Archive for November, 2010


Well, I guess that we won’t be viewing the 1963 version of Lord of the Flies after all. Silly frozen water falling from the sky. Anywho, here’s the week:

Monday: I’ll be collecting your Lord of the Flies essays then we’ll be transitioning to a short writing activity about the Hero’s Journey and Lord of the Flies. This activity (see Tuesday) will be the end of our time with Golding’s novel, and I’ll be collecting them afterwards.

Homework: Make sure that you’re ready for the activity!

Tuesday: After Grammar #18 we’ll be having a large group discussion about the novel and the idea of the hero’s journey. Next, I’ll be handing out copies of our next novel, Night.

Wed-Fri: I’m not entirely sure how these days will shape out, so stay tuned. I’ll have a better idea on Tuesday, at which point I’ll post an update for you. I know that Thursday will be Grammar #19, and Friday will be the exam, but otherwise I’m not totally sure how we’ll be addressing the novel. There are a few ideas I have. I’ll keep you posted (get it?!?)

Category : 10th Grade | Blog

Well, after a disastrous snow week (at least as far as my planning goes) we’re back at it. This week marks something of a change for us, away from what we might call colonial literature and to literature of the early years of our nation. We’ll be reading excerpts from Benjamin Franklin and from Thomas Jefferson before moving north from Philadelphia to Boston. Here’s the week:

Monday: In small groups we’ll be dissecting part of a passage from Benjamin Franklin’s autobiography in which he discusses the idea of virtue. In fact, we’ll be starting the day with a 5 minute FreeWrite on the topic. Lastly, we’ll end the day with a discussion of how to properly integrate an author’s writing. It is something that we struggled with on the Scarlet Letter exam, and I want to help you with it.

Note: I’ll be collecting your Scarlet Letter essays on Monday and discussing the response.

Homework: A 1 page, typed response to Franklin’s ideas. Do you think he’s nuts? Are there parts you don’t understand? Think it out by writing it out!

Tuesday: After we discuss Franklin’s ideas I’ll be giving you Vocab #5, taken from Jefferson’s writing’s about religion in Virginia.

Homework: Read Jefferson.

Wednesday: I have a small group activity (which you certainly noticed for the Jefferson reading) that we’ll be working on in class then discussing. During class I’ll be deciding who is eligible to participate in our discussion based on your group work. If you’re working hard, you’re invited to discuss the text with us. If you’re slacking off, I’ll ask you to head to the annex and instead write a 1 page summary and response to the text to demonstrate your understanding.

Thursday: Vocabulary #6 will come from Thomas Paine’s tract entitled Common Sense and we’ll be reading some excerpts from it in class. The period will be given over to you to read the text, as it is rather lengthy, after we do a short pre-reading activity to get you thinking.

Homework: A 1 page, typed response to Paine. Are there pieces that you liked? Pieces that you didn’t get? Pieces that you really hated? Think it through by writing your thoughts!

Friday: Friday is a large group seminar day in which we will discuss how these three authors differ from and are similar to those that we’ve read thus far. I know that there are obvious differences, but for extra credit, think about the early voices we read, those of Smith, Vespucci, Harriot, and others.

Due: The Scarlet Letter response.

Category : 11th Grade | Blog


Well, the snow seems to have gotten the best of us this time around; I’m reminded of the intro to Steinbeck’s novel Of Mice and Men in which he writes “[e]ven the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.” Naturally, I won’t make you turn in your essays tomorrow (Wednesday). Instead, I’ll collect them on Monday, November 29th. If you are already done, feel free to submit yours digitally at The bright side here is that now you have time to color in a turkey picture 🙂

Please, do me a favor and spread the word on this. I know I can’t reach everybody, but I don’t want folks to panic.

Have a happy Thanksgiving.


Category : 10th Grade | 11th Grade | Blog

Happy Turkey Week! Even though I know that the President will pardon a turkey later this week, I can’t help but think of all the other poor birds. So, to remind us all, here’s a fun picture that you can print out, color, and then take a picture with with your family. Good times. (Except for the turkey, I suppose).

Here’s your week:

Monday: As you know, Monday is the day that we’ll be working on peer editing our Scarlet Letter essays. We’ll be using this peer editing protocol, so if you miss class or if you didn’t have your essay ready to be edited you can print it out and have somebody edit it for you.

Homework: Make sure that your essay is ready to be turned in on Wednesday, either in class or at

Tuesday: Tuesday will be the start of our next unit (hooray!). We’re going to transition from colonial literature to a mixture of literature that marks a decided shift in attitudes in the colonies. After a 5 Minute FreeWrite on the notion of virtue our reading will begin with a handful of excerpts from Benjamin Franklin’s journals in which he discusses the idea. Our reading will take place in small groups dealing with a single portion of Franklin’s writing, then we’ll come back together as a large group on Wednesday.

Wednesday: We’ll be piecing together an understanding of Franklin’s writing on virtues, then looking at the list he made in an effort to trace his own success. From this list will come your “homework” over the Thanksgiving break, but I don’t want to spoil the fun.

Category : 11th Grade | Blog

Happy Turkey Week! I thought that, in the spirit of Thanksgiving (which is my favorite holiday, by the way), that I would give you something fun to do in your free time. You can print it, color it, and take a picture of your family with it. It’ll be great.

That said, here’s your shortened week.

Monday: We’ll be peer editing our first drafts using this peer editing protocol. Remember, you need to have an edited first draft before you’re eligible to turn in a final copy. If you forgot to bring one to class for your peers to… um… edit you’ll need to print off the protocol and have somebody else who knows what we’ve been doing have at it.

Homework: Complete the final draft of your Lord of the Flies essay for Wednesday. You can turn it in during class or you can turn in the draft in class then submit the final version at

Tuesday + Wednesday: The last two days of class before the break will be spent viewing the 1963 film version of Lord of the Flies. I’ll be asking you to complete a response to the film which you can find here.

Due Wednesday: Your LOTF essay.

Category : 10th Grade | Blog

Hey y’all! For those of you who missed the notes on Friday about MLA format, click the image below.

MLA Format Guide

Category : 10th Grade | 11th Grade | Blog


So I’ve decided how we’ll be spending our Friday together, and I thought you should know in case you miss class between now and then. This Friday we’ll be putting together our outlines for The Scarlet Letter essay. You can find the outline sheet on page two of the list of potential essay prompts. Additionally, I’ve provided you with the rubric that I’ll be using to grade you. Make sure that you go over your own essay with it before your dirty/pretty drafts are due on Monday.

Category : 11th Grade | Blog

Sorry I’m a day late on this one; I spent most of last night writing an exam.

Here’s the rest of the week:

Monday: We’ll be looking at the theme of fear in the novel through a 5 minute FreeWrite which I suspect we’ll wind up discussing for some length of time. Whatever time is left will be for you to begin reading chapter 12 in Lord of the Flies.

Homework: Finish the novel

Tuesday: In order to fully understand Golding’s novel and some of his ideas we’ll be working our way through a number of his major symbols and attempting to connect them back to some of his own statements about the novel. This is a little scary, in that there is not a “right” answer, per se, but instead myriad answers which might work, as long as they are supported. You can find the exercise here.

Homework: Complete the entry slip for tomorrow’s seminar on the novel.

Wednesday: As I am wont to do at the end of a novel we’ll be discussing it at length. Make sure that your entry slip is done, otherwise you’ll not be admitted to the seminar and will be asked to complete a seminar make-up form instead for credit. You can find the entry slip below:

LOTF Entry Slip

Also, I’ll be handing out the prompt for our LOTF essay on Wednesday, and we’ll start pondering how some of our ideas from the seminar could be applied to the essay.

Thursday: Thursday will be the day for our novel exam. It is a relatively easy exam, provided that you read the text. It is a series of multiple choice questions, a few short answers, and one extended response, and it is entirely open book.

Friday: We’ll be working on crafting a thesis statement and basic outline of our LOTF essays. This is a quick turn around, and there will necessarily be work over the weekend. For Monday you’ll need to have your first draft ready for peer editing, and again, the final is due on the 24th, next Wednesday.

Homework: A dirty/pretty draft for class on Monday.

Category : 10th Grade | Blog

Hmm… A binary week. How fun.

Here it is:

Monday: As promised, I’ll be handing out a review sheet for our exam on Hawthorne’s novel The Scarlet Letter. I’ll be giving you the period to work through it with your neighbors and to answer any questions you might have. You can find a copy of it here.

Tuesday: Also, as promised, we will have our exam on The Scarlet Letter. If you are absent, remember that you must make it up upon your return.

Wednesday: We’ll be starting our Scarlet Letter Essay, which will be due on November 24th. If you plan on being gone that day (early Thanksgiving plans, perhaps), make sure that you either turn it in early or that you have access to so that it isn’t marked late. Here’s the rubric, as well.

Thursday: In order to make sure that you’re successful as you work on our essay we’ll be drafting our thesis and creating a brief outline in class. You can find the instructions for both here. The first draft will be due for Peer Editing on Monday, November 22nd.

Friday: To be totally honest, I’m not entirely sure how we’ll be handling Friday. Stay tuned for a bit more info.

Category : 11th Grade | Blog

Howdy, y’all. Sorry that I’ve been a bit behind in keeping the site totally up-to-date. I’ve had a crazy busy couple of weeks and fell behind. Here’s my attempt to fix that…

Monday: We’ll be working on a response to chapter 8, in which Jack and his hunters finally manage to kill a pig. This is a relatively disturbing scene, especially if you’ve taken the time to read this article detailing author William Golding’s own youth.

Homework: Read chapter 9.

Tuesday: On Tuesday we’ll be watching a scene from the 1963 version of the film (you can find it here) and then beginning work on some opening statements to be made during a mini-trial to determine whether anybody can be held responsible for the boys’ actions. You can find the instructions here.

Wednesday: We’ll be presenting our characters’ arguments in class, and allowing a special judge (I hope!) to make a preliminary determination in the case. Depending on the verdict, this case may, in fact, go to trial…

Homework: Read chapters 10 and 11 for class on Monday.

Category : 10th Grade | Blog