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!