Archive for May, 2012



Many thanks to Rebekah Way for spotting this one. 🙂

Category : Funny Signs | Blog

Happy post-Memorial Day Weekend, s’mores. I hope you had the chance to get outside and enjoy the lovely weather and the chance to reflect on the significance of the holiday weekend. Let’s jump right to it and take a look at the schedule for the week:

Tuesday: We’ll spend much of the period working through a series of summary and analysis questions that will ask you to consider some of the rhetorical structures present in Antony and Brutus’ speeches. Additionally, you’ll have to make some judgement calls pertaining to the health of Rome and Shakespeare’s take on the public. I’ll have a short lecture prior to handing this out about the climate in England as Shakespeare wrote the play that you may find useful in your analysis. I’ll post notes afterwards.

Homework: Finish the questions. They’ll be stamped, discussed, and collected on Wednesday.

Wednesday: As the homework suggests, we’ll spend a significant portion of the period discussing Act 3. However, we’ll be beginning the period with a short FreeWrite (again, I’ll post it after class for those of you who are not present).

Homework: Read Act 4 for class on Thursday.

Thursday: I’ll have to lecture a bit on Stoicism for you to really begin to understand some of the characters in Caesar, and frankly, for you to be able to complete this set of summary and analysis questions on Act 4, which we’ll be doing together in class.

Homework: Finish the questions. Duh 🙂

Friday: We’ll be discussing our set of summary and analysis questions, of course, but there is also a small activity that I think might help to illustrate some of the themes in the text. It’s super fun, I promise (or it might just be super awkward…).

Homework: Finish the play (or, read Act 5).

Category : Honors 10 | Blog

First, here’s to hoping that you had an enjoyable Memorial Day weekend, and that you had the chance to reflect on the significance of the day. I’ll jump right in here with the plan for the week:

Tuesday: We’ll be finishing up our Short Story Presentations on Tuesday. There are only a handful left to get through, so we should have a little time left. If this is the case, we’ll be transitioning into our activity for Wednesday on Alexie and his short stories.

Homework: Make sure that you’ve read one of the three short stories by Alexie before class starts. Additionally, you’ll need to come to class with a 1 page summary and response to the story. It must be typed or neatly written in blue or black ink. Without this summary and response you will not be able to participate in the activity and will receive a zero. There are no make-ups for this, as I cannot recreate the group atmosphere.

Wednesday: In groups of two or three (each with different stories), I’ll be asking you to create two minute presentation on Alexie’s stories. You are limited to two minutes. I will cut you off. In your presentation you must address the following:

1. A common topic that Alexie is addressing through these stories, as well as what he is saying about this topic (in other words, his theme).

2. At least one important passage that helps us to understand his particular theme.

As you can see, this is a relatively simple exercise, but the trick is parsing apart the difference between a theme and a topic. It isn’t enough to say “Alexie’s stories are often about life on the reservation.” Instead, you must tell us what he is saying about life on the reservation. Your conclusion might be singular in that each of the stories agrees. Perhaps you notice that he is saying several different things. Either analysis is acceptable, so long as you have the ability to support yourself with the text.

Thursday + Friday: We will be watching Alexie’s film Smoke Signals. Naturally, I will be asking you to watch specifically for how Alexie addresses your selected topics.

Homework: Craft a 1 page, typed or neatly written in blue or black ink analysis of Alexie’s work as it pertains to a theme of your choosing. Your analysis must address both his short stories and his film.


Category : 11th Grade | Blog

Hey juniors! I know that this weekend may have waylaid some of you in your attempts to read Carver’s What we talk about when we talk about love, but I’m hoping that most of you found some time to have an iced tea and sit out on your balconies to enjoy what is truly one of his most bizarre stories (especially the ending!). That said, here’s the plan for this week.

Monday: We’ll start the week with a 5 minute FreeWrite on Carver’s short story What We Talk About When We Talk About Love. I’m sure that this will engender a fair amount of conversation, which I’ll be actively encouraging, as I believe that it will help us get to a point where we can address Carver’s perceptions of the way(s) that we love (or don’t?).

Homework: You need to complete your Carver/O’Connor seminar entry slip in your Carver journal. It should be a 1 page response to the following question:

In what way(s) are Flannery O’Connor and Raymond Carver similar? In what way(s) are they different? Please pay special attention to motifs such as Love, Family, Forgiveness, and Death. Make sure to reference the text often, and in MLA format.

Tuesday: I’ll be collecting the Carver journals prior to our seminar on our two authors. I endeavor simply to discuss what you have observed in the course of our mini-unit on these two literary giants.

Wednesday: On Wednesday we’ll be starting our Short Story Project. In groups of 2 or 3 (no more than 3) you’ll be working on these presentations. I’ll show you a couple of examples in class, and then you’ll get to work. The presentations will be on Monday and Tuesday of next week, and we’ll be drawing straws or cards or something to see when each group will go.

Thursday + Friday: We’ll have computers in the room so that you can get right to work on your projects.

Homework: Complete your presentations for Monday!

Category : 11th Grade | Blog

Hey y’all!

Naturally our schedule this week is a touch off at this point. Here’s what is going to happen for the rest of the week and into Monday.

Friday: We’ll start class with a 5 minute writing piece on the story Cathedral, during which I’ll stamp the journal entries you did over Thursday night. I have an in-class assignment on this story that we’ll do together, and we’ll end the day by handing out the story What We Talk About When We Talk About Love.

Homework: Read and create journal entries for What We Talk About…

Monday: We’ll wrap up the our mini-unit on Carver by discussing What We Talk About… with a 5 minute free write and a reflection in class.

Homework: Seminar entry slip for Tuesday. I’ll post more about that soon.

Category : 11th Grade | Blog

Happy Monday, juniors. This week we will continue our short story unit by reading a number of pieces by Raymond Carver. He is often described as a master of minimalism (a technique which leaves much to readers imagination) and is something of a favorite of many of my students’. Before we jump into his work, though, we’ll be discussing O’Connor together.

Monday: We’ll start the week with a relatively simple in-class essay on O’Connor which we will discuss immediately afterwards. This will conclude our work with O’Connor for the time being. You will also turn in your O’Connor journals, which I will have back to you on Tuesday.

Tuesday: I have a short lecture on minimalism as an artistic movement (in music, painting, and writing), then we’ll jump right into Carver’s work with his short story A Small, Good Thing. Naturally, we’ll make a journal for our work with Carver, and you’ll be asked to complete 7-10 passage responses as well as a 1 page reflection on the piece.

Homework: See above.

Wednesday: I’ll stamp your work on A Small, Good Thing and then distribute Carver’s story Cathedral. This one tears me apart for several reasons which I’ll do my best to explain without losing it in class. Again, my expectation is that you’ll read the piece, complete 7-10 passage responses and a 1 page reflection on the story’s major themes.

Homework: See above.

Thursday: After I stamp your work on Cathedral I will distribute our last piece by Carver entitled What We Talk About When We Talk About Love. Complete 7-10 passage responses, a 1 page reflection, and voila, we’ll be ready to discuss Carver in class on Friday.

Homework: See above.

Friday: Again, I’ll stamp our work on What We Talk About... and then we’ll launch into a seminar on Carver, his major themes, and what we take away from his writing. This seminar is not strictly about the literature (though it is…), but is also very much about our own lives. There is a short entrance response that we’ll do in class (in our journals), and I’ll collect the journals to end the week.

Category : 11th Grade | Blog

Hey S’mores! This is a pretty big week, as I’ll be introducing you to your first major essay of the semester. It is, as we’ve stated before, a synthesis essay that I’ve designed to help introduce you to a style similar to the AP Synthesis prompts. We’ll go slowly, and I’ll be posting more details throughout the course of the week, so stay tuned.

Monday: I’ll start the week by simply distributing your essay prompts and walking you through some of the major components of the piece. In some ways, this is a more difficult essay than that which you’ll be asked to write next year, but in others it is much simpler. We’ll discuss that sources that you have to draw upon, the style of the writing you’ll be asked to do, and I’ll go over some basic information you’ll need to be successful (all of which I’ll post after class).

Tuesday: In class on Tuesday I’ll be providing you with a number of different sample paragraphs for analysis. Check you can take a look at a handful of pretty good pieces, along with some analysis of each one, here.

Wednesday: We’ll begin writing our essays on Wednesday, together, in class. Remember, because the synthesis piece is as much a measure of your thinking as it is of your writing that your organization is of paramount importance. You will create an outline which we will then, in small groups, critique. If your ideas are faulty from the start it is a virtual guarantee that the essay will not be successful. This process will, hopefully, help you to ensure that your ideas are clear and well reasoned.

Thursday + Friday: These will be writing days. I’ve reserved the laptops for class (though you may feel free to bring your own, of course).

Homework: Complete your first draft (typed) for peer editing on Monday.

Category : Honors 10 | Blog