Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Attention Freshmen!

I'm putting a link here to an online version of Romeo and Juliet.  I think that this text will be a bit easier to use than the online textbook due to the fact that there have been a lot of glitches with the online book.  Remember that online book glitches are not a valid excuse for not finishing your homework or doing the reading.  Troubleshoot and find other resources so that you can get your work done.

Monday, January 30, 2012

And thus begins another week...

Thank you Freshmen and Juniors for getting this week off to a great start.  Here are your tasks to complete before our next class on Wednesday/Thursday.

AP English III:

You are now embarking on one of the most amazing journeys that we will have this year as we attempt to answer #whoistheinvisibleman.  Remember what I said in class today about reading a difficult book such as this - the shore is all the way at the end, to make it - you just have to keep reading.  Don't try to understand everything, don't fight the current, just stay with it and keep digesting.  This is the type of book where you won't understand a lot of stuff; mark those passages and bring them to class so that we can work through those questions.  Remember that you're not the only one having trouble; I've probably marked a lot of those passages myself with questions.

Begin on your reading schedules tonight completing chapter one - pay special attention to the Battle Royal scene as we'll be focusing in on that heavily on Wednesday/Thursday.  Also don't forget as you read to fill in your motif chart and annotate heavily.  Continue to think about a lot of the issues we raised in our introductory week last week.

Also, don't forget that your research topics and questions are due next week.  You may want to start developing that and asking for help before the due date!

English I:

Tonight you need to take your notes as you finish reading Act I of Romeo and Juliet.  Remember that Act I, Scene 5 is divided into two parts.  When I check your notes I'll be looking for one set of notes on part one (up to line 92) and one set of notes for part two (line 93 to the end).  You will want to make sure that your Romeo and Juliet notes are well organized as I will be checking notebooks soon.

Also, next class we will have a warm-up check.  It may be a good idea to review your grammar journals as well as your reading very carefully for any potential reading questions.

I think that'll do it.  Enjoy the reading!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Homework for the Weekend - 1/26 and 1/27

Wowzers - feels like this week is just flying by.  I've been having a really good time with all of you this week.  I hope that all of you have been enjoying class.  Here are your reminders and pointers for the weekend.

AP English III:

This weekend I'd like for you to read a bit of a lengthy piece by James Baldwin called "Notes of a Native Son."  It can be found in 50 Essays or at this link.  This essay is highly similar to what we will see in Invisible Man, so I think that it's a good piece for you all to take a look at before we begin studying Ellison.  I want you to continue to really look for the connections between this piece and the Hurston piece that we discussed today as well as any connections to the blues and jazz music that we've been listening to.  We'll discuss this piece on Monday/Tuesday as we begin reading Ellison.

Final note:  Please make sure that you have your copy of the book Monday/Tuesday.  We start reading then.

English I:

Well, now you've met Romeo.  Just wait until you meet Juliet.  For tonight I want you to continue reading and thinking about the play.  Remember that the goal is that as we continue to study and read in class you should find yourself understanding more and more of the play.  Tonight, read Act 1, Scenes 3 and 4 from the textbook.  With each scene, you will want to take your Who, What, Where, When notes.  Remember that you do not need to go into detail about the language, but focus solely on the plot.  What are the plot events in these scenes?

Be sure that your notebook is well organized as I will be checking notebooks next week.  Be ready!  Also, I'll be getting titles from you next class for your projects.  Be sure that you've made a decision about which play you want to study.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

English I Online Textbook


I've created a generic login that all of you can use to access the online textbook if you've lost your original login.  Please navigate to http://my.hrw.com/.  Login with the username gstudent677 and the password n4x4a.

Remember that you have homework due to the box.  Please get this quarter started on a good foot.  Get those four questions answered and submit your answers.  Answer the questions thoroughly.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Homework for 1/24 and 1/25

And with that we get right back into the swing of things.  Below are your announcements and reminders for tonight.

AP English III:

I really hope that all of you enjoyed our musical exploration this morning.  I really want you all to keep coming back to a lot of these ideas as we work our way into Invisible Man - especially this idea of the natural/unnatural that we began to see.  For tonight I would like for you to read Zora Neale Hurston's essay "How it Feels to be Colored Me" which can be found in 50 Essays or at the following link.  Please make sure that whatever version you read that you annotate your text heavily.  Look for the way that Hurston builds on the idea of jazz and blues music and the way that it connects to her identity.  Also be sure that you are thinking about her style and her use of language, like the good AP students that you are.

Finally, if you haven't yet got yourself a copy of Invisible Man or started reading it yet, I would recommend that you do ASAP.  This is the type of book where you can easily fall behind.  Don't let that be you.

English I:

Today we've begun our study of William Shakespeare and one of his most famous plays Romeo and Juliet.  After today's lesson I'm hoping that you all are a bit more proficient at understanding some of the literary devices used in the play as well as some of the language that Shakespeare is using.

For tonight I would like for you all to finish reading Act I, Scene 1 of Romeo and Juliet.  This will take you to page 795 in the textbook.  There are three parts to scene 1.  Part one is what we studied in class.  Part two concerns the Prince's speech to the exit of Lord and Lady Montague.  Part three goes from Benvolio's line "Good morrow, cousin" to the end of the scene.  What you need to do for tonight's homework is two things.
  1. Read the rest of the scene and take your Who, When, Where, What notes on each part of scene one.  Keep your notes in your notebooks.  I will be checking notebooks throughout this unit, consider this your warning.  We will discuss the Why/How in class.
  2. After you read, answer the following questions in complete sentences/paragraphs and submit your answers to the homework box no later than Thursday (A)/Friday (B) morning at 7:30 am.

1.  Look at the Prince’s speech really carefully. What is the Prince’s tone toward the Capulet and Montague families? Pull out three or four examples of diction (word choice) that support your idea. Honors students, explain how three of the words support your tone selection. Standard students, explain one word to explain your choice.

2. Look at the interaction between Benvolio, Lord and Lady Montague and Romeo. What is their family dynamic? Do they seem like a strong family or a weak one? Why?

3. Romeo finally comes on stage and makes his first impression to the audience. What is that impression that he makes? Look carefully at his speech from lines 168 to 192. What is the topic that he is discussing here? What is his tone toward this topic? How do you know? How does Romeo use oxy morons (opposites) in his speech?
4. Play a bit with Romeo and Benvolio’s final discussion. Notice the use of wordplay or pun on the word “hit” - there’s a hidden meaning these two are playing with. Try to figure it out, use the footnotes in Romeo’s speech from 205 to 213 to help you out. Let your brain be dirty.  What is Romeo's meaning?  How does Benvolio react to Romeo's speech?  What does this show about the relationship between the two boys?

All of you will be getting work and papers returned on Thursday/Friday.  We'll reflect on our first semester, and then keep moving together as a group forward to our next nine weeks.  Only nineteen more weeks of school, including exams, not Spring Break.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

The End of the Nine Weeks

And thus ends another quarter and the first semester.  Just a few reminders for the weekend.

AP English III:

We're about to begin what I would consider to be our capstone piece for the year, Invisible Man.  I'm very excited about teaching this book and reading it with a large group of students.  I just read it for the first time last year, so I hope that you'll help me connect some dots in a few places.

I strongly urge that you do all purchase a copy of this book as we will be spending a lot of time with it - an entire nine weeks.  My edition is the one with this cover:

(Thanks, Amazon.com and Vintage International)

Of course our editions don't have to match.  We seem to do quite well with helping each other out in finding pages in different editions.  We'll begin reading on our schedule not next week, but the week after - the 30th/31st.  

I would encourage all of you to start reading in advance, this is a difficult book to start until you find your rhythm with the narrator.  If any of you would like to check out a copy until you get your own to read in advance, I've already picked some up from the bookroom.

Other than that, relax.  Take a load off.  But do get a copy of the book ASAP!

English I:

We'll be starting in earnest on our study of Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare on Tuesday and Wednesday.  I'm very excited to start this with you.  I've already introduced our first major component which is the Drama/Shakespeare project.  Try to decide on a play over the weekend, I'll be collecting titles soon from you - most likely Tuesday and Wednesday.  Please remember that any play not listed on your handout will need to be approved by me in advance.  You must bring me a copy of the whole play for my approval.  

If you haven't had a chance to look over the introductory information on Billy Shakes and England of his time, then I'd navigate to the online textbook (or the paper book) to pages 776 and read as well as take notes until page 783.  There's a lot of good information here which we'll go over to begin the unit on Tuesday/Wednesday.

BTW, Freshmen, Young Jeezy's coming to visit class next week.  I think.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

I am a machine...

At this point I have graded all completed English I tests and vocabulary exams.  If you have not finished either of these two assignments, please try to come tomorrow (Thursday) at A lunch to finish.

Tomorrow I'll be collecting A-day papers from all of you.  All of you have the rubric that I will be using to grade your papers.  Please take a moment to have a parent, friend, or sibling (same age or older, preferably) read over your final draft and score you using the rubric.  You may find some final areas of improvement.

When we begin the next quarter (Tuesday/Wednesday) I'll be handing a lot of work back to all of you and we'll take some time to organize our portfolios and reflect on the first semester.  Reminders about turning in papers are in the post below.  Please follow those guidelines.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Day Before the End of the Quarter

Alrighty - we're hitting that halfway point.  Keep the momentum going into third and fourth quarter.  Be aware that things are only going to get more difficult from here on out.

AP English III:

Students, you have your final papers due tomorrow.  I am very excited about reading these and giving you some feedback as to your overall improvement in your writing.  Today in class I gave you an envelope into which you will put all of your supporting documents.  Below is the list of what to turn in and how I want it.
  • Please STAPLE the following together in the following order:
    • Cover sheet
    • Final Draft
    • Bibliography
    • Rubric
  • Include any rough drafts, especially the one from peer editing day.
  • The Google Docs survey which I will give you on Thursday/Friday.
On Thursday/Friday we'll discuss the last chapter and finish watching Pleasantville.

English I:

Today you had your Animal Farm exam.  I hope that you all felt prepared and successful on this test.  Tomorrow you will have your district test so that I and the powers that be downtown can see how well you're doing on meeting this course's reading goals.  By this point you know the types of questions that you are going to be asked, I would focus on reviewing your notes and looking at your test taking strategies.

You all also have an essay due on Thursday/Friday.  Here is the order in which I would like it submitted.
  • Final Draft
  • Rubric
  • Rough Draft from Peer Editing
    • All of these things should be stapled together in this order.  You may bring your papers to the box, but I would prefer that you turn them in to me in class.
I will see all of you on Thursday/Friday for the end of the quarter!  Finish strong!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Martin Luther King, Junior Day


I hope that all of you have a relaxing day off today.  Juniors, I hope that you especially spend some time today thinking about Dr. King's "Letter From a Birmingham Jail."  Hopefully reading that earlier this year gives you a bit of a deeper appreciation for this day that you didn't have before.

See you all tomorrow!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

AP Additional Announcement


Since next week is a four day week I'm going to hold strictly to my 24 hour rule.  I will see A-day students and discuss papers for the final time on Tuesday.  B-day students, your final day is Wednesday.

On Tuesday/Wednesday we'll discuss how I want you to submit your final draft.

Homework for the Weekend 1/12 and 1/13

I just realized that tomorrow is Friday the 13th, creepy.  Below is the list of things that you need to accomplish over the weekend.

AP English III:

Next week we are going to finish our discussion of The Catcher in the Rye as well as finish our work on the film Pleasantville.  I would like for all of you this weekend to spend a lot of time on your papers.  Make sure that you've put in effort to make your argument clear and your discussion of the literature clearly relates and proves your argument.  Final drafts are due on 1/19 and 1/20.

English I:

You all also have an essay to work on this weekend.  Make sure that you are following the rubric that I gave you last week as you are editing and revising your essays.  That is the same rubric I'll use to grade your essay, so it's a good tool to use.  Your essays are due on the 19th and 20th.

I also want to remind you to study for your unit exam on Animal Farm.  You will want to be sure that you know the book well, but also spend time reviewing your literary devices as well as your grammar notes.  There will be a bit of that on the test as well.  Your test will be on the 17th and 18th.

Next week is the last week of the quarter, be sure that you're finishing strong.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

B-Day AP Students - Additional Homework


As today is a PLC day we did not get the chance to finish our work on Sedaris and the elements of comedy.  I'd like for you all to finish reading the Sedaris piece tonight so that we can begin on Friday with just a bit of a discussion on this before we move on to the Buckley piece.  Remember that the rest of your work for tonight is in the post below.

Here is the link to the Sedaris piece.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Homework for 1/10 and 1/11

AP English III:

You have a few things to work on tonight as we move toward finishing the quarter.  First, I would like to remind you to finish The Catcher in the Rye.  We'll have probably our final discussion on the novel on Thursday/Friday before moving forward to begin our next major piece.  In connection to finishing Catcher I'd like for you to read the piece called "Why Don't We Complain" by William F. Buckley.  This can be found in 50 Essays or at the following link.  Read this thoroughly and annotate it.  Pay particular attention to the argument that Buckley presents and the way in which he goes about proving that argument.

Lastly, papers.  I've been seeing a lot of you this week to conference.  Please keep coming to see me.  I like that I can see a lot of movement with these papers and from talking to a lot of you, it seems as though you're really getting into this new kind of academic writing.  We will continue this type of writing with not a lot of pause as we will shortly begin working on our research papers.

English I:

On Thursday/Friday we will have our quarterly vocabulary quiz on words from Animal Farm - please use the list that I gave you last week to prepare for this.  We will also be having our Animal Farm unit examination on Tuesday/Wednesday of next week.  You should all begin preparing for this if you haven't yet done so.  I'll be giving you a study guide on Thursday/Friday that you can use over the weekend to prepare.

As well for all of you, papers.  Please keep writing and revising.  A lot of you are coming to see me, which is a really good thing.  I'll be collecting your final drafts next week.  Don't miss an opportunity to show how your skills have improved this year.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Homework for 1/6 and 1/9

A few things to accomplish over the weekend.  Spend some time to get prepared and make sure that you're ending the quarter on a really good note.

AP English III:

You're all at very different places in the drafting process which is fine.  You have all of the next two weeks to complete drafting.  Remember that you have your rubrics that will be used to grade the essays.  This should be by your side as you draft so that you know what you're going to be scored on.  Please try to see me next week (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday) after school for conferencing on your papers.

Over the weekend you also need to finish reading The Catcher in the Rye - this should be a quick finish for you as the ending of the book moves quite rapidly.

Lastly, you need to know that you will have another timed writing soon.  It will be an analysis.  Please review your notes on crafting a good analysis so that you are prepared for this timed writing adventure.

English I:

Your biggest priority this weekend is to finish your propaganda homework assignment.  This assignment is due on Tuesday/Wednesday.  Remember that you need to turn in not only your poster but also your worksheet with all seven slogans on it.  Also, Honors kids, remember that you have an additional writing assignment to complete with this poster as well.  The other major priority you have to is to begin revising your essays.  Remember that the essays will be due on the 19th (A-day) and 20th (B-day).

Next week you have your vocabulary quiz.  This will happen on Thursday/Friday.  We also have that Animal Farm examination.  I know that there's a lot to get done here at the end of the quarter, but I'm sure that you all can rise to the challenge.  Please be sure to see me after school to get help on your essays or anything that you're working on for me.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Homework for 1/4 and 1/5

Sorry for not getting this up earlier for all of you.  I had people with me after school and then I had to run immediately to my optometrist appointment.  So, here's your homework for tonight.

AP English III:

The biggest priority for all of you is to really get drafting on those papers.  You've got a workshop for your drafts on Friday (A-day) and Monday (B-day).  I want you to have as much of your paper together as possible for this draft workshop.  You should have at least your introduction and first body paragraph or two put together.  I'll be available after school next week and Friday of this week for you to get some one-on-one help if needed.  I would recommend that as many of you as possible come to see me to get some extra feedback.

I want to remind you all of something really key to this paper.  This is an argument.  You are creating your argument about whatever topic you see; then you use the literature to support your argument.  Most of you are really strong at writing arguments.  I think that some of you are losing that angle of this paper - keep that in mind and keep your argument at the forefront of your essay.  Then you'll do really well.

Lastly, for Friday/Monday, be to the end of chapter twenty-three in Catcher.  Your next reading check will be to finish the novel - some of you may want to just go ahead and finish it.

English I:

Alright - a few things for you all to get accomplished before our next class.  Your first priority it to also finish your drafts of your definition essays.  It seems from talking to a lot of you today that many of you have finished or nearly finished your essays.  Very good work.  On Friday/Monday we will also have a draft workshop and then we'll have chances after school next week for you all to come see me to get some extra help.

One reminder for all of you is to make sure that you always connect your examples clearly to your topic.  From the drafts I've seen so far, a lot of you are leaving me to see the connection to your examples and the idea of leadership, for example.

The homework assignment that you have to complete builds on the idea of propaganda that we discussed today in class.  Follow the instructions on your worksheet to the letter.  When you turn in your poster, you will also need to turn in your worksheet on the slogans.  Honors students, remember that you have an additional requirement to explain your symbolism.  This poster assignment is due on Tuesday/Wednesday for all of you.

Finally, I gave you all your vocabulary list to prepare you for your quarter two vocabulary exam.  Use that list to study and prepare for your vocabulary exam.  You will have that exam next week - get ready over the weekend.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Final Break Update


I'm excited about getting back into the swing of things with all of you tomorrow!  I've just made my final edit of the Google documents for tonight and I won't be posting new comments until tomorrow.

Enjoy the last night of your break.  Make sure that you all (Freshmen and Juniors) have made a lot of progress on your papers - draft workshops are the 6th for A-day and the 9th for B-day.  I'm available before that for those of you who may want to finish things a bit early, perhaps.

Also, don't forget about those novels we've been studying.  Juniors, you have a reading goal to meet.  Freshmen, you should have spent some time reviewing the story over the break.  We will have an exam very soon on Animal Farm and allegories as a whole.

See you in the morning!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

AP Term Papers - End of Break

I'm seeing a lot of you working on your papers which makes me happy, but many of you have really procrastinated on this assignment.  I just finished my read through for today and I saw a lot of you working while I was reviewing what was up from earlier.  I'll do another read tomorrow afternoon with comments for all.

I'm going to make myself available on Wednesday afternoon this week for any individual conferencing that you may need before draft workshop on Friday/Monday.  I'll also be available after school Monday of next week to provide extra assistance.

See everyone on Tuesday.