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.