Archive for December, 2009


Here’s a .pdf of The Who’s classic Won’t Get Fooled Again.

Category : 12th Grade | Blog


In light of today’s activity running over, tomorrow will be a little different than originally planned. We’ll be discussing the passages that you have called our attention to in Speaking of Courage, and then we’ll be making our way through a discussion/activity on the chapter In the Field. You can find the discussion questions here, if you’re not going to be present. Friday is still on schedule to be a combination writing prompt and discussion day.


Category : 12th Grade | Blog


I’ve switched Tuesday and Wednesday around. Why? Because I could. And because I wanted to. Instead of working on The Things They Carried today I presented everything that I have that may be of use to you in working on your Senior Project notebook. You can find the presentation here.

Also, I was asked today how far one should be on the project. I responded that by the end of the Winter Break that one should be in the neighborhood of 10-20 documented hours in order to be on track for graduation.

See you tomorrow, when we resume with The Things They Carried.

Homework: Read Into the Field and Notes.

Category : 12th Grade | Blog

Sorry for the late post; I’ve been crazy busy with wedding things. And today was finacée’s birthday, so we went and rode the carousel down at Westlake Center. I wish I’d brought my camera, mainly because all of the Christmas Lights would’ve made for some sweet bokeh. (If you’re unfamiliar with bokeh, check out Rognov’s photostream at Flickr).

Monday: I want to have a brief discussion of the short chapter entitled Ambush. It is a bit of a mind bender, and I think will provide us with some interesting insights into O’Brien the author. I’d love to post the question that I have for you here, but it will totally ruin the surprise. If you miss the 1/2 page writing assignment, come ask me, or shoot me an email.

Tuesday: We’ll be starting a series of stories in The Things They Carried. The next two pieces deal exclusively with a character named Norman Bowker, and O’Brien has some relatively interesting things to say about him. At the request of a couple of students, I’d like to give you a little time in class to read these two chapters as you simultaneously fill out a short worksheet on Bowker and O’Brien’s characterization of him. You can find the worksheet here. Make sure to have it done for class on Wednesday.

Homework: Finish reading Speaking of Courage and Notes. Also, make sure to complete the sheet on Norman Bowker before class. I’ll be giving you credit for having it done on time.

Wednesday: This will be a split day. The first half of the day I would like to devote to a seminar on the chapters Speaking of Courage and Notes, so make sure that you come with the following: 1. Your characterization sheet. 2. At least one question that you have about the chapter.

The second half of the day will be devoted to Senior Project stuff. Some of you still haven’t finished your proposals, others of you need some guidance on the journals and documentation. I’ll try to provide as much help as I can on both of these fronts. Here is the Journal Template, provided by the district. (It’s a .doc file). This is the link to the Notebook presentation.

Homework: Read In the field (163-178) for class on Thursday. Make sure to prepare at least on discussion question and one passage that you find interesting.

Thursday: I’d like to have a bit of a discussion on the chapters from the previous evening. I have no idea how long this will take, nor what protocol I will be employing to help us converse about the text. Stay tuned here.

Homework: Read Good Form. A quick warning: this chapter will turn the novel on its head, and we need to discuss it.

Friday: Our last day before Winter Break is a two-fold day. The first 25 minutes will be devoted an in-class prompt the previous chapter. You can get the prompt here. The second half will be devoted to discussing our ideas. Simple enough, yes? I’ll collect the prompts at the end of class.

Winter Break Homework: Please finish this novel over the course of Winter Break. It is only four more chapters, and I expect that you will be capable of saying something interesting when we get back. That said, be well, do good work.

Category : 12th Grade | Blog

Five days until Winter Break. And they will be a busy five days. I’ll spare you all the details of my week/weekend and just dive right into our schedule for this week.

Monday: I will first be handing back the exam from last Friday. A few of your classes passed the group average. A few didn’t. (See last weeks post if you’re confused). We’ll be discussing the implications of this today. Also, I’ll be reading you and excerpt from The Coral Island. This novel was the inspiration for Lord of The Flies, but it seems to have a slightly different agenda. I’ll also be collecting/starring your entry slips from last Friday and we’ll be having a mini-seminar on the novel. Lastly (or firstly?) we’ll be working through a brief warm-up on citations.

Tuesday: After a short citation warm-up I’ll be distributing the prompt for our LotF essay on Tuesday and we’ll begin to work on our outlines. I’ll also be posting an outline sheet that we can fill out during class. The prompt is relatively simple: Do you believe that William Golding was right in his assessment of human nature?

Here’s the prompt.

Homework: Complete the outline sheet!

Wednesday: I’m trying really hard to get a computer lab… or a computer cart. Or something to allow us to work on typing up a first draft. I might not be able to get a lab, though. If that is the case, we’ll be handwriting a first draft from our outline sheet in class.  Naturally, there will be a short warm-up on citations.

Homework: Finish your quick and dirty rough draft.

Thursday: After a short citation warm-up we’ll be working through a peer editing exercise on the first draft of the LotF essay. This will take all period, and to receive credit you need to bring in your quick and dirty draft.

Friday: One last warm up, and we’ll work on finishing up our essays. If you need to get some more help, finish revising, whatever, this will be the day to do it. Your essay will be due at 11:59:59 PM on Friday via or in person by 2:15 PM.

Category : 10th Grade | Blog

Highly Addictive

Generally speaking, I find that most boxes contain things… um… inside.

Category : 12th Grade | Blog

This is why it is important to take the time to proof read. Because spell check can’t catch everything.

Cheep House

Seriously. Do baby chicks live there? Cheep!

Category : 10th Grade | 12th Grade | Blog

I’m going to keep this short, mainly because I have to finish eating. Sorry for the late update; I’ve been swamped with weeding mayhem.

Monday: I want to discuss the chapter How to Tell a True War Story. This is one of the most important chapters in the entire novel, and its ideas will come back time and time again.

Homework: Read through The Dentist. Check out the worksheet on the chapter here. You’ll need it for class on Tuesday.

Tuesday: After a short warm-up activity we’ll be discussing the super short chapter entitled The Dentist. While it is short, I think that it goes a long way to illustrate some of the bravado that the young men were dealing with while they were away. You can get the worksheet here.

Homework: Read through Sweetheart of the Song Tra Bong

Wednesday: We’ll be discussing the chapter Sweetheart of the Song Tra Bong through a combination an activity (does anybody have chocolate allergies?) and a worksheet/discussion of the activity. You can find the worksheet here.

Thursday: This will be a reading day. We need to be through The Man I Killed for class on Friday. There will be a seminar. There will be an entry slip. I just haven’t made it yet. (Sorry!).

Friday: Socratic Seminar on the novel, the chapter, and its major themes. Followed by a summary activity that will be required for full credit.

Category : 12th Grade | Blog

Welcome to a very bizarre, highly unusual week. Here’s the deal; I will be teaching very, very little this week outside of our grammar warm-ups. Instead, this will be a Lord of the Flies week. You will be responsible for teaching each other, for collaborating, and for ensuring that everybody has a clue what on earth is going on. With that in mind, here is the suggested reading schedule for the week. I encourage you, as students, to agree on a means of discussing each of the chapters from now until the end of the novel. Here are a few of the things that we have done so far:

A Seminar – Have everybody bring in a question about the chapter (these should be analysis, not summary). Discuss.

Come up with questions in groups then exchange – These can be summary or analysis questions. Both work.

Design a quiz for each other.

Bring in a favorite passage – Share your favorite passage with a small group and discuss why it is important. Share the best ones back to the class.

Make good use of your time here. Your grade (and the grades of your peers) depends on it.

Monday: Grammar Warm-up.

Suggested Reading: Read through Chapter 10 in LotF.

Tuesday: Grammar Warm-up.

Suggested Reading: Read through Chapter 11 in LotF.

Wednesday: Grammar Warm-up.

Suggested Reading: Read through Chapter 12 (the end of the book!) in LotF.

Thursday: After a mini-quiz on Run-on Sentences we’ll be doing a brief review for the LotF exam on Friday. Remember, if the class average is a C or higher (read: at or above 74 percent) then everybody will receive a C or higher. If it is below a C (read: below 74 percent) then everybody will receive a C or less.

Friday: After our LotF exam I’ll be introducing a few extra credit options for the novel. They’re mostly stolen from my colleague Steve Merlino, but they are all pretty fun.

Category : 10th Grade | Blog

If you missed class today, we spent some time creating our own worksheets/study guides for chapter 8 in William Golding’s Lord of the Flies. Here are the instructions that I put on the board. Obviously you’ll be unable to exchange with another group, but I’ll give you credit for completing the study guide.

Lotf CH 8 Question Instructions

Category : 10th Grade | Blog