Thursday, September 27, 2012

I remembered that word!

AP Juniors - The opening to a letter is called a salutation. Use that word instead of the lame word I used in class because I blanked.

I enjoyed the seminar a lot today. I hope you all did too. Any comments?

B-day kids. Bring it tomorrow.

Homework for the Weekend - 9/27 and 9/28

And with that it's the end of September.  Onward to October, the end of the first nine weeks, and eventually Thanksgiving break.

Freshman Focus

You all don't have any homework over the weekend but you will want to make sure that you've read the two articles I gave you and thought about the overall questions for each article.  If you didn't get a chance to answer the overall questions, then you'll want to have those answered before walking in on Monday/Tuesday.

AP English III

Over the weekend I want for all of you to do some reading for me.  First, I want you to read E.B. White's "Once More to the Lake."  This piece can be found in 50 Essays or at this link.  Remember to read and annotate carefully.  Try to make links between this piece and many of the other Transcendental pieces we've studied.  In addition, I'd like for all of you to reread the final chapter of Grapes of Wrath - I think that after all of this Transcendentalism discussion you'll understand what Steinbeck is doing at the end of the novel.  Take a second look and let me know what you think.

Finally, be aware that we will be having our first unit test very soon.  The unit test will be on Grapes of Wrath and Transcendentalism.  It would be a good idea to begin reviewing and studying now.

English IV

For the weekend I would like for you all to spend some time preparing for your Book One exam.  You should study vocabulary from the vocabulary list and review chapters one through eight.  By this point you should have notes on all of the chapters; if you're missing something, ask me or a classmate.  Next week we will look at the Propaganda Project and we will begin watching the film version of 1984.  I started rewatching it last night and saw some really interesting things.  I'm looking forward to sharing this film with you all.

Lastly - progress reports went home today for A-day students.  B-day students will get their reports tomorrow.  Please get these signed and returned.  AP parents should be aware of the fact that summer assignment grades will likely go up once students begin to revise their assignments.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Homework for 9/25 and 9/26


I'm out of the building tomorrow in observance of Yom Kippur.  B-day students, I hope that you enjoy your day with the substitute.  Below are your reminders of what you need to have accomplished before you enter class on Thursday/Friday.

Freshman Focus

For Thursday's class we will be seeing several presentations depicting your ideas of the second part of Family Man.  On Thursday you'll have ten minutes to prepare and then we will go through our scenes.  Remember that you need to have a copy of all three skits to turn into me.  You also will want to have props and costumes for your characters as well as any backgrounds or music.  Remember that everyone needs to have a role in the presentation in order to get credit.  You'll be graded as a group on your scripts and then individually on your acting.

AP English III

On Thursday/Friday I'll be collecting your journals for this first nine weeks as well as your tone analysis assignments.  Let me review for you a few of the important aspects of the tone assignment.
  1. You're going to want to structure both an argument and a paragraph clarifying your argument.
  2. Your argument should pass the DADS test.  Part of what I'm assessing is that you have embraced this idea.
  3. I will want to see clear explanation of details from the paragraph you've chosen to help support your argument.  Remember to make connections and explain them.
  4. I'm looking forward to seeing how you all have begun to improve as writers from bootcamp.
English IV

We will be finishing our discussion of Book One of 1984 on Thursday/Friday.  Make sure that you've finished reading to the end of chapter eight to be ready for this.  Also, you will want to make sure you've spent time studying your vocabulary lists.  There will be a vocabulary section on your Book One test.  Lastly, make sure your journals are in order and all the entries are finished as I'll be collecting those too.

Progress reports will go out on Thursday/Friday after I return.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Apologies for Posting Late! Homework for 9/22 and 9/24

Again, apologies everyone!  Here are your reminders for what you need to accomplish before our next class on Tuesday/Wednesday.

Freshman Focus

There is a very important thing you should all be aware of - progress reports are going out next week.  Some of you are missing some assignments, including your Future Autobiography project.  Make sure that you get these assignments done and turned in as soon as possible.  Over the weekend you may want to spend some time working on your skits project.  Consider props and costumes for your character to use during your presentation.  You will have time to work on this more on Tuesday/Wednesday, but you should really attempt to be to the point where you are practicing with your group in class on Tuesday/Wednesday.

AP English III

For our next class I would like for you to begin putting our work from bootcamp into your composition.  I would like for you to take a very close look at one of Dr. King's paragraphs from his "Letter" - take a special look at tone.  Determine what King's tone is and then show me what King uses to develop and make his tone clear to the reader.  Make sure to stay focused just on one paragraph and stay focused on tone.  You should open your piece with an argument about what King's tone is and then prove that argument to be true using evidence from the paragraph under consideration.  The idea here is to focus focus!

English IV

We are going to get into the final bit of Book One of 1984.  Some very exciting things happen to Winston, especially as we get ready to get into Book Two.  We're going to start focusing on a lot of the literary elements of the text and focus in on writing as we move forward.  Continue finding ways to get interested in this text.  Many of you are doing very well in understanding what Orwell is creating in this book.  Read chapter six and seven of 1984 and we will discuss them on Tuesday/Wednesday. 

Enjoy your weekend everyone!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Homework for 9/19 and 9/20

Happy middle of the week, everyone!  A few assignments and pieces for you to consider tonight to prepare for Friday/Monday. 

Freshman Focus

You all have two things due for Friday/Monday.  First, you will need to be sure that you complete the Family Man viewing guide and have all questions thoroughly answered.  This will count as a larger classwork grade, so be sure that it reflects your best work.  The second thing to complete is your Future Autobiography Comic Assignment.  Follow the instructions on the planning guide.  On Friday you will have approximately twenty minutes to put any finishing touches on your work and then we will present.  Each member of the class will be expected to present one comic strip and explain how it shows your personal definition of success.  The presentation will count as a part of your overall grade on the assignment.

AP English III

I want all of you to remember that we are starting a hard journey today.  The journey to improve your writing, which is one of the most important things I can do for all of you.  Remember that I'm always here on Monday and Wednesday afternoons to give personal assistance or guidance if you need it.  Next class we are going to spend some time discussing arguments/thesis statements and then we will go into the King piece thoroughly. 

To add some depth to our discussion of Dr. King I'd like for you to read another piece by Thoreau which can be found here.  This piece is heavily excerpted, but you should be able to do the following:  read it, annotate it, uncover his argument, and compare his piece to that of Dr. King.  Understanding Thoreau will help you to make some leaps to Transcendentalism, which is of course important.

English IV

As we are beginning to explore some of the more significant elements of 1984, I want you tonight to take a bit of time to reflect on what you've learned today about North Korea.  In a one paragraph response I want you to explain to me (1) what is most surprising to you about North Korea, and then (2) explain why that element is so surprising to you.  As we move to Friday/Monday we will begin our first project on propaganda and continue reading to the next section of the book. 

As always, if you have questions - please ask!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Homework for the Weekend 9/13 and 9/14

We've finally started to hit our stride a bit this year.  At least I feel like I have finally gotten back into the swing of school.  Here are some reminders for all of you this weekend.

Freshman Focus

Over the weekend you should spend some time working on your first project grade, your future autobiography comic strip assignment.  As we went through the instructions today it's important that you realize that each moment of success needs to have its own comic strip.  All together, these comic strips will create your future autobiography.  You're not going to be graded on your artistic skills, but I do want to see that they're neat, colorful, focused on your moments of success, and that you're showing me the process which leads to your moment of success in each strip.  You'll have some time to work on these assignments in class on Wednesday/Thursday.  They'll be due on Friday/Monday.

English IV

Over the weekend you will need to read to the end of chapter five in preparation for your first quiz on 1984.  I'm going to ask you questions about the major moments of the plot, the characters, some interpretation questions about important quotes, and your opinion on some of the major issues that this book as raised in class.  There may also be some questions related to the article we read in class about the government's surveillance center.  The quiz will be open book and open note.  Remember that my goal is not to trick you but to see what you know and think about this book.

Make sure that over the weekend you read to the end of chapter five which happens around page fifty-five.

AP English III

I hope that all of you in all of these conversations that we're having in class are starting to see connections between the different elements of the philosophy of Transcendentalism and the different pieces of literature we've been studying.  Over the weekend I want you to read an annotate Dr. King's "Letter from a Birmingham City Jail" - it can be found in 50 Essays or at this link.  As you read, look for the elements of the philosophy which we've been discussing in class.  Use those as your anchors and notice as well what Dr. King's argument is and how he goes about proving his argument.  We will not discuss this piece until Wednesday/Thursday, but do have it prepared.

I think that's all.  Have a lovely weekend everyone!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Homework for 11/12 September

All classes have something to accomplish outside of class before we see each other again, feel free to ask any questions about the assignments in a comment or via e-mail.

Freshman Focus

I would like for all of you to spend some more time thinking about your values and the values of the people around you.  For the Values Venn Diagram assignment I would like to see you compare and contrast your values to those of your Parent/Guardian and one of your friends.  Ask then what they value and then consider any similarities or differences.  Remember that for each person you must consider a minimum of five values.  There are ideas on that sheet as well as other values which we've discussed earlier in the week.

English IV

For homework tonight I would like for you to continue reading Book One of 1984.  This will take you to page thirty-four in our editions.  As you read, continue to be on the lookout for new vocabulary words to learn and new insights about Winston's society.  I was pleased with what you all were noticing today in class and the connections that you were able to make.  I look forward to seeing what other observations you make as we move forward.  Also be aware of the fact that we will have a quiz on this opening part of the book next week.  It would be a good idea to prepare by reviewing.

AP English III

For tonight I want you to continue chewing on Transcendentalism and read one of the most important pieces in this movement.  Tonight you'll read "Where I Lived and What I Lived For" by Thoreau.  This is in 50 Essays and can be found at this link.  Please read and annotate the text and then answer question four from 50 Essays.  The question asks you to consider something like the railroad from Thoreau's text (an object created to be useful but which actually creates a burden in our lives).  I want you to think of a similar object and consider the reasons why this object is burdensome instead of helpful.  Written responses to this question should be no longer than a page (typed, double spaced) and should be ready to be collected at the beginning of class.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Homework for the Weekend and Monday

A few notes and reminders for all of you as we move to the weekend.

Freshman Focus:

You all don't have any homework this weekend.  Please remember that if you haven't turned in your signed rules and policies sheet then you will need to get that to me Tuesday/Wednesday.

English IV:

We've been thrown off a bit what with being moved to a new class and then with the senior class meetings with guidance which have fallen during our class these last few days.  When we get together again on Tuesday/Wednesday I would like to make sure that all of you have read the first chapter of Orwell's 1984.  We will do work with this first chapter on Tuesday/Wednesday to understand what ideas Orwell is setting up for us at the beginning of this novel.

AP English III:

You all have Ralph Waldo Emerson's "The Over-Soul" to read and annotate.  As I said in class, this piece is difficult namely because it is a piece of philosophy and that it was written in the 1800's.  The sentence structure is hard to follow and some of the vocabulary may be over your head.  I want you to keep coming back to Jim Casy as you go through this piece and work for understanding.  Try to find the similarities between Emerson's philosophy, concept of the over-soul, and Jim Casy's guiding philosophy.  This piece is integral in understanding one of Steinbeck's main points in the text.

We will be having a seminar on Tuesday/Wednesday on this piece.  Come with thorough annotations as well as any questions that you would like to raise with the group.

Have a lovely weekend!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Homework for All Classes - 5/6 September

Today was a bit of a first day of school for me.  Meeting new groups of students and starting with some new classes.  I'm excited to get going with all of you.  Here are your reminders to prepare for Friday/Monday.

Freshman Focus

I would like for all of you to turn in your parent contact forms on Friday.  This is your only homework assignment for tonight.

AP English III

For our next class I'd like for you to review chapters three and four of The Grapes of Wrath.  I really want you to focus in on Jim Casy and understand his philosophy.  This way of thinking is going to be very important to the way that we study the rest of the text.  Furthermore, I'd like for you to read chapters five, seven, and eight.  As you read those chapters, focus on the characters, the idea of irony, the American Dream, any symbolism, and the comparison of people to animals.  All of these things are important elements of Steinbeck's writing.

Furthermore, remember that you have writing assignments due on Friday/Monday.  I really appreciate the fact that so many of you have come to see me for extra feedback.

English IV

Tonight I want you to finish reading the first chapter of 1984 by George Orwell.  As you read, remember to continue to add to your character list, noting the name of the character, the page number, and any notes that you got about that character from the page.  Also, continue to make note of new words, we will spend some time on Friday/Monday working through those new words and developing our vocabulary.

Also, I need your parent contact form returned.

I think that'll do it for all of us, see you Friday/Monday.