Monday, December 20, 2010

What the Heck Do I Do With This Book I'm Supposed to Read Over Break?

Well, my little sparrows...

You have a few options. Choose one.

  • You may write a 10 stanza poem about the book.
  • You may do a 5-minute one-man play representing the entire book.
  • You may write a 3-page journal entry/entries as if you were the main character.
  • You may create a visual display (posterboard style) of the plot outline/structure.
  • You may create a Power Point or a video or an audio clip (no longer than 5 minutes) about the book.
Be creative, folks. Email me with any questions.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Her/She, I, Called, Hope, Silently, Under, With, There, Had POEM

We could only use the following words:
Her/She, I, Called, Hope, Silently, Under, With, There, Had

Hope, I silently called under there with
hope I called her silently with her there.
Silently I had her. She had me silently. -ST

Had Hope silently called with her under there. -LL

I silently called her Hope under there. -JR

Had I called hope with her, she, there, under with I had silently called I. -AR

Hope I called silently under there with her. -SA

Under there I had called hope with her silently there. -LF

With her under there silently had I called Hope,
had there under she called hope with I
silently under, with her under there silently. -JA

There under hope I with she called. -CM

Hope had called silently with her I there,
hope silently had called, with I under there. -GM

Friday, December 10, 2010

Dead Poets Society Reflection

To be completed on looseleaf or typed in COMPLETE SENTENCES. I will collect the sheets on MONDAY. They are to NOT be FOLDED or MESSY or WITHOUT NAMES. Be proud of your work, my little sparrows! Be proud!

1. What was the Dead Poets Society? What did they do? WHY did they have a society?

2. What is the symbolism in the scene where the boys go to the cave?

3. How does Mr. Keating get the boys to look at life differently? What are some of the lessons he teaches them?

4. What does T.S. Eliot mean by the following quote?

"No poet, no artist of any art, has complete meaning alone. His significance, his
appreciation, is the appreciation of his relation to the dead poets and artists. You cannot
value him alone; you must set him, for contrast and comparison, among the dead."

- T. S. Eliot, from "Tradition and the Individual Talent"

5. Do you think of poetry differently now? Explain.

6. What do you think of Neil’s suicide? Why did he do it? How did it affect his friends?

7. Write a haiku about Mr Keating.

8. Summarize, in your own words, why Henry David Thoreau went to the woods:

"I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what is not life, living is so dear; did I wish to practice resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms, and if it proved to be mean, why then to get the whole genuine meanness of it, and publish its meanness to the world; or if it were sublime, to know it by experience, and be able to give a true account of it in my next excursion. For most men, it appears to me, are in a strange uncertainty about it, whether it is of the devil or of God..."
- Henry David Thoreau, from -Walden

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Questions for Annabel Lee

1) How does the speaker explain the death of Annabel Lee? How does he feel about her death?

2) Find as much as you can about this poem. What does it mean? What does it represent? (Googling Annabel Lee Analysis may be a good start...) Why a kingdom by the sea?

3) What is the effect of using assonance, alliteration and repetition in this poem? How does it make you feel? Why is Poe using them? What do those things create? Read it outloud to find out.

Questions for Thomas Hardy's "The Man He Killed"

PART 1: Answer these questions about "The Man He Killed" in your LA#2 notebooks in COMPLETE SENTENCES.

1) Who is the speaker? What does he do for a living? What do you learn about him through his language?
2) What do these two men have in common?
3) Why is "because" repeated in lines 9 & 10? What does it say about the speaker?
4) How does the speaker feel about his enemy?
5) How does the speaker feel about war? What adjectives does he use to describe it?
6) How do YOU feel about this poem?
7) What rhyme scheme does it use? Is it in couplets? Is is iambic? Are its stanzas in quatrain form?

PART 2: Also, complete the 15 vocab words on the "How To" sheet that I gave you. The words are under the headings "Word Usage," "Meter" and "Rhyme." Look them up in the context of poetry! How do these words apply to poetry? Fill out the words on the sheet.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Track Your Life in 6-word Memoirs

Based on the timeline you wrote a couple weeks ago, write 12-15 SIX-WORD MEMOIRS tracking the past 12-13 years of your life.
They do not have to be LITERAL, but can be ABSTRACT also.
These 12-15, 6-word memoirs are a timeline of your life. They represent who you are as you've gotten older, as you've made your journey through life.
So, again, I want 12-15 6-word memoirs representing your life thus far.
On one sheet of paper.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

6-Word Memoirs about TCS

The class has been looking into different types of memoirs, and we wrote 6-word memoirs about love, family, friends and The Outsiders (the book we just finished). Here are some that represent what TCS means to them.

A special place for special people.
Exploration and experience, fun to all.
Small school, like a second family.
A place where true magic happens.
Where inspiration and energy work together.
A very special place for anyone.
We are the seeds that become trees.
We imagine, we learn and we grow up.
Learning by doing every single day.
The valley of love and delight.
Means learning in a special way.
To be all I can be.
Fun powerful teaching: learning indescribably thorough.
Accepting the weirdest one in existence.
At this school we learn treasures.
You know, the awesome learning shack.
My jumping off point for life.
Experimental eduction? It's more like mega-phresh.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

But Enough About Me...

Different types of Memoirs...

Article about WHY memoirs are so popular, from the New Yorker.

Small audio clips of people telling their own snippets on Storycorps

Visual narratives of the lives of others on This American Life

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Bieber's Memoir

Justin Bieber published a memoir!
And then someone read it outloud.
This is a good example of satire, yes?

Friday, November 5, 2010

Choose Your Stanza! Come on Down!

The Walrus and the Carpenter!

Read this poem and figure out which stanza you will want to recite.
Email me your top 2-3 choices for which stanza.
Due by Monday!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Essay Format Requirement

Requirements for Utopia/Dystopia Essay
Due: Thursday, November 10th

  • Double-spaced
  • 12 point face
  • Five paragraphs (One intro, three body, one conclusion)
  • Times or Time New Roman font
  • Correctly indented and margined
  • Name and date and class in UPPER RIGHT HAND CORNER
  • Stapled (if more than one page)
In addition to spelling, grammar and overall quality, I will be grading on the things above. Just follow the directions!

peace out.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Thursday, October 28, 2010


1) Write out all known/existing prepositions. There are 40 or so.
Be resourceful and search for them! English books! Websites!

2) That worksheet that I gave you.

3) Vocab definitions and POS:


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

FOR THURSDAY, Post-Pumpkin Run!

Assignment: Due Thursday: Major progress on the paragraphs that support your thesis.

You must have drafts of all three paragraphs that go into the body of your paper.


Here's some tips!

-The opening sentence of your first paragraph in your body should introduce your first support.
-The opening sentence of your second paragraph in your body should introduce your second support.
-The opening sentence of your third paragraph in your body should introduce your third support.

Read this example, taken from Lily's statement we worked on in class:

In The Giver, Jonas is a boy who lives in such perfection, he begins to wonder if his utopia is, in fact, a dystopia. This realization comes once he receives memories that reflect a world that is the opposite of his own. Thus, Jonas's community proves to be a dystopia because of the lack of decision-making, color and emotion.

Throughout the novel, there are many examples of the community relying on rules rather than making decisions on their own. One is seen in Chapter........


In addition to the inability to make decisions for himself, Jonas also experiences his dystopian society through the absence of color--an element in our world that creates much emotion.

The final piece of evidence that proves Jonas's world is not utopian is exhibited in the way no member of the community feels emotion.



Friday, October 22, 2010

Advice on Good Theses! (Thesis, singular)

1. A strong thesis statement takes some sort of stand.

Remember that your thesis needs to show your conclusions about a subject. For example, if you are writing a paper for a class on fitness, you might be asked to choose a popular weight-loss product to evaluate. Here are two thesis statements:

There are some negative and positive aspects to the Banana Herb Tea Supplement.

This is a weak thesis statement. First, it fails to take a stand. Second, the phrase negative and positive aspects is vague.

Because Banana Herb Tea Supplement promotes rapid weight loss that results in the loss of muscle and lean body mass, it poses a potential danger to customers.

This is a strong thesis because it takes a stand, and because it's specific.

2. A strong thesis statement justifies discussion.

Your thesis should indicate the point of the discussion. If your assignment is to write a paper on kinship systems, using your own family as an example, you might come up with either of these two thesis statements:

My family is an extended family.

This is a weak thesis because it merely states an observation. Your reader won’t be able to tell the point of the statement, and will probably stop reading.

While most American families would view consanguineal marriage as a threat to the nuclear family structure, many Iranian families, like my own, believe that these marriages help reinforce kinship ties in an extended family.

This is a strong thesis because it shows how your experience contradicts a widely-accepted view. A good strategy for creating a strong thesis is to show that the topic is controversial. Readers will be interested in reading the rest of the essay to see how you support your point.

3. A strong thesis statement expresses one main idea.

Readers need to be able to see that your paper has one main point. If your thesis statement expresses more than one idea, then you might confuse your readers about the subject of your paper. For example:

Companies need to exploit the marketing potential of the Internet, and Web pages can provide both advertising and customer support.

This is a weak thesis statement because the reader can’t decide whether the paper is about marketing on the Internet or Web pages. To revise the thesis, the relationship between the two ideas needs to become more clear. One way to revise the thesis would be to write:

Because the Internet is filled with tremendous marketing potential, companies should exploit this potential by using Web pages that offer both advertising and customer support.

This is a strong thesis because it shows that the two ideas are related. Hint: a great many clear and engaging thesis statements contain words like because, since, so, although, unless, and however.

4. A strong thesis statement is specific.

A thesis statement should show exactly what your paper will be about, and will help you keep your paper to a manageable topic. For example, if you're writing a seven-to-ten page paper on hunger, you might say:

World hunger has many causes and effects.

This is a weak thesis statement for two major reasons. First, world hunger can’t be discussed thoroughly in seven to ten pages. Second, many causes and effects is vague. You should be able to identify specific causes and effects. A revised thesis might look like this:

Hunger persists in Glandelinia because jobs are scarce and farming in the infertile soil is rarely profitable.

This is a strong thesis statement because it narrows the subject to a more specific and manageable topic, and it also identifies the specific causes for the existence of hunger.

Found at

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

You're Right, I'm Wrong


Thesis/topic sentence
Supporting statements and paragraphs

12-pt font
Times New Roman/Times
Heading info in UPPER LEFT-HAND corner

Write an essay identifying Jonas's world as a Utopia.

Include the following:

In what ways is his world perfect? How is this way of living best for its citizens? What foreseeable problems are erased by having a lifestyle such as his? What types of decisions are made for him that otherwise would be difficult to make?

Odds: Write an essay identifying Jonas's world as a Dystopia.
Include the following:

In what ways is his world bad? How is this way of living rotten for its citizens? What rights and freedoms are not allowed? What types of decisions are made for him that he should have the choice to make himself?

Monday, October 18, 2010

LA #2 Accidental Story

(This story was complied by the LA #2 class's descriptive writing pieces. The following is a combination of the first lines of each of their stories.)

Listen. Silence. There is for me a place of peace far off and distant from all others. As you slowly walk up the paved hill you turn right into the shady, dark, gravel driveway. The fountain has the clearest water I’ve ever seen. The cabin sits on the top of a hill, last in the line of four cabins. A small lion-like figure scuttles into my view. Duncan was a reddish-orange rough collie with a white mane, a long, narrow nose, and an almost fox-like tail with its white tip and black stripes. My once-a-week guitar lesson is beginning to unfold. The music rings through the large room making a gentle and calming sound. The strings feel soft, smooth, to allow fingers to glide over them quickly. Peanut butter from the cabinet, jelly from the fridge, bread from the bread drawer. When I eat a piece of chocolate, I step into a new and yummy world. Ahh, the great American pastime.

LA #1 Accidental Story

Snorkeling is always calm. Simply quiet. Everywhere there were sights, sounds and smells. Right as I was walking up to the stadium I could smell smoke. The remnants of new car smell fought its way up my nose as my head swung back to face my sister. It’s warm in Asia now, the red leaves, the bamboo thistling together in warm, autumn breeze. The wind whispers in my ears. I watched my sister run around the house loudly as she bangs her heels on the hard wood floor. She grins from ear to ear. A sweet lullaby of an owl’s hoot fills the air on a dark, dank night. The glow of the candles sends flickering shadows around the room. I have three dogs, but only one favorite. I look at the sauce-covered ribz that don’t even look like ribz because of all the sauce. The cloud-shaped silver sign read, “Star Clipper.” A gust of mixed dust and wind blows into my face as I open the wooden, red, dull door. It’s big, not by width, but by length. Gus is my Siamese cat. You must be dreaming.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Giver--Apple and Jonas Draw

We each have our own perception of what Jonas look like. From what you've read so far, and what you can infer, draw a picture of Jonas based on those facts.

We know he has different eyes, right?
And that he wears a tunic? Yes?

Find a picture online or draw a picture of your perception of Jonas. Also, portray him with the apple. What does the apple look like? What is his relation to it? Why did it "change?"

Be descriptive and detailed! And reallllllly think about what went on with the apple. What does it mean for him and his abilities?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Giver: Chapters 3-5 (Pages 20-39)

Do in LA #1 notebook!
These questions have a few parts, so make sure to answer thoroughly. Completely! Wholly!

1) Describe what happened with the apple on page 24 and 25. What do you think was going on?

2) What is the significance of the name Gabriel? Do some research!

3) At the end of Chapter 4, Jonas and Larissa have a discussion about someone being released.
What do you think is on the other side of that door? Why do you think children aren't allowed to see the release? Why did Larissa "hoot" and sarcastically say "Right!" when Jonas said he wanted to mention a change to the committee? What do you think is going on?

4) What are "Stirrings?" What is happening to Jonas?
Why do you think they're so looked down upon?
What is the treatment for these "Stirrings?"

I think it's weird that the parents have treatment for the stirrings. On a deeper, more logistical level, what does this mean? Really think about it!

Friday, October 8, 2010

The Giver-Chapters 1 & 2

1) Name three instances that allude to something being a bit different or weird or "off" in Jonas's world.

2) There are a few words that are capitalized that aren't usually 3, and what do you think they symbolize? Why did the author choose to capitalize them?

3) What age group is Jonas a member of? And what ceremony is coming up?

The Giver, by Lois Lowry

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Descriptive Piece Final Draft Checklist

Requirements/Checklist for Descriptive Piece FINAL DRAFT

  • Double-spaced
  • 12 point face
  • Four paragraphs (I won't read more than 6!)
  • Times or Time New Roman font
  • Correctly indented and margined
  • Name and date and class in UPPER RIGHT HAND CORNER
  • Stapled (if more than one page)
In addition to spelling, grammar and overall quality, I will be grading on the things above. Just follow the directions!

peace out.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


#1 Turn in typed draft, DOUBLE-SPACED, with corrections from today's revising exercise.

#2 Find the definitions to these words! All words use in literature!


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Look at Those Outfits!

She's 14.
And she's a fashion blogger known all over the world...


After reading this, write no more than THREE paragraphs about what YOU would blog about if YOU could blog about ANYTHING IN THE ENTIRE WORLD. How would you handle the celebrity? Would you handle it like Tavi does? How would you feel if you were the age you are now and had thousands and thousands of people reading your blog EVERY DAY?

You will be turning in this assignment, so pay careful attention to SPELLING, GRAMMAR and anything else pertinent to writing well. THIS WILL BE GRADED!

You may type or hand-write it (just make sure it's legible!)


Go forth and prosper my wee ones!

(Here's TAVI'S BLOG if you are interested...)
((She's on TWITTER, too!!))

photo and article care of The New Yorker

Monday, September 13, 2010

Where the Wild Things Are

Yo kids!

1) Read the story below
Max at Sea
by Dave Eggers

2) Answer the following questions in your LA #1 notebook

1. What TENSE is this written in?
2. What PERSON is this written in?
3. Write down 5 adjectives and 5 adverbs that you see throughout the story.
4. Is there an anecdote used? If so, quote it.
5. Is there a metaphor used? If so, quote it.
6. Is there repetition? Where? What feeling does it create?
7. What are some colorful words used in the story?
8. Are there any "ailments of style?"



Thursday, September 9, 2010


For MONDAY, head to the library or go through your shelves at home and find a book you've never read. Or pick one off the shelves at school. It must be one that is at the 7th grade lever or above!
Bring it into class and we'll go around and introduce the books and discuss what we would like to learn from solo reading.

Word? Word.


Looking forward to seeing your books!

Suggestion: Something I did was go to Amazon and type in the name of a book I liked, then I got suggestions that told me what people who liked that book were also buying. It's sort of like Pandora but for books--it allows you to see what other books are in the same genre.


I will be tracking your progress occasionally. Teeheeheehee.

AND!!!!!! If you finish that book, begin looking for another one, bring it in and clear it with Truckey.

Here's my FINDINGS.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Writing Assignment #2

This is another creative writing assignment! Yeah! (The picture to the left is just a picture of one of the subjects of the radio program--it is not a prompt!)

1) LISTEN HERE to an episode of Radio Lab. It
talks with people who suffer from FACE BLINDNESS. You can listen, download or stream this! Turn up your speakers! Put in your headphones! You must listen to this to do the assignment!

2) Consider FACE BLINDNESS as you write a 1st PERSON 4-paragraph FICTION short story about this situation. It could be you who is suffering from this condition. It could be someone in your family. Or a friend. A neighbor. But it must be 1st PERSON, FICTION and include aspects of what you heard on the radio show. Think of listening to the radio show as research for this story you will write. You have to find out what the condition is before you can write about it. The CONDITION of Face Blindness is real--it exists, but the SITUATION you will create is fictional. Got it? Good!

3) Remember to use vivid adverbs, adjectives and verbs! Describe! Be clear and creative and elaborate! Make it interesting! Use a thesaurus!

DUE TUESDAY, Put in LA notebook #1!

Click here if you want to see some AMAZING paintings by one of the guys interviewed in the radio show, Chuck Close.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Writing Assignment #1

1) Examine the photograph.
2) Write about the photograph.
3) You must write at least 3 paragraphs in your LA #1 notebook.
4) Use a THESAURUS! Pay careful attention to your choice of verbs and adjectives. Make them strong and descriptive!

Other than that, there are no parameters (boundaries, restrictions). NONE.
Just be creative. Be thoughtful. Be curious!
Write fiction, poetry, essay, advice column, a review, short story, memoir, etc....whatever you want!
There is NO wrong answer here!
Write away my little sparrows!

Monday, August 30, 2010

LA Reading Assignment #1

Click on the below title to get the complete story you are to have read by Wednesday!
Email me (my address is at the bottom of the page) if it does not work! It should simply pop up as a PDF document, however.

By Flannery O'Connor