily along.

AP English III:

Please keep up with your Huckleberry Finn reading schedules. By next class you should be to the end of chapter eighteen. This next section of the novel will provide a lot of opportunities for us to discuss some really important scenes in Huck's life. Annotate closely, think deeply. In addition to that reading, I want for you to begin compiling your vocabulary bookmarks. You'll be turning in your second bookmarks on Tuesday/Wednesday of next week. Lastly, I have asked all of you to get a Gmail account if you don't already have one. Please go to this link and fill in the required information so that I have a record of your e-mail addresses.

English I:

You have an exam coming up on short stories on Friday/Monday. So, you need to study. I will be here late on Thursday if you'd like to come by for individual questions.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Homework for 10/31 and 11/1

Welcome to the second nine weeks everyone!  I find that this quarter of the year goes by really quickly what with Thanksgiving Break and Winter Break in the middle.  So, this means that we'll get a lot done this quarter, but you'll need to make sure you're staying on top of everything.

AP English III:

You need to be sure to read and annotate thoroughly the piece from The Narrative of the Life of Oluadah Equiano.  This piece provides some excellent insight on some of the true horrors of slavery from the perspective of a slave, one Oluadah Equiano.  As you read, you may want to think about his audience and how he crafts his message to be perceived by his audience.  Also, be sure that you're keeping up with the reading of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.  You should always try to be ahead of the reading schedule -- and always annotate!

Further, you will want to start culling vocabulary for your second vocabulary bookmarks; we're actually going to go a bit further with vocabulary this nine weeks, so be on the lookout for that.  Finally, get yourselves a GMAIL account if you don't already have one.  This will make a project that we'll be starting later this week a lot easier to complete.

English I:

Next class you will all be preseting your group projects, so your biggest thing to work on for tonight is getting that project finished.  Be sure that you've done your part and that you've communicated well with your group mates.  Remember that one copy of your group's script will need to be turned in to the box for your group to get full credit.  If you have anything that needs to be projected onto the SmartBoard, please bring that on a flashdrive or be sure to e-mail it to me in advance.

If you've not started studying for your short stories test, I would recommend doing that.  Any time left in class on Wednesday/Thursday will be spent reviewing for the short stories test which will be on Friday/Monday.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Homework for the Long Weekend - 10/26 and 10/27

AP English III:

I'm really looking forward to reading your timed writings. I want you all to remember that this class is a marathon, not a 100 meter dash. Keep the stamina up as we move forward. Continue to review your progress and your work. For the weekend I want you to read and annotate Sojourner Truth's "Ain't I a Woman" which can be found in 50 Essays or here. This is probably one of the better versions online because it retains Truth's vernacular as well as most of her physical additions to the speech. Due to the fact that the speech is so short, please read it thoroughly and be ready to discuss it as well as the Amy Tan piece. Also, I expect that you will all be to the end of chapter twelve and ready to discuss those chapters from The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. This weekend provides you a great chance to get ahead in your reading schedules.

English I:

After today's mega testing I'd like for all of you to reflect on your progress in the first nine weeks. Some of you have really been working hard, and some have not. I don't want any of you to be surprised when report cards come out. So, really think to yourself, "Is this the best that I can do?"

You may want to get yourself a copy of our novel Animal Farm this weekend. We'll begin studying the novel in the second week of November.

Enjoy the long weekend everyone. I'll see you all on Monday for the beginning of our second quarter of the year.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Homework for the Last Week - 10/24 and 10/25


It's our final week of the quarter - there's a lot to be sure that you're prepared for. Look below for reminders.

AP English III:

Do your reading. Do your reading. DO YOUR READING! By Wednesday/Thursday you should be to the end of chapter six in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. I would recommend that you get yourselves ahead in the reading schedule as opposed to being behind. We'll probably not have a chance to really start getting into the book until next week. Next class you'll have your first timed writing assignment - be sure that you have your favorite pen for this. Then pen you'll use for all of our timed writing assignments.

Lastly, be sure that you organize your annotations on Amy Tan's "Mother Tongue" using the question sheet I gave you today in class.

English I:

You need to prepare for two tests - the district test which will (I think) be very similar to the last one you took; and then your Wordskills exam. You'll have both on Wednesday/Thursday. You should also be sure that you're working on your review project. Make sure that you've got your portion done so that when you meet back with your groups next week you'll be ready to put everything together and practice your skits!

As always, ask for any assistance you may need!

Friday, October 21, 2011


I was really proud of those reading bookmarks that I gave you all, and then I realized that the schedule is completely wrong. Dang. Below is the revised schedule, I'll review this with you all in class on Monday/Tuesday.

Chapters 1-6: A day - 10/26 B day 10/27
Chapters 7-12: A day - 10/31 B day 11/1
Chapters 13-18: A day 11/4 B day 11/7
Chapters 17-22: A day 11/8 B day 11/9
Chapters 23-28: A day 11/10 B day 11/14
Chapters 29-33: A day 11/17 B day 11/18
Chapters 34-43: A day 11/29 B day 11/30

Basically this pushes everything back one class. Sorry for the confusion. Notice that there's a week in the middle where the reading is a bit heavy, I would try to really be ahead that week.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Homework for the Weekend - 10/20 and 10/21

We've only got one more week until the end of the quarter. I hope that you all are working hard to a strong finish and preparing to move forward to the second nine weeks. Remember, things will only get more difficult from here on out. It's important that you ask for help if you need it!

AP English III:

Remember that you have your reading assignments for The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn on your reading bookmarks. Even if I don't remind you of these assignments, it is my expectation that you will follow the schedule that you were given. For Monday's class I would like for you to read Amy Tan's "Mother Tongue" which can be found in 50 Essays or at the following website. Please annotate the article heavily. As you read, you may find it productive to think about the idea of language and what it says about a person; the same way that we discussed this idea of language and identity in Twain's "Explanation." It's a very intersting piece which I hope you will all enjoy.

Furthermore, I did want to let you all know that you will have your first timed writing assignment in class on 10/26 (A-day) and 10/27 (B-day). You will get the prompt as we begin and then you will have 50 mintues to draft an essay. Please be ready by reviewing all of your bootcamp notes.

English I:

I think that slowly but surely we're starting to reach an understanding about what I expect in this classroom. Don't just look at your grades and get angry, do something about it. Come see me outside of school, start changing your behaviors so that your grades will also change. Ask for help!

Tonight for homework I would like for you to reflect on the stories we've read in this unit. They are:

  • "The Cask of Amontillado" by Edgar Allan Poe

  • "The Necklace" by Guy Du Maupassant

  • "The Lottery" by Shirley Jackson

  • "The Most Dangerous Game" by Richard Connell

  • "The Interlopers" by Saki

In your reflection I want you to tell me which story was your favorite and why.  Your response needs to be one page long. Make sure that you use good details, but as we discussed in class, don't just list the details - explain why the details are important - how they make you like the story.  Use quotations and explain their meaning.

Also, you should begin to study for our vocabulary unit exam. This will be happening on the 26th and 27th of next week which is the same day as your district test.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Homework/Announcements - 10/18 and 10/19

AP English III:

Phew, take a break. Tonight I'd like for all of you to recover from your first big test. Eventually I'll write a test that you can actually get done during class. But for now, I appreciate the fact that you're coming outside of class to get things done. Tonight, all you need to do is get yourself a copy of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. If you need me to get you one from the bookroom, please let me know either by speaking to me or sending me an e-mail. I'll try to get a few extra copies for Thursday/Friday so that you can check one out if needed.

English I:

I'm starting to see some improvement in all of you regarding what we talked about last class. Keep coming during lunch, and keep asking for help. Tonight, for homework, you need to read our final story in this unit which is called "The Interlopers" by Saki. It starts on page 151. After you read, I would like for you to answer questions three, five and six in your literature notes. We'll then use your responses and notes to get ready for our class discussion. I will check your notes for a grade.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Attention B-day Students!

Your assignment to prepare for Wednesday is in the post below.  Remember everyone that the quarter is ending next Thursday - if you've got outstanding assignments that can still be made up, you need to get on this.  All of you will be getting progress reports this week too - AP students can expect theirs on Tuesday/Wednesday; Freshmen will get reports on Thursday/Friday.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Homework for the Weekend - 10/14

A few things for all over the weekend and on into Tuesday/Wednesday of next week.  Review, prepare, finish the quarter strong.

AP English III:

Over the weekend you have one major thing to do - which is to study for your examination on Transcendentalism. As I stated in class today, portions of the multiple choice will be open book, but you won't be able to use your notes at all. You should still study those pieces thoroughly so that you use the book as a resource and not as a crutch. Half of your exam grade will be multiple choice and half will be short answer. There are four sections on the short answer, each with two questions, you will choose one question from each section to answer. Recall that these are not meant to be essays, but you may need more than just one paragraph to answer a few of these questions. If while you're studying you have questions, please e-mail me or leave me a comment in this thread so that I can get back to you as soon as possible.

Also, please get yourselves a copy of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn - we'll begin our study of this novel on Thursday/Friday. If you need me to get you a copy from the bookroom I will, but you will need to get some post-it notes so that you will be able to annotate in the text. I'm really looking forward to moving forward with all of you beyond the summer reading an on into the later portions of American literature.

Study hard, ask for help if you need it. I'll be here late on Monday if you'd like to come by and ask questions.

English I:

First, if you did not turn in your writing assignment to the box or in class be aware that you are losing points due to lateness.  This does count as a test grade. Make it a priority to get this turned in to me as soon as possible to lose as few points as possible. Over the weekend I would like for you to complete a creative writing assignment based on Poe's "The Cask of Amontillado." Please rewrite one of the scenes in the novel, but instead of using Montressor's perspective as Poe does, tell it from Fortunato's perspective. The point here is that it's the same story, but a different viewpoint.  You should also review the story again and reread it.  There's a really neat song/video of the story that may help clarify the plot. Review it and then reread the story.  Remember to do the vocabulary, which this song doesn't really have...

Also, we're going to be wrapping up our unit on short stories soon. You would do well to start reviewing in preparation for your unit examination.  Remember, A games.


You're getting progress reports next week.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Mad Props!

AP English III:

I'm glad that I can say this for all of you now - mad props to all of you! The past two classes have been absolutely fantastic; you've ripped apart a flawed argument and showed to me that you know how to do all of this stuff. I hope that Friday and Monday will be as good as today when we discuss the end of Grapes of Wrath and King's "Letter from a Birmingham Jail". Your assignment is in the previous post.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Homework - 10/11 and 10/13

Remember that this week we have a strange schedule. These assignments will be due on Friday for A-day students and not until next Monday for B-day students. B-day students will not have their normal class until Thursday as Wednesday's classes will only be about 30 minutes long.

AP English III:

First off, A-day kids, amazing job today. I can't begin to express how impressed I was. I'm looking forward to reading your journals and reflections and getting everything back to you by Friday/Monday. To prepare for our next class I want you to review a few chapters from Grapes of Wrath as we wrap up this unit on Transcendentalism. Please read an annotate chapters 19-21, 25-26, and 29-30. As you read and consider these chapters, try to look for links to Transcendentalism and any other ideas that we've been discussing.

Also, we will be having an exam on the 18th and 19th on Grapes of Wrath and Transcendentalism. In class on Friday/Monday I will give you more details about this test.

English I:

I would like for all of you to read the story "The Cask of Amontillado" by Edgar Allan Poe from the textbook. As you read, you will encounter a lot of vocabulary that may be new to you. I would like for you to complete a vocabulary log in your notes where you write down the word, the page number, a definition for the word, and then finall the part of speech. Please do this in your vocabulary section.

Also, don't forget that on Friday/Monday you will need to turn in your writing assignments and worksheets to the box. Remember that this assignment is counting as a test grade! Do your best and be sure to refer to your notes on writing to help you complete this assignment

Friday, October 7, 2011

Homework for the Weekend - 10/7 and 10/8

All classes have work to accomplish this weekend - B-day Freshmen will get this writing assignment on Monday. B-day AP students should take some time to read the King piece this weekend so that you're ready for next week.

AP English III:

All of you need to continue to reflect and improve on the writing instruction that we've started today. Remember, it's bootcamp! After today you should feel a lot more comfortable about thesis statements and what exactly a thesis should look like. Remember that we'll be building on all of these skills and then we'll culminate with an in-class essay so that I can see how you're doing with these skills.

Over the weekend keep living as a Transcendentalist. Remember that your journals and reflections will be due on Tuesday/Wednesday. We will discuss King in class on Tuesday for A-day and Thursday for B-day as Wednesday's class will only be about thirty minutes long.

English I:

Over the weekend you should begin your writing assignment on The Simpsons and "The Most Dangerous Game" - I'm including the link to the video clip here so that you can rewatch it if you need to. Remember to use the notes we went over today to accomplish this assignment. See me during lunch or at study hall to get help. These are going to be due on 10/14 for A-day and 10/17 for B-day. Remember that it will count as a major test grade.

Have a lovely weekend!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Attention Juniors!

Here is the link to a version of King's "Letter from a Birmingham Jail". Be sure to read it closely and annotate it heavily. As you read it, you may want to consider the Transcendental ideas that King is also incorporating into his letter. As I said in the previous post, it's pretty lengthy - all of you would do well to take your time in reading it this weekend. It's also available in 50 Essays.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Homework for 10/5 and 10/6

Sorry that I'm late in posting this.  It just slipped my mind as I was leaving.

AP English III:

I've finally finished those summer assignments.  And now I know where we all are as to writing and looking at literature.  I think that a lot of you have really improved the way that you're looking at literature from our first few weeks together - but we haven't spent any time working on writing.  As I said today in class, we start bootcamp soon.  We're going to spend time every day of class looking at a particular element of writing and then working on that element.

Your homework for tonight is to finish your first vocabulary bookmarks and to continue living as a Transcendentalist.  Please make sure that you follow the instructions on the bookmarks.  Also, I suggested that you all get going on reading Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "Letter from a Birmingham Jail" - this will be assigned next class, but it's pretty weighty, so you may want to take a bit of extra time on it.

Lastly, we're going to start reading The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn very soon.  I would recommend that you secure yourself a copy in the next few days and start reading.

English I:

In a strange turn of events you all don't have any homework tonight.  Though, you do have another major writing assignment coming soon related to "The Most Dangerous Game" - I would have given it to you today, but we didn't have a chance to discuss the assignment.  To prepare for this assignment you could review the story and pay particular attention to the characters of Rainsford and Zaroff - these may be focal points of your assignment coming up.  Also, you will have a grammar test before the end of this quarter - studying your grammar packets would be a good idea.

Lastly, we will be studying our novel for this year - Animal Farm - next month.  You may want to get yourselves a copy of this book.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Homework for 10/3 and 10/4

To prepare you for class on Wednesday and Thursday I would like for you to do the following.

AP English III:

Before you come to class next you should make two entries in your bluebooks about your life as a Transcendentalist. Remember that you are expected to make an entry every day and that these will be collected next week. In addition to your writing I would like to be sure that you've read the piece by Thoreau and the piece by White in 50 Essays. The White piece can be accessed at the following link. Thoreau can be found either in the earlier post or at this link. Please be sure to read an annotate heavily. As you read the Thoreau, definitely consider the ways in which Thoreau is exemplifying the philosophy of Emerson. As you read White, consider the fact that this is written after Thoreau's time.

We will spend the majority of class on Wednesday/Thursday working through these pieces and playing some poker.

Lastly, I'll be collecting vocabulary bookmarks soon. Be sure that it's complete!

English I:

Today's class was cut a bit short due to our district test. I'll be sure that we get that time back on Wednesday/Thursday. For tonight I would like for you to review your reading of "The Most Dangerous Game" - think especially about those ideas we discussed in class. Then, based on your reading and our discussion I'd like for you to answer question three in paragraph form. This homework will need to be turned into the homework box to recieve credit.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Online Textbook

The freshmen already have this information, but I figure that it may be helpful for those juniors who would also like to review the passages we study from the textbook.

To access the book, go to  You'll need a username and password to access the book.  I can generate a personalized one for you at school, but to access it this weekend you can use the following username (generic68) and the password (t9v2a).

Let me know if you have any questions!

Friday, September 30, 2011

Homework for All Classes - 9/30/2011

I know that yesterday and today have been a bit hectic. I want to use this post to reiterate what needs to get done before you all come to class on Monday/Tuesday.

AP English III:

Over the weekend I would like for all of you to read Thoreau's "Where I Lived, and What I Lived For" - it can be found in 50 Essays or at the following link. As you read, please annotate. Think especially about what we were talking about with "The Over-Soul" and Emerson's other pieces. In class on Monday/Tuesday we will dive deeper into Transcendentalism by discussing Emerson's "Nature" and "Self-Reliance" as well as a bit of this Thoreau. Please have everything read and considered before you walk in.

Also, I will be collecting vocabulary bookmarks next week to begin our vocabulary process. I'm looking for twenty complete entries.

English I:

Over the weekend you all need to read "The Most Dangerous Game" by Richard Connell - it can be found on page five of your textbook. As you read I would like for you to do something. Once you finish reading a full two pages of the story, I would like for you to write down one quotation from those two pages and next to the quote write a brief explanation as to why you wrote it down. For example, if you see suspense or imagery in a quote, you would then want to include that in your response. These quote logs will be helpful in beginning to discuss the story on Monday/Tuesday.

Also on Monday/Tuesday you all will have your first district assessment. To prepare for this, I would recommend that you study your notes from our first unit on Autobiography and Memoir. Pay particular attention to our discussion of plot, tone, foreshadowing, theme, and other important literary devices. Come to class prepared!

Enjoy the weekend - enjoy your reading and studying!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

New Year's Eve - 9/28

Just as a reminder, no homework for all classes.  Enjoy the New Year :)

B-day Students - thank you for being prepared for class (for the most part) - I think our discussion was pretty productive and I hope that you walked out understanding what Emerson is doing a bit more effectively.  Try to spend some time reflecting on these ideas and how they intersect with The Grapes of Wrath before we get back together next week.

L'Shana Tova!  Happy New Year, 5772!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Homework for 9/20 and 9/21

Seeing as I will not be here on Thursday in observance of the Jewish New Year I am not assigning any homework tonight.  However, you will all get an assignment to complete from the substitute in class on Thursday.

Since you have nothing due next time I see you, you should use tonight to get caught up.

AP English III:  I wasn't super impressed with the annotation check.  Go back, actually read the article, and think.  Remember, I'm not asking you all to do anything that I'm not doing either.  The piece is difficult, but it doesn't mean that you have the right to quit.  You all need to rise to the expectations, not meader in the dust.

English I:  If you didn't turn in your reminisicence assignment today, please make sure that you turn it in to me on Friday or put it in my box.  Get it in as soon as you can, remember that this counts as a major test grade and that you will lose ten points for every day that it is late.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Homework for 9/23 and 9/26

Finally, the weekend.  A-day students, I hope that you enjoy the reading this weekend.  B-day students, you'll get this on Monday.

AP English III:

I really want for all of you to hold on to everything that we said about Reverend Casy today in class.  It'll help you to understand what Emerson is writing in his article called "The Over-Soul".  For the weekend, please read and annotate heavily this article.  This should provide you a lot of vocabulary words for your bookmarks as Emerson's vocabulary is pretty expansive.  This article is definitely not easy to read, and you will probably need to read certain passages more than once.  Please, as you annotate, write down any questions that you have - we will try to answer these as a class in our seminar on Tuesday/Wednesday.  There are a few ideas that I noted while I was reading that you may want to look for as you read to give you a bit more help in understanding:
  1. Look for the idea of unity throughout this piece.  Remember that this is one of the most important things about Casy.
  2. Pay attention to how Emerson refers to G-d throughout the piece.  There are areas where he begins to change this conception.
  3. Think about all of the absolutes that we have in life (time, morality, etc.) - What is Emerson's approach to these things as stated in the article?
  4. Pay attention to goodness, this goes along with number three - but is slightly different.
  5. Investigate the importance of simplicity in Emerson's work - this may be especially interesting to consider given the increasing complexity of the Joad family's world.
Annotate, annotate, annotate.  Read and think.  It's not an easy piece, but I'm sure that you all are up for the challenge.

English I:

You all have two things to accomplish before our next class.  First, you need to complete your reminiscences and have them ready to turn in.  Remember that you will need to turn in your final draft, your rough draft, and your peer editing sheet.  Failure to turn in all the required pieces will hurt your grade.  If you've given me a draft, or if you need to meet with me to go over your draft to earn back points, your final opportunity to do this is going to be Monday study hall.  I'll be here late to help you.

The second thing that you need to do is read Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery" - as you read, in your notes, complete a character list and jot down important quotations from the story related to the characters.  You should be able to write down at least two to three quotations for each character you list.  Remember that quotations are anything from the story - not just what people say.  I hope that you all enjoy reading this a lot - it's a great way for us to start this unit.  Keep your notes in your notebooks - I'll check them at the beginning of class.

Have a lovely weekend!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Homework for 9/21 and 9/22

AP English III:

For tonight I want you to go back and reconsider some of the earlier portions of The Grapes of Wrath.  Please reread and annotate heavily the following sections - remember to look especially close for the following topics or motifs in each section:
  • Chapter 4 - Starting at paragraph which begins with "Joad carefully drew the torso" (23) to the poem in the Christmas card (27).  Here pay attention to Casy's philosophy and any irony you see.
  • Chapter 5 - Pay attention to symbolism and the idea of the American Dream.
  • Chapter 7 - Look at money and greed.  Perhaps consider the conflict between morality and money.
  • Chapter 8 - Look for the person to animal motif; also, begin paying attention to the different characters and make your character list.
On Friday we'll begin to break down this section of the text and then move forward to more of our philosophical dealings.  Don't forget to bring your copies of Grapes for next class.

English I:

You, officially, have no homework tonight.  Relax after your exam.  Work on your reminiscence.  Make time to see me to get my feedback.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Homework for 9/19 and 9/20

AP English III:

For our next class you should spend some time relaxing, relaxing with the Joad family.  We're going to begin our study of The Grapes of Wrath next class - it's my goal that those of you who didn't like this book this summer will find something to like by the end of our consideration of it.  Begin by rereading and annotating chapters one through three.  We'll begin discussing on Wednesday/Thursday.

English I:

You all have your first test next class.  STUDY!  Use your notes, your copies of the stories, and anything else that would be helpful for you.  Be ready!  As of now this is a closed note exam!

Also, revise your writing assignments.  I will be available after school on Wednesday and Friday to look at essays and offer feedback.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Homework for the Weekend - 9/15 and 9/16

AP English III:

Juniors - What you need to do over the weekend is finish all of the stuff in the previous post.  The most important thing is to be ready for your assessments on The Great Gatsby - the skit and the quest.  We'll be doing both of these on Monday/Tuesday.  Also, I'll be collecting your Petrunkevitch/Woolf tone comparison essays on Monday/Tuesday as well.  This is meant to be a way for me to see how your analytical and formal writing skills are.  Please come and see me Friday afternoon if you need any help with it.

Lastly, you will want to find The Grapes of Wrath and begin rereading.  I would recommend you start with chapters one through three.

English I:

Over the weekend you need to complete the draft of your reminiscence assignment.  Remember that you aren't telling the story of your whole life but of one particular moment in time.  You need to fill your story with details and imagery that will then make everything clear to me.  We will be peer editing these assignments on Monday/Tuesday as well as reviewing for our exam.  These writing assignments will count as a major grade - so they need to show off your skills.

Speaking of major grades, you should probably start studying this weekend too.  I would suggest spending the weekend reviewing "About School" and the pieces by Malcolm X.  Next week, work on reviewing the remaining pieces.

If anyone needs help on anything, please come see me Friday or Monday afternoon.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Homework and Announcements - 9/13 and 9/14

AP English III:

For tonight you have a few things to be working on, they're listed in the order of importance.

  1. Be aware that your Gatsby skits need to be ready and rehearsed by next week. These should be polished performances that are captivating and show a high amount of attention to detail in the text. Follow the guidelines in the assignment sheet.

  2. You will have a quiz on The Great Gatsby next Monday and Tuesday. The quiz will have quotes and short answers - begin to reconsider some of the important quotations of the novel - try to find some new ones. Remember to always consider and reconnect to the author's purpose.

  3. Today in class I handed out the Petrunkevitch article as well as a graphic organizer to prepare you for your compare/contrast assignment on tone. We will not discuss the article in class - it is meant solely for you to use in constructing your response. These writing assignments are also due next Monday/Tuesday.

  4. Finally - we will wrap up Gatsby on Thursday/Friday - if you have any residual questions that you feel have not yet been addressed, please bring those with you Thursday/Friday.

English I:

Tonight for homework I want you all to reflect on the piece "How to Eat a Guava" by Esmeralda Santiago. I want for you to use the notes that we took on writing last class to construct an effective paragraph answer to a question about the story. Honors students should answer question eight on page 546. Standard students should answer question nine on page 546. These paragraph responses will be due to the box before Thursday/Friday and they will count as a quiz. Don't miss this chance to improve your scores - come see me if you need extra help.

Also - a quick note on textbooks - if you have trouble with the online textbook please let me know via e-mail immediately. A lot of you told me that you couldn't complete the assignment because of technology issues - I can't fix these problems after the fact. Let me know once it happens so that we can try to find a solution.

Lastly, Freshmen will have an exam next week on autobiography and memoir. Begin to study now! The test will happen on 9/21 and 9/22.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Homework - 9/9 and 9/12

Welcome to the weekend. It's not a long weekend, unfortunately, but we do have a PLC day next week to make life a bit easier.

AP English III:

Today in class you got some time to begin your final assessment on The Great Gatsby - your dramatization project. This will count as a major grade and I've already given you the rubric for how you're going to be graded. You have ten days to prepare, which is a lot of time. Make sure that your presentations are polished and show a lot of time and attention to detail.

Over the weekend I'd like for you to read Virginia Woolf's "The Death of the Moth" which is in 50 Essays and also available at this link. Remember to bring a copy to class that has been heavily annotated. In addition I'd like for you to reread and annotate chapters seven and eight of The Great Gatsby. I think it's pretty obvious given what the title of the essay is and what happens in these later chapters what we'll be discussing on Tuesday/Wednesday.

As I said today, it's important that you begin to look at all of these small details and see how they're coming together at the end to really reinforce Fitzgerald's purpose.

English I:

You all need to read a very short piece called "How to Eat a Guava" which is in your textbook on page 542. As you read I want you to do the following in your literature notes section. First, make a list of any quotations in the story which contain imagery. Then after you've read the story state the topic and the theme of the story. Remembering of course our discussion from a few days ago on the difference between topic and theme.

Also, we're almost done with our first unit, you'll have your first test very soon!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Homework - 9/7 and 9/8

Welcome back after the long weekend. I hope that all of you enjoyed the mini break - especially the fact that you didn't have any English homework. Tonight, however, you do have a few things to accomplish.

AP English III:

I think that today's exercise in interruped reading went really well. Remember that the thing about AP is to look at all of those minute details and see the trends and then comment on the author's purpose. Always tie it back to purpose. For tonight's homework I want you to reread and annotate chapters five and six of The Great Gatsby. I'm only planning on us spending about two more days on Gatsby so you will want to find the Joad family and get them all piled up in the truck - we'll be seeing them soon.

Furthermore, you'll have time next class to work on your group assignment. It may be a good idea for you to think about who you'd like to work with tonight as well as which section of the text you'd like to cover.

English I:

I hope that after today's class the idea of theme will be a lot clearer. For tonight you have an assignment that is due to the box on Friday (A-day) and Monday (B-day). Everyone will need to read "Go Carolina" by David Sedaris and complete the worksheet. The worksheet should be turned in to the box. Honors students also need to read Sedaris's "Me Talk Pretty One Day" but you won't need to worry about answering questions until your first test. This test is coming soon! Start to prepare!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Just a little reminder...

Namely to the AP kids, but Freshmen take notice.

We're outside of the "beginning of school adjustment period." I've noticed a lot of you in class haven't had the reading assignment, there have been a bevy of excuses. All of which I've tolerated. This ends tomorrow and the gloves come off.

No homework tonight for B-day. Get your minds right.

Next time I see you all, you should all have everything you need to be successful and capable in class (brains, books, blue books).

Friday, September 2, 2011

Weekend Work - 9/2

A-day students in all classes have no homework over the weekend.  I'll be enjoying the weekend and celebrating my birthday, I hope that you all will too.

B-day students, you won't have any homework on Tuesday night, please remember that you do have assignments due on Tuesday morning.  Look in the previous post to remind yourself of what they are.

Have a lovely weekend everyone!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Homework and Reminders - 8/31 and 9/1

I'm really enjoying the fact that we're getting into the swing of things. Thank you for a productive and interesting conversation today in all of my classes - below are the assignments for you to complete in preparation for the next class.

AP English III:

Today's discussion did not cover nearly the amount of detail that I wanted to about chapters two and three - we'll pick up with that on Friday/Tuesday. So, definitely revisit your annotations and your reading. For the next class I would like for you to read and annotate Stephanie Ericsson's "The Ways We Lie" - this can be found in 50 Essays or at the following link. Print a copy and bring it with you to class. We will have an activity tying The Great Gatsby and this piece together.

Also, don't forget that your "Introduction" pieces are due on Friday/Tuesday. Please have both your final draft and your rough draft.

English I:

For tonight you have one assignment that needs to be turned into the box and one assignment that should be brought to class. Your "The Me You Don't See" paragraphs should be turned into the box on either Friday (A-day) or Tuesday (B-day). Remember that the final draft will count as a quiz grade for everyone. The rough draft will count as a homework assignment. You also need to read the excerpts by Malcolm X and complete the worksheet as notes - we will review the worksheet in class on Friday/Tuesday. Be sure that you complete all parts of the worksheet and bring any questions you have to class.

Also, Freshmen, if you didn't get your "About School" worksheet to the box, make sure that you go to study hall. Get your points back!

Monday, August 29, 2011

And now it's time to really get going

It's time for us to have a full week of school.  I know that I'm looking forward to getting to know you all better as readers and writers this year.  Below are the different assignments for each group.

AP English III:

Today's seminar began to scratch the surface on these two pieces which we will continue to study throughout this unit on The Great Gatsby.  For our next class, we will really begin getting into Gatsby - starting with chapters two and three.  Make sure that you have reread and annotated chapters two and three.  Remember as you annotate to look for EVERYTHING - we'll talk more about how to annotate in class on Wednesday/Thursday.

In addition to this reading you also should be revising and polishing your introduction assignments.  I'll be collecting these on Friday/Monday.  Be sure that you see me for my opinions/critiques if you need it.  After-school on Tuesday or Wednesday would be a great time to see me.

English I:

It's time for us to start using the homework box.  Your worksheets on the poem "About School" are due to the box on Wednesday (A-day) and Thursday (B-day).  Any homework not submitted on time will need to be completed during study hall.  I was impressed with the fact that a lot of you had your assignments today.  Keep that going!  The paragraphs that you edited today will be collected on Friday/Monday.  These paragraphs will count as a quiz grade.  Make sure that you see me if you need extra help.  Also, don't forget when you turn in your final draft that you also turn in your rough draft.  I'll remind you of this next class.

See you all on the flip side...

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The First A-Day of School!

Just think, tomorrow you get to do the first day of school all over again. It was really great getting to meet all of you this morning; I'm really looking forward to working with you all this year. Below are the assignments for the weekend. I will post every A-day; if there are changes for B-day students, that will be noted after the B-day.

AP English III:

There are a few things to get done this weekend for me. First, you should all begin by reading and annotating Barbara Lazear Ascher's "On Compassion" - this can be found in 50 Essays and online at the following website. Copies will also be available for pickup from my room Friday. Second, you should all reread and revisit your annotations for "On Dumpster Diving" by Lars Eighner. On Monday/Tuesdsay we will have a seminar on these two pieces. Be ready to discuss them and rip them apart as only AP students can. Finally for reading, I would like for you to begin rereading and annotating chapters two and three of The Great Gatsby - we will begin studying this text on Wednesday/Thursday.

For writing over the weekend I would like for you all to complete the "Introduction" assignment as explained on your handout. Remember to follow the guidelines and have fun with this assignment. We will edit these in class on Monday/Tuesday.

For AP students, the online parent form can be accessed by following this link.

English I:

This weekend you have some business to take care of for next week. First, if you didn't complete the "Tell Me About You" questionairre, plese finish that over the weekend and have it ready on Monday/Tuesday. You also need to complete the paragraph assignment called "The Me You Don't See." Remember that this also needs to be brought to class for peer editing on Monday/Tuesday. Use the guidelines that we discussed today in class to finish this assignment and do it well.

Finally, make sure that you get your school supplies and that your parents fill out the parent contact sheet. The online form for English I can be found by following this link.

All Students: If you have any questions feel free to e-mail me or leave a comment on the blog. Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Done! Donezo! Finito!

I think I just needed to do the requisite end of the year post.  I hope you all come back and visit me next year; I'll probably be in a new room next year - so work hard to find me.

I'm at a workshop all week - summer starts for me on Friday afternoon.  I hope you all have wonderful summers:  relax, read, get tan, and ride your bikes!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Juniors - Preparing for Next Week


Your exam is scheduled for the morning of Thursday, June 2, 2011.  We will have a review period on Wednesday afternoon.  If you were not in class today (or just aren't sure)  you should e-mail me and figure out if you are exempt from the exam or not.  Don't just assume something and then get a phone call from me on Thursday about why you aren't taking your exam.

For those of you that are exempt I will be figuring out your grades over the weekend - you may want to take the exam in order to push you up to the next grade level.  Numbers and grades will be ready on Tuesday.  See me AFTER SCHOOL for this information.

Thursday, May 26, 2011


WHOOO!  All of you are done with class and now you start exams.  The schedule of exams was in the last post as was the review sheet.

For tonight, get a good night's sleep.  Eat a good breakfast tomorrow (eggs, yogurt, peanut butter and carrots, oatmeal) and be ready!

Think about the matchboxes we've done lately - what kinds of questions have you missed (literary terms?  comprehension?  opinion?  grammar?).

There are some online practice examples that you can use if you feel it necessary.

Texutal Analysis: Literary Devices, Opinion, Style, Comprehension

Grammar and Editing

See you soon - feel free to come by after school for extra help if you need it.

Juniors - Final Day of Class

Tomorrow we'll finish presentations and wrap up the end of your Junior year.  I know that you all are looking forward to summer, I am too.  We've done a lot of good work this year and I've really enjoyed a lot of your discussions and insights about literature.  I've been making it a point to grade research papers so that I can give it back to you after you present your final project.

Those of you presenting tomorrow - I'll have your papers ready by the time I leave the building on Friday, which is usually around 4:00.  Please come and get your graded papers then or inquire via e-mail.  I'll also have exemption information for you all tomorrow.  Remember that the final can only help your grade if you are exempt.  I should have your grades figured out for those of you that are exempt by Tuesday (maybe even Friday afternoon).

The review session for our class will be held Wednesday afternoon and the exam on Thursday morning.  I expect you to attend if you are taking the final exam.

Lastly, if I've given you your paper - please make it a point to put it in your writing portfolio.  If you did a group paper, make copies for everyone.  I can even do this for you if you'd like.  Just give it to me Friday.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

EOC Review Sheet


It's the end my friends.  Time to study.  Time to be ready for your exam.

A1 - Your exam will be Friday morning in one of the two computer labs.  Remember to show up early to the exam room as showing up late will likely lock you out of the system.

A2 - Your exam will be on Tuesday beginning at 11:12.  Remember to take the first lunch after your B1 exam and then report immediately to the computer lab.

B1 - Your exam will be on Tuesday morning.  Don't be late!

B2 - Your exam will be on Wednesday morning.  Don't be late.

Below are the terms from the EOC review sheet.  Remember that you should know what all of these terms are and be able to apply that knowledge in identifying their use in reading passages.  As you study, don't just think of definitions, but think of examples of the device too.

• alliteration
• assonance
• character
• direct and indirect characterization
• character trait
• connotation and denotation
• conflict (man vs. man, man vs. self, man vs. nature, man vs. society)
• internal conflict
• external conflict
• figurative language
• hyperbole
• imagery
• onomatopoeia
• metaphors (direct and indirect)
• simile
• epic simile
• extended metaphor
• allusion
• aside
• author
• autobiography
• ballad
• blank verse
• climax
• comedy
• comic relief
• couplet
• dialogue
• diction
• drama
• monologue
• epic
• epithet
• flashback
• flash-forward
• foil
• foreshadowing
• free verse
• haiku
• iambic pentameter
• meter
• irony (situational, verbal, dramatic)
• lyric poetry
• mood
• myth
• narrator
• paradox
• personification
• plot (plot diagram pieces)
• poetry
• point of view (1st, 3rd limited, 3rd omniscient)
• protagonist
• antagonist
• pun
• rhyme (end and internal)
• rhythm
• setting
• short story
• solilioquy
• sonnet
• speaker
• stanza
• line
• style
• suspense
• symbolism
• theme
• tone
• tragedy

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Homework for Juniors - 5/24/2011


There's a few things that you need to accomplish for tomorrow's class.  Here they are:

1.  You need to complete your character worksheet and then complete your reflection on the activity today in class.  I'll collect both of these tomorrow.

2.  You'll need to turn in your rough drafts of your research papers.  Remember, like I said today in class, you should aim to make these as good as you can.  I'll be assigning you a grade based on the rubric and then I'll have these ready to give back on Tuesday.  Come and see me to get the papers.  Revised papers will be due NO LATER THAN 4:00 pm on Friday.

3.  Have your presentations ready.  I'm looking forward to them.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Today was the last Monday of the School Year

Isn't that exciting?!


I really hope that you enjoyed O'Connor's "A Good Man is Hard to Find" - I saw a lot of good thinking going on in the room as we were reading and discussing.  We'll finish discussing the story on Wednesday before we begin presentations.  Don't forget that tomorrow we'll be taking C-lunch.  Feel free to come by in the morning to drop off food/snacks/drinks/materials for the party.  Also, don't forget that I'll be collecting your worksheets about your characters to start class.

Lastly, your drafts of your papers are due on Wednesday.  Some people turned them in today which was good - I look forward to the rest of them.


I think that today's activity in going through our portfolios really goes to show just how far you've come as writers this year.  Remember that this is a journey that never really ends.  You always continue moving forward and developing.  Make sure that you spend a good chunk of time over the next few days reviewing those literary devices - as I said in each class, you need to know these things easily off the top of your head.  We'll have our final matchbox on Wednesday and spend some time looking at some literary terminology before the EOCs begin.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Last Weekend before Exams


This weekend you should attempt to finish your research papers.  Remember the requirements.  Remember what you need to do.  I'm here if you need me.  I'll be collecting these from you on Wednesday.  On Monday we're going to spend some time reflecting on ourselves and our writing for this course as well as move on to the last piece of the year.

Also, remember the order of the presentations.  We'll begin those on Wednesday!


Your priority at this point is to focus on preparing for your EOC.  Use the review guide.  Learn those literary terms.  We'll review this sheet in a lot of detail on Monday/Tuesday as well as get our writing portfolios ready for next year.  Wednesday/Thursday will be our final Matchbox and review.

Enjoy the weekend.  Not much more left!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

It's time for the end...


From here on out you should all be focused on preparing for your English I EOC - use the review guides that I gave you last week to get yourselves ready.  Remember that you need to know all of those literary terms so that you can identify them on the EOC and answer questions about them.  You've started seeing sample items the past few days in class - take this practice to help prepare you.

Oh, if you didn't turn in a project, make sure it comes in ASAP.  As I've said, you've had about two months to work on this, waiting until the last minute is only going to cause problems for you.


The drafts of your research papers are due no later than Wednesday of next week - which is the first day of our presentations.  Today was the final day of class time to be spent preparing for these papers.  I highly recommend that you put the papers together over the weekend and then come see me on Monday with a draft.  Use the rubric in your research packs to help you to construct your paper.

Also, you're going to want to think about who you want to be next week and what you're goign to bring for our Lavender Room party.  I'll collect your character choices tomorrow as you spend our final day working on your presentations.