Thursday, December 18, 2008

Poe and King

Good morning,
Stephen King is often considered the modern equivalent of Edgar Allen Poe. In may ways these authors are similar.
Your assignment: In your English Journal write a 3-4 paragraph short essay about the ways Poe and King are similar. Remember to include examples from the works we have read by both authors. 300 words should do it. Don't get into their differences. Focus on similarities.

Have a great break and think about the piece of fiction you want to write in January.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Stephen King

Good morning,
Good work on your Poe analysis yesterday. Today we move on to one of Poe's most famous literary descendants. No, they are not actually related (as far as I know), but Stephen King's writing shares many of the features that Poe has in his writing. Watch for the similarities.

We will begin with a presentation about Stephen King. After the group presents please use this link to evaluate their presentation.

Stephen King's work is still copyright protected and thus it is not freely available on-line. We will read the screenplay "Sorry, Right Number" from the book. You will need your English Journal for notes.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Themes and Features in Poe's Writing

Good Morning,

Today we will look at the themes and features common in the works of Edgar Allen Poe. A theme is a large idea that can appear over and over in many different texts. A feature is a specific literary device, setting, object or character that an author uses. We will discuss this more in class.

You will work with your writing group to find examples of both in Poe's works and submit your findings to me through a form. Please have only one person submit the form, but you should all be actively searching out quotes and writing explanations about your findings. You may wish to use e-mail to send what you wrote or found to the person working on the form for your group.

Link to the form: Themes and Features in Poe's WritingHint: Use links in earlier blog posts to find the on-line versions of what we read.
Yes, this is due today.

Absent students: You may work by yourselves and submit your own form. Please note that in the space for group names.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Monday again...

Good morning,
My voice is going and I won't be speaking much today if at all. Today we will finish our reading and annotation of "The Fall of the House of Usher" When the story is done you have several things to check on.
  1. Make sure your annotated version is shared with me. This is crucial for your grade.
  2. Make sure your annotated version is complete. If you missed a day of the reading go back and add notes for what you missed. You may check with someone else in your group if you need help with this.
  3. Open your English Journal and answer the following questions:
    1. What thoughts or unanswered questions about what happened in the Usher house still linger in your mind?
    2. How did Rodrick Usher's state of mind influence the narrator?
If you have finished that or if you need a little extra support. You can check out the Spark Notes about "The Fall of the House of Usher".
Note: Teams working on presentations on Stephen King you will present tomorrow, Tuesday 12/16.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Don't forget...

Great job with the Poe story today everyone. It worked much better with you sitting in groups. If you are missing some notes on the story ask someone else in your group to share theirs with you.

If you were absent Monday please take the Poe quiz from that day. It's not hard.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Good morning,
You have a new doc shared in GD. It is a template for annotating texts. (That means putting notes on the side.)
  1. You will open that template, make a new copy, rename it and share it with me.
  2. Then you will go get a copy of the text we are reading today and paste it into your very own text template.
  3. After you paste it highlight the entire text and click the numbers button. I will show you.
While we read the story you will make your own notes about what is going on at the side. This is similar to what we did together for "The Masque of The Red Death" only now you are doing your own notetaking as we read.

The story we will start today is The Fall of the House of Usher by Poe. << style="display: block;" id="formatbar_Buttons">Link

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Monday Monday, so good to me

Ok, full disclosure, the title of this post comes from a song by The Mamas and the Papas. (For the full lyrics check out this site, but do it later. I said later.) There is another similar line in the song that says, "Monday, Monday, can't trust that day." People quote that one all the time and I almost did too, but then I looked up the lyrics to link to for you and I decided to go with the more positive, "so good to me". Be good to each other.


1. It is Monday
2. There was another tragic shooting this weekend and a PLHS freshman was killed.
3. Our world is a dangerous place.
4. You still have a quiz today, but I made it really easy.

To do:

2. Go to your English Journal and write. Write about whatever you want, whatever you're feeling or whatever you want to say, but can't say out loud. Poetry works too.
3. Go read the rest of those song lyrics if you want to.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Good morning,

Today is your lucky day. Something came up this morning and I did not have time to finish writing your quiz, so that will have to be Monday.

Today we will read The Raven and then look at several parodies of The Raven.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Revisiting "The Masque of the Red Death"

Good morning,

Yesterday we read and annotated "The Masque of the Red Death". Today we will listen to a professional reading of the tale as you follow along on our annotated versions. You will need to click the link below to view the version for your period. This is no longer shared with you in G.D.

Period 3 "The Masque of the Red Death"

Period 4 "The Masque of the Red Death"

After the story I would like you to use the link below to write three discussion questions about the story. Write your questions carefully, because they will be on public display shortly.

Click here to submit your discussion questions.

AFTER you have submitted your discussion questions please click here.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The Masque of the Red Death

Good morning,

Today we will begin to look at the fiction of Edgar Allen Poe. Remember how fascinated you were yesterday when we were looking at sites about death. The story we read today is about the same subject.

You will need to open Google Docs and have both your English Journal and the story I shared with you open in different tabs.

I have shared the story with you as collaborators because we will be adding notes in the margins to help us work through the text. Please do not make changes to the document when you are not the notetaker.
Period 3 The Masque of The Red Death
Period 4 The Masque of The Red Death

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Starting Poe

Good Morning,

Today we will begin our examination of Edgar Allen Poe. First we will hear the presentation from the Poe group. (Which you will of course grade when they are finished.)

After that you may investigate further at the sites below. One group of sites are all related to death, what it means, how different cultures view it and why it scares us. The second group of sites are more about Poe and his life. Whichever investigation you choose you will write about your findings in your English Journal.




Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Crucible Essays

This week you are working on a draft of an essay about The Crucible. The link to that assignment is just to the right under Critical Links. The outline I showed you in class for the first essay is at the bottom of the assignment sheet now. Make sure you share your paper with me in GD and please name it correctly.

Current grades are posted in the classroom and on Parent and Student Connect.

Friday, November 14, 2008

The Crucible Act III Quiz

We have read the first half of Act III. Seems like a good time for a quiz. Click the link below for your class and answer the questions.

Period 3 Act III Quiz
Period 4 Act III Quiz

When you finish your quiz click the link to the right about the Crucible Essay Assignment. Read it carefully.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Act III Vocabulary

Use this Quizlet set of Act III Vocabulary to familiarize yourself with some of the terms from Act III.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Wednesday 11/12/08

As many of you already know I got to go spend my Saturday learning about cool teacher type stuff from other people who like computers as much as we do. Monday I was able to share some of that with some of you. (Those of you who chose to attend school that day.) If you missed it because of the assembly or a mysterious illness I will be including some of those links below.

I need to get to a meeting, so I will turn those into links later. For now you can cut and paste. If you are among the few people who did not take the quiz on Friday please use the links in the post below to do so.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Ahhh Act II

Good morning,
Before we continue watching the film I would like to quickly assess your knowledge of Act II. Don't worry this will only hurt a little bit and it will be over soon. Please click the link for your class period and answer the questions to the best of your ability. You may use any notes you have in your English Journal if that will help you. Your answers will be shared with the entire class shortly so please write your answers carefully. You have been warned. You have 10 minutes.

Period 3 Quiz
Period 4 Quiz

After you finish your quiz please open your English Journal and be ready to continue with your notes on the film.
One reminder: I begin grading English Journals this weekend. Make sure yours reflects your best work.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election Day in the USA

Hello all,
Today in class we read "Franchise", a short story by Isaac Asimov. It was written in 1955 about an election in 2008, today actually. For more about computers in the 1950's and elections check out this really cool article from Wired News about Univac.
Many of you, however, were off taking the CAHSEE. I'm sorry you missed a great story. I have extra copies if you want to read it.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Letters and Questions

Good morning,
  1. Your letters to the president are live and you can view them at the Letters to the Next President web site. If your letter is not there then you need to see me.
  2. If your letter is there take a look at it and then look at several other letters from my classes. Write an entry in your English Journal about what you think about the letters you found.
  3. If your letter is not there you will be working today to get it there.
If your letter is published you can get a head start on your homework. You will be working on creating five discussion questions about The Crucible.
  1. First write your five questions in your English Journal. (Proofread carefully and spell check.)
  2. Then use this Question Form to submit them to me.
Everyone is responsible for five discussion questions. They are due to me by Friday 10/31. If you are unable to complete them on-line I will accept them on paper.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Letters to the Next President

Your letters are live and I'm late to get my kids.


PS If your letter isn't there then you have a problem. See me.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Classwork Tuesday, Fear Questions

Good morning,
On Friday and Monday we read most of Act I of The Crucible. Today you will fill out an on-line form about several of the characters in the play. (This is similar to the way you graded each others presentations last week.) This work should help you to understand these characters better and delve more deeply into the text of Act I.

If you are in period 3 please use this form for your work.

If you are in period 4 please use this form for your work.

Other Reminders:
  1. Letters to the Next President are due and publishable now. Your letter needs to be totally finished by Wednesday 10/29 to earn full credit.
  2. 4th period. Federal Survey Cards are due now. Bring your's in ASAP.
  3. Juniors who have not yet passed the CAHSEE in English will test next week on Tuesday 11/4.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Starting The Crucible

Today we began reading Arthur Miller's classic play The Crucible. This is the beginning of our unit on American Fear. We will also be reading Edgar Allen Poe, some Stephen King and other authors who have also tried to scare us somehow, current political speeches excluded. (That was our last unit.)

There are also a few new features on the blog you can view. The first is a list of critical links on the upper right. These will include current assignments and our class calendar. The second gives you the option to become a follower of this blog. If you'd like to try that let me know how it works for you.

Progress report grades were distributed 4th period today.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Presentations Today!

Hello everyone,
Today several groups will be presenting about the topics they researched. After you have seen each group present you will use the link below to grade their presentation.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Student Survey

Hi Kids,
We need to take a quick survey about our school. Click on the link below and answer the questions.


PS Parents there is a survey for you too. Have you taken it yet?

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Writing Letters to the President

Parents, has your son or daughter recently said something like this, "Sorry, I can't take out the trash. I have to go write a letter to the president."? It's actually true. Through the National Writing Project our class is participating in Letters to the Next President.

Let me bring us up to speed. Open House was great. Thank you to everyone for coming. It is always a pleasure to meet my students' parents.

Friday we began with brainstorming for our letters to the president.
Monday we worked on selecting an organizational pattern and drafting.
Tuesday I had to be out for a training. Reportedly all my students were wonderfully behaved in my absence. (Those of you who know me well might suspect sarcasm here, but it's true, the substitute reported excellent cooperation.)
Wednesday (today as I write this) we were going to have writing groups, but students clearly needed more time for drafting and some needed to select an alternate organizational pattern.
Thursday we will meet in writing groups and that may continue on Friday as well.

Yes, there is a great deal of writing going on. Last year a parent complained about the amount of writing students do in my class. She suggested I should have less writing because her daughter wasn't very good at writing. Obviously, I told her that if her daughter wasn't comfortable with writing then the girl really needed to be writing as much as possible, but I did make sure she got more support. Hopefully I will notice that you need more support, but if I don't please ask me.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Open House

Welcome Parents!
Thank you for coming! I have some exciting things to show you!
  1. This Blog
  2. Google Docs
    1. For independent work, like English Journals.
    2. For collaborative work, shared documents and presentations.
    3. For peer review, writing groups.
  3. Letters to the next president
    1. A joint project from the National Writing Project and Google.
    2. Students have now read several letters in preparation for writing their own.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Patterns of Organization Reprise...

Good morning. It should be Wednesday. Is it Wednesday for you?

Today we are going to try again to look at patterns of organization. I found a helpful web page for that.

1. Go and read Patterns of Organization.
2. Look again at your list of paraphrasing from John F. Kennedy's Civil Rights Address. Your list should be in your Google Docs. If your list is unfinished you will have a lot more work today.
3. Decide which of the organizational patterns JFK was using in his speech. Be prepared to defend your selection. You will be writing about it.
4. You will also be labeling the parts of that pattern on your list in Google Docs. I will explain this more in class.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Monday Morning

Good morning everyone. A few items of interest before we begin.
1. Your Historical Investigation report is due today.
2. Open House is Thursday night from 6-8.

Your task today:
1. In your English Journal write a reflection about your report. Tell me what you feel good about, what you would do differently next time, and what you think you learned about your subject or the process.

2. You will work with a partner today to analyze JFK's Civil Rights Address.
I will explain the directions for this in class.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

For those of you playing along at home...

A little recap...
Monday I had a sub because Mr. G wanted me to take a day to work on the WASC report. With the sub you read Lecture to a Missionary from the textbook.
Tuesday we found that text on-line and looked at it again more closely for patterns of organization and you selected what you felt was Chief Red Jacket's best piece of evidence and wrote about it in your journal.
That brings us to Wednesday (today as I write this). We will learn the procedures for Writing Groups and you will find out which group you are in. You will share your draft with your group and work with them today and tomorrow.
Friday's lesson and work will be determined by the progress you make in your writing groups over the next two days.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Patterns of Organization
Kennedy's Civil Rights Speech

Both links above will take you to John F. Kennedy's speech about Civil Rights. DO NOT click on the picture to play the speech. I will play it for you on the big screen. Scroll down so you can read the spech and follow along as he speaks.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Research Update

Here is the link to your assignment sheet for your Historical Investigation project.
Historical Investigation Assignment Sheet
  1. Re-read the assignment sheet above.
  2. Open your English Journal in Google Docs. (If you were absent Friday see the blog post below or ask for help.)
  3. Start a new entry at the top of your English Journal, date it today.
  4. Write me a note there about your research project. This note to me is due today.
    1. Remind me what your topic is.
    2. Tell me what you've learned so far.
    3. Let me know what event related to your topic you want to focus on.
    4. Tell me what your next steps are going to be.
  5. After you update me on your progress you can use your time to research your topic further. After you make great progress on that you can update your note to me at the end of the period.

Friday, September 12, 2008

English Journal and Themes

Today we will create a new Google Doc that will be your English Journal. It will be a place where you can do short daily assignments without constantly having to create new documents and share them with me daily.
This is important. You will ALWAYS put your most recent work at THE TOP of this document. That way neither of us has to scroll down a lot to find your current efforts.
  1. Go to Google Docs now and create a new document.
  2. Name it properly (i.e. 4JBEnglish Journal)
  3. Also include your full name at the top of the page.
  4. Share it with me immediately! (Create it, save it, share it.)
Today we are going to begin talking about themes in political speech. You will use the two links below in a moment. You can preview them now IF you have ALREADY created and shared your English Journal.

10 Themes in Political Speeches
Two speeches to look at

Thursday, September 11, 2008
Inspirational Speakers

  1. Start a new Google Doc. Name it by period #, initials and speech 4JBspeech
  2. Go to the link above and look at some of the speeches there.
  3. Choose a speech and read it.
  4. Find a quote from the speech that you think is expressing a belief or assumption.
  5. Copy and paste that quote into your document.
  6. Write a paragraph to explain that quote. Make sure you include the title and author of the speech.
  7. Include words like assumption, belief, implicit and explicit. Use them correctly.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Week 2

Good Morning!
You have found the blog. Good. Today you will use the blog as your starting place.

1. First you will visit Google Docs. When you get there sign in using your g-mail address and password. You will start a New Document in Google Docs.

2. This will be the first thing you type on your new document: The number of your period, your initials and 'assumptions'. (I know this sounds weird, trust me). For example if your name is John Brown and you are in my 4th period class you would type, 4JBassumptions.
(This will help me a lot when you all start to shre your papers with me. I will easily be able to tell what period and assignment, while the initials will help me to make sure I have the right student. )

3.After you have been to Google Docs come back to the blog on another tab. (Ask for help if you don't know what that means.) Now you should have at least two tabs, one for the blog and one for Google Docs. We are going to add another.

4. Today we begin work around standard 2.5 Analyze an author's implicit and explicit philosophical assumptions and beliefs about a subject.
I will teach you about assumptions and then...

5. You will seek out five quotes from the speech Sarah Palin gave last week and explain the assumption in each quote.

6. You will cut and paste the quotes into your new Google Docs document and then explain the assumption she is making in that statement.
Another source for Sarah Palin's speech in case the first one doesn't work out.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Welcome Back

Hi everybody! Thanks for checking the blog today.

I hope your first day back was wonderful. I'm looking forward to getting to know you all.

Your first blog assignment is to leave me a comment before you leave the site. (Remember everyone can see your comment.) If you don't have something nice to say this is not the place to say it. I suggest writing about something you are looking forward to about this year (even if it has nothing to do with English class.)
Also don't forget to vote for your favorite subject in the poll on the right.
Here's a picture of my boys helping to water my father's vegetable garden. We had a great summer.

Friday, June 13, 2008


After groups presented I asked my period three class to write about what they felt they learned this year. These are excerpts from their writing. Period five highlights will be posted Monday after their final.
  • I've learned that technology is my friend not my enemy, especially when it comes to my English class.
  • What I learned about myself is that I need to stop being so lazy and get my priorities done or I will not be so successful in life.
  • I think that this class has helped me a lot in [writing] though, because of the writing groups.
  • I think that it was a very help full way to get us interested back into class and well personally I think that it made me want to come to class.
  • I've learned that literature is a lot more interesting than I thought.
  • In this class we have read a few good books.
  • After a while it became very easy and comfortable for me to write essays.
  • Lastly I learned that sometimes you really don't know why things are they just are. So shut up and do your work. :D
  • I feel like you, Mrs. Roberts have helped me mature in that way and helped prove to me that I can do it just as long as I give it a try.
  • I learned the you have to work hard in order to be successful.
  • I got to read a good book The Great Gatsby and really bring out my ability to write a some what good paper and to have fun in this class.
  • I never thought I could stand up in front of a whole bunch of students and speak to them and give a presentation to them. The idea of doing that frighten me so much and it still does, but not as much as before.
  • I learned that if you try hard you can accomplish things. Especially if your teacher is cool and lets you turn in work late even for partial credit. I learned that I can do more work when I'm on a computer. So using these computers have been helping me get a way better grade than what I think I would of gotten. I liked working in the group it was fun.
  • When I would have a bad start in school this was the class I would look forward to all the time. I'm going to miss this class a lot and thats pretty much it.
  • I have been through a lot but I'm sure this is just a preparation for the rest of my life, so I'm willing to go at another rough round and learn from a lot of mistakes. And school its a great place, yeah its boring sometimes but I guess we can learn a lot from it, duh its school but yeah I wish it wouldn't end that fast.
  • This class has been so fun and interesting to me that it just made me want to learn more and actually come to class.
  • I never would have thought I could be a technologists for a group, but I actually did a damn good job at it if I do say so myself.
  • When I herd my friend Jesus talk about her I thought that teachers like her aren't true. Miss. Roberts has earned her spot on my top 10 favorite teachers. She earned spot number 5.
  • Well this year I learned that school does not have to be hard as long as you do all your work, and that I can accomplish what ever I put my mind to.
  • Through out this year I noticed that just being mediocre isn't enough, it's about putting a high standard for others to try to reach. Being in this class I also started to like writing a little bit more and the books and stories we read in class were really enjoyable.
  • When people look at your writing they get an idea to who you are and how you think.
  • I've also learned that I'm better at computers than I thought.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Readings on Water Shortages

Four articles about water shortages. Read one and post your reply to your blog.
  1. Dawn of a thirsty century
  2. Drought declared in California
  3. Worldwide Water Shortage On Horizon
  4. Not all wet
Mystery words: Which one goes with your topic?
  1. Methane
  2. Nitrogen prices
  3. Desalination
  4. Richard Reid
One possible solution to food shortages is the introduction of genetically modified crops. There are arguments for and against this possibility. Explore the issue and inform yourself at Harvest of Fear, a PBS site.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Thursday 6/5

Do you know which word(s) go with your topic? If not you have more work to do.
  1. Earth Liberation Front
  2. John Howard (hint: he's a politician)
  3. Haiti
  4. Hamas
  5. Delta Smelt
Work on your research and your presentations today. Don't forget to check the link to the Presentation Guidelines under Links You Can Use.

Readings on Terrorism

Today's task:
1. Read one of the articles linked below.
2. Write a post about it on your blog. (Include: Full title, what it said, what it relates to and what you think.)

  1. Terrorism RESEARCH

  2. Patriot Act draws privacy concerns

  3. International security chiefs meet in Jerusalem to discuss counterterrorism
  4. Pentagon: Suspected Mastermind of USS Cole Bombing Confesses

One more thing:
  • Guantanamo
  • Kyoto
  • Rome
  • Atlanta
One of these places relates to the topic your group is studying. If you don't know which one then you have a lot more research to do.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Food Shortage Articles

Food Shortage Articles
  1. Food shortages loom as wheat crop shrinks and prices rise
  2. 40 countries face food shortages worldwide
  3. Experts: Global Food Shortages Could ‘Continue for Decades'
  4. Food shortages: how will we feed the world?
Read one of the articles. Post a response on your blog. Remember your post (response) should include:
  • The title of the article.
  • What it says.
  • What it relates to.
  • What you think.
  • Extra: Provide a link to the article in your post.
Comment on someone else's post please.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Secret Master Plan

Alright bloggers you've been doing some really good work. You've learned to post and also found many useful articles about your topics. I am surprised by how many of you are surprised to be learning some pretty basic facts about your topics. This encourages me that you're learning some things you really should know.

It's time for me to reveal my secret master plan. I asked your group to select the five best articles about your topic. I will make those articles available to the whole class. What this means to you is that everyone in the class will have read about the basic information on your topic. Everyone will soon know as much as you do now about your topic. This means you must run faster, stretch out your arms farther and ... LEARN MORE. (Anyone get the reference?)

Your group will make a presentation to the class about your topic. Your presentation must go far beyond the basics. Many of you have large groups. I suggest you break yourselves up into smaller sub-groups and have each sub-group focus on a different aspect of your topic. For example, the group studying food shortages could have some members focusing on causes, and others on effects. The group studying climate change could divide into geographic areas and focus specifically on the way the climate is changing in that part of the world.

Think about how you want to divide yourselves, think about how each person's work will contribute to the whole. Use your blog to assign jobs, post progress, and link to useful information. I am grading your final presentation, but I am also evaluating the contributions you make on your blog. The blog is a good place to write intelligently about your topic.

Today (Wednesday)
1. Sign on to your groups' blog and post a comment about someone else's post from yesterday. Look for the place at the end of their post that says 0 comments" Click where it says comments and write what you want to say about their post.
2. Then use the links on my blog to visit the blog of another interest group. Post a comment there too.
3. Read several of the articles linked below. They are all about climate change. ON YOUR GROUP's BLOG post your response to the article. Make sure you include the title of the article, a brief description of it and your thoughts. Remember not everyone in your group is reading the same articles so you need to explain what you read about in your post.

  1. Life feels the effects of a changing climate

  2. State of Knowledge
  3. Climate change: A guide for the perplexed

  4. Climate Change Has Major Impact On Oceans

The To Do List:

  • Make sure everyone understands their tasks.
  • Make sure your group selects the five best articles.
  • Make sure everyone joins the blog and posts.
  • Watch the time. Group members should start their blog posts 15 minutes before the end of the period.

  • Make sure list of e-mail addresses is up to date (have you added any new group members?) and formatted correctly.
  • Format list of articles for easy use.
  • Encourage group members to prioritize articles. We need the best five.

  • Make sure all group members are invited to join your blog.
  • Invite to join your blog.
  • Give administrative privileges to your captain and Mrs. R.
  • Make sure blog URL is pasted at the top of your list of articles.
  • Help group members respond to invitations to join blog.
  • If you have time create a linked list on the blog with links to your top five articles.

Group members-
  • Respond to invitation to join your group blog. (check your e-mail)
  • Chose a display name that is close to your real name.
  • Review articles you found on Friday.
  • Find more articles, summarize them. (If necessary)
  • Decide which five are the best for helping to understand your topic.
  • Write a post to your blog about what you did today and what you learned.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Interest Groups

Today you will find out which interest group you are in.
Your group needs to select a captain, a secretary and a technologist.

Captain- Coordinates group activities. You need to know what everyone is working on. You will lead group meetings and follow up on action items. When someone is absent you are responsible for make sure they know what they missed.

Secretary - Responsible for group communications. You will collect the e-mail addresses from your group and enter them into a Google doc. You will share that document with everyone in your group. When your group needs a doc created and shared you will handle that.

Technologist - Responsible for the groups' technical needs. You will teach your group the technology skills they need for this project. You will start the group blog and add your group members as authors. Blog Requirements

After you have selected these people you should start hunting for articles about your topic. By the end of today your group secretary needs to send me a list of five articles. Each article needs to include a link and a brief summary of the article. (Hint: Find more than five articles and pick the best five.) (Hint 2: have each person in your group search with slightly different search words to find a variety of articles.)

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Does School Kill Creativity?

Today we are watching Sir Ken Robinson. As we watch his talk please respond in your readers journal (in google docs) to these three questions.
  1. What is his main point?
  2. What questions does he ask?
  3. What questions come to your mind?
  4. Is he right?
Do not click this link in class. We will watch him together on the big screen. If you were not in class please use this link to watch what you missed. < Sir Ken Robinson

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Monday, April 28, 2008

I am Joaquin

Diego Rivera
The Arsenal - Frida Kahlo Distributes Arms

I am Joaquin Link to Poem.
Read the poem carefully at least twice. This will take you some time because it is a long poem. Write a response to the poem in Google Docs and share your paper with me. Your response should be 4-6 paragraphs. I will be sharing your work with other teachers. Include these things in your analysis of the poem.
  1. Title- When you first read the title what did you think the poem would be about?
  2. Paraphrase- Quickly summarize the poem in your own words.
  3. Connotation- What meaning does the poem have beyond what it says? What larger meaning is there?
  4. Attitude- What is the tone of the speaker? What emotions is he or she feeling? How can you tell?
  5. Shifts- Does the speaker change? Does the speaker's attitude / tone change? What other changes take place in the poem?
  6. Title- Look at the title again. Does it now mean something more that what you first thought?
  7. Theme- What do you think is the theme or themes of this poem? What is the poet saying? How does the tone, imagery and symbolism of the poem contribute to this theme?

Monday, April 21, 2008

Chapter 4 Questions...

Questions to consider as we read chapter 4:
  1. Who is Klipspringer?
  2. What does Gatsby tell Nick about himself?
  3. What "matter" did Gatsby have Jordan Baker discuss with Nick?
  4. Who is Wolfshiem?
  5. What does Wolfshiem tell Nick about Gatsby?
  6. What does Jordan tell Nick about Gatsby, Daisy, and Tom?

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Gatsby Emerges...

Well guys and dolls we are approaching chapter three. Some of you are already deep into the Gatsby party scene. Keep up your notes and keep collecting useful quotes about these characters. Remember that The Great Gatsby is a novel rich in symbolism. You should know about Fitzgerald's use of the color green, and the eyes of Dr, T.J. Eckleburg.

Questions to consider as we read chapter 3:

What does not represent Gatsby's wealth?
What kind of people come to Gatsby's parties?
Why did Nick go to Gatsby's party?
How does Nick meet Gatsby?
What are all the stories about Gatsby?
How are some ways you might describe Gatsby?
Describe Nick's relationship with Jordan?

Monday, April 7, 2008

The Great Gatsby -- The beginning...

"The Great Gatsby does not proclaim the nobility of the human spirit; it is not politically correct; it does not reveal how to solve the problems of life; it delivers no fashionable or comforting messages. It is just a masterpiece." These are the first lines of the preface of my edition of the book.
What does this mean?
Keep track of the characters as we read. We will chart this together in class.

Questions to consider as we read chapter one:
How does the narrator describe Gatsby?
From where does the narrator come and why?
Describe the narrator's house.
Describe the Buchanans' house.
How does Nick know Daisy and Tom?
Describe Tom. What is our impression of him in chapter 1.
What kind of person is Daisy?
What did Miss Baker tell Nick about Tom?
When asked about her daughter, what does Daisy say?
How is Gatsby introduced in the novel?

A map of Long Island:

Friday, April 4, 2008

Maya Angelou

Today is Maya Angelou's birthday. She is a famous poet, author, actress, director and general renaissance woman. One of her famous books you might know is I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.

Today we are going to look at her poem On the Pulse of Morning. Ms. Angelou read this poem at the inauguration of President Bill Clinton in 1993. You can find a video of her reading it on youtube if you are off campus. After we read the poem please write your thoughts about it in your reader's journal.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Emily Dickinson

A mini-research project.

Part I
Do a Google search for Emily Dickinson. What can you find out about her, her life, her family, her poetry? After reading about her on several sites write about your findings in your reader's journal. (You created your reader's journal on Monday in Google Docs. Go back to it, start with today's date and add a new entry.)

Part II << If you did not finish part II today that is now your homework.
Emily Dickinson did not give her poems titles. Her poems are known by their first line. Below are the first lines of some of her poems. Paste several of these lines into your search box and read the poems you find. Then chose one of the poems you read to write about in your reader's journal. Make sure you state the first line of the poem so I know which one you are writing about.

This is my letter to the World
Hope is the thing with feathers
Success is counted sweetest
Much Madness is divinest sense
My life closed twice before its close
After a great pain a formal feeling comes
I heard a Fly Buzz--when I died
Because I could not stop for Death
As the Starved Malestrom laps the Navies

Monday, March 31, 2008

Finding the Dramtic Irony

We first saw dramatic irony when we read The Crucible. Dramatic irony is when the audience knows something about the situation that the other characters do not know. For example we knew that John Proctor had confessed his adultery to the court, but Elizabeth Proctor did not know that.

The Story of An Hour also uses dramatic irony. We will read it together and then you will write a response about it in your reader's journal.

Also don't forget to vote in the poll at the right about our Huck Finn essay.

Tuesday you have more time to work on your Huck Finn essay.
Wednesday we go to the counseling office for articulation. Bring your green articulation card.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Huck Finn Essay Questions

I published the essay questions on The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn on google docs. Here is the link. Huck Finn Essay Questions.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Hi Kids,
Today I am not with you because I am learning how to use Google docs. In fact I am using Google docs to write this right now. I found a feature that will let me post a document to my blog and I want to see what that does. More later. Mrs. R.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Week Four, The 21st Century Arrives!!!

If you haven't heard about the excitement in our classroom this week you must either be really sick or living in a cave. The laptops are here! I know I've been telling you they were coming since September. We thought maybe by December, we hoped for January, we crossed our fingers in February, we despaired that it might be March before we saw them, but now they have arrived on our desks! With the computers comes a new huge "To Do" list, but we'll take it one step at a time.

1. Make sure you have an e-mail account. If you do not have an e-mail account you can get one from g-mail with this link. You will all probably eventually get a g-mail account anyway so we can use Google Docs.

2. Make sure you can login to your weblocker. If you can not remember your login or password send me an e-mail and I will look them up for you.

We are still reading Huck Finn. Keep bringing your book and read when you are absent. Most periods are almost to chapter 36. We are almost done. Hang in there. Get ready to do more writing. The link to the book above has the full text of all the chapters. You can read it on-line if you need to.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Second Semester Week Two!

Some astute readers may be wondering what happened to Second Semester Week One. Well the obvoius answer is that I forgot to put up a post for last week. Sick children can be awfully distracting. Mostly we read a lot of Huck Finn, chapters 15-19, and took a quiz. I was out Wednesday and Friday due to the sick baby. On those days you read more of the book and probably also watched some of the documentary about Mark Twain.

This week is shaping up to be equally disasterous. I am home today (Monday) with the baby because another child in his daycare came down with measels. My son will get a shot this afternoon so that he can go back to school tomorrow. I will be out again on Thursday for a technology training about the new laptops we are going to get some day. (The revised delivery schedule gets them to PLHS on February 25th and they won't make it to our classroom for several days after that as they need to get barcoded. Are you surprised?) Friday we have no school. So with luck I will see you Tuesday and Wednesday this week.

If my sub follows instructions, and I expect he will, then you should be reading ch 20 as I write this. Actually you're probably having lunch as I write this, but you get the idea. Tuesday and Wednesday we will cover ch 21-23 or 24 and you'll have another chapter to read with another sub on Thursday.

PS To the mysterious poem poster, you had some spelling errors I'd like you to fix before I put your poem in the coments section. See me for more details.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

First Semester Finals!

Well kids we've made it to finals week. The first half of your junior year is nearly over. You just have to get through a bunch of hard tests and hopefully pass all of your classes. The final for your English class is 50 multiple choice and two short (three paragraph) essays. To help you out I'll add some questions from our final to this blog post. Here are a few other study tips too.

  • Review all your previous tests and quizzes especially those on The Crucible and Civil Disobedience.
  • Finish the chart you started in class on Monday. The one with the list of things we read, a theme for each thing and a test question you created for each reading.
  • Re-read stories and essays you don't remember well.
  • Figure out the answers to the leaked test questions below.
  • Bring your notes, your books, a pen and a pencil to the test.

Leaked Test Questions!!!!

1. He was always an ethical person.
a. miserly

b. thoughtful

c. moral

d. stubborn

2. Which of the following Biblical items is NOT alluded to in “The World on the Turtle’s Back?”
a. The immaculate conception
b. A sacred tree that may not be touched
c. Argumentative twin brothers
d. The transformation of water into wine

3. Thoreau says that the only obligation he has to assume is to:
a. Support the government b. obey all laws
c. do what he thinks is right d. accept the majority rule

4. Which description of Rodrick Usher best foreshadows his death?
a. "His air appalled me. . . ."
b. ". . . an eye large, liquid, and luminous. . . ."
c. "The silken hair, too, had been suffered to grow. . . ."
d. "His countenance was . . . cadaverously wan. . . ."

5. Which of the following sentences would make the most effective thesis for an essay?
a. Huckleberry Finn and his father faced conflicts few families deal with today.
b. This essay is going to be about Huckleberry Finn and the troubles he had with his dad.
c. Huckleberry Finn is an amazing book written by Mark Twain.
d. Pap Finn and his son Huck are a model parent child relationship.

Don't forget to vote in the poll about grades. Study hard and good luck!

PS Have you seen the 8th grade Final from Kansas in 1895?

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The Home Strech

Thought you'd like this example of a steamboat.

So rather than a daily breakdown it seems better this week to sum up.

  • We are currently up to Chapter 12 in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, but I expect we may make it to chapter 15 or 16 by Friday. More quizes are coming. Keep up with the reading.
  • Second News Reports were due today. If you haven't turned yours in yet you should be working on that, not reading this blog entry.
  • The progress reports I gave out in class today should give you a very accurate idea of what your grade is and how to keep it or improve it. Grades will still be affected by several assignments and the final exam before the end of the semester next week.
  • I've started constructing your final exam. It will consist of 50 multiple choice questions and several short essays. Yes, it will take you at least and hour and probably more.
  • I am available at lunch and most days after school if you need help. The exception to that is Fridays when I am not available at lunch or after school. Plan accordingly.
  • Late work will be accepted until Tuesday 1/29.
Now I need to go read to my son.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Week 16 The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

My apologies for the abbreviated nature of this week's post. I have a lot to do this afternoon.

Monday we took our first quiz on chapters 1-3. We worked on the vocabulary for chapters 4-7 and then read chapters 4, 5, and the beginning of 6. You were to read the rest of Chapter 6 on your own for homework.

Tuesday we worked on an organizer for your Second News Report. Kudos to all of you who had already started on your drafts. For those of you who had not started thank you for using your class time well as you worked your way through the questions on that organizer. (The organizer is available on weblockers if you lost yours or were absent.)

Wednesday you turned in your drafts of your Second News Report. We reviewed the geography of the Mississippi River and reviewed Pap's racist rant in chapter 6. Expect a question about that passage on your final. Then we read chapter 7 and took the quiz on chapters 4-7.

Thursday we will meet in our writing groups and possibly begin chapter 8.

Friday we will be working on an activity that will help you deepen your understanding of the characters in the book and also find evidence from the text to support your conclusions. The forecast also calls for the likely reading of chapter 8 or 9. Include a little light reading of Huck Finn in your weekend plans.

The Final draft of your Second News Report is due next Wednesday 1/23.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Week 15 Mark Twain, The Beginning...

Welcome back students,

Monday we began our study of Mark Twain with a look at the background information on pages 654-657. Take a look at those if you weren't with us in class. We also read the beginning of the excerpt from Twain's autobiography on page 659 about the mesmerizer.

Tuesday we completed the reading from the autobiography and in several periods we had time to take a look at the epigrams on page 678.

Wednesday I returned your tests from before break. (Not good people.) Then we read The Notorious Jumping Frog of Calaveras County.

Thursday we go to the textbook window to get you your very own (borrowed) copy of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. We will also review dialects and preview the vocabulary for the first three chapters.

Friday we'll be reading those first three chapters and taking our first chapter quiz.

Don't forget that a draft of your Second News Report is due Wednesday 1/16. Keep collecting articles about your news issue.